Monday, December 20, 2010

4201 Lab Schedule for Spring 2011

Link to JOU4201 Lab Syllabus
Of course, all of this is tentative and subject to change.

Link to Edit Jobs
Link to Class Blogs (note how this is a shared Dropbox document)
Link to Lab Teams  
In Lab
To Do Before Next Lab
Unless otherwise noted, all out-of-class work is due Sunday at 6 p.m.
Week 1 – Jan. 11
Assign L-Drives. Our lab is jou4201b  followed by your number. Log-on How Do.
First Day Nuts & Bolts Assessment challenge. You have 60 minutes.
Grammar-Writing Exercise (GWE Day 1)
Two full pages at 1-inch margins in 12 point Times Roman. Due in e-Learning by Friday noon of this week. And like everything else, save a copy in your Gmail or Dropbox account.
Today's Goal: Assess your writing, grammar & cultural & current-affairs knowledge skills; your ability to think critically & to follow instructions; & your skill level with e-Learning. 
Syllabus – questions from this could be on next lab's weekly challenge
Digital Tools
Set Up: Gmail account & Dropbox account
Follow: My Twitter feed
Blogging: Set up A blog with Blogger for your Editing Journal with title starting with your last name. E-mail url to me by Sunday before next lab. Also, add an RSS feed to your blog (usually Blogger includes one). This is graded X or 0. (Keep in mind that I will post links to all of your fellow editors’ blogs on the class blog The Scriptorium.)
Who Are You? Please paste this brief survey as your first blog post for this class with answers to the questions - and feel free to add anything else you think might be relevant.
Homework: Read AP on Murder and find an example on Google News of a publication violating this rule. Note what is wrong. Post this to your Editing Journal. Slug post Murder.
Study for AP A-C 1
Then take AP challenge in e-Learning before start of next lab.
FYI: Previous Dow Jones Grammar Tests
FYI: If you are interested in becoming an editor, consider joining the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) at:
FYI: If you have an interest in design, see and

Own Your Education (Grammar reviews)
Week 2 – Jan. 18
Professional Text: On Writing Well

Weekly Challenge at beginning of class (7:25 a.m.) on such things as current affairs (read the news), punctuation, grammar, spelling and, possibly, items from my Twitter tweets and Game Film on editing, and any other readings.
Set Up News Blog Groups
The Key to Close Editing? Critical Thinking
Close Editing Exercises
Jesus Statue: (This is on e-learning)
Close edit this story. Use your AP Stylebook and WWC on this. Put your name on it. Print this when done hold on to it until I collect. Submit the e-Learning form. You have 30 minutes.
Army Garbage: (This is on e-learning) Close edit this story. Use your AP Stylebook and WWC on this. Check everything. Don't make assumptions about spelling. Follow ALL instructions on both fixing and explaining. You have 45 minutes.
Recall the Grading Rubric for this class
Today's Goal: Close Editing / AP Style / Grammar / Consistency / Dealing WIth Quotes / Fact Checking / Concision
Begin News Blog Work

Homework: Click this link for arrested and list examples of at least five ways stories describe arrests. Did you find any that violate AP style? Post this to your blog. Slug it Arrest.
Bookmark Cops & Courts Resources (Set up a Delicious account): Florida Bar's Reporters Handbook & Crime Databases and Statistics & Legal Resources
Do: Cops challenge excercise. Print this and bring to next lab. Before editing this, reconsider Sixth Amendment  What do you think?
Study: Vocab Gun Grammar
Study for AP A-C 2
Then take AP challenge

Week 3 – Jan. 25
Professional Text: New New Journalism
Web Tool: Delicious
Weekly Challenge
Cops challenge exercise & Cops Lecture
Cop and Courts Constructions
Close Editing Exercises
Alpine Shooting: You have 30 minutes.
When done, print this out and then submit it to e-Learning.
Drug Dealer:
When done, submit it to e-Learning.
You have 45 minutes. 
Today's Goal: Cop Story Problematics / Ethics / Fairness / Libel Minefields/ AP Style / Grammar / Consistency / Concision  / Source Problematics
News Blog Work

Homework: Click these links for convicted or guilty  and list examples of at least five ways stories describe someone being found guilty or not guilty of a crime. You will post these to your blog. Slug ConvictGuilty
Study: Court Vocab 1
Study for AP D-H 1 Then take AP challenge
Week 4 – Feb. 1
Professional Text: Somebody Told Me
Web Tool: Google Reader
Weekly Challenge
Close Editing Exercises
Bad Doc You have 30 minutes.
When done, submit this to Sakai but keep a copy on your desktop.
Acquittal You have 45 minutes.
Today's Goal: Court Story Problematics / Ethics / Fairness / Libel Minefields / AP Style / Grammar / Consistency / Concision  /
News Blog Work
Homework: List the names of the main governmental bodies in the city you are from (or nearest city to where you are from) and the county from where you are from. This would include police, fire and sheriff's departments. I want the full name as they would appear in a newspaper.  Post this to your blog. Slug post Guv.
Study: Court Vocab 2
Study for AP D-H 2 Then take AP challenge
Week 5 – Feb. 8
Professional Text: Best Newspaper Writing
Poynter faculty present the year's best newswriting and community service photojournalism with the winners and finalists of the American Society of Newspaper Editors annual competition. An ideal reader for aspiring journalists, the volume provides quality models students can study and emulate.

