JOUR 414 Newspaper Staff
|Writing may be magical, but it's not magic. It is the by-product of a
rational series of decisions and actions. Fortunately for those of us struggling
to write well, that process can be observed, understood, and, on the best
days, repeated. Whether it's a deadline account of a fatal accident, an
editorial about toxic waste dumping, a feature on a neighborhood crime-fighting
campaign, or a profile of a wily politician, writing requires the same
process of reporting, focusing, organizing, drafting, and rewriting information
into lively and clear prose.
-- Chip Scanlan, Poynter Institute writing coach
Working on the campus newspaper can be the hardest and most rewarding experience of your undergraduate career. You have the power and the responsibility to report and write the news for your campus community, live under deadlines pressure and experience the thrills and frustrations of life as a reporter. To be successful and build a strong clip portfolio requires dedication, organization and communication. I expect you to exhibit professional behavior, a positive attitude and exemplary ethics and to respect one another, the editing staff and the newsroom.
You should produce a minimum of eleven well-written stories this quarter.
Remember that quality is as important as quantity and
pacing is essential to both. Write at least one story per week. Do not let yourself get behind. You may but are not required to submit two of those as opinion pieces.
Photos, beat memos, copy quizzes and your Writing Right journal make up the remainder of your grade.
The majority of your points will come from news stories, so take the time to find strong stories, report them thoroughly and write and revise with care. Editors may give you assignments, but understand that you are responsible for generating your own story ideas.
You may earn up to 100 points for published photos. If you want to shoot your own photos, clearly communicate this with the photo editor. Otherwise, you must turn in a photo assignment to accompany your story. Strong art gives you a better clip.
Stay on schedule
Reporters may earn no more than 150 writing points during the last two weeks of the quarter.
To give you a feel for what this looks like, Rockstar Reporter made herself this schedule for fall quarter:
Week 1- begin researching and working beat, story
Week 2- beat memo, story
Week 3- beat memo, story, copy quiz
Week 4- beat memo, story plus photos, copy quiz
Week 5- beat memo, op-ed piece, story, copy quiz
Week 6- beat memo, story plus photos, copy quiz
Week 7- beat memo, enterprise story plus infographic, copy quiz
Week 8- beat memo, story, copy quiz
Week 9 - beat memo, story, Writing Right journal, copy quiz
Week 10- story, copy quiz
Story points: (these do not have to be published to earn points)
40-point review or op-ed (max. 80 points)
See opinion editor for op-eds and A&E editor for reviews. Opinions require reporting and sourcing, numbers, experts and a strong call to action. Write what you know and what is pertinent to the campus community. Do not use other publications as sources. Do not use Internet sources.
Pieces are graded on the following:
Call to action: 6
AP style/grammar: 5
A solid news or feature story with at least three human sources. Story must have a clear news peg, time element or "so what" and tie to the campus or region. Stories are evaluated on the following:
AP style/grammar: 6
Big points are available for series and indepth pieces that may take a long time to write. If you have an idea for a multi-part piece, please see me. You must submit a detailed budget to your editors and have a face-to-face conference with adviser to determine points.
Possible additional elements:
MAINBAR: your story
SIDEBAR: a mini-story that explains a complicated detail of your mainbar or includes a vignette or concept from your story. For a story on rising tuition, you could do a sidebar explaining how the Legislature funds higher education or a short profile of the student who sits on the council that makes funding decisions.
INFOBOX: tells people where to get more information, lists times and places, lists statistics or features bulleted items
INFOGRAPHIC: a chart, map, timeline or graph
Students are responsible for keeping all graded papers in case of a difference in point totals at the end of the quarter. Any question in points or grading must be addressed with the adviser within five days from the time the copy is returned to the student's box in the newsroom.
11 news stories (two may be opinion)
8 beat memos
8 copy quizzes
1 Writing Right journal
20 professional points
+ photos as needed
Photo points (maximum 100)
Photographers earn points only for published photos and only when the cutline material is submitted to the photo editor along with each disc or roll of film. Cutlines must include correctly spelled names and a brief description of time, date, place, event. Proper ID and phone numbers are crucial. To earn points, a tearsheet (copy from the paper) must be submitted to the adviser.
5 pts.- mug shot
10 pts. - B roll (photos that run inside or back up dominant art)
20 pts.- dominant or stand alone art
40 pts. or more for a photo essay. Points based on quality.
• Writing Right Journal. Submit when you have seven stories (includes op-eds, but not minor items). Must be submitted by the end of the ninth week. See examples on Blackboard (20 points)
• beat reports (8 @ 5 pts. each) Your beat report includes two or more strong, well-researched story ideas. See examples on Blackboard
• copy quizzes (8 @ 5 pts. each). Given in class. May not be made up.
• professional points: 20 points available. Awarded by adviser with input from editors. Criteria include making deadlines, turning in clean copy, exhibiting positive work habits and showing professional, ethical conduct.
A = 658 and up
A- = 630 - 657
B+ = 602-629
B = 581-601
B- = 560-580
C+ = 539-559
C = 518-538
C- = 490-517
D+ = 469-489
D = 448-468
D- = 420-447
F = below 419