I believe the best students want to be challenged, not coddled. They want more adventure and less lecture. They want to test their endurance, not endure tests. Alas, not many adults agree.

                                     —Michael Koretzky, co-organizer of Will Write For Food

Assignments will be judged on accuracy, fairness, depth of research and reporting, quality of writing, originality, the use of photos and the creation of a simple infographic. Also taken into consideration will be hard work and improvement over the course of the semester.

Here’s how your final grade will be determined:

A 450-500 points Excellent in nearly all areas. Requires little or no further editing. Publishable quality.
B 400-449 points Above average, but needs editing before publication. Work is readable and interesting.
C 350-399 points Decent effort, but work isn’t publishable. Needs considerably more editing and revising.
D 300-349 points Fair effort, but work fails to meet competency standards in many areas.
E 250-299 points Poor effort. Work fails to meet competency standards in most areas.

Deadlines rule the world of journalism. The pace of this course is quick, and that means frequent deadline pressure. The presses roll whether you overslept, have a cold or didn’t back up your data. Professional journalists make contingency plans for late nights, illnesses and eaten disks. The only way to teach this is to require it of you.

Written assignments are due at the beginning of class. If you’re asked to email me an assignment, the time stamp on the email will be the final determinant of whether you made deadline. If you turn in an assignment late, you’ll receive a zero. No late work. No make-ups. No penalty for turning assignments in early!

Incompletes will be given only for an extreme emergency, such as hospitalization or medical certification by a physician.

UA standards call for at least six hours of work a week outside class for a three-hour course. Expect to spend at least that amount of time reading, researching, reporting, writing and working toward your goal of becoming a science journalist. Just coming to class won’t be enough for you to become proficient and successful. You must be willing to apply yourself to your fullest potential.

Accuracy is a key rule to live by in this class.Never ever make assumptions about anything you can’t verify. If you run across something you don’t think is right or needs to be corrected but you can’t fact check despite your best efforts (and you need to make the effort), make a note in brackets, with a footnote or with a highlighter.

To earn graduate credit, graduate students will take on leadership roles to produce an online magazine that showcases the best student work from each assignment. At the beginning of the semester the graduate students will meet and discuss what is involved and how to do it. They will meet weekly to plan the navigation, design the magazine, and select the best pieces from each assignment.

In addition, the graduate students will play leadership roles during workshops as well as during the overnight field trip at Biosphere 2.


Journalism 472/572

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