Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thank you

Thank you for making my final class at UCF a memorable one. Wishing you all a great summer.

Ann H.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Evaluating your instructors


The Student Perception of Instruction (SPI) evaluation will be available for you to complete online during the last two weeks of class.

When you enter the myUCF portal during the evaluation period, you will receive a notice to complete the SPI forms for your course(s).

This notice will continue to appear until you complete the assessment for all enrolled courses or the evaluation period ends.

Troubleshooting - If you have difficulty accessing the form, or do not see the option to fill out an evaluation for a class, you should contact the Service Desk at (407) 823-5117, via e-mail at, or via the web at

Monday, April 5, 2010


Here are the revised dates for handing in papers etc.

Monday, April 26 - Deadline for submitting final published story. Deadline for handing in your final feature. Worth 100 points.

Monday, APRIL 26 - Final AP Style test - worth 50 points.

Wednesday, April 28 - No class that day as exams begin.

Monday, May 3 - Final meeting at 1 p.m. I will return your papers and give out grades. This time was stipulated by the administration and cannot be changed.

A Eureka Moment

For the first time, every member of one of my classes has had a story published in the Central Florida Future, making them eleigible for at least a C grade.

This is a tremendous accomplishment. I know it isn't easy to fit in the assignments in addition to all the work you have to do for other classes.

And we have now logged 37 published stories -- only 4 to go to break that record.

You should be very proud.

Ann H.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


We will switch our attention to news feature writing. First we will have a news quiz -- thank Maria for providing most of the questions.

Then we'll discuss what makes a feature different from a news story and you'll get a chance to do a writing exercise.

Unfortunately, Kevin Clark won't be able to tell us how he went from journalism school at Miami directly to the Wall Street Journal. Kevin is starting work in NYC this week as a sports writer.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Class strikes again with CFF

Check out CFF today and read stories by Jackie-Leigh and Adrienne. So far this semester, the class has had 34 stories published by CFF.

You should be proud.

Ann H.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Congratulations to Tim, Hillary and Michael for getting stories published in CFF today - March 29. That makes six from the class in the past week.

Good work.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Monday class plan

A reminder that professor Brunson will be teaching the class Monday. It will be on public affairs reporting, which covers everything from crime reporting to covering courts and government. It is a very important part of the course.

To prepare read Chapter 16 - Page 398 to 455.

He will see you in Room 211 at 1 p.m., or a little before.

I'll be back with you on Wednesday when we will have another AP Style test - the last one didn't produce great grades. One thing I should have pointed out is that you need to check the names of newspapers to make sure The is part of the official name. Most of you wrongly capitalized The before Chicago Tribune.

You'll get your first drafts back on the baseball exhibit story and I'll go over some of the problems so you can rewrite them.

I'm thrilled that so many of you are working on CFF assignments and from what I have seen of your first drafts you have been doing some good reporting.

Ann H.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Odds and ends

First drafts of your stories on the Pride & Passion exhibit at the library are due on Wednesday, March 25.

Guest speaker on Wednesday is John Cutter, manager of the Sentinel's web operation.

There won't be a news quiz next week as Prof. Brunson will teach the public records class on Monday, March 29.

I'll be back on Wednesday, March 31, and we'll go over the baseball exhibit stories so you can do rewrites and submit for grades. We'll also be moving on to discussing ideas for end of semester feature stories.

Ann H.

Monday, March 15, 2010



Starting this week, send me suggested questions for Monday's News Quiz. Deadline midnight Saturday and get 5 extra credit points plus a jump on scoring 100 per cent on the test.

Ann H

Details of CFF news meeting.

Hello everyone,

I trust you all had a splendid spring break. Well, it is, unfortunately, time to get rolling again. Our first writers meeting back is tomorrow, in MAP 121 at 2 p.m., like always. Come out and pick up a story. You know you want to.

- Justine
-- Sincerely,Bianca Fortis and Justine GriffinNews EditorsCentral Florida Future,UCF's student newspaper

Call Bianca at 352-650-8540
Call Justine at 727-743-7717

Monday, March 8, 2010


Here is the updated class schedule for the rest of the semester:

March 16 and 18 - Writing obituaries. Start by reading Chapter 12. You'll pair up with another student, interview each other and write your partner's obit from the perspective of being 60 years old.

March. 22 - Assignment. The African American Baseball Experience at the UCF Library. We'll tour the exhibit and write stories.

March 24 - Sentinel Wire Editor John Cutter will talk about filing for online.

March 29 and 31 - Professor Brunson will teach a public records class.

April 5 and 7 - Moving on to feature writing. Chapter 15.

April 12 - Sentinel feature writer Jeff Kunerth will talk to class about the art of writing a compelling story.

April 14 - Special event. - Former Orange County Mayor Linda Chapin and Disney VP and former Orlando Sentinel political reporter Mike Griffin will talk about the art of interviewing and being interviewed.

April 19 and 22 - We will go over your suggestions for final feature story and begin gathering information and writing the story. This is worth 100 points and is an important part of your grade.

April 26 - Deadline for handing in your published story with byline and date. REMEMBER YOU CAN'T GET A C UNLESS YOU HAVE A PUBLISHED STORY. Final AP Style test.


May 3 - Final exams. We'll meet at 1 p.m. in Room 211 and you'll get your final papers back and I'll give you your grades.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


For adding another CFF byline to his long list of stories published this semester.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

CFF stories

Great news - 15 of you have had stories published in Central Florida Future and I know at least two more of you have commitments to get stories published.

This could be the first class that I have taught in which every students gets a story published - meeting one of the requirements to get a C in the course.

Good work.

Ann H.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010



This is on the Orlando Sentinel website under headline.


