4202 Advanced Editing Syllabus

JOU4202 - Section 7320
Advanced Editing / Design
Weimer 2056
7:25 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.
Dr. Ronald R.Rodgers
3058 Weimer Hall
Phone: 352-392-8847

Syllabus (Link to 4202 Lab Schedule)

Course Goal & Description
This course’s goal is to build on the foundation from your reporting, fact-finding and basic-editing classes to help you reach a higher level as you continue the lifelong process of becoming a careful, precise and collaborative editor who understands the many problems of doing journalism that face editors daily. This will involve exploring such things as:
  • Understanding the roles of editors.
  • Understanding how the contemporary newsroom works.
  • Understanding the straits, challenges and possible opportunities of contemporary journalism.
  • Understanding the innovations and journalistic entrepreneurship available to journalists with the requisite skills.
  • Understanding the basics of page design: Develop your knowledge of page design principles and the ability to design solid page layouts. 
  • Thinking innovatively.
  • Thinking critically.
  • Digital Tools for Journalists.
  • Digital organization of the flood of information available to you.
  • Expanding your vocabulary, both in general and the jargon of journalism.
  • Expanding your Web-based knowledge, both for fact checking and keeping up to date on the discourse surrounding the problems of journalism.
  • Developing the ability to make informed news judgments when considering stories, graphics, photos and cutlines.
  • Learning about how wire services work.
  • Hone your ability at writing headlines for both print and online.
  • A more intense revisiting of editing’s first-order – the nuts and bolts of grammar, punctuation, spelling, style, headline writing, and the visual aspects of news presentation.
  • Higher-order content-editing skills.
  • Making yourself employable and knowing where to look for a job you will love.
Office Hours
I am available to you this semester – and beyond – to talk about this class, to talk about journalism and communications, to talk about your career, or to just talk. My office hours are on my schedule: Here is a Link to my schedule Or just stop by – my door is pretty much always open, and if I am in and I am free, we can talk.
Required Texts and Supplies
Optional Texts
Class attendance is required. More than three absences may result in an incomplete for this course. For sure, after your first absence, every lab you miss means your grade drops a level – A becomes B+ and B+ becomes B and so on. Arriving late or leaving early will be considered an absence. To receive credit for tests and quizzes, you must attend and be on time. No make-ups will be arranged for unexcused absences or tardiness.  In addition, whether the absence is legitimate or not, there will be no classwork make-ups. Life is just too darn complicated as it is, and when I have 20 students juggling deadlines – well, it is just too complicated. The key here is whether your absence is legitimate or not.
Note: University-approved absences must be documented (in advance, if for an approved university activity) according to official university policy. Obtaining written verification for an excused absence is your responsibility.
Your final grade is based on:
80% on your: Various editing exercises and quizzes. & Entrepreneurial Media Ride-Along Report -- including your powerpoint or slideshow presentation. & Blogging on Readings. & Case-Study Write-Ups & Resume and Cover Letter.
20% on your Participation, which manifests itself in such things as: Attendance & Preparation & Blogging and use of digital tools we go over during the semester & Classroom demeanor & Your willingness to work with and collaborate with others & Your participation in class discussions & Your ability to follow instructions & Contributions to the class in whatever form that may take
Note: I take this participation requirement quite seriously because this class partly involves tapping into the knowledge and life experiences of fellow students. I have been known to give a zero to any student who spends the semester acting like a dead appendage to the class.
Grade Scale

See Grades and Grading Policies re UF's new policy on minus grades
A = 100 to 93
B+ = 89-87
C+ = 79-77
D+ = 69-67
E = 59-0
A- = 92-90
B = 86-83
C = 76-73
D = 66-63

B- = 82-80
C- = 72-70
D- = 62-60

Also Note: Not everything you do will receive a numbered grade. Sometimes you will see an "X" in the grade book, which means you satisfactorily completed the assignment. Other than that there is no number grade. The only number grade is zero, which means the assignment was not completed by deadline or not satisfactorily completed. Then when I run the calculations, the X is not figured into the average, but the zero is.

