Syllabus for Journalism 1 — Beginning Reporting

Syllabus for Journalism 1 – Beginning ReportingMW: 8:30 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.  FM 205Dave Silverbrand, Instructor  Contact info:  das1721@att.netTel: 443-6666 What We Teach: This class is directly transferable to any CSU in the state, including Humboldt State University.  It is the equivalent to their Beginning Reporting so it is important that we achieve certain academic standards.  Purpose of the Course:

The nature of the media is changing every day, but not our need for good journalists.  In fact, they are more important than ever. This class will introduce you to the basic skills of reporting—gathering information, evaluating it and providing a comprehensive and credible account of events.  At the end of the semester, you will be competent in various methods of reporting and in the various mediums available to you.  And please remember that journalism is fun.Methods:We will employ in-class activities and individual projects to help you experiment with reporting styles and in preparing your work for mass communication.  Those skills will involve:1: Interview techniques2: News conference experience3: Breaking news coverage4. Critical thinking skills5. Employment options.6. Video-taking and photo techniquesRequirements:No text is required for this class.  Information will be provided to you on-line or in class.  That will include presentations by working journalists and those connected to the media.  You are encouraged to use media-related equipment to include tape recorders, video cameras of any format and/or still cameras.Grading will be on the basis of in-class work and contributions to our media sites,, our exclusive news blog. Each completed project will be counted as 100 points with minimum contributions for the class 1500 points.  That is one project a week.  At any time during the semester, you will be able to determine how you are performing in the class.  That project will include an interview, story or contribution to our media outlets.  I am asking a minimum of one page on each story and we invite pictures and/or video. 

That vidieo will be uploaded to YouTube and then embedded on the blog site. 

We will cover the following sources of news:

  1. Police and Crime – visit with police information officer
  2. City government – visit to city hall and attendance of city council meeting
  3. Sports (Optional)  HSU events and Sports Information Officer visit.
  4. Entertainment including the night scene and theatre.
  5. Feature stories including one class – weather permitting – on Arcata Plaza.


I am also coordinating a collaborative story in which you will each contribute some aspect of a big story.  This will be offered to the Lumberjack, Arcata Eye or Northcoast Journal. 

Please keep copies of all your work for an end-of-the-semester portfolio.  You can use this to seek employment in local journalism or related work.Attendance:This is essential to the fulfillment of our goals.  I have the option of dropping you from the class for six un-excused absences.  Make-up work is available by pre-arrangement with the instructor. 

You are expected to document your work for a final log.  You should plan on logging 30 hours of work on a media-related project in the course of the semester. 

Text messaging and cellphones will not be permitted during class time.  Violators of this guideline will be asked to leave the classroom immediately.  Each infraction will result in deduction from your semester score. 

Remember, this is a rare opportunity for hands-on journalism experience.  Make the most of it. 



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