Here’s a mistake that stunned — and amused — WKMG-Channel 6 reporter Mike Holfeld.
He learned that he died in 1999, a victim of the killer whale Tilikum, according to The Sandspur, the newspaper at Rollins College.
The newspaper was covering a trainer’s death at SeaWorld last week. And the reporter wrote that it wasn’t the first time Tilikum had been responsible for a person’s death. “Reporter Mike Holfeld died from an attack in 1999,” the story read.
Actually, Holfeld was anchoring WKMG’s live coverage of last week’s tragedy with Jacqueline London and Mike Garofalo.
Holfeld’s theory: “Somehow this reporter heard my name and assumed I was the 1999 victim.”
There was a victim then who slipped into SeaWorld, swam in Tilikum’s tank after hours and died of hypothermia.
The Sandspur bills itself as “the oldest college newspaper in Florida.” Holfeld by e-mail writes, “I thought it was funny that Florida’s oldest college newspaper allowed a major gaffe.”
The newspaper told me, “We are in the process of investigating how this egregious error occurred.” Holfeld said the newspaper promised a front-page retraction.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Break

I spent several hours yesterday reading and grading your Spring Break stories and I realized how much you have learned since our class started back in January. The leads were 100 percent better, most of the quotes were well setup with all the necessary information provided such as year, major, age....and most of your kickers were good with strong quotes.

Thank you.

Need to remind you that March 5 - according to my diary - is the withdrawal deadline for grade forgiveness. I have the latest grades if you want to check in with me on Monday. If you have had a story published in CFF or CFF online, you are in good shape. The extra 100 plus points makes a huge difference, especially if you have had good grades on quizes, exercises etc.

See you Monday.

Ann H.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Useful pointers for journalism students

(excerpts from New York Times - Advice for Journalism Students

Q. Wondering if I could get your advice for my journalism students — what kind of things should someone who is considering a career path in journalism understand about the relationship between the business side and the editorial side in the online world? How should these students prepare themselves in terms of business knowledge and additional entrepreneurial skills?
— Mo Krochmal, assistant professor of journalism, media studies, and public relations, Hofstra University

A. I advise journalists coming out of school today to take a programming course or two, at least. I also think it’s a good idea for journalists to have a basic understanding of business; after all, journalism is a business in the United States and journalists should understand the basics of the businesses they work for. Regarding entrepreneurial skills, the best way to learn them is to work in a startup or early-stage business. Talk to accomplished venture capitalists. Read some of the better venture capitalist blogs. Dive in.

Career Concerns of Journalism Students

Q. What advice do you have for students considering a career in journalism and related fields, what skills would a student need to be marketable in a highly competitive field, and how can you reassure the career concerns for someone going into this field?
— Mark Fiorito

A. I’ve turned to my colleague, Deputy Managing Editor Jon Landman, who manages the editorial side of, for an answer to this one. He writes:

For someone intent on a career at a newspaper or news magazine, there's no reassurance to give. Those careers will be harder and harder to establish and jobs at journalism companies that come with health insurance and a pension will be scarce, to say the least. But journalism is changing, not dying, and for someone with an entrepreneurial bent, a sense of adventure and a sense of the value of journalism as a calling, there are still opportunities.

A handful of big news organizations, like this one, have flourishing Web sites along with their familiar print publications. Journalists with technical savvy and technical people with a passion for journalism are almost always in demand. There are opportunities in specialty journalism like Politico, which publishes in print and online for people hungry for detailed information about national politics. Journalistically minded startups employ some journalists;, for example, has editors who manage Web-only news and information sites for small towns. And there are large numbers of news entrepreneurs with a vision for news and a blog or some other platform. Some, like Joshua Marshall of Talking Points Memo are well known; others struggle for attention and a niche.

In all cases, basic journalistic skills and values — curiosity, skepticism, intellectual honesty, a sense of fair play, the ability to tell a story well — remain as essential as ever.

I largely agree with Jon’s view: The number of traditional news outlets, and jobs in those places, is diminishing. From my perspective, the shift taking place today is part of a very long-term transition from telling stories in analog formats, to working in digital ones. We are in the middle of that transition today, and for those of us inside, it sometimes feels a little like working in the midst of a great hurricane.

On the other hand, transitions such as these often offer great opportunities for people who are more entrepreneurial. My friend Rafat Ali, for example, was a young journalist who started a site called in the middle of the dotcom bust. He recently sold his business to The Guardian for a very tidy sum, and he and his staff now run the business inside a larger entity.
If I were in college today, I’d try to complement my journalistic training with a combination of hands-on technical expertise and some basic courses in business management and finance. The most important thing Jon recommends, in my view, is the “sense of adventure” necessary during times like these.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Class Feb. 17

Prepare for writing your Spring Break story by reading Chapter 11 Preparing for the Interview, Page 272.

We won't have a news quiz Monday so you can spend time interviewing students for your Spring Break story, which we will write in class.

But first we'll share information that you researched Wednesday about a variety of background issues ranging from unemployment rates in Central Florida, the economic situtation in the area that could affect students ability to go, how many students take part in Spring Break, top places to go, prices -- are cruiselines and airlines cutting rates.

This story will require a different approach from the straight "give us the facts, maam" leads we have been learning. You will be required to interview 6 students and you can work in teams.

Here are examples from The Elements of News Writing by James W. Kershner of the various approaches you can take.

The quote lead - but only if you have a good, strong quotation, which is not a cliche. "It was a hell of a melee," said Dean of Students John McIntyre. Next graph outlines what he was referring to.

The anecdote lead - begins with a short vignette or story that sheds light on the subject of story. Should only be used when the anecdote is exceptionally telling and it must be accurate. Here is an example for a story about the increase in coyote sightings.

Mary Silva was pushing her 2-year-old daughter, Tiffany in a stroller through the UCF campus Monday. The toddler was practicing new words she had learned. She pointed out "tree" and "truck" and "flower."

Then Tiffany said "dog!"

But the animal she saw was not a dog; it was a coyote.

A rapid increase in sightings of coyotes in the city has wildlife officials, pet owners and parents concerned.

The list lead - this involves starting a story with three examples of people, places or events that demonstrate the thrust of the story.

The descriptive lead - sets the scene or paints a picture of a place or situation.

The question lead - There is one important rule about question leads: They must be followed quickly by the answer. The question should NOT be directed at the reader. .. Have you ever wondered what it would be like...? runs the risk of receiving a negative answer. Don't give the reader the chance to say "No, not me" and then turn the page.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Check out Tim's excellent story about a UCF alumni who knits for the homeless and the sidebar on homelessness in today's CFF.

Eight of you have had stories published in CFF and I know some of you are working on assignments.

Ann H.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Common mistake

Most of you missed the comma in $3000 on the AP Style test.

Remember to always use commas to separate off the thousands, millions and billions in numbers. Example: $3,000, 2,460,558 or $1,000,000,000

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Homework Feb. 10

Good work on the leads today in class. You worked hard. That is the only way to learn the skill.

Homework. Write alternative leads - LEADS ONLY - from Exercise 2 , 3,4, 5, 6 on Page 197 and 198.

Read Chapter 8 on alternative leads.

Have a good weekend.

Ann H.

How to write a strong lead


Just finished grading your Jeannette Emert stories - the stories made good use of quotes and the tips that the police officer gave on staying safe on campus.

BUT - the royal but - the leads were almost uniformly awful. Until you can write a good lead you aren't go to get anywhere in mastering the skills of writing a news story. The lead is the first thing an editor and reader sees. If that doesn't engage, they aren't going to waste their time either working the story or reading it.

So here again are some rules:

Get to the point. News stories DO NOT have introductions (a common failing in your stories.)

A good lead summarizes the main focus of the news story and lets the reader know what to expect from the rest of the story. A good lead also may hint at what is to come.

A good lead usually should be less than 25 words, although special types of leads can be longer, if necessary.

To decide on a lead, first ask yourself what the story is about. Answer the question as if you were telling a friend who had no prior information on the subject.

Most leads will answer the basic five-W questions: who, what, where, when, why and how.

In most cases, a lead should be one simple declarative sentence structured in the active voice.

The primary types of leads include the straight news (or summary) lead, the quote lead, the anecdote lead, the list (or "bam-bam-bam") lead, the descriptive (or scene-setting) lead, and the question lead.

A nut graf is a paragraph that summarizes in a nutshell the main point of the story. In simple stories, the lead is the nut graf. In feature stories, the nut graf may follow the lead. Every news story should have a nut graph somewhere near the beginning.

Never bury the lead -- e.g. putting the most important element of the story anywhere other than at the beginning.

Avoid leads that place readers in unlikely situations -- e.g. Inexperienced writers occasionally try to put the reader in the picture with the use of second-person voice writing using the word YOU. This rarely works. Sometimes it is ridiculous.

Avoid cliche leads --e.g. expressions such as avoided like the plague, flies in the face of ...worth its weight in gold.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Amendments on the November ballot.

Here are the amendments on the Nov. 2 election ballot that Deirdre Macnab was talking about in class today.

Floridians will see questions on campaign finance, property taxes, growth plans and legislative redistricting come November.

Repeal of public campaign finance laws - The Florida Legislature voted in the spring to put before voters a proposed amendment that would repeal the public campaign financing for statewide campaigns. In 2006, the state shelled out $11,133,761 to 10 candidates for statewide office. Gov. Charlie Crist received about $7.4 million, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink received about $1 million, Attorney General Bill McCollum received $897,104 and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson received $393,459.

Homestead ad valorem tax - The Legislature is asking voters to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption for members of the U.S. military or military reserves, the U.S. Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard, who receive a homestead exemption and were deployed in the previous year on active duty outside of the United States.

The exempt amount will be based on the number of days the person was deployed.Property tax limit for non-homestead property –

The Legislature also put on the ballot a proposal to limit the maximum annual increase in the assessed value of non-homestead property to 5 percent. It also requires the Legislature to provide another homestead exemption for people who have not owned a principal residence during the last eight years.

Amendment 4 - Hometown Democracy – The group known as Florida Hometown Democracy garnered enough signatures to place an amendment on the ballot that would require changes to local comprehensive growth plans to be approved by local voters at the polls. Backers say the measure would end what they call undue influence by local developers. However, opponents argue it would make it much more difficult for local governments to make even small, necessary changes for local community growth.

Redistricting – The group Fair District Florida collected signatures for Amendments Five and Six, which deal with the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts. The proposed amendment prohibits officials from drawing legislative districts that favor incumbents or political parties and sets up other requirements also known as gerrymandering.

Amendment Five deals with the Florida House and Senate seats and Amendment Six addresses Florida's congressional seats.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Homework - Wednesday, Feb. 3

Write a news story based on your interviews today with UCF police officer Jeannette Emert. Remember to pick what you thought was the best and most interesting news angle and develop that as the main thrust of your story.

You can touch on other angles by using bullet points and saying something like...

In a wide ranging interview, Emert gave the following advice OR Emert also said:

  • Don't walk alone at night on campus.
  • Keep your apartment doors locked, even if you are just going down the hall to speak to a friend.
  • Your head, hands and feet are better weapons when it comes to protection than gadgets.
  • The library attracts thieves.
  • UCF students like marijuana.

Of course if you are using one or two of these angles for the main part of your story you'll have to change the bullet points.

You can prepare for Monday's speaker - Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, by reading up on the women's suffrage movement and the 19th amendment giving women the vote. It was ratified on Aug. 26, 1920.

See you Monday.

Ann H.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Inside the AP Style Book

Check out this link for interesting story about AP Style and why we should care


OK Gang

Let's start practicing AP Style when we write, not just when we do an AP Style test.

Too many of you are still not using numbers for amounts from 10 up.

Measurements, distances, weights etc. do take numbers so check those out in your style book.

Remembers ALL ages takes numbers.

Except on rare occasions, do NOT begin a news story with the day of the week or time of day.

ACCORDING goes with records, documents not humans. Fire chief John Brown said. According to the Declaration of Independence.


Try not to use unnecessary words. Give us the facts please, NOT your opinions. Get to the meat of the story. Readers don't have the patience to wade through flowery phrases.

On second reference to something use the instead of a... e.g.

A plane crashed into the hills over Denver.

The police officer said the crash caused two deaths and massive damage.

People think about things. They believe in God. Only use believe in a religious context.