E-Mail Policy
To deal with the chaos of life, the many messages I get every day, the expectation that I will respond within minutes even if the e-mail is sent at 3 in the morning, and to promote a sense of professionalism, I have established an e-mail policy. It is thus:
The subject line should include your full name.
Your e-mail should open with a salutation (Professor Rodgers, Dr. Rodgers).
The body of the message should open with something like "I'm in your JOU4202 class, section XXXX."
The e-mail should be as specific as possible about your concerns or questions. For example, if you are asking about a lab exercise or quiz, clearly identify what exercise or quiz or whatever you are talking about.
Your message should be written and edited flawlessly and should contain no chatspeak truncations or contortions.
Your e-mail should close with your full name, student ID number, and class name and section
An e-mail that does not comport with these instructions has a good chance of either falling into my spam folder or of being deleted before being read.
You should also note I check my e-mail once in the morning and once in the evening  Monday  through Friday. 

What You Can Expect During This Semester
1. In-Class Quizzes on such things as current affairs (read the news), punctuation, grammar, spelling, and, possibly, items from my Twitter tweets on editing, and any other readings. 

2. Editing Exercises in and out of class.
Learning objective Hone your skills in the nuts and bolts of journalism to make you better journalists and to get you thinking like editors.

3. Digital Media Tools for Journalists: These tools are certainly not all inclusive. They change or are added to every day. And certainly, if you know of anything your fellow journalists should know about, don't hesitate to express yourself.
Learning objective
: Get you acquainted and comfortable with some of the online tools available to journalists while also pushing you to think about journalism and its future in the 21st century as pixels replace the atoms of paper and ink.

4. Case Studies.  In-class discussion of case studies relevant to the issues of editing. Silence in these discussions is not golden. You will then blog on the case study. Keep in mind, I will be looking for flawless editing as well as critical thinking, and will grade accordingly for deficiencies in your editing.
Learning objective: Develop the skills of focusing, reading closely, thinking critically and expressing yourself about the issues of editing specifically and journalism generally.
5. Blogging on Readings:
On even numbered weeks you will write a blog outlining all that week's and the previous week's assigned readings and file it to your blog. Put your name on top and your e-mail – and make sure the e-mail is hyperlinked. The blog post  should (1) show me you read the reading(s) (2) that you have thought about what you read and (3) and, when relevant, you are thinking about how the digital world can be applied to the doing of journalism.
These are each worth 20 points for a cumulative total of 100 points. Note there are seven of these, so you have a chance for 40 extra points. However, I find it sometimes takes a while to get top points on these because early on they are often shallow. It is usually later the rivers run deep.
Here you should know I grade your reading blog posts both on the editing and the exposition of deep thinking on your part. Here is the basic rubric from which I work (of course, flawed editing of these could bring that score down):
A flawlessly edited blog item that is description only would garner 1 to 10 points.
Description with some basic analysis would get you 11 to 15 points.
But solid, evidentiary generalization to the issues of journalism based on your own knowledge drawn from experience or your readings in and out of class will garner 16 to 20 points.
Keep in mind that in addition to critical thinking, I will be looking for flawless editing and will grade accordingly for deficiencies in your editing.
NOTE: Blog posts on the readings are due by Sunday by 11:59 p.m. in your blog. The due dates for these are on the lab schedule. I will have my reader set to your blog’s RSS feed. So as soon as you file they will pop up on my reader with date and time. Also note: I do not want to hear the question: "How long should they be?"
Learning objective
: These will largely deal with introducing you to some of the many issues of journalism facing you in order to get you thinking in this mode. It is my hope that you will then be able to speak knowledgeably about these issues with potential employers. Also, another goal is to hone your abilities at writing blog posts. You might find
3 Crucial Elements of Well-Written Blog Posts and this site helpful.

