Sunday, January 3, 2010

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment