Schedule

Rage, April's son

Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor. It’s important to come to class to learn about possible changes.

Any story, photo, infographic or multimedia project produced for this class may be published in a student-produced magazine and/or app.

Check your email every day or two for announcements or schedule changes. Be sure to read assignments before class and be prepared for a lively discussion. Assignments are due before class begins.

COURSE GUIDE from UA Library

Previous assignments are at the bottom of this schedule.

Tues., 8.26 WHAT’S AHEAD?

  • Getting acquainted
  • Science journalism vs. science communication
  • News vs. features
Thur., 8.28 SCIENCE ESSAY FREE-WRITING

Readings due today

  1. Syllabus; bring in any questions
  2. Elise Hancock, Ideas Into Words, Chapter 1 (“A Matter of Attitude”) With a sense of humor, Hancock provides tips that will help you succeed in this class.

OPTIONAL

  1. OPTIONAL for fun: Take the Science and Technology Knowledge Quiz to test your knowledge against the general public. Bring the results to class.
  2. OPTIONAL: Sign up for a free webinar on data animation on Sept. 5.
Tues., 9.2 SCIENCE ESSAYS

  • High-fidelity science reporting
  • Discuss essays you read
  • Work on your essay in class

Bring to class today

  1. Draft of your essay (on your laptop/tablet or flash drive). Your free-writing exercise in class could form the basis of your essay, or you could write about another topic so long as it’s related to science, technology, natural history, conservation, medicine or health.
    • For possible topics, length, grading criteria and more, see “Guidelines for Personal Essay” (also in D2L Content).
    • The “Essay Rubric” (also in D2L Content) describes how your essay will be graded. Use it as a guide while writing, and check it before you submit your essay.
  2. Critique three of the essays BELOW by writing down (1) three different things that EACH writer did well and (2) three different things that EACH writer could have improved. Use complete sentences (subject and verb). Bring your critique to class, and turn it in for credit.

Readings and assignment due today

  1. As you read, focus on the elements that make each essay below compelling. Where do you find yourself losing interest?
    • New York Times essays Chapter 9 (also in D2L Content). Personal essays convey a sense of intimacy. You could write about someone who influenced your relationship to science, as Dennis Overbye does in his tribute to Arthur C. Clarke. Overbye ties the second essay to a discovery by Japanese scientists and weaves in his own recollections.
    • “Science and Art of Science Writing” (also in D2L Content). In this New York Times essay Michelle Nijhuis melds personal experience with thoughts about putting humanity in science writing.
    • “A Scientific American” (also in D2L Content). Note how student Susan Swanberg wove science into a personal essay for the Scientific American Guest Blog.
    • “Cultivating Wonder” (also in D2L Content). Pay attention to how smoothly student Megan Kimble blends background research with personal experience.
    • “The Cold Hard Truth” (also in D2L Content). Student Josh Workman gives us a charming look at how he fell in love with his future career in the sciences.
    • “Through All Windows” (also in D2L Content). Student Maya L. Kapoor describes how she encountered primatologist Jane Goodall through her writing.
Thur., 9.4 DANIEL STOLTE, UA COMMUNICATIONS

  • Science communication vs. science journalism
  • Discuss what makes science newsworthy and why readers should care
  • Find a newsworthy angle in a journal article

Assignments due today

  1. Sign up for UA Now (online).
  2. Essay of 300 to 500 words—or longer with Carol’s permission (D2L Dropbox—50 points) (how to format your essay) The format instructions ask for a target publication where you could publish your essay. Possibilities include the Scientific American Guest Blog and The Blue Guitar magazine, which is published by the Arizona Consortium for the Arts.

OPTIONAL

  1. OPTIONAL: We’ll practice shooting environmental portraits of each other in class in one week (9.11), and we’ll do a practice photo shoot in two weeks (9.18). You may use your own camera or borrow a camera from OSCR Gear-to-Go. You can reserve equipment up to two weeks in advance for a maximum of 48 hours. You must submit a request at least 72 hours in advance. Be sure you know how to use your camera! If you’re not sure, the folks at OSCR will give you instructions.
Tues., 9.9 STORY IDEAS

  • News as inspiration for story ideas
  • Find a scientist, tech, doctoral student or post-doc to profile
  • Ask questions about a scientist’s research

Bring to class today

  1. 10 interview questions you would ask one of the co-authors of “Tortoise Hibernaculum Use.” You will receive credit only if you turn in the list in class.
    • Do not ask questions about what’s in the study unless something needs clarification. For example: “I’ve read your article on hibernaculum use by desert tortoises in the Sonoran Desert, but I got stuck on XYZ, as I think readers might.”
    • Do not ask questions if you can easily find the answer. Don’t ask questions like these: What’s a hibernaculum? What’s thermoregulation? What’s a carapace? What’s an ectotherm?
    • Take the interview questions to the next level! For ideas, see page 56 of Ideas Into Words.
    • At least 2 of your 10 questions must be probing questions. Refer to the examples in “How to Read a Scientific Article.” Hints: Are there red flags? What is mentioned in the abstract but not discussed in the article? Are there weaknesses in this study?

Readings due today

  1. “Tortoise Hibernaculum Use” (D2L Content). You do not have to read every word. Use the strategies discussed in the “How to Read a Research Article” (below). Focus on the most important parts of the article.
  2. OPTIONAL BUT HELPFUL: If you don’t have much experience deciphering academic articles, read two of the three pieces in “How to Read a Research Article” (D2L Content). Take note of the probing questions you can ask researchers.
  3. Elise Hancock, Ideas Into Words, Chapter 2 (“Finding Stories”). Ferreting out interesting story ideas is critical to your success as a science journalist. You can learn about science news and discoveries from scientists themselves, other experts, press releases or citizens affected by science news. Be counter-intuitive by not doing what everyone else is doing. As you read this chapter, think about all the places where you can find a story around campus and beyond. As the old saying goes, “There’s a story behind every door.”
  4. Elise Hancock, Ideas Into Words, Chapter 3 (“Finding Out: Research and the Interview”). The tips will help you as a student avoid getting the cold shoulder when you interview scientists. Hancock explains how to prepare for an interview and why you should talk to people in the morning, on the other person’s turf and never at a restaurant.
  5. OPTIONAL FOR JOURNALISM STUDENTS; RECOMMENDED FOR EVERYONE ELSE: Interviewing chapter (D2L Content). Those of you who are new to interviewing should read this chapter. You can skip the sections that deal with interviewing for TV.
COURSE SCHEDULE
Thur., 9.11 INTERVIEWING | ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITS

  • Discuss Q&As, narrative interviews and profiles you read
  • Interviewing tips
  • Environmental portraits
  • Captions
  • Interview each other, shoot environmental portrait and write caption

If you want to interview a particular scientist next Tuesday, 9.16, please email Carol a list of your first, second and third choices by 9 a.m. Thursday, 9.11. See the five names and articles listed below for Tuesday, 9.16.

Bring to class today

  1. Your camera (and a tripod if you have one), even if it’s a point-and-shoot or your smartphone. You may also borrow a camera from OSCR Gear-to-Go if you reserve at least 72 hours in advance.
  2. Critique one of the Q&As and two of the narrative interviews and profiles BELOW by writing down (1) three things the writer did well and (2) three things the writer could have improved. Use complete sentences (subject and verb). Bring your critique to class, and turn it in for credit.

Readings due today

  1. Q&As, narrative interviews and profiles in New York Times Reader, Chapter 4 (D2L Content)
  2. 10 Questions with Stephen Hawking, Time magazine
  3. 10 Questions with Richard Dawkins, Time magazine
  4. OPTIONAL FOR JOURNALISM STUDENTS; RECOMMENDED FOR EVERYONE ELSE: “Taking Notes, Interviewing, Quotations and Attribution” (D2L Content) Ten informative pages cover the best way to record information, tips for conducting successful interviews, how to use the quotes you select and how to attribute quotes.
Tues., 9.16 INTERVIEW A SCIENTIST

  • The five scientists below are coming to class TODAY (Tuesday). You will interview one of them for 10 minutes and receive feedback on your questions, interviewing skills and so forth. The articles below are also in D2L Content.
  1. Dr. Melanie Lenart, SWES environmental scientist and science journalist, Climate Change Perceptions
  2. Dr. Cecil Schwalbe, retired USGS research ecologist and herpetologist, Thelma (desert tortoise) Inter-population Movements and an Arizona Daily Star article and editorial about Thelma
  3. Dr. William Shaw, SNRE conservation biologist, Fisheries Policies and marine conservation in Mexico
  4. Dr. Susan Swanberg, geneticist and science journalist, Telomere Biology of the Chicken and press release
  5. Dr. Tom Wilson, SWES soil scientist, Pedioplanis proposal and summer course in Desert Ecology and Conservation Biology in Namibia

Bring to class today

  • Typed list of questions to ask the scientist you’re interviewing today
  • Schedule handed out in our last class so you know when you’re interviewing whom!

