Offers hands-on practical experience as students produce the news. Includes writing, design and photojournalism. Students practice journalistic writing, learn production techniques,
produce artifacts for individual portfolios, and enhance their interpersonal
communication skills. The Editor-in-Chief leads meetings and determines budget under adviser
|STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
- Demonstrate the ability to write news stories and
feature articles fluently, concisely and clearly by deadline;
- Demonstrate an understanding of journalistic ethics;
- Demonstrate skill in using the technologies commonly
used in news production.
TEXTS AND SUPPLIES
Bold = Bring to every class:
- Read. Your midterm will be based on your knowledge of the handbook
and stylebooks. Also keep with college and university news from around the
Southeast region as they may provide issues on which you can take a local angle.
- Attend. Get Involved. Realize for a
once-a-week course, you only get two cuts over the semester or fall victim to the attendance policy. Also realize you bring perspective on issues that otherwise might not be considered. We all lose
when you don't attend.
- Produce. It's not enough to talk about stories, i.e. you must find and write them, edit them, publish them.
Those taking Communication Writing or Newswriting may double-dip with class
articles; otherwise all materials should be "fresh." If The Voice does not cover campus events for the student body, who will?
- Adhere to deadlines. ALL communication jobs meet deadlines. Every one of them.
You must produce copy and photographs throughout the semester. Submit
articles within 24 hours of any event's occurrence as news demands timeliness or
reader's will not return. Submit assignments in the proper format.
Syllabus Index: SUPPLIES || GRADING || PARTICIPATION || BRIEFS || ACCOUNTABILITY || PORTFOLIO || EVALS || top|
The lab provides students the opportunity to work on skill mastery by
producing news for UAM's online news source.
Completing the minimum requirements assures you pass the class. Your grade
comes from the following, which includes published work, campus briefs,
attendance and class participation. :
- Professionalism Did you meet deadlines? Were you
accountable? Did you practice common courtesies of keeping others informed? Did you take
constructive criticism or argue over every point? Did you provide quality work?
- Midterm Do you know and understand the
and your responsibilities therein? In short, did you study the staff handbook
and stylebook? Midterm exams may NOT be made up without prior approval.
- Portfolio â€” Did you meet the minimum publishing
requirements? If you want to try the quantity
route, publishing more than 10 articles or photos will likely
(but not certainly) get you an
A. However, quality still matters. See details below.
Final Although the lab exam differs
from traditional finals, you must attend or fail the course. Professionals make
public appearances; this provides the opportunity for you to practice skills
needed in interview situations, e.g. common
Submit all work to The Voice's campus email, i.e.
email@example.com. If you're
taking a writing course, CC your submission to the adviser for that class
grade. Save ALL of your work to a USB key, DropBox
or MediaFire, including
research and interview notes, correspondence with sources and all drafts of
Any student representing Student Publications must carry a press pass. While a normal Associated Collegiate Press
Pass will suffice, some staffs may choose to make a custom
press pass during the first few weeks of classes.
It's your responsibility to make sure you have a press pass.
Unlike most classes, participation is NOT an option in the lab.
If you don't attend or if you won't produce, don't expect to pass. This course gives you a grade based on the work you complete over the course of the semester and your attitude while producing that work. Class
participation includes good listening and discussion skills, an open
attitude to learning, attendance, effort and a professional attitude.
You will not succeed in this class
if you do not contribute to our discussions with enthusiasm and sincerity. Like life, the more you put into the course, the more you'll get out of it.
We know the more often you attend class, the better you do. The more you
work with each other, the better The Voice
becomes. And the more you support each other, the better our grades at
the end of the semester.
Each staff member helps produce The Voice,
i.e. the only news outlet dedicated to everything happening on the three UAM
campuses. People in the region and around the world come to The Voice
to learn about the campus without concern that it's a public-relations vehicle. Remember: If The Voice doesn't cover it, the campus community doesn't learn about it; making informed decisions
To be a continuously publishing outlet, staff members need staggered deadlines, which will
allow the editing to primarily occur during the week during work study instead of on the
Each student will choose the day of the week they'd like to
have for their personal deadline, i.e. if you knew you worked MWF at an
off-campus job, you'd make your deadline on Tuesday or Thursday. Presumably each
staff member will choose different days for the deadline, which they'll be held
responsible for keeping.
