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Journalism & Mass Communication

On writing in Journalism & Mass Communication (for use in syllabi)

In many journalism courses, producing media-ready copy is acknowledged as a primary objective; therefore, frequent attention to good writing is expected. Journalists and analysts may specialize in a range of writing-based activities, including print or broadcast journalism, public relations, advertising, online media compositions, and analytical essays. Practicing journalists become experts in a range of skills such as researching information, interviewing, organizing, drafting and revising, writing for specific audiences, and judging the quality of current publications. Effective journalistic writing often has criteria different from other kinds of writing: it must be clear yet sophisticated, artful yet free of obvious embellishment. It must establish a voice of its own, yet be a window to credible facts. In addition, formatting skills require practice, and thus most programs offer students opportunities to try their hands at layout design, headlines, subheads, pull quotes, graphics, and photographs. Analyzing journalism and mass communication requires similar attention to evidence, credibility, and logic. Courses in journalism provide students with practice in producing the many kinds of journalistic prose.

Sample syllabi in Journalism & Mass Communication

Journalism 112.10 | Advanced Reporting
In-class exercises and formal essays (George Washington University)

Journalism 3173 | Magazine Writing
Researched articles for magazine publication

Journalism 5606W | Literary Aspects of Journalism
Course review, travel article, profile of a local bar, and literary analysis

Sample assignments in Journalism & Mass Communication 

Journalism 310 | Analysis of "Must Read Journalists"
Evaluation of columnists' writing (Southern Illinois University)

Journalism 3173 | Gender Point of View Exercise: Write a Narrative
Scenario assignment for male and female students

Journalism 5606W | The "Scholasticus" Review
Class review

Journalism 5606W | Travel
Focus on symbolic qualities of observed experience

Journalism 5606W | Bar Study
Analysis about distinctiveness, difference, and culture

Journalism 5606W | Literary Analysis
Questions prompting students for their analyses

Journalism 5606W | Memoir
Analysis of an episode in students' lives

Sample grading rubrics in Journalism & Mass Communication

Journalism 310 | Story Assignment Grading Considerations
Guidelines involving veracity, clarity, grammar, attribution, and quality of the lead and the closing (Southern Illinois University)

Journalism 3173 | Specifications for Article Assignment
Criteria to guide student work and evaluation of peers

Journalism 3173 | Guidelines for Critiquing Magazine Articles
Criteria to assess the quality and efficacy of magazine articles

Research strategies in Journalism & Mass Communication

Selected Resources for Journalism

The Elements of Digital Storytelling

Journalism Resources (University of Iowa)

Additional writing resources for instructors in Journalism & Mass Communication

Library Support for Instructors

Rdditional writing resources for students in Journalism & Mass Communication

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation (Jane Straus)