Read your stories aloud - some of your leads didn't even make sense because of dropped words or muddled thinking. If they don't make sense when you say them to yourself, then rework them.

Remember - I want you to be the best you can be, so I'm going to keep on nagging and docking you points until you get it right.

Ann H.

Monday, February 1, 2010


1. Look for one main point and make that point the focus of the story. Build your lead off that angle and do not begin by saying that aperson spoke. Say what they said.

2. Figure out what the general public needs to know and provide that information.

3. Focus on the most important, significant or interesting aspect of the speech.

4. Do not include everything said in the speech, just the most important parts. TAKE GOOD NOTES SO YOU CAN USE DIRECT QUOTES IN YOUR STORY. MAKE SURE ALL NAMES AND TITLES ARE CORRECT.

5. Include audience reaction and setting.

6. Where possible get reactions to the speech.

7. Include enough background so those not familiar with the issues can understand what happened and its significance.

8. Do your homework before the speech. Get biographic information about the speaker. Read bios or news accounts of previous speeches by the person. Try and get an advance copy of the speech.

9. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you interview a speaker after the speech be sure to state in story that the comment was made after the speech. Don't imply it was part of the main speech.

10. Write the story as soon as possible. Writing the story as soon as possible gets the information down more accurately.


Complete exercise handed out in class using writing rules.

AP Style CAPITALIZATION - Page 640-642.

Redo Parking stories for 10 extra points.

Read Chapter 13 Page 323 on Speeches and Meetings... in preparation for UCF police officer Jeanette Emert speaking to the class on Wednesday about crime on campus.

You will have to cover her speech as a news story and ask questions in class to flesh out the information she gives you. you need to take good notes and be prepared to write your story on deadline in class.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Common mistake in stories

While reading your stories on UCF parking problems, I have noticed a common mistake -- the use of THAT and WHO.

So here's a reminder.

Who or whom, rather than that, should be used when the antecedent is human or when it takes on human qualities.

i.e. The police officers WHO stopped my car were polite but firm.

The candidate WHOM the voters selected has been indicted.

This is one of those pens THAT write upside down.

Courtesy: When Worlds Collide: A media writer's guide to grammar and style.

Ann H

Stories in CFF

You guys are really on a roll....

Allison Lindblade is the fifth member of the class to get a story either published by CFF or posted on the website. Her story on a Haitian relief fundraiser was posted on the CFF website today.

I know some of you have received assignments and I look forward to helping you with the first round of editing and seeing your stories published.

Ann H.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to contact Bianca

Bianca Prieto's email address is if you are interested in job shadowing her, send her an email and she will try and arrange something.

Great experience and you have a fun time into the bargain.

Ann H.

How to find out what is happening in news industry

Bianca Prieto mentioned The Poynter Institute today and I we didn't get a chance to talk about it. Poynter is part of the foundation that owns The St. Petersburg Times and is dedicated to journalism. In addition to classes and seminars, Poynter has a blog Romenesko at which posts stories about newspapers, TV and magazines.

Most journalists check it at least once a day to find out what is happening in the industry.

Ann H.

Five questions to find The Hart of Your story -- Fast!

1. Why does my/our story matter?

2. What's the point of my/our story?

3. Why is this story being told?

4. What does it say about life, about the world, about the times we live in?

5. What is my/our story REALLY about? In ONE word?

speedwrite the answers in 30-60 seconds for each.

DAVID VON DREHLE, The Washington Post.


President Obama's State of the Union address at 9 p.m.

We'll be having questions on what he has to say and the reaction.

Homework Jan. 27

Chapter 9, Exercise 2 Page 229... Writing a complete story. Do just 1 and 2.

Prepare for News Quiz on Monday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The homework is to finish writing the first draft of your story on parking problems at UCF. Try and find out as much information as possible about the uiversity's parking system to include as background.


The AP Style quiz will be on ADDRESSES - Section 2, page 639.

The speaker - breaking news permiting - will be Sentinel crime reporter Bianca Prieto.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Here is the information that I got from Greg Heinkel for the parking story. You can use this in your own stories.

Senior Greg Heinkel, 21, a humanities major, was sitting reading a book Monday in a quiet corner outside the administrative office in the Nicholson Communications Building. He had more than three hours to kill before his first class.

Heinkel said he has always arrived on campus early after hearing horror stories from other students about the problems of finding parking. To be sure of getting parking, he arrives on campus at 8 a.m. for an 11.30 a.m. class.

"I just sit here for several hours," he said, putting his history book to one side to discuss campus parking. "I work on my homework. It isn't too bad. I can get a lot done."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Briefs you wrote in class Jan. 20


I've just been reading through the briefs you wrote in class based on the scrambled notes I gave you.

For first attempts you did very well.

Here are some trends I noticed:


REMEMBER THAT AGES TAKE NUMBERS unless you are starting a sentence with an age.

The 5-year-old Putnam County girl. OR Five-year-old Haleigh Cummings.

Percentages also take numbers.

Put the news in the lead -- Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel, became the oldest dog Wednesday to win the coveted Westminster Kennel Club best in show award.

NEVER start a lead or sentence with the day of the week....Weave time element into the sentence.


If the person you are writing about is not well-known and his or her name wouldn't mean anything to most people, use broad facts for the lead and introduce name in second graph.

Example: An 18-year-old Brevard County man faces child pornography charges after police said he allegedly used his cell phone to send a photo of a former girlfriend's bare breast to a friend.

When a person is UNDER 15 years old, use their first name on second reference unless they are accused of a serious crime, then use their last name. Anyone 18 and older is referred to by their surname on second reference.

Generally use last names only on second reference. When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who have the same last name, use the first and last name even on second reference.

When referring to an person's age in numbers only - e.g. Jennifer Brown, 18, --- remember to enclose the numbers in commas.

Be careful of time elements -- your story will appear in the newspaper the next day, sometimes more than 24 hours after events occurred. So don't use terms like she is "currently being questioned" because it is doubtful that would be the case when a person was reading the paper.

Check your facts: i.e. Stump was NOT the 10th oldest dog to win the best of show award. He was THE oldest dog.

We'll be doing regular briefs writing exercises to build your speed and knowledge of how to construct simple, informative sentences.

Ann H

Friday, January 22, 2010



You did really well on the Style test, a couple of you even getting a perfect score.

One mistake was MY fault - It is Drug Enforcement Agency not administration as I told you. Obviously, I didn't penalize anyone for writing administration.

One common mistake most of you made - you abbreviated the names of states in a senence. You only abbreviate when it is part of an address i.e. 66 N. 31st Street, Orlando, Fla. or She lives in Montgomery, Ala. But it is .... The FBI took part in mass arrests in California, Texas, Hawaii, New York and Illinois.

Often helps to read the sentence aloud... you wouldn't say ... mass arrests in Calif., Texas, Hawaii, N.Y. and Ill.

Ann H.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

News briefs


There was some good work done Wednesday writing the news briefs. It looks easy at first but it takes some work to pack in as much information as possible using as few words as possible.

Here is how I would have written the briefs.

1. More than 100 offices from several law-enforcements agencies using bloodhounds and helicopters launched a massive search early Monday for a 5-year-old Putnam County girl who was reported missing from her family's trailer. Police said Ronald Cummings, in his 20s, learned that his daughter, Haleigh, had disappeared when he arrived home from work about 3:30 a.m. and was told by his girlfriend, Misty Croslin, 17, that the child was missing from her bed. Haleigh's mother, who lives in Georgia, was driving to Florida to help with the search. Police said there were no signs of forced entry at the trailer.

2. Education Commissioner Eric Smith warned Florida public schools Wednesday to prepare for another 2 per cent cut in state funding when the Legislature meets in March. More details were not available but Seminole County schools alone face $8.6 million in further cuts. The Seminole schools superintendent said the district stood to lose $64 million next year.

3. An 18-year-old Rockledge man could face child pornography charges after his underage former girlfriend accused him to sending cell-phone images of her bare breasts to another person. Police Sgt. Eric Bell said Bryce Aaron Dixon is accused of stalking the 16-year-old girl, who contacted police as soon as she learned the photo had been sent.

4. Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel, became the oldest dog to win the coveted best in show award at the Westminster Kennel Club on Wednesday, much to the delight of the New York crowd, which cheered his victory. Stump was retired from the showring in 2004 after he became seriously ill and nearly died.


Covering a meeting on Haitian relief paid off for Liset Valle-Jimenez whose story on the event was published by Central Florida Future.

Remember what Ashley Carnifax said when she talked to the class Wednesday - start off covering live news events like meetings, they are structured and usually you don't have to gather a lot of background and other information.

Ann H.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homework assigned Jan. 20

Good class today. Thank you for all your energy and enthusiasm. It makes a huge difference.

Here is the homework.

Prepare for AP Style test next Wednesday, Capitalization page 640, Section 3.

Write single sentence leads (no more) exercise 2, page 164 - Do sections 1 through 5.

We will have a news quiz on Monday - 10 questions off current events during the past week. e.g. Who won the Massachusetts senate race?
How could the outcome affect the Obama agenda?

For those who need it, here is the email address Ashley Carnifax gave us to use for contacting her.

Ann H.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wednesday's Class

Central Florida Future editors will talk to you about getting stories published - one of your main objectives for the semester.

We will have an AP Style test on abbreviations, but this one will be graded - 10 points maximum.

We'll discuss covering the story that we were part of last week and start writing news briefs suitable for online and a newspaper.

And if news happens again, we'll be ready to go.

Ann H.

CFF story meeting

In case you are not yet on the Central Florida Future email list, here is the advisory they just sent out about a meeting today to assign stories.

Yo! Our second writer's meeting of the semester will be tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the communications building. We're going to meet upstairs in the cafeteria in the far right corner of the COMM building. We'll be pitching stories for the Thursday, Jan. 28 and Monday, Feb. 1 issues. Bring your smiling faces and story pitches. Be there or be square! - Justine-- Sincerely,Bianca Fortis and Justine GriffinNews EditorsCentral Florida Future,UCF's student newspaperhttp://www.centralfloridafuture.comCall Bianca at 352-650-8540Call Justine at 727-743-7717

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How Sentinel wrote the story

Check out this link to see how the Orlando Sentinel covered the story.

For them it was a much smaller story plus they didn't have a reporter on the scene to get all the quotes that you guys did, which really made your stories come alive.,0,726591.story

The reporter, Bianca Prieto, is scheduled to speak to the class this month.

Homework - Jan. 13

With all the excitement we had today there wasn't much chance to talk about homework. If you reported on the fire, writeup your story. You can give it to me on Wednesday, Jan. 20, when we meet again.

Also make yourself familiar with AP Style - Section 2: Addresses, page 639.

I'll also contact the CFF editors to see if they will come to class next week.

Ann H.

Real Life Breaking News


Smoke billowing into a classroom, classes evacuated, police cars and fire trucks screaming to the building..... a real life news story. Who could ask for anything more!

Today's smokey-furnace scare was the perfect chance to get a taste of what news reporting is all about. You had to talk to strangers, gather information and stand around waiting for something to happen then some of you hurried back to write your stories.

My congratulations to all of you who hung in there until officials said we could re-enter the building.

Ann H.

Note from CFF news editors

(The good news - Justine, Bianca and Ashley will be at our class today)

Hey guys,

I was disappointed today when only a handful of you guys showed up for the meeting today. I hope you all try to make more of an effort in the coming weeks, and actually meet your NEW news editor, Bianca, in person. Anyways, here are the open stories for the next week:

Stories for Thursday Jan. 21 Deadlines: Draft, Friday Jan. 15, Final, Monday Jan. 18
1. Kiplinger's Recognizes UCF as a Top-40 Best Value University The University of Central Florida provides one of the nation's best values in education, according to a Kiplinger's report published today. UCF ranked 36th, advancing six spots from its 2009 position on the magazine's annual 100-school list of best-value U.S. public colleges and universities. What does this mean to students and faculty?