Readings due today

  • Article(s) by and background info about scientist you’re interviewing today (links above and articles in D2L Content)
  • Elise Hancock, Ideas Into Words, Chapter 4 (“Getting Started and the Structure”). Focus on pages 69-82: How to write for different readers, why you should have a written plan and what should go in the opener (grab ’em), the middle (tell ’em) and the closer (get out quickly). Skim pages 82-93.

Assignments due today in D2L

  1. For the researcher, tech or graduate student you want to interview for your narrative interview or profile, write at least one paragraph with the following: (1) a working title to help focus the subject, as Elise Hancock suggests, (2) what he/she studies, (3) its impact and/or significance and (4) a target publication that might publish your article, such as the Wildcat or the Arizona Daily Star (D2L Dropbox). As best you can, look for someone who is (1) newsworthy, (2) a good translator of science and (3) a good storyteller. In addition, list a second person (with title and affiliation) you’d like to interview in case the first person is busy. Here are examples of good and bad proposals
  2. In your proposal also include a draft of the email message requesting an interview with your scientist. Please read the instructions and examples.
Thur., 9.18 WRITING PROFILES

  • Where to publish
  • How to write a profile
  • B2 photos
  • In-class exercise: Eavesdropping

Assignment due today

  • Q&A with a scientist and the typed list of questions you asked (D2L Dropbox)
Tues., 9.23 PHOTO SHOOT

  • Wildlife photos
  • Photo shoot

Bring to class today

  1. Your camera (and a tripod if you have one), even if it’s a point-and-shoot or your smartphone. If you have a macro lens, bring it too.
  2. A way to transfer your photos to the server. If you’re using a phone camera, for example, bring the cord you use to charge it.

Assignments due today

Thur., 9.25 WRITING: THE NITTY GRITTY

  • In-class exercise: 10 questions for your scientist
  • Discuss Elise Hancock, Chapters 4 and 5
  • In-class exercise: Synonyms

Assignments due today

  • Bring your 10 best Reptile Day photos to class. Put them on the server before class.
  • Elise Hancock, Ideas Into Words, Chapter 5 (“Writing: The Nitty Gritty”). Keep an eye out for the surprises in this chapter, such as mumbling while you write, polishing your prose later rather than early, being definitely indefinite and starting a bone heap, including all your raisins.
  • 10 questions you plan to ask the scientist you’re writing about for your narrative interview or mini-profile. Turn in the questions to receive credit.
Tues., 9.30 EXPLANATORY STORIES

  • How to describe a science process to a lay reader
  • In-class exercise: Describe a scientific concept to your family and friends
  • Discuss explanatory stories
  • Discuss favorite explanatory passage
  • In-class activity: Describe your scientist
  • Discuss feature ledes
  • In-class exercise: Work on a feature lede for your narrative interview or mini-profile
  • Work on your narrative interview or mini-profile

Bring to class today

  • Draft of your narrative interview or mini-profile (on your laptop/tablet or flash drive)

Assignments due today

  • Read the explanatory stories in the New York Times Reader, Chapter 3 (D2L Content). Critique three of the explanatory stories by writing down (1) three different things that EACH writer did well and (2) three different things that EACH writer could have improved. Use complete sentences (subject and verb). Bring your critique to class, and turn it in for credit.
  • In addition, mark your favorite explanatory passage from the reading above.
Thur., 10.2 DISCOVERY STORIES

Assignments due today

  • Narrative interview or mini-profile and environmental photo with caption (D2L Discussions, not Dropbox—75 points). Look for your group. At the end, (1) list your human and non-human sources and (2) include three questions about things you struggled with.
  • Also post your environmental portrait and caption in D2L Discussions.
  • Look at list of Biosphere 2 topics. What would you like to work on? What questions do you have?
  • Bring in ideas for title of our class magazine.
Tues., 10.7 DISCOVERY STORIES

  • Discuss Biosphere 2 topics and BioView magazine
  • Discuss discovery stories
  • Workshop: Narrative interviews and mini-profiles

