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Kean University, Spring 2006
Section 01: Mondays, 5:00-7:20pm, CAS 403
Instructor: Professor Lew Wheaton
Office: CAS 428
Mailbox: Communication Office, CAS 402
Office Phone: 908-737-0468
Office Fax: 908-737-0465
Home Phone: 973-762-4425
Cell phone: 973-303-3778
E-mail: [email protected]
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 11:00am-1:00pm;
Thursdays, 11:00am-1:00pm and 2:00-5:00pm. Other
times by appointment
Course Description:
Instruction and workshop in the principles and practice
of editing newspapers and magazines. Includes
newsroom administration. PREREQUISITE:
COMM/ENG 2920 or permission of the instructor.
Course Objectives:
During this course, the student will:
• Develop the skills to copy edit news and feature stories,
including the proper use of copy editing marks.
• Learn newsroom organization, including the roles of
the copy editor and the newsroom’s editorial hierarchy.
• Develop news judgment and learn how editors work
with reporters and researchers.
• Learn to edit copy for grammar, style, accuracy and
fairness, including proper attribution, objectivity,
balance and avoiding stereotyping.
• Become familiar with major legal and ethical issues in
• Learn basic headline writing, page design and layout.
Feb. 20 Presidents’ Day – State Holiday, no Classes
Mar.13 Spring Recess Begins
Mar. 20 Classes Resume
Mar. 21 Last day to withdraw with a "W" grade
Apr. 14 Good Friday, State Holiday No Classes
May 8 Term Ends
• You will edit copy and write frequently, if not daily, in
this class. Assignments will include exercises from the
online workbook that accompanies the text and
assignments such as editing news copy in daily
newspapers, both during class and on your own time.
• You are required to stay current with the weekly
readings and to read a major newspaper daily, both to
keep up with current events and to study the content,
form and style of news and feature stories.
• There will be quizzes on the reading assignments and
on major news events of the day.
• Bring the required text with you to each class. In-class
work will require you to use the text and the online Web
site to which it gives you access.
• All assignments are due at the start of class on the
designated date. As in all journalistic work, deadlines are
critical and must be met. Work one day late will lose
10% of possible grade, two days 20% and three days late
will lose 30%. Work four days late will not be accepted.
• All assignments must be typed and double spaced.
• Bring a floppy disk or jumpdrive to each class.
Required Texts:
• Friend, Cecelia; Challenger, Don; McAdams,
Katherine. Contemporary Editing. Second Edition. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.
• Goldstein, Norm, ed. The Associated Press Stylebook
2005. 40th Edition. New York: The Associated Press.
Attendance and Other Responsibilities:
• Because much of the value of this course comes from
classroom discussions and in-class exercises, attendance
is important. You are expected to be on time for classes.
Chronic absenteeism or tardiness will result in a
reduction in grades for classroom participation.
• You are responsible for all material presented in this
class, including announcements about course procedures.
• Keep a copy of any paper submitted for a grade in this
course. Keep all copies until you have received your
final grade from the registrar. Grade grievances cannot
be filed unless copies of papers are submitted along with
a letter addressed to the appropriate department chair.
Important Dates:
Jan. 17 First Day Spring Term
Jan. 23 Add/Drop ends. Last day to withdraw with
100% refund
Jan. 30 Last day to withdraw with a 75% refund
Feb. 6 Last day to declare a course as an audit
Feb. 6 Last day to withdraw with at 50% refund
Academic Integrity:
• Academic integrity is expected of all students.
Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic
dishonesty will not be tolerated. You should be familiar
with the Kean University Academic Integrity Policy, a
copy of which can be obtained at the Web site:
• Plagiarism is taking another’s words or ideas and
attempting to pass them off as your own. A handy rule of
thumb to determine whether you are plagiarizing is this:
if you use three or more words in a row from a source—
such as the Internet—without properly crediting that
source, you are committing plagiarism.
• To avoid being penalized for unoriginal work, check
your assignments at; the instructor
will give you an account.
• All assignments will be evaluated with respect to both
the content and quality of the work. Content includes
proper sourcing, use of quotes, accuracy, fairness and
completeness of the story. Quality includes clarity,
coherence, unity, grammar, spelling and adherence to
journalistic standards.
• Assignments will be graded based on the
“publishability” of the finished product, as follows:
• (A): Publishable with few or no changes required;
outstanding effort.
• (B): Publishable with some changes required; very
good effort
• (C): Publishable with significant changes required;
average effort
• (D): Publishable, but major surgery required;
barely passable effort
• (F): Unpublishable. Assignment not fulfilled, work
not turned in or unacceptably poor work.
• A tip: use spell check, but do NOT depend on it totally
for proper grammar and spelling. For example, spellcheck software can’t tell whether “their” or “there” is
correct usage in the context of a story.
• Extra/make-up credit: With prior approval of the
instructor, you may earn extra credit to improve your
grade or to make up for missed assignments by
undertaking extra assignments.
Tentative Course Schedule, subject to change:
Jan. 23: Course introduction. Syllabus review.
Jan. 30: Editing fundamentals: News judgment.
Feb. 6: Editing skills and tools – the editor in the newsroom.
Feb. 13: Focus on grammar: the mechanics of language.
Feb. 20: President’s Day, university closed
Feb. 27: Editing for good writing – strong and graceful prose.
March 6: Headlines – precision, power and poetry.
March 13-17: Spring Recess, University Closed
March 20: Editing local and community media.
March 27: News services – editing national and international
April 3: Editing for brevity and clarity.
April 10: Editing feature stories and those based on polls and
April 17: Editing photos and informational graphics.
April 24: Page design – laying out the newspaper.
May 1: Ethical and legal issues, and the future of news editing.
May 8: Last day of class. Course review.