2. UCF Prof. honored by Obama UCF professor Lesia Crumpton- Young will be honored at the White House this afternoon by President Obama for her success with mentoring women and minorities who are studying engineering and with increasing diversity in her field. Crumpton-Young, a professor of Industrial Engineering & Management Systems, also will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to help further her mentoring efforts. She is one of only 20 mentors nationwide who will be honored today. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, awarded each year to individuals or organizations, recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering and who belong to minorities that are underrepresented in those fields. The 1:35 p.m. ceremony will be Webcast at To view the White House news release, click the link below. To read a fall UCF news release about the award, click the link below.

3. Religious student housing in Sem. County: A group of religious campus groups are trying to get a religious dorm set up next to North Gate Apartments, near the stadium. I believe it’s the Catholic Campus Ministries and Hillel, but other groups may now be involved. Many residents in the nearby Oviedo neighborhoods have been protesting against this. Where is this at now? What are they doing? Will these dorms require Housing RA’s? Is there money in their budget to hire more RA’s? 4. UCF Hockey club profileThe team, although it’s a club level, is ranked #2 in the South. Where do they play? How often do they practice/play games? Against what teams? What kind of audience do they get for this? Russell Pittman, President (954) 854-3908 ttp://

5. Blue Man Group – one of them is a UCF alumni. Profile him! How did he become a Blue Man? What did he study at UCF?
6. UCF Alzheimer’s Discovery Could Lead to Long-sought Preventive Treatment new discovery by University of Central Florida researchers has revealed a previously unknown mechanism that may drive the early brain function deterioration of Alzheimer’s victims, thus opening a new exploratory path in the quest for an Alzheimer’s cure.The research, which will be published Friday, Jan. 8, in the peer-reviewed science and medicine journal PLoS ONE, also demonstrates how the unique application of an existing cell research technique could accelerate the discovery of treatments to exploit the new findings.

7. Rent your books versus buying them: How many students at UCF are interested in renting their books through places like versus buying them? Is it really a cheaper alternative? Find out how many students are using this servie versus buying books? How much are they saving? What is the process like? What do local bookstores think? I believe CB&S started renting books too.Since Chegg started, it has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of students at more than 6,400 colleges save in excess of $84 million. Students at University of Central Florida have saved over $424,348. In addition, for every textbook that’s rented, Chegg will plant a tree through a partnership with American Forests.Angela

For Monday, Jan. 25 Deadlines: Draft, Wednesday Jan. 20, Final Friday Jan. 22

1. Why Do Students Drop Out? Because They Must Work at Jobs TooWhat’s the drop out rate at UCF? What’s the average age of the drop out population? Is this higher than other universities? Why? And the main reasons? What is UCF doing to prevent this?
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed who had quit college said that work was a factor in the decision, and more than half said it was a major factor. About 35 percent of those who dropped out said they had tried to balance work and study, and found it too stressful.

2. How many international students does UCF have?
Most universities have a large international program b/c it helps fund higher tuition and better research. How does UCF compare to other large universities across the nation? How many international students are enrolled currently? How many more are we expecting in recent years? What’s it like to be an international student – what are the constraints? What makes it different than being a student from the U.S. or even Fla?

3. It's a new day at Seminole State CollegeState of the art classroom-library building opens Monday, when college's first four-year degree program starts Why is UCF partnering with the community college? What does UCF get out of this? What are the pros and cons for each student? Faculty? A new era begins at Seminole State College on Monday.In addition to launching its first four-year degree program, the college is opening a new $30 million classroom/library building that caps an $85 million construction campaign that has changed the face of the main campus in Sanford.The new 109,000-square-foot, four-story building, built in collaboration with the University of Central Florida, is called the Partnership Center because it will serve both schools.UCF offers 11 degree programs taught by its own faculty on Seminole State's main campus, allowing students to pursue a bachelor's degree in majors such as psychology, nursing and elementary education without having to trek to the university's main campus in east Orlando.Instead of being taught in classrooms across campus, UCF courses will all be based in the Partnership Center.,0,1713270.story

4. IDEAS –is having an entire media review by the U.S. Department of Energy. IDEAs is a really involved group on campus, and this is the groups first full year on campus. Talk to Prez. Chris Castro – 786-234-5524 5. DREAM WALK –
There are these kids walking from Miami to DC in support of the DREAM Act. UCF kids are going to have some events with them while they're passing through Orlando. Basically it's event coverage but since it's a week long and part of a much larger political issue, I thought maybe we could include it in News. Let me know what you think. There's more info at the facebook event page:

-- Sincerely,Bianca Fortis and Justine GriffinNews EditorsCentral Florida Future,UCF's student newspaper
Call Bianca at 352-650-8540Call Justine at 727-743-7717

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Homework - Jan. 11

Dear Class

I enjoyed meeting you all on Monday and reading your stories.

Here is the homework - Read Basic News Leads Chapter 7, Page 148 of the textbook.

Also familiarize yourselves with AP Style Abbreviations Section I on Page 638-639.

The class on Wednesday will focus on Central Florida Future, launching you on AP Style and writing short news paragraphs.

Ann H.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I'm looking forward to meeting you on Monday - Jan. 11 - and launching our 16-week journey into the world of news reporting. It is a world that I can promise you offers infinite challenges, makes huge demands on your time and energy and is never boring.

There is nothing quite like the adrenalin rush of covering that big story, getting that interview that everyone else wants and turning your copy in on deadline and then seeing your story on the front page the next day. Or getting the copy online before anyone else. And don't let's forget Twitter and Facebook, all important tools for today's journalist.

On Monday, we'll spend time getting to know each other - I've already downloaded your photos so hope to recognize some of you by name - and going over the syllabus so you have a good idea of the rules of engagement. We'll also do some writing.

This is a boots-on-the-ground class so you will be doing a lot of reporting, writing on deadline and interviewing. You'll also be expected to get stories published in Central Florida Future and have a commanding knowledge of AP Style - the golden-rule book that all journalists use when they want to know what to abbreviate, when to use numbers, how to handle measurements and dozens of other challenges that arise every time you sit down to bang out a story.