Assignments due today

  • Bring in written comments on the narrative interviews and mini-profiles in your group.
  • Read the discovery stories in the New York Times Reader, Chapter 1 (D2L Content). Critique three of the discovery stories by writing down (1) three different things that EACH writer did well and (2) three different things that EACH writer could have improved. Use complete sentences (subject and verb). Bring your critique to class, and turn it in for credit.
  • OPTIONAL: “Bill Nye Fights Back” (Thanks, Ann!)
  • OPTIONAL: “Meet the Scientist Who Might End the Climate Culture Wars” (Thanks, Ann!)
Thur., 10.9 BIOSPHERE 2 PREP

  • What to bring to B2
  • Workshop: B2 story proposals and questions for your B2 interviews
  • Shooting stills and video with your cellphone

Bring to class today

  • Read BioView magazine and background info on your B2 story (D2L Content)
  • 4 copies of a short typed proposal for your B2 story. Include (1) a brief description of the topic and angle, (2) the names and contact info of the people you plan to interview at B2 and elsewhere and (3) the questions you plan to ask your sources. Bring your proposal to class, and hand it in for credit.
  • Bring in questions about our B2 schedule and things to bring.
  • Bring in your CHARGED smartphone or dumbphone that takes photos. If you don’t have a phone that shoots photos, bring a camera.
  • OPTIONAL: Star trail photos to inspire your picture-taking on Friday night
Fri., 10.10 & Sat., 10.11 BIOSPHERE 2
Tues., 10.14 NO CLASS!

  • Work on your B2 story. Conduct follow-up interviews.
  • Revise your narrative essay or mini-profile.
Thur., 10.16 NO CLASS!

  • Work on your B2 story. Conduct follow-up interviews.

Assignment due today

  • Revised narrative essay or mini-profile and environmental photo with caption (D2L Dropbox—75 points) THIS DEADLINE IS DELAYED UNTIL THURSDAY, OCT. 30. CAROL APOLOGIZES FOR THE DELAY IN RETURNING HER COMMENTS ON YOUR STORIES.
Tues., 10.21 WILD CARD

  • Wild card
  • In-class activity: Newspapers as sources of inspiration
  • Discuss recent science news stories. Read the first one or two paragraphs: What makes this science news? Why should readers care?
  • In-class exercise: Write a news lede
  • Work on your B2 story—ledes and nut graphs

Bring to class today

  1. Draft of your B2 story (on your laptop/tablet or flash drive)
  2. A favorite RECENT science NEWS story (NOT feature story). What makes this science news? Why should readers care? Good places to look: New York Times every Tuesday, Discover, New Scientist, Science News and Scientific American. Hand in for credit.
Thur., 10.23 STORY FOCUS

Assignments due today

  • B2 story (D2L Discussions—100 points) List your human and non-human sources at the end. Also include three questions about things you struggled with. (How to format your story)
  • If you haven’t done so, send a thank-you note or email to B2 scientists who spoke with you at B2.
  • Also appreciated would be a thank-you to your B2 mentor.

Bring to class today

  • A brief description of your wild card (hand in for credit)
Tues., 10.28 BIOSPHERE 2 STORIES

  • Workshop: B2 stories
  • Workshop: 7 to 10 photos and captions

Bring to class today

  1. Written comments on the B2 stories in your group.
  2. Put your 7 to 10 best B2 photos on the server before class. Bring them in on a jump drive or memory card. Do NOT put the photos in a Word document. Bring them in a folder of separate images. Put your name on the folder. Give each photo a short label: Carol_scorpion.jpg, Carol_ocean.jpg, Carol_Dragos_plants.jpg. Put your photos on the server if you have access. If not, put them on the server via the instructor’s terminal.
  3. Put your Word document with 7 to 10 B2 captions on the server before class. The Captions handout is in D2L Content > Course Materials > Captions. Put the Word document on the server if you have access. If not, put it on the server via the instructor’s terminal.
  4. Our classroom will be open early on Tuesday so you can put your photos and captions on the server before class.