Weekly Challenge
Close Editing Exercises
You have 45 minutes.
  When done, submit it and move on to Driver.
You have 45 minutes.
When done, have someone else edit and put his or her name on exercise.
Fact-Checking Exercise: Are you smarter than a nerd?
Today's Goal: Court Story Problematics / Ethics / Fairness / Libel Minefields / AP Style / Grammar / Consistency / Concision  / Government Stories Problematics / Fact-Checking
News Blog Work
Homework: Find a poll or survey story that violates AP’s guidelines on such stories. Note what is wrong. Post this to yourblog. Slug post Poll. Read What is Difference Between Polls and Surveys?
Study for AP I-M 1 Then take at home AP challenge
Week 6 – Feb. 15
In Class
Weekly Challenge
Close Editing Exercises
BoozeAds (a story based on a research report )

You have 45 minutes. When done, submit it.
BikeWalk (a story based on a survey)
You have 45 minutes.
When done have someone else CLOSELY edit and sign exercise.
Don't print. 
Today's Goal:
Survey and Report Problematics (for example: use of statistics vs. concrete numbers) / the  Always Do the Math Mantra / Dead Constructions / Participles and Punctuation / the Redact That Rule / the Alphabet Soup Rule   /  Concision / Use of Active vs. Passive Voice / Consistency between lead and text / Matters of Logic / Fact-Checking
News Blog Work
Read (Here, we are going to begin to master the skill of writing cutlines. As with so much in journalism - whether print or online - both editors and reporters (who are also shooting photos) must know how to write cutlines. This includes not just the mechanics of writing cutlines, but making critical news judgment about the use of photos.) Writing Cutlines & AP on Writing Cutlines (Captions) & Would You Use This Photo?
Do: Cutline Exercise 1 (Goal: Cutline Writing / Ethics / Concision): Pics with rudimentary info for deep cutlines. Any questions you might raise as an editor? Load to e-Learning assignment Cutline 1.
Study for AP I-M 2 Then take AP challenge
Week 7 – Feb. 22
Professional Text: Reporting Back
Weekly Challenge
Review Nerds

Review Cutline Exercise 1
Cutline Exercise 2: Pics with rudimentary info for deep cutlines. Any questions you might raise as an editor? Make a note.  Load to e-Learning assignment Cutline 2.

Close Editing Exercises
Violent Crime  When done, have someone else edit and sign exercise.
Today's Goal: Cutline Writing / Visual Ethics & Making  News Judgments Through Critical Think / and - as always - Concision)
And again, with Violent Crime = Survey and Report Problematics (for example: use of statistics vs. concrete numbers) / the  Always Do the Math Mantra / Ensuring Graphics Jibe With Text
News Blog Work – Rough draft of your blog due: That means blog should be created with title. Send me the url before class. Need topic defined and the blog should have the list of stories you plan to do with names of each reporter and notes on each about where you are on reporting them. Also should include your plan of action about how you will be collaboratively be editing each of these.  
Study for AP N-S 1 Then take AP challenge
Read:  Here, we are going to begin to master the skill of writing headlines. As with so much in journalism - whether print or online - these days both editors and reporters write headlines. Read these in preparation for some headline writing practice at the next lab. Headline Worksheet from Kansas U. This worksheet from KU does an excellent job of outlining the mechanics of writing headlines. & Headline Checklist from API This is a succinct but thorough checklist of the kinds of things you need to think about when writing heds. & Deck Headlines This brief reading from Poynter points to the predominance of dek headlines in publications these days. You should have some understanding about how these work. & Kinds of Headline Deks I put together this brief outline explaining the distinction between standard deks and what I call narrative deks (different publications have different terms for these). Note how the narrative deks are written in narrative form with all the punctuation that we would expect. & Today's Front Pages This can give you ideas not only about design, but about how others are writing print headlines. See also: Newseum’s Front Pages installed on Tumblr
Week 8 – March 1
Professional Text: Bird by Bird
Weekly Challenge

Head Discussion
Head Exercise 1
Close Editing Exercises
Flatulence You have 45 minutes.
When done, have someone else edit and sign exercise.
Today's Goal: Honing Headline Writing Skills / Emphasize that editors need to always ask if the evidence supports the lead, assertions in story,  headline, or cutline / matters of ethics, taste and sensitivity

MIDTERM EVALS: Fill out a drop off at my desk.

