Assignments

Numbers numb, jargon jars, and nobody ever marched on Washington because of a pie chart. If you really want to reach people and change the world, tell them a story.

Storytelling Best Practices: Websites

4NagleWalsh

Story proposals
Write a short proposal for the (1) narrative interview/profile, (2) Biosphere 2 story and (3) the wild card. (You won’t write a story proposal for the essay.) I’m looking for fresh ideas that are thoughtful, well developed and appropriate for your target audience. Include the following:

  • Title (a subject label is OK, but a catchy title is better) (As Elise Hancock advises, use the title to help focus your story.)
  • A brief description of the topic and angle (including significance, trends and context, if applicable)
  • Target publication and audience
  • Likely sources five questions your readers want answered
  • Probable structure (for wild card)
  • Ideas for an infographic (for wild card)

Draft
You are not required to submit drafts of your stories, but I’m happy to give feedback on your drafts so long as you send them to me AT LEAST TWO DAYS before the deadline.

Final version
This does not mean turning in a rough draft of a poorly researched story. Your story should be thoroughly researched and completely crafted when you turn it in the first time. Remember: Writing is a process. All writing is rewriting.

Revision
The revision is due one week after the original has been turned back to you. A strong revision can raise your grade by as much as one letter—from a B- to an A-, for example.

This excuse won’t work.

  50 points Essay
  75 points Narrative interview or profile and environmental portrait with caption
100 points Biosphere 2 explanatory story, 5 photos and captions
150 points Wild card, infographic, 5 photos and captions
  15 points Query letter
  50 points Peer critiques, professionalism and participation
  60 points Homework and in-class assignments
500 POINTS TOTAL

STORY ASSIGNMENTS

ESSAY (300-500 words or longer with permission) 50 points
Tap into your writer’s voice with an essay for possible publication in the Scientific American Guest Blog, The Blue Guitar Magazine or another publication. Every writer has a unique voice, just as every singer sounds slightly different. Your writing voice reflects the way you express yourself through word choice, sentence flow (short/choppy vs. long/smooth), paragraph density (a journal article vs. a mystery), tone (dark vs. light, humorous vs. serious, reflective vs. satirical) and other stylistic devices.
Grading criteria: I’m looking for a clear, compelling essay that analyzes and reflects on a subject to understand it in a fresh way and convey that understanding to others. Include an epiphany at the end. All names, places, facts and figures must be accurate.
Final (how to format your essay) Thur., 9.4 D2L Dropbox
Revision Tues., 9.23 D2L Dropbox
NARRATIVE INTERVIEW or MINI-PROFILE and ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAIT with CAPTION (500-750 words or longer with permission) 75 points
Interview an interesting UA scientist, research technician, graduate student or someone else engaged in scientific exploration.
Grading criteria: You’ll be rewarded for an engaging introduction, interesting questions and tightly edited answers based on an in-depth interview. All names, places, facts and figures must be accurate.
Short proposal—one scientist and backup Tues., 9.16 D2L Dropbox
Final version (how to format your story) and environmental photo with caption Thur., 10.2 D2L Discussions
Workshop Tues., 10.7 Bring comments on classmates’ narrative interviews or profiles.
Revision Thur., 10.30 D2L Dropbox
BIOSPHERE 2 EXPLANATORY STORY and 7 to 10 PHOTOS with CAPTIONS (750-1,000 words or longer with permission) 100 points
Write an article that uses information obtained from reporting, interviewing and observations at Biosphere 2. You must interview at least three people. No single-source pieces will be accepted. Also turn in your seven to ten best photos.
Grading criteria: You’ll be rewarded for solid reporting, strong quotes, active verbs, strong quotes, on-the-spot description, color and sensory details. All names, places, facts, figures and quotes must be accurate.
Short proposal (Here’s an example.) Thur., 10.9 Bring 4 typed copies to class.
Final version (how to format your story) and 5 photos with captions Thur., 10.23 D2L Discussions
Workshop Tues., 10.28 Bring comments on classmates’ stories.
5 photos and captions Tues., 10.28 Bring in on a jump drive or memory card.
Revision Tues., 11.4 D2L Dropbox
WILD CARD STORY, INFOGRAPHIC and 5 PHOTOS with CAPTIONS (1,000 to 1,500 words or longer with permission) 150 points
Write an in-depth article based on new/ongoing research or a journal article by a UA scientist. You may focus on a person, a topic, a discovery or an issue. Try these sources for story ideas: • EurekAlertScienceNaturePNASScience NewsNYT Science NewsUA News (Subscribe to UA Now.) You must interview at least three people. No single-source pieces will be accepted. Also turn in an infographic and five photos with captions.
Grading criteria: I’ll be looking for a clear, concise story that helps readers understand cutting-edge science. Include information about context, methods and caveats. All names, places, facts, figures and quotes must be accurate.
Final story proposal Tues., 10.28 D2L Dropbox
Query letter Tues., 10.28 D2L Dropbox
Research article summary Tues., 11.4 D2L Dropbox
Query letter revision Thur., 11.6 D2L Dropbox
Lede and nut graph Thur., 11.13 Bring 4 typed copies to class.
One-on-one conference Tues., 11.18 or Thur. 11.20 Bring outline and final draft.
Final version of your story (how to format your story) Tues., 11.25 D2L Discussions
Workshop story Tues., 12.2 Bring comments on classmates’ stories.
Workshop infographic, 5 photos and captions Thur., 12.4 D2L DiscussionsIf you can’t upload your infographic, 5 photos and captions, bring 4 color printouts of infographic and 5 photos with captions to class on a jump drive or memory card.
Revision Fri., 12.12 D2L Dropbox

Peer critiques, professionalism and participation (50 points)

  • Being responsible. Being punctual and attending all classes. Being prepared for class and participating actively. Avoiding disruptive behavior. Approaching your assignments with resourcefulness and with the goal of completing them as thoroughly as possible. Doing your share when working on group projects. Requesting help from me when you need it, just as you would request assistance from an editor or a producer in the newsroom.
  • Being respectful. Recognizing that you need to be as respectful of the opinions of others as you would have them be of yours. Being courteous in class and on assignments. Avoiding distracting behavior, such as texting, coming in late, leaving class early, talking, checking Facebook and so forth. Being sensitive to the needs of sources.
  • Being accountable. Remembering that when you are on assignment, your behavior, attitude and dress reflect not only on you but also on the school and the university. People have long memories, and your actions can influence your reputation—and ours—for years to come.
  • Being civil. The Arizona Board of Regents’ Student Code of Conduct, ABOR Policy 5-308, prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the university community, including to one’s self. See http://policy.arizona.edu/threatening-behavior-students

 

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Journalism 472/572

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