Ground rules

  1. You will be producing professional written work, and my intention is to treat you as a professional to the greatest extent possible. I expect the same from you, both for me and for people with whom you interact while reporting. That means the following:
    1. Be in class and on time. If you’re sick or something comes up, let me know in advance. In-class work may not be made but, but exceptions will be made if you discuss them with me in advance.
    2. Dress presentably when you are on interviews. Not a bad idea to dress presentably all of the time.
    3. Be courteous to your peers, me, and people you meet in professional settings.
    4. Come prepared for class and other work. Do the reading, watch the videos, and complete assignments on time.
    5. Come prepared for your interviews. You should have researched the subject thoroughly and have specific questions to ask your source.
  2. Story requirements and formatting:
    1. All stories should have a well-written headline and a byline. Format these as stories, not headlines.
    2. Stories will be filed as Google Docs, shared with me.
    3. File names should include a one-word “slug” for the story and your name. Example: syllabus_suggs.
    4. You will own the copyright to your work, and you are free to republish in other media, such as the Red & Black or Ugazine. I will not accept work already edited or published, however.
    5. Deadlines are deadlines. If you miss a deadline, unless you work something out with me in advance, you will automatically lose half the potential points on an assignment. No post-hoc excuses will be accepted.
  3. Style, grammar, and mechanics:
    1. AP style and proper grammar are expected. We will discuss this more during the editing process. Errors and typos will count heavily against your grade.
    2. If you need style or grammar refreshing, check out
    3. Do not use first person.
    4. Do not use quotes or questions in ledes.
    5. Unless you have clear and compelling reason, render quotes this way:
      1. “This is how you present a quote in a typical news story,” said Welch Suggs, who teaches journalism at the University of Georgia. “You have a single sentence or thought, close the quotes, give an attribution, and then open quotes for the rest of the quotation, all in a stand-alone paragraph, no matter how short it may be.”
      2. Obviously there are exceptions, but do it my way unless you have a really good reason for doing it another way.
  4. Any technological challenges, such as disappearing emails, problems with Google Docs, or difficulty in using programs, are your responsibility to bring to my attention and assist in fixing. They are not excuses for late or missing assignments.
  5. We will have two one-on-one appointments over the course of the term to discuss your strengths and weaknesses and how the course is going for you.
  6. In peer edits and other classroom interactions, offer constructive criticism to your peers. Don’t be shy about pointing out problems or difficulties, but think hard about the best way to present issues to help your colleagues solve problems rather than just writing how you would want to write.

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