Week 1 (1/9, 1/11): Introduction and orientation

  • Wednesday: Syllabus review and getting set up on services. Writing exercise 1
  • Friday: Getting oriented to topics and finishing introductions.
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Videos: Syllabus, WordPress, Google Docs
      • Other homework: Finish form by Thursday at 1pm.



Week 2 (1/16, 1/18): Research and engagement

  • Wednesday: Backgrounding and research
    • Homework for Wednesday:
      • On Jan. 16 and 18, we will be visiting with a number of folks to get an overview of your topic areas and a sense of the significant issues at play here. This will be a series of conversations to help you develop story ideas and get your feet wet on your beats. Please read over the bios linked here, Google these folks and research them in Factiva and Lexis-Nexis, and, prior to class on Wednesday, send me a list of three questions you have for the individual in your topic area about his or her career, potential stories that you might be considering, or anything else in your/his/her area.
      • Prep for our guests; follow the assignment here.
      • Videos: Lexis-Nexis and Factiva, Your notes document, Using Evernote to organize notes, RSS feeds, Twitter lists
      • Other homework: Create a notes document in Google Docs with the following:
        • Five stories on your topic area
        • Five publications, local or national, with good reporting on your topic area, with links to websites and social media
        • Five local/statewide journalists who cover this topic, including their affiliation and a link to their social media profiles
        • Five national journalists who cover this topic, including their affiliation and a link to their social media profiles
  • Friday: Trading tips: The best sources on your beats.
    • Meet at Jackson-Spalding, 120 W. Washington Street, Suite 775
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Video: Developing source lists
      • In Google Docs or Evernote: A list of 10 local sources whom you think might be useful to interview, with their affiliations, titles, social-media profiles, and a one-sentence explanation of why they’re important or interesting.
      • Also in GD or EN: A list of 10 national experts in the topic area, with their affiliations, titles, social-media profiles, and a one-sentence explanation of why they’re important or interesting.

Week 3 (1/23, 1/25): Reporting and interviewing

  • Wednesday: Developing sources and prepping for, executing, and organizing interviews
  • Homework for Wednesday:
    • Video: Interviews
    • We will be talking with Katie Thomas of the New York Times via Skype. Please read her bio and some of her stories and send me three questions for her via email (preferably by Tuesday midnight) about how she finds sources, conducts interviews, and/or her career.
  • Friday: Practice interviews, transcribing, and storytelling. Writing exercise 2
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Attend President Adams’s State of the University Speech on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 3.30 in the University Chapel. Take good notes. If you can’t make it, watch the video streamed lived or archived later that day.



Week 4 (1/30, 2/1): Developing story ideas and budgets

  • Wednesday: Putting together brainstorming and research
    • Homework for Wednesday:
      • Contact one person from your source list from last week and conduct a preliminary interview about stories you might be interested in. You can do the interview in person, on the phone, by email, via a chatting service, or over SMS, but you need to have answers for at least five questions. Recommended: reach out to more than one person in case you can’t reach your first choice, or if that person turns out to be a jerk.
      • Videos: Saving string, Brainstorming strategies
  • Friday: Sharpening your story budget
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Five one-sentence story ideas for each of your stories (trend/innovation, news analysis, profile, multimedias 1 and 2)
      • Your second blog post: Write a short blog on a story or blog post (go back to your notes and source documents for ideas) in your topic area. You should link to the original story and write a paragraph or two that include the following:
        • What happened/what is the writer discussing?
        • Why is it important or interesting?
        • Who is the audience? Who ought to read this story?
        • Is there a local Athens angle that ought to be explored or a link to a local story you could include?

Week 5 (2/6, 2/8): Ethics and obligations


  • Wednesday: [Budget work period]
    • Budgets due


  • Friday: Ethics: What do you owe your source
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Getting the facts right and the fog of war: Read this, this and this.

Week 6 (2/13, 2/15): Getting launched with your first story. 

  • Wednesday: Organizing a reporting and writing plan, and talking portfolios.
    • Homework for Wednesday:
      • Video: Reporting strategies, To-do lists, Recording, taping, and transcribing interviews
      • Create a landing page for yourself on, a Twitter bio, or a Google Plus homepage. Content is up to you, but I’d start with a resume.
      • Revise your budgets based on my feedback.
  • Friday: The nut graf and where to go with it. Writing exercise 4
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Video: What’s a nut graf, anyway?
      • Read this.
      • Read this and this.
      • Third blog post: Find a story with a good nut graf or good section and paste the nut graf into your blog as a quotation. Then, discuss what you find appealing about it.

Week 7 (2/20, 2/22) : Writing and story structure. Schedule appointment #1 with me

  • Wednesday: Ledes, good, bad, and ugly.
    • Homework for Wednesday:
      • Video: What to look for in a lede
      • ON YOUR BUDGET: Nut sentence and working nut graf for your trend/innovation story.
  • Friday: CLASS WILL NOT MEET, however:
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Fourth blog post: Find five stories from the sources you’re following. Quote the best lede and the worst one and what makes them so good or so bad.

Week 8 (2/27, 3/1): Multimedia I

  • Wednesday: Good infographics on a budget
    • Homework for Wednesday:
      • Videos: Data and spreadsheets really are your friend
      • Fifth blog post: Find a good infographic (suggestions:,,, embed it in a blog post, and write about what makes it appealing to you.
  • Friday: Good photos on a budget (money and skill)

Week 9 (3/6, 3/8): Multimedia II

Wednesday: Good video on a budget

  • Homework for Wednesday:
    • Videos: Digital literacy video 10, additional videos on Adobe Premiere from Prof. Johnson’s video page if available or this page if not
  • Friday: CLASS WILL NOT MEET, however:
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Sixth blog post: Post links to at least two multimedia packages in your general source area and critique them.
      • Revise your multimedia budgets based on what you’ve learned.


Week 10 (3/20, 3/22): Career week

  • Wednesday: The marketplace for reporting and writing in 2013 (and following)
    • Homework for Wednesday:
      • Seventh blog post: Find a news outlet/blog that you would really want to write for, describe the writing and the audience, and explain what appeals to you about it.
  • Friday: Ethics part II
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Honesty and reporting: Read the references to plagiarism and anything else that catches your eye in the right-hand column on this page.
      • The power and peril of social media: Read this.
      • Accuracy-checking and fact-checking: Read this and this.

Week 11 (3/27, 3/29): Writing for background

  • Wednesday: What’s important, what’s extraneous.
    • Homework for Wednesday: Make fixes to trend/innovation story based on my comments
  • Friday: An experiment in narrative, Writing exercise 6
    • Homework for Friday: Read this.
    • Profile due

Week 12 (4/3, 4/5): Drafting and redrafting. Schedule appointment #2 with me

  • Wednesday: Editing sentence by sentence.
    • Homework for Wednesday:
      • Macroediting video
      • Williams  book, lessons 1, 7, 8, and 9
  • Friday: Advanced story structure
    • Homework for Friday:
      • Williams book, lessons 2-6
      • News analysis story due

Week 13: (4/10, 4/12): Getting it right

Week 14 (4/17, 4/19): Writing for senses

  • Wednesday: Thinking visually, aurally, and olfactorally.
    • Edits due
  • Friday: Looking for details. Writing exercise 7
    • Final story assigned
    • Multimedia 1 due (embed in or link to post on

Week 15 (4/24, 4/26): Semester wrap-up

  • Wednesday: Portfolio presentations
  • Revisions posted on class website as stories
  • Friday: News conference for final stories
  • Portfolios due

Exam week (May 3):

Friday: Final story due, edited


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