Due to this intricate relationship, the staff MUST practice common courtesies of informing editors of story progress, deadline difficulties, etc. Editors must also be students, parents, employees ... don't waste their
time making them wait on you. If there's a major obstacle and The Voice is
counting on your submission, let the editors know in advance and have
the chance to assign someone else or cover it themselves. Failure to submit an assignment or missing a deadline may result in failing the
lab, unless the reporter/photographer has been excused by the adviser.
Award-winning publications meet deadlines!
Reporters, Feature Writers, Editorial Writers
Reporters provide the backbone of Student Publications. Because Student
Publications provide a learning experience for anyone interested, no
prerequisite exists for enrollment in the Journalism Lab, which serves as the
primary class used to produce publications. Write at least seven
articles for The Voice and cover a beat.
â€œCubâ€ staff writers produce copy without having taken any
collegiate communication writing courses other than the lab. Students with
Communication Writing experience will be considered staff writers; students with
Newswriting and Reporting experience will be considered senior staff writers.
All other writers will be known as contributors.
Proofread your submissions, i.e. no one does their best job on a first draft.
It's obvious to everyone that you rushed through it. When writing, use correct style and news format. If you don't know it, I'll help you learn it. But you learn more by doing, so look it up in the AP stylebook
or Student Publications' stylebook. If a story is returned for improvements from an editor, make every effort to
correct the errors and return the new story to the editor by the next day.
Learn from your mistakes. The only bad mistake you'll make is by repeating a mistake
you've previously made. AVOID silly mistakes by sending your
work to Grammarly Handbook and Grammarly Answers,
then learning why it made the suggested changes so that you don't make the same
mistake twice. Realize computer programs only highlight general spelling and grammar errors; you must know the language and AP Style enough to understand when to apply suggested changes.
Though not required, I encourage you to use two sets of eyes on your article's copy before it's submitted for publication.
Make sure your article publishes with art, i.e. get a
picture. As 21st-century "mojo" journalists, you will often need to shoot your own photos for publication with
your articles since fewer and fewer publications hire a staff photographer. If
you need to borrow a recorder for an interview or a camera for art, print the
appropriate form from the staff handbook and check out equipment from
the adviser's office.
The Voice seeks artistic types to enhance the publication.
Photographers take photos of people and events for student
publications. Remember: People want to see other people, not a bunch of
buildings. Photographs should give an
accurate picture of an event and
not highlight a minor incident out of context.
Photographers do not only provide a picture; they make sure they gather appropriate
information to help news consumers understand the significance of the photo.
Photographers must submit 10 publication-ready photographs per
week, i.e. high-quality pictures with proper
cutline information. If it takes 20-30
pictures to get 10 good ones, so be it. Save copies to a USB key, DropBox
for your portfolio. Any student using a Student Publications
camera must keep
every photo taken or be subject to being banned from using Student Publications
equipment. You will learn from a critique of both good and bad photos.
Photographers perform some
or all of the following duties:
- Determine picture composition, make technical adjustments to equipment and
- Properly frame subject matter and background in lens to capture desired image.
- Focus camera and adjust settings based on lighting, subject material
- Select and assemble equipment and required background properties, according to subject, materials and conditions.
- Arrange inanimate subject material in desired position. NEVER stage photos of events or individuals, unless it's for a mug shot
- May operate scanners to transfer photographic images to computers.
- May operate computers to manipulate photographic images.
- May adapt existing photographic images and create new digitized images to
be included in multimedia/newmedia products.
Editorial cartoonists comments on social or political issues by
drawing likenesses of prominent individuals or current events, often in a
humorous manner. Editorial cartoonists must submit at least one
bi-weekly pane. According to Christopher Sterling's "Encyclopedia of
Journalism," their work combines artistic skill, biting humor and hyperbole to
question authority and draw attention to social ills.