News Blog Work

Keywords are an attempt to address the notion that so much in journalism – and in life – is a matter of constraint and compromise. That is – you have a large idea that needs to be fitted into a space constrained by some boundaries – in this case a maximum width in print headlines, or a maximum number of words in an online head, or even a maximum number of inches or lines when it comes to writing an entire story. With headlines, keywords help you define what you desire to put in the headline but what you are willing to sacrifice when you compromise because of constraints. Thus, when you list your keywords, do so in order of priority from what you believe must get in the headline to what – at bottom of list – you would like to have in head but are willing to sacrifice because of the constraints of the headline parameters.
Study for AP  N-S 2 Then take AP challenge
Read more on headlines:  What's A Head Order? & DWI = Dense With Information This is a skill you can apply to all kinds of journalistic writing. It is a matter of being precise and concise without being obscure. & Finding Key Words for Headlines  I am a great believer in analyzing the elements of a story and then prioritizing them before writing a headline (or even cutline or online blurb).  This exercise comes from Fred Vultee at the University of Missouri and I offer it to you because it is a good example of the sort of the thing that should go on in your mind before you write a headline. In this class from this point on, you will be required to write your keywords atop your story before you write your headline. Once you do this enough, you will begin to write these keywords on a sticky note in your mind.
Search Engine Optimization and Writing Heds for Online: On The Media on SEO & Newspaper SEO tips: Effective headlines | & Headline writing: How to write web headlines that catch search engine spiders & BBC News writes the world's best headlines & More readings on SEO: This is just here if you think you want to read more about SEO and writing heds for online. Notice how these are on my Delicious account and I am sharing (social networking) them through urls keyed to tags.
Spring Break
March 5-12
Week 9 – March 15
In Class
Professional Text: How to Lie With Statistics

Head Exercise 2 (with keywords required and online heads)

Today's Goal: Honing Headline and Cutline Writing Skills. 
News Blog Work


Read: Cutting Stories & Concision = Precision Just by eliminating redundancies and big words you can shorten the text and at the same time make the story stronger. This is why you need to focus on the text not  just line by line, but also word by word. This list is a collection of fairly common redundancies. But there are many, many more. & N.Y. Times mines its data to identify words that readers find abstruse & Don't Use Big Words  & Orwell's Five Rules of Writing

Read about trademarks, which is relevant to next lab: Trademarks & Trademarks - Eds Discuss Use of Brand Names & Trademark PPT Lecture & Bookmark A Guide to Proper Trademark Use This and the list below are from the International Trademark Association, which has been around since 1898 -- indicating that the problematics of trademarks have been a serious concern for many years.  This is, again, another journalist's resource you should bookmark on your Delicious account. Trademark Checklist 

Study Punctuation Chapter of AP Then take AP Punctuation challenge
Week 10 – March 22
Professional Text: The Careful Writer
Bibliography:  SI's Top 100 Sports Books of All Time
Weekly Challenge
Lecture on briefs – Briefing AP Stories Examples
Close Editing Exercises:
Mouse Droppings Edit full length and then below the edited story create a 200-word (+/- 10 words)  brief from the same story. Follow  instructions on story.
Flatulence.Booze: Cut these two stories  to 150 words (+/- 10 words) each. Follow instructions on writing brief headlines for these.
Today's Goal: Headlines - print and online / AP Style / Grammar / Consistency / Dealing WIth Quotes / Fact Checking / Trademarks / Cutting Stories / Concision /
News Blog Work

Read: Tis the season for horribly written press releases & Read this brief excerpt from a book that insists that press releases  should be written in "news style" and "avoid the first person." The problem is, there are a lot of amateurs out there who  call themselves PR practitioners but then send to publications press releases written in a horribly florid style using such things as "we" and "our" and "I" and filled with opinion and unsubstantiated assertions.  This is the bane of busy journalists trying to discern the news among the brambles and B.S. & Read this excerpt from a book that describes the "dirty secret" of journalism is its dependence on the press release.

