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COMM/ENG 3925: EDITING SKILLS IN JOURNALISM 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 journalism. • 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 Assignments: • 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: www.kean.edu/academicintegrity.html • 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 www.turnitin.com; the instructor will give you an account. Evaluation: • 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: WEEK 1 Jan. 23: Course introduction. Syllabus review. WEEK 2 Jan. 30: Editing fundamentals: News judgment. WEEK 3 Feb. 6: Editing skills and tools – the editor in the newsroom. WEEK 4 Feb. 13: Focus on grammar: the mechanics of language. WEEK 5 Feb. 20: President’s Day, university closed WEEK 6 Feb. 27: Editing for good writing – strong and graceful prose. WEEK 7 March 6: Headlines – precision, power and poetry. March 13-17: Spring Recess, University Closed WEEK 8 March 20: Editing local and community media. WEEK 9 March 27: News services – editing national and international stories. WEEK 10 April 3: Editing for brevity and clarity. WEEK 11 April 10: Editing feature stories and those based on polls and surveys. WEEK 12 April 17: Editing photos and informational graphics. WEEK 13 April 24: Page design – laying out the newspaper. WEEK 14 May 1: Ethical and legal issues, and the future of news editing. WEEK 15 May 8: Last day of class. Course review.