You typically find their work on the editorial page of a newspaper, but more and
more we see them on many online news publications.
Successful editorial cartoonists keep up with current events to provide
fodder for their cannon. Caricatures and visual metaphors help news consumers
understand complicated political, social or emotional issues. Sometimes
editorial cartoons can be deemed subversive, but their protection under the
First Amendment ensures non-mainstream ideas find a way into the public arena.
Cartoonists, on the other hand, make humorous cartoon strips or
single panel entertainment cartoons, which may or may not contain political
issues. Cartoonists typically come equipped with a great sense of humor, from
which they derive their material. Other cartoonists seek ideas and concepts from
commentators prior to producing a depiction.
Cartoonists often sketch their work until satisfied enough to go
back over the piece with black ink. Cartoonists must submit a strip or
single panel cartoon once a week to keep news consumers returning.
Studies find people who read cartoons first live longer than those who go
straight to the news; so The Voice seeks cartoonists who can provide
levity to hectic school years.
If you have not already done so for Communication Writing or Newswriting, choose your
beat today. You can learn more about the process here. Meet with contacts on your beat
and have them email me to verify the initial meeting. Information from your beat will appear in The Voice
to alert the campus to upcoming events or short bits of news that can be condensed into a single sentence. Some briefs may lead into larger news stories.
If you need more explanation, do not hesitate to see the adviser.You must submit
four briefs over the course of the semester.
Briefs must be submitted at least once every three weeks.
Briefs must follow proper AP style and journalistic format.
If you don't submit a brief during the three-week period, you miss the
deadline and LOSE 20 points.
Every day begins anew. It's not like you say, "I wrote a great article
yesterday. I don't have to do anything today." You start over every day, every month,
every semester, every year. True, there's carryover from the previous day, but
in these times you're only as good as your last masterpiece.
You're a vital cog in this information outlet known as The
Voice. Every staff is different, and each forms its own identity. Each brings a
different set of talents to the publication. Each approaches things slightly
differently. I challenge you to approach this publication as an opportunity to
leave a lasting record of your time at The Voice.
You provide the face of
The Voice to the campus. Administrators, faculty, staff and students notice.
It's like being a celebrity in a sense; the chancellor has been known to
introduce staff members to the Board of Visitors and others. Everything you do reflects on the organization as a whole. When one celebrates, the organization celebrates.
By the same token when one falters, it affects perceptions of
the entire group. That's part and portion of being in an organization, i.e. you
define it and it defines you. Due to this interconnectivity,
minor disciplinary action will be handled by the editors with input from the
adviser; major disciplinary action will be handled by the dean of students.
When you set up a personal Twitter or WordPress site, practice social media
etiquette NOW such that it won't come back to haunt you once you've become a
Community Feedback People can
sue if you publish incorrect factual information, i.e. fabrications and incorrect age, name spellings, addresses and date or time of an activity, i.e.
fatal errors. Your work will be judged by the community. Every spelling, grammatical or typing error, nonfatal error and fatal error will affect whether the public perceives you as credible or not. Errors in the publication require public acknowledgement, apologies and the occasional retraction.
Although you should strive to ALWAYS get it right, slip-ups may occur. Since you're performing a public service,
The Voice makes the corrections VERY public to maintain credibility with the campus community. Should you make continual fatal errors, you will be held accountable through loss of professionalism points
as well as a loss of 20 points per instance within your portfolio.
Make a professional WordPress account to A) start your online professional clearinghouse and B) to learn WordPress more quickly. Once you've made a site, it will be linked to The Voice such that individuals can contact you directly.
etiquette as your audience might include a potential future employer.
In short, do not use this site for anything but professional-related
Articles posted to The Voice CANNOT be reposted in
their entirety on your WordPress site. Instead, you can provide a
quick synopsis and then link to your article in The Voice.