You'll find basic AP rules in your class textbook Reporting For the Media (Ninth Edition) by John R. Bender, Lucinda D. Davenport, Michael W. Drager and Fred Fedler (Published by Oxford Press). The book should be available in the campus book store.

Even better - try and get a second-hand version from a student who no longer needs the book.

Meanwhile, start thinking about possible stories you could cover. The UCF campus is a goldmine. And pickup and read those free newspapers - USA Today and Central Florida Future. If you have some spare change get the Orlando Sentinel. However, I'll bring my copies from home for you to share.

Ann Hellmuth

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Syllabus Spring 2010

JOU 2100 News Reporting
Instructor: Ann Hellmuth

Contact info:

Class hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 1 p.m. to 2.50 p.m. COM211

Office hours: I will be available before and after classes and you can always email me for advice.

Homework and tips are posted on

Credits: 3 credits.

Textbook: Reporting For the Media, by Fred Fedler, ninth edition.

Bring your textbook and a flash drive to every class.

Purpose: To introduce you to the craft of news reporting, the fundamental skill upon which all of journalism is based. After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

Use language correctly.
Be accurate.
Work under and respect deadlines.
Recognize, gather and assemble news into a readable form.
Use the Internet to access public records, verify information and develop story ideas.
Write the kinds of basic news stories for print and online that reporters tackle every day: briefs, news releases, news conferences, interviews with newsmakers, speeches and meetings, obituaries, brights and features.

Requirements: Accuracy, attendance and respect for deadlines.

Accuracy: Because accuracy is the No. 1 priority of professional journalists and the readers of their work it is heavily emphasized in this
class. It is imperative that you care enough to keep your work free of avoidable errors. Stories containing a serious factual error or a misspelled proper name will result in a warning on the first offense. Afterwards, a story that contains these kinds of spelling errors will get an automatic F. Be sure to verify the spelling of names with a second reliable source.

For exercises from the textbook, consult the city directory in the back of the book. To show that you have verified a name’s spelling draw a box around the name every time it appears in the story.

Attendance: Your attendance is vital, especially since this is a skills course and the foundational course in the journalism major and the magazine minor at UCF. I will take roll at the start of each class. You are allowed two absences during the semester. If you miss more than the equivalent of two class periods I will reduce your overall course grade by one letter. If you attend only part of a class (you skip out at the break) you will only get credit for half the class.
If you are absent from class you will not be able to make up any of the assignments or quizzes due during that class and will take a zero. The only exceptions to this rule will be the following:

1. If your absence is due to an official university-sponsored
activity. In that case your sponsor must provide me with
advance written notice that you will not be in class.

2. You have registered with the student disabilities office and
you present me with a letter from the office at the
beginning of the term requesting accommodation.

3. Your absence is due to your observance of a recognized
religious holiday. You must notify me in advance.

If you are hospitalized, experience a death in your family or you’re summoned to jury duty. You must contact me in advance and provide documentation (doctor’s note, funeral program/obituary or jury summons) the next time you come to class. People occasionally get sick or have car trouble that causes them to miss a class. I make allowances for that by letting students drop one zero on a quiz or in-class assignment at the end of the term.

Assignments: News reporting is a skill that is learned by doing. There will be frequent exercises and assignments. Some will be for practice; others for a grade. Story assignments should be typed and double-spaced, with your name, slug (story name and date ex: WRITE08) and date in the upper left corner.

Deadlines: A cardinal rule of journalism is making deadline. News organizations are serious about them – so are we. Assignments are due at class time. I do not accept late assignments. If you experience one of the emergencies mentioned above I will extend your deadline. Otherwise, your assignments are due at class time.

Sources: News stories are based on information provided by sources. You should strive to provide the most qualified and authoritative sources for your stories. That means interviewing people who know the most about the subject of your story: experts, eyewitnesses, participants or credible spokesmen and women. Do not use roommates, co-workers, friends or other acquaintances as sources. It’s lazy, unethical and real reporters don’t do it.

Grades: Because this is a skills course you will learn primarily by doing – over and over. There will be frequent graded assignments, quizzes and tests. All of them will be worth a certain number of points. At the end of the term, I will add up your points. If you have 90 percent or more of the total points, you will receive an A; 80 percent or more, a B; 70 percent or more, a C; 60 percent or more, a D; and 59 percent or below, an F.

Borderline grades (defined as 59.1-59.9, 69.1-69.9, 79.1-79.9, 89.1-89.9) are eligible to be bumped up to the next higher grade, depending on your level of engagement and participation during the semester. Note: A minimum grade of “C’’ in this class is a prerequisite for advanced reporting and editing courses. I don’t use pluses or minuses.
Stories: 100 - 150 points

Assignments: 10-50 points

Quizzes/tests: 10-100 points

Final Feature story: 100 points

Published story: 100 points, Additinal stories 50 points extra credit

Grading criteria:
90-100: A
89-80: B
79-70: C
69-60: D
59-50: F

Quizzes: Frequent quizzes will be given in class. The quizzes will be on the assigned reading and current events. You should assume that you will probably be quizzed on each assigned chapter. News quizzes will be on Mondays, unless noted otherwise, and will cover prominent news events from the previous week. Therefore, you should make it a habit to regularly read the New York Times, USA Today, the Orlando Sentinel and the Central Florida Future. The quizzes will usually have about 10 questions.

Why news quizzes? Two reasons:
To help you learn to recognize news, develop news judgment and become more aware of the world around you.
Reporters can’t inform others if they are not informed.

Published story: To encourage journalism students to begin working on their portfolios, all students in the class are required to have a story published during this term by the Central Florida Future. You must give me an original of the clip and it must contain your byline and a date of publication.Your story must be published and you must give me your clip by APRIL 16, 2010. PLEASE, DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. YOU CANNOT GET EVEN A C GRADE WITHOUT A PUBLISHED STORY.