Assignments due in D2L Dropbox today

  1. Query letter for your explanatory narrative, mini-profile or B2 explanatory story (D2L Dropbox—15 points). Write to a real editor at a real publication. The handouts on where to publish and how to write a query letter are in D2L Content > Course Materials.
  2. Final story proposal for wild card (D2L Dropbox). Follow this template, which is also posted in D2L Content > Course Materials.
Thur.,10.30 REVISE, REVISE, REVISE

  • In-class activity: Jargon
  • “Wasted Words”
  • Editing
  • Discuss Elise Hancock chapter
  • In-class activity: Fact-check and edit a classmate’s B2 story

Bring to class today

  • Double-spaced printout of your B2 story AND your notes, printouts and any other research material for fact checking. At the end, be sure to list your human sources (name and contact info) and non-human sources (whatever citation style you like).
  • Alan, Mark and Crystal: Please bring in your files to work on.

Readings due

Assignment due today

  • Revised narrative essay or mini-profile and environmental photo with caption (D2L Dropbox—75 points)
Tues., 11.4 STORY STRUCTURE | INFOGRAPHICS

  • Discuss “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster”
  • In-class exercise: Find a story structure for your wild card
  • In-class exercise: 10 guidelines for creating good graphics
  • Tableau Public makes beautiful charts and maps on Mac or Windows. Widely used by newsrooms. http://www.tableausoftware.com/public/

Readings due

  • “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster” Look for the following items:
    1. Narrative arc—exposition (introduce character and problem), complication, climax and resolution
    2. Examples of gold coins
    3. Examples of show rather than tell
    4. Example of how Franklin describes medical procedures and instruments that makes it easy for the reader to understand
    5. Two literary devices to create pace and tension—one is time; what’s the other?
    6. Mrs. Kelly died—Is that a satisfactory ending?
    7. Use of food at beginning and end
    8. Does the story work for you? Too graphic? Lose interest? Skip over sections?
  • You do not need to turn anything in regarding “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster.”

Assignment due today

  • Research article summary for your wild card (D2L Dropbox) (Instructions are in D2L Content > Wild Card.)
Thur., 11.6 TITLES

  • Titles
  • Alan’s presentation
  • Workshop: Infographics brainstorming and sketches
  • Writing exercises or infographic practice
    • “Abstract to Concrete”
    • “Metaphor Simile Analogy”
    • “Branch to the Right”

Bring to class today

  • Idea for your wild card infographic

Assignment due today

  • Revised query letter (D2L Dropbox—15 points)
  • DEADLINE MOVED TO 11.11: Revised B2 story (D2L Dropbox—100 points)
Tues., 11.11 NO CLASS! Happy Veterans Day!

  • NEW DEADLINE! By 3 p.m.: Revised B2 story (D2L Dropbox—100 points)
Thur., 11.13 ETHICS

  • Role-playing activity: Softball versus hardball questions re autism
  • Workshop: Lede, nut graph, background and sketch of infographic for your wild card

Bring to class today

  • 4 copies of the lede, nut graph and/or background for your wild card
  • Sketch of your wild card infographic

Readings today

Tues., 11.18 ONE-ON-ONE CONFERENCES WITH CAROL

  • Bring an outline and draft of your wild card.
  • Focus on the lede, nut graph and background.
Thur., 11.20 ONE-ON-ONE CONFERENCES WITH CAROL

  • Bring an outline and draft of your wild card.
  • Focus on the lede, nut graph and background.
Wed., 11.25 MIDNIGHT (new deadline) NO CLASS! Assignment due today

  • Wild card (D2L Discussions—150 points) List your human and non-human sources at the end. Also include three questions about things you struggled with. (How to format your story)
Thur., 11.27 NO CLASS! Happy Thanksgiving!
Tues., 12.2 WILD CARD

  • Workshop: Wild card stories in your group

Bring to class today

  • Written comments on the wild cards in your group.
Thur., 12.4 WILD CARD

  • Workshop wild card photos and infographic

Post in D2L Discussions before class today

  • 5 wild card photos and captions. Post each photo separately. Do NOT embed the photos in a Word document.
  • Wild card infographic

If you can’t upload your 5 wild card photos and captions and/or your infographic to D2L Discussions, please bring the following items to class EARLY:

  • 5 wild card photos and captions on a jump drive or memory card to put on server
  • 4 color printouts of your infographic
Tues., 12.9 FIELD TRIP: FLANDRAU SCIENCE CENTER & PLANETARIUM

  • Meet at 3 p.m. in Flandrau lobby for tour, demo of FullDome projection system and screening of “Desert Moon”
Fri., 12.12 Assignment due at midnight

  • Revised wild card, photos and infographic (D2L Dropbox—150 points)
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Journalism 472/572

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