In short, you benefit from your association to The Voice as
you encounter readers from around the world who might not read your
personal blog otherwise. The Voice benefits from your content and everyone else's. It and your linked material will still be here long after you've graduated.
professional Twitter account (e.g. uamYourName) to "tweet" your progress on stories (e.g. "set up interview with Kuttenkuler, noon, Wednesday"), your obstacles (e.g. "lab printer out of ink"), and your academic progress (e.g. "Got an A in lab!").
As far as obstacles, tweeting will let your editors (and adviser) know
something's up. Perhaps they can help with source ideas or knowledge about where
to find the ink, i.e. in Sitton's office.
Tweeting your progress allows others to make suggestions
about avenues you may not have explored. You might hear about the Red Balloon
Project on campus. A contest to see who could find red balloons stationed around
the country was won by a group of people who attacked the problem from one
position while others attacked from other positions, i.e. together we work more
efficiently than apart.
You can also find information for articles by following the
Twitter accounts of people on campus. Remember: social media provide public venues unless people make them private by adjusting their privacy features. If an inadvertent tweet gives you a story idea, make sure you follow up. And yes, you can use someone's tweet or facebook status in an article. Especially in sports, twitter proves to be a reporter's ally.
For those who respond to a tweet, be sure you only provide factual information. If you have a rumor to be confirmed, tweet
"pheromone" f.y.i. pheromones enhanced the U.S. Boll Weevil Eradication program and the reporter will know to contact you personally. Why the espionage? You don't want to give away your story or lead readers astray if they're following your tweets.
For those concerned about privacy, protect your tweets through the
privacy options enabled in twitter. Your adviser, editors and coursemates MUST
be enabled everyone else is your prerogative.
You will make a personal staff directory by compiling information on your fellow students, which will allow you to know each other better, offer an
initial interview and accuracy check, and emphasize the necessity of checking all information. Your directory should be written in 10-point Times New Roman and placed into two columns
in a rich text format document. Submit to the adviser by the second Wednesday of
the semester. It will contain the following information:
|Name, "nickname"||Year in school, major||email address|
|Twitter address||WordPress address||Cellphone number|
Your portfolio consists of your collection of links to
your published work, which will be used for a permanent author's index. Photographers must submit copies of all campus photos as well as links to published work.
Portfolios must be submitted via email by deadline (4 p.m. Monday of finals week) to pass
the course. As each issue of The Voice
comes out, copy the url to a clip page in a RTF document. Label it with the date
of publication and detail what you learned from the experience.
| At semester's end, submit a DIGITAL
For each published clip, Write a paragraph detailing the lesson learned from this experience. The act of reflection will help you keep from making the same
mistakes again and again. Next to the article, or on the next page, briefly explain
one thing you learned from the process of writing the article, e.g.:
- url links to published work, labeled with the article's headline
- five news briefs (on one page with NO AP errors)
- What did the copy-editing of the story teach you about conciseness, accuracy or news style?
- What problems did you encounter covering the story and how did you solve them?
- What news values does the story contain?
|Reporters might explain:
- Why and how did a copy editor change the original submission? Did
the changes teach you something about news style or being less wordy?
- What problems did you encounter doing the story? How did you solve those problems?
- What makes the story news worthy? What could improve it?
Photojournalists might explain:
- What difficulties did you encounter taking the picture (e.g. lighting, rule of thirds, etc.)?
- Did you try something different compared with previous pictures you've taken?
- Did you face difficulties with staged vs. real-time photography?
Cartoonists/Editorial Cartoonists might explain:
Additional grading factors include:
- What difficulties did you encounter coming up with ideas for the piece?
- Did you try something different compared with previous toons you produced?
- How did community feedback affect your work?
- Quality of Writing Did you follow and/or learn AP style as the semester progressed? Were your articles accurate, fair and balanced?
- Overall improvement Did you barely learn your skill or learn it well enough to use it in the work place? Did you turn in consistently poor photographs or did they improve over the semester? Did you perform your tasks well, or did
your lack require someone else to pick up your slack?
- Reflection -- Perceptiveness of comments
describing what you learned in the process of writing this piece. How many
revisions did you make? Describe any difficulties gathering the information from
They said it ...