6. Case Study Write-Ups: Whenever we have a case study, you will afterward go to your blog and post something about the case study. For what I am looking for, look back at requirements on blogging on readings.

8.  Media Ride-Along Report with a media entrepreneur.  This is a Team project. Use as a template for your research: The New West FAQ for Online Community Journalism Entrepreneurs Due Week 15. Also, analyze the Web site. Familiarize yourself with the site, and then interview a significant staffer there to learn how it is created and maintained. File to your blog a 1,000-word report on your findings and include URLs that are linked. Be prepared to give a slideshow or powerpoint or video or whatever presentation (I will cut you off at 20 minutes). Start as soon as possible to set this up. Only one Team per site, so have a backup. Each team member will post a copy of their combined and flawlessly edited report to their blogs. Here is a link to some examples of what I mean. Also, check out the links on this blog post.

8.1 In addition, teams will also meet near end of semester and create a Tumblr site titled Entrepreneurial Journalism. This requires you to obtain photos and possibly graphics if relevant to post to this site. Then share username and password with all. Check out 12 Essential News Media Tumblrs You Should Follow to see how different media are using Tumblr.
Learning objectiveGive you a hands-on, face-to-face look at journalism as it is being done outside the venue of traditional newspapers.

9. FOIA Exercise: This is a team exercise. After following the instructions at the site, use the FOIA Letter Generator to request documents related to some subject that interests you. Just to keep things simple, let’s keep the request inside Florida (state, a county, or a city). Each team member must post a copy of the FOI letter to their blog – but note which team members is the corresponding author. The letter posted to blog and slugged FOI is due by Friday of Week 4. This is graded X or 0: You will give a presentation of your FOI results in Week 14 and post those results to your blog (slug FOI Results).

10. Resume and Cover Letter: Due in Sakai at end of semester. See due date on lab schedule. Your grade is based on how well you present yourself and on whether the resume and letter are flawlessly edited. I want a professional looking and well-edited copy of an updated Resume, a template Cover Letter that would accompany an application for a position at a media outlet, and a link to your completed LinkedIn account (http://www.linkedin.com/). No pink, scented resumes. Why? Check this out. 
Learning objective
Discern the best practices when it comes to the sometimes confusing world of resumes -- and help you find a job.

What I Expect From You
Your presence in this class: Class attendance is required. No make-up work will be arranged nor late assignments accepted. Obtaining written verification for an excused absence is your responsibility. 
That you return work on time. It is essential that you observe deadlines. Good writers and editors are a highly prized commodity, but writers and editors who miss deadlines are not.  No extensions, no excuses. This is journalism, and deadlines are a fact of your professional life.
That you work collaboratively. If it is your intention to go into some media/communicative field (unless you plan to sit in a garret and write novels), you need to develop the ability to work with others.
Good academic conduct: Commit yourself to honesty and integrity if you haven’t already. If you engage in any form of academic misconduct, including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, and aiding and abetting, the penalties could be severe. You are required to read
Academic Honesty. I will work under the assumption that you have done so. In addition, read the Honor Code at this link.
NOTE: Always put your name and e-mail on all assignments. No name and e-mail, no grade.
Accommodations: Please let me know immediately if you have any kind of problem or disability that would hinder your work in this course. I will do my best to help you. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office, which will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation.

Campus Helping Resources
links at this site.
Sometimes a class such as this will deal with controversial topics, so be warned that words that may be considered offensive may be spoken in the context of the subjects we are discussing. As a teacher, I have no political or social agenda, so do not try to answer in a way you believe might comport with what I want to hear or read. Feel free to advocate any position as long as you remain respectful of others' opinions, and always be able to defend your point of view.
Policy on Electronic Devices
I do not allow the use of electronic transmission devices, such as beepers, cellular phones and computers of any size in my classes - unless they are relevant to the task at hand. You must have all such devices in the "off" mode and stored away when in class.