Study for AP  T-Z 1 Then take AP challenge

Read These (Challenge questions will come from these)
Web Headlines - The Basics & Search Engine Optimization Basics from the Knight Digital Media Center
Week 11 – March 29
Close Editing
Snake & Gator

Press Release Assignment: Cut and edit these press releases. Keep in mind the previous readings.
Today's Goal:
Today's Goal: The editing exercise aims to bring together the skills of  Headline / Cutline Writing / Emphasize the translation of international wire stories into U.S. news style / The French poodle Rule / Concision
Also translating PR-speak / Cutting Stories / Brief Hedlines / Concision / Making Critical Judgments About What Is News and What Is Dross News Blog Work

Study for AP  T-Z 2 Then take AP challenge
Review: Bogus Trend Stories of the Week I have no expectation that you should read all of the following, but you might want to scan through some of Jack Shafer's earlier work in which he knocks bogus trend stories about sack-tapping, marijuana cuisine, Pakistanis impersonating Indians, Americans renouncing their citizenship, playwrights working for TV, Christian fight clubs, home barbering, DIY burial, girls' sports, backyard chicken ranching, "ecomigration," shoplifting, church attendance, kids with bombs, dudes with cats, Ivy League women, teenage hookers, teens shopping at the mall, obese teens, and online sales losing "steam." In a July 2008 grab bag, he attacked stories about the rise in locally grown food, the uptick in video conferencing, and an increase in motorcyclists.
Week 12 – April 5
Professional Text:Strunk & White's Elements of Style (On the Web)

Begin Final Assessments
This week begins editing work that gathers together all the editing, concision, cutting, headline, cutline, punctuation and spelling skills you have been working on this semester. The following assessments in this and the next three weeks are intended to give me a picture of where you are and how much you have achieved.

Final Assessment Exercise 1:
Library Use Edit full length and then below edited long version create a 150-word  (+/- 10 words) brief.
Goal: Trend Stories / Evaluating Evidence / Does Evidence Support Claim? / Headlines / Cutting Stories / Brief Hedlines / Concision
Court stories

Final Assessment Exercise 2:
WWC EXERCISE 25 Clarity & Conciseness
 Cancelled this one - I think you, for the most part, are conscious of this in your editing.

Final Assessment Exercise 3:
Goal: Final Assessment of Skills especially re Hedlines and Fact-Checking  
Final Assessment Exercise 4:
Press Release Briefs
Due before lab next week
Week 13 – April 12

Final Skills Assessment 5:
One-hour Nuts and Bolts challenge.

Final Assessment Exercise 6:
Big Squid
Edit full length and then below edited long version create a 150-word  (+/- 10 words) brief. 
Goal is to assess all the the editing skills we have worked on this semester - to include: 
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling 
  • AP style 
  • Style & Spelling as a global editor re foreign terms
  • Writing print hedlines
  • Writing online hedlines
  • Writing cutlines
  • Cutting Stories
  • Writing briefs 
  • Concision
  • Fact-Checking 
  • Critical Thinking:
    • as an editor of yours or others' writing 
    • in making news judgments 
    • and in maintaining consistency 
  • Teamwork & Collaboration 
  • Translation and Extrapolating from Rules on Titles, etc.  Across Borders
News Blog Work
Final Assessment Exercise 7:
WWC EXERCISE 29 Editing forGrammar and Spelling = cancelled

News Blog with stories completed by Sunday, April 17, at 6 p.m.
I will be assessing the editing of the stories and any accompanying items that go with the stories. This will include not only the nuts and bolts mechanics of the stories but also whether they appear to be complete with no holes leaving questions for the reader – and whether they comport with issues of taste, sensitivity, ethics and the law. This, of course, requires collaboration among all members of your group over the course of the semester to put together the best package possible
Week 14 – April 19

Final Skills Assessment 8:
Final Roundup Challenge Review all your previous weekly challenges and readings and editing Tweets for the semester. Final Challenge will be drawn from the many editing issues we have covered this semester.

News Blog Presentations by Groups
Be ready to discuss:
1. How you came up with this topic and why.
2. How you collaborated to discuss and edit stories.
3. What challenges you faced in editing one another’s stories.
4. What debates you had about the writing and editing.
5. In what way you aided one another in story assignment, reporting, writing and editing.
6. Whether you are satisfied with the outcome and what you might have done differently.
7. Any changes I should make in this assignment in the future.

News Blog Group Peer Evaluations
due by 6 p.m. today – download this to assignment on e-learning.


Wednesday, April 20, last day of class

The final days of spring semester 2011 are scheduled during Passover this year. There are 3 dates that are potential major conflicts for students if final class exams should be given then.  The dates are April 18, 19, and 20 (the last 3 days of the semester).  These 3 days are the most important days religiously (the Passover Seders are the evenings of the 18 and 19).

Continue Your Education Long Past This Class: Journalism Grads: 30 Things You Should Do This Summer & News University & Reference Books: An excellent list of professional texts for journalists from ACES & Top 50 Journalism Blogs & SPJ's Journalist's Toolbox & If you are thinking about going out on your own, check out: Freelancers Union

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