The following quotes came from student evaluations of the Journalism Lab.
|"I like the chance I gotten to take in this staff, without any knowledge of how to write for a college newspaper. Which is very much more different than the 'Tall Timber Times', that I did for Warren High School."
"I like the fact that Sitton is so passionate about the work we put out. I don't like the fact that some people mistake passion for bullying."
"The Voice is awesome, the people actually."
p>"I think this class is a very good addition to the curriculum at UAM. Dr.
Sitton is a very strong person to be in the position he is in. He shows much
concern and care for the class, The Voice, and the students. If I had to
take him for all of my classes, I would. He is a fair and very unselfish teacher
and I applaud him."
"He needs to read the stories himself more thoroughly before editing to show
his freshmen where they need to improve. He also needs to put Todd on a very
short and tight leash before he pisses off someone he shouldn't and the
university takes the blame."
"Dr. Sitton is a great teacher. I love the class. He relates well to the
"There's a news story in everything, so search deeper. That's something I
learned this semester."
"Dr. Sitton brings a 'Real World' approach to all classes and allows you to
see first-hand how a real news room operates. After visiting a conference
and interacting with students from other schools, it really opened my eyes
to what he was teaching, such as passive voice in newspaper (writing)."
"Provided zero constructive feedback on any written or editorial work. Otherwise very dedicated to class."
|"I liked how I was able to get a feel of what would be expected in the real world. I didn't like how it felt like we had to compete with each other."
"I enjoyed the fast pace and organization."
course is great hands-on teaching. Anyone in communication should take
at least one semester in this course, and anyone focusing in journalism
should like it as much as possible. Don't take the lab until you've at
least had Comm Writing."
"This course has opened my
eyes to a lot that I hadn't been experienced to. I have taken those experiences
and applied them to the work assigned in the course. The course offers essential
material for the journalism field."
"Dr. Sitton has challenged my growth, with 'tough love' yet patience and
compassion. I appreciate him giving me a chance and the guidance he has provided
in so many areas. However, I do not like not having specific feedbacks to help
improve, issue to issue, and to allow me to know my grade. Thank you, Dr. Sitton.
(Dr. Sitton cares about the whole person -- not just the class work. He gets on
a personal level with each student and fosters cohesion)."
"It's all good! I've really enjoyed this class, although it is very time
consuming. I can't think of anything that needs to be changed."
"The lab is really where I've obtained most of my knowledge and experience
towards journalism. Sitton does a good job of letting us run The Voice how we choose."
"Journalism lab has allowed me the wonderful opportunity of experiencing what
it's like to work on a newspaper. Dr. Sitton does a great job of helping the
paper and giving it a professional feel."
|"This was a journalism lab designed mainly for the staff of the Voice. I was the Chief Photographer, but I felt that there was more focus and emphasis on the articles, and often felt left out. The course however helped students get together to work on the publication."
"Dr. Sitton is an excellent teacher; less textbooks, more hands-on
activities. Dr. Sitton embodies what a real teacher is supposed to be."
"This class is probably the most influential I've taken, even though I'm
not enrolled in the class this semester. I am still learning. The experience
gained in the lab has bettered my effectiveness in the Intro (to Journalism)
"Journalism lab provides an experience unlike no others. Students taking
lab learn about publication and get a taste of how a newspaper works as an
"This course provides excellent hands-on experience in the journalism
field. You will become more familiar with interviewing, writing, photography
and Web-based publishing. All journalism students should take advantage of
"Journalism lab is a great time to get organized for the coming issue of
The Voice. But I wish it were earlier in the week, so things feel like they are more organized."
"I wish this class was at the beginning of the week instead of the middle. I also wish the staff were required to write instead of for extra credit. This would help fill the paper and cover more events. I overall enjoy this class."
SUPPLIES || GRADING || BRIEFS ||
FORMAT || ACCOUNTABILITY ||
JOURNALISM CLUB ||
EVALS || top
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Â©Ronald W. Sitton 2002-2012