Course Syllabus

JPW 370-02 Political Reporting

Spring, 2016

Mondays, Thursdays 2:00 PM

Bliss 031

Instructor: Kim Pearson

Office: Bliss 217

Office Hours: MR: 11:30AM-12:30M, W 10:-11:30 am or by appointment

Phone: 215-253-8624 (call or text)

 

In this course, we will be a beat reporting team covering the local, state and national races of the 2016 campaign season. Each student will amass a portfolio consisting of text, media-rich or graphic news and feature stories, suitable for running in campus media and on social media platforms. You may work individually or in teams, depending on the assignment. You will each have a specific race and community to follow , for which you will be expected to become the subject matter expert for the team.

We will also do some breaking news coverage of the Pennsylvania primary, April 26 as well as the run-up to the New Jersey primary.

Here’s what our election day coverage looked like in Fall, 2008:

http://www.tcnj.edu/~unbound/article.php?id=806. Here is the 2012 coverage: http://professorkim.blogspot.com/2012/11/election-2012-live-blog.html

As beat reporters, don’t expect us to spend all of our time on campus, or in the classroom. I’m planning to bring political experts in, and I expect you to get out into the community.

This course counts as an option in the journalism and professional writing major and the professional writing and journalism minors.

Prerequisites

Either JPW 208, JPW 250 (crosslisted as IMM 140) or the instructors permission is required to take this course.

Learning objectives and outcomes:

The course-specific goals of this course are to ensure that each student develops both a working understanding of the workings of the US political process at the local, state and national levels, and the ability to report accurately and comprehensively on that process. Accordingly, students will:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the functions and structure of the Federal, state and local governments in the United States, including their philosophical underpinnings and legal authority.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of electoral processes in the United States, including: voting eligibility rules, the primary process, election procedures, campaign finance rules, redistricting and the electoral college

3. Display critical thinking skills about political issues, including:

  • Demonstrating the ability to fact-check political claims
  • Demonstrating the ability to critically evaluate research on public sentiment
  • Demonstrating the ability to analyze rhetorical strategies employed in political debate

The purpose of this course is to help students develop:

  • Critical thinking skills about political issues and dynamics
  • Strong instincts for finding good political stories
  • Sharp writing skills and an attention to detail and nuance in reporting
  • The ability to operate effectively in deadline situations
  • A fluency with political and social science research methods and insights
- See more at: http://journalistsresource.org/syllabi/political-reporting#sthash.WGtvzbA5.dpuf

The purpose of this course is to help students develop:

  • Critical thinking skills about political issues and dynamics
  • Strong instincts for finding good political stories
  • Sharp writing skills and an attention to detail and nuance in reporting
  • The ability to operate effectively in deadline situations
  • A fluency with political and social science research methods and insights
- See more at: http://journalistsresource.org/syllabi/political-reporting#sthash.WGtvzbA5.dpuf

In accordance with the learning outcomes for the journalism and professional writing major, upon completion of this class:

1. Students will be able to produce content that is accurate, timely, comprehensive, well sourced and tightly written

2. Students will demonstrate the ability to use current computing techniques, skills and tools necessary in careers related to journalism and professional writing.

  • Readings and assignments are due on the date listed, unless otherwise specified.
  • Class participation is essential for success in this class, both in person or online. Significant absences may impair your ability to participate fully in class activities and to fully complete assignments. Please note the College's policy  (Links to an external site.)with regard to absences:
    • "When a student must be absent from classes due to extended illness, a death in the family or similar genuine emergency, the Dean of Student Life should be informed immediately so that the appropriate notice can be provided to individual instructors. Students who must miss classes due to participation in a field trip, athletic event or other official college function should arrange with their instructors for such class absences well in advance. The Office of Academic Affairs will verify, upon request, the dates of and participants in such college functions. In every instance, however, the student has the responsibility to initiate arrangements for makeup work"
  • Late assignments will not be accepted unless you have obtained prior permission, or you have a documented emergency. If you obtain an extension and fail to hand in your assignment by the extended due date, you will lose ½ grade for each class period that the assignment is delayed. 
  • Students requiring accommodations for differing abilities are encouraged to register with the Office of Differing Abilities and bring documentation to me at the beginning of the semester.
  • In the event of the College closing due to inclement weather, I will attempt to hold class and/or office hours online.
  • Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the College's Academic Integrity Policy (Links to an external site.)
  • Please speak up early and often – but appropriately and professionally, if there are questions or concerns. Everyone here has something to teach, and something to learn. That includes me.
  • This course has a final evaluation that consists of a final paper. College policy (Links to an external site.). T
  • Finally, please note that this class will require out-of-class  group meetings and activities, consistent with College policy. As English Department chair Glenn Steinberg tell his students, "When the College went through a curriculum revision several years ago, the vast majority of undergraduate courses were “transformed” from 3-credit to 4-credit (1-unit) learning experiences.  While many of the classes continued to meet for only 3 academic hours per week (typically 150 minutes on the TCNJ schedule grid), it was understood that the “transformed” courses offered a depth of learning with additional learning tasks unfolding in the equivalent of a fourth hour, including, sometimes, an actual additional hour of class interaction.  In this course, as the equivalent of the fourth hourthe students are assigned additional learning tasks that make the semester’s learning experience more deeply engaged and rigorous, and no other additional classroom space is needed."

Texts on reserve:

  • The Elements of Blogging: Expanding the Conversation of Journalism, Mark Leccese and Jerry Lanson, Focal Press, 2015
  • Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
  • Deadly spin. Wendell Potter

Online resources

 

Course Summary:

Date Details