The published article must be a news story (no reviews, opinion columns or letters to the editor). You must do some actual reporting.
It must be a minimum of 300 words and contain three sources.
Cheating: The School of Communication’s Journalism Division adheres to the Code of Ethics adopted by the Society of Professional Journalists. Journalism is a limited-access program, and students who violate the code – who plagiarize or fabricate, for example – will be dropped from the program. At faculty members’ discretion, violations of the code – or of UCF’s Golden Rule – also may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

How your stories will be graded:
A (Excellent)

Story is newsworthy, exceptionally well written, thorough, free of errors.
The lead is clear, concise, interesting and emphasizes the news (the latest,
most interesting, unusual or important details).
Body is well organized and contains effective transitions, quotations,
descriptions and anecdotes. The story requires little editing.
The story is based on information from a variety of authoritative sources.
Because of the story’s obvious merit editors would be eager to publish it.

B (Good)
Story could be published after minimal editing.
The lead summarizes the story accurately but could be more interesting.
Following paragraphs are reasonably well organized.
Story could be more interesting, thorough or cohesive.
Story contains a few (2-3) style, spelling or grammatical errors.
Story is based on information from at least two sources.

C (Average)
Story is superficial or could be published only after extensive editing.
Lead is too wordy or may fail to emphasize the news.
Story is disorganized.
Story contains several (3-5) style, spelling or grammatical errors.
A few sentences or paragraphs have to be rewritten because they are too
long, awkward, wordy, passive or confusing.
The story is based on a single source.

D (Poor)
Story is superficial or requires extensive rewriting and editing.
Story contains numerous (5 or more) style, spelling and grammatical
Story is of questionable newsworthiness.
The story is based on weak sources (little or no authority or credibility).
Story could not be published without extensive rewriting.

F (Fails)
Story could not be published nor easily rewritten because it is too
confusing, incomplete or inaccurate.
Story contains a misspelled name or other serious factual error.

Class Schedule Spring 2010


Instructor: Ann Hellmuth
Contact info:
Textbook: Reporting For the Media, by Fred Fedler, ninth edition.
Bring your textbook and a flash drive to every class.

CLASS SCHEDULE – In the news business nothing is predictable, so this schedule will change and change again throughout the semester as we react to the news.

The aim of this course is for you to get as much practical experience as possible in writing stories with speed, accuracy and style. Each week we’ll do assignments based on the news of the day. There will be weekly tests on current events and AP Style. Learn AP Style – you can’t succeed without KNOWING the rules of the game. So learn a few rules each day and by the end of the semester expect to be tested on how AP Style applies to everything you write from ages to numbers to addresses and titles.

You can email me with questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Also checkout the class blog at I post the homework and story tips there.

Here’s how the grades will work. News quizzes and AP Style tests carry 10 points each –those tests can add 20 points a week to your grade, so take them seriously.

Original news reporting stories carry up to 50 points.

Classroom assignments from 20 to 25 points.

There will be occasional Extra Credit assignments.

Deadlines must be observed. Late assignments will not be accepted. DON’T EVEN ASK.


JAN. 11 - Getting to know you and learning the rules of the class. Assignment will be to write at least 250 words telling me about yourself and what you hope to get out of the class.

JAN. 13 – The importance of Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. We’ll start learning to write simple news briefs for newspapers and the web. Chapter 7 on basic news leads will help you get a start. We’ll have our first news quiz so you get a taste of what is expected and we’ll start learning AP Style. Central Florida Future editors will be on hand to discuss getting published in CFF, a major assignment for the semester.


JAN. 20 - Sentinel Breaking News reporter Bianca Prieto will discuss her job. Get prepared by reading pages 399-408 on crime reporting

JAN. 25 and 27 – We'll start working on a Valentine's Day assignment, checking out all the events and sounding out students on their plans. There will be tests and in-class assignments.

FEB. 1 and 3 – You’ll get a chance to practice your interviewing skills and write a news story when a UCF police officer Jeanette Emert talks to the class on Feb. 3 about crime on campus and what you need to know about avoiding trouble. Read Chapter 10 on quotations and attributions. We'll start working on a Valentine's Day assignment, checking out all the events and sounding out students on their plans. There will be tests and in-class assignments.

FEB. 8 and 10 – Finishing off our Valentine's Day assignment. Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida will speak to the class on Feb. 10, marking the 90th anniversary of women getting the vote and the League's 90th birthday on Feb. 14. You'll write a spot news story off her speech.

FEB. 15 and 17 – Sentinel Breaking News Editor Greg Miller will be with us on Feb. 15 to discuss what to expect when covering breaking news. We also need to get out and about on campus and take a sounding of what students have on their minds in preparation for writing a story combining all that you have learned so far – AP Style, interviewing, writing punchy leads, compiling information from different sources. More writing on deadline. There will be tests and in-class assignments. Read Chapter 5.

FEB. 22 and 24 – There is more than one way to approach a story – the alternative lead. Laura Brost will speak to us about AIDS orphans in Africa and you'll sharpen your interview skills and write a story on deadline. Read Chapter 8 on alternative leads.

MAR. 1 and 3 – Let’s take stock of what we have learned. There will be writing and AP Style tests. You'll interview students and write stories in class on Spring Break – can they afford it this year? Does it mean anything anymore? We’ll come up with questions to ask and story angles in class.


MAR. 16 and 18 – Time to get out and cover a meeting. Prepare by reading Chapter 13.

MAR. 22 and 24 – Professor Rick Brunson will teach a public records class on March 22 and 24.

MAR. 29 and March 31 – You may be surprised to learn that obituaries are among the most popular stories in the newspaper. Writing them is an art you’ll need to learn so let’s start by reading Chapter 12. You’ll pair up with another student, interview each other and write their obit from the perspective of being 60 years old.

APRIL 5 and 7 – Moving on to feature writing - Chapter 15. Speaker TBA.

APRIL 12 and 14 – Writing a news feature on deadline. Speaker TBA

APRIL 19 and 22 – Practice writing features in preparation for your end of the semester project – a news feature that will carry a possible 100 points.

APRIL 26 - Deadline for handing in your published story with byline and date. THIS IS WORTH 100 points. We’ll work on news feature projects.


MAY 3 - FINAL SESSION WEEK – You’ll get your papers back and we’ll discuss how the class went.