Media Writing

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The following is information about the Media Writing course (COM 110) I teach at Elon University.

Catalog Description

Clear, logical writing is necessary to communicate effectively to an audience. This course focuses on background research, interviews, accuracy, attribution and styles of writing (print, broadcast, online, news releases). Grammar and language skills are refined, and Associated Press style is introduced. Prerequisite: C- or better in ENG 110.

Course Goal

Teach accepted practices and skills used in writing for mass media.

Course Objectives

Throughout this course, students will:

  • Learn to write clearly and accurately through study and practice of established conventions in grammar, style, organization and communications formats.
  • Gain awareness and understanding of professional writing standards on matters such as truth, accuracy, fairness, objectivity and meeting deadlines.
  • Learn to exercise critical thinking and evaluation skills in topic/story selection, information-gathering, content development, writing and editing media copy for target audiences.
  • Become sensitive to the diversity of audiences through writing and research activities.
  • Develop an understanding of data, statistics and skills using research tools (including the Internet, libraries and public documents).

Course Materials

  • Tim Harrower, Inside Reporting (McGraw Hill: New York).
  • Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, Norm Goldstein, ed.
  • Patricia T. O’Conner, Woe Is I (Riverhead Books: New York).
  • Reporter’s Notebook
  • Jumpdrive or Flashdrive: You’ll be doing a lot of writing in this class. You will be required to save all your assignments because you’ll be resubmitting corrected versions in a final portfolio at the end of the semester. REMEMBER: We use Mac computers in our lab.
  • A new 1-inch to 2-inch binder and clear-plastic pages for your work portfolio. It must be new because your final portfolio must evoke an air of professionalism.

School of Communications Professional Standards Policy

My Course Requirements

Grading Procedures

Grading Template

Classroom and Course Policies

Media Writing Syllabi (PDF)

Example of Spring 2012 (COM Fellows section) Syllabus