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COM 300 - Writing in Communication (3 CREDITS) Spring 2016 Office Hours: By appointment Email: rkrichardson@wsu.edu MATERIALS & ...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

WEEKS 15 & 16 - SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

SUMMARY:

For our final two weeks of the semester, we will:
  • Learn about Writing a Consumer-Focused Newsletter
  • Learn about "Content Marketing" & Copywriting
  • Continue to review AP style
HOMEWORK:
  • Ad copy assignment due April 15
  • Final writing assignment due on Friday, April 29
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 20: "Journalism and Public Relations"

Newsletter Take Home Assignment

CREATING YOUR NEWSLETTER

Pick a brand or organization you admire and create an original newsletter that contains news and information that might be of interest to the anticipated target audience. Your newsletter should contain a headline, logo, product image(s), call-to-action button or link and at least three different promotional sections filled with editorial sales copy.

Here is an example of what a template might look like for the completed assignment:
To complete this assignment, you should use Wix's ShoutOut service. This is a free website and newsletter building tool that you can access at the following link:
Note: If you do not already have a Wix account, it will first require you to create a new account. Don't forget your username and password as you'll need it to complete this assignment.

Also, note that the free version of this service limits your ability to create and send only three newsletters per month. Thus, be aware of how often you exit, save and email your newsletter so that you don't exceed your limit on your free account.

 
 
To turn in the assignment, students will need to email me the completed newsletter by class on Friday, April 29. Use the "Send Test Email" feature to send me your completed email. In addition, you should print out a copy of your email and bring it to class to turn it in.

Creating a Newsletter Campaign


Many corporations use newsletters to communicate a combination of serious and/or feature news to their customer base. Newsletters can also be used to foster brand loyalty. While many people associate the newsletter format with old-fashioned print distribution, they may also be distributed electronically.

To write a good newsletter, you should consider your target audience. What types of editorial content will they find useful, interesting and informative? While there can be "sales"-like information in a newsletter, there should also be news that is considered valuable by the reader.

Here are some good examples of newsletters and other resources that might help you lock down a content strategy for your newsletter:




In-Class Exercise: Create a Sample Newsletter

In class today, we'll practice using the Wix tool to create a practice newsletter using existing image, video and text content assets.

Here is what your final product will look like:
To start, you'll need to download the elements found at the following Dropbox link:
Next, you'll need to sign up for (or login to your existing) Wix account to access the ShoutOut newsletter creation tool:
Once you are ready with the media assets and the account, you'll be ready to create your first newsletter in class during our training session!

After your newsletter is ready for review, you can use the "Preview" button to see what it will look like on both a desktop and mobile device. Don't forget to use the "Test Email" link to send yourself a test email -- so that you can see what it looks like within your email client. 

(Note: Some email clients, such as your WSU email, will block email images by default. You should be able to retrieve the full email by clicking on the warning link that reads: "To help protect your privacy, some content in this message has been blocked. If you're sure this message is from a trusted sender and you want to re-enable the blocked features, click here.").

Once you are happy with your newsletter, you can proceed to save and send it to yourself. Note that the free version of ShoutOut limts your total newsletter creations to three per month! After our training session, this will be reduced to two more...so be careful not to use up your allocation to complete the exercise.




Mastering Copywriting - Voices from the Pro Copywriters Network

Want to improve your copywriting?

The U.K.-based Pro Copywriters Network sponsors an annual conference that brings together experts in branding and copywriting. I've curated two of the best seminars from this recent conference for your review.

The first video features Dr. Jullian Ney, chief intelligence officer of research and insight at Disruptive Insight. Dr. Ney discusses "Storytelling from Social Intelligence":



The second video features noted influencer Bill Hilton, who has written professional copy for major corporations and authored several books. His presentation focuses on "The Psychology of Copywriting."



You can see even more seminar videos on the Pro Copywriters Network YouTube channel.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

All About Content Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute has created an excellent documentary "The Story of Content: Rise of New Marketing" that we will be watching in class.

This production shows copywriters and companies how to break through the clutter with compelling stories.

 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

WEEKS 13 & 14 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

SUMMARY:

For these weeks, we will:
  • Watch the award-winning documentary "Art & Copy"
  • Learn the basics of ad copywriting, including creation of headlines, sub-heads and call-to-action copy.
  • Learn about "value propositions"
  • Continue to review AP style
HOMEWORK:
  • Press release writing assignment - due April 1
  • Ad copy assignment due April 15
  • Read the following chapter:
    • 20: "Journalism and Public Relations"

Video: Art & Copy

Today in class, we'll watch the video "Art & Copy."


This film focuses on the work and wisdom of some of the most creative and influential advertising professionals in our time. Be inspired by the masters of persuasion who share the tips and tricks of their craft in this outstanding documentary.

Creating Good Value and Unique Selling Propositions

Are you familiar with the concept of a value proposition or unique selling proposition (USP) in advertising?

Per Wikipedia: 
The USP is a marketing concept first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern in successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. The USP states that such campaigns made unique propositions to customers that convinced them to switch brands. The term was developed by television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company.  Today, the term is used in other fields or just casually to refer to any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects.

These are clear statements that help consumers identify the unique and most appealing value of your product or service.

They explain:
  • How your product/service solves problems and/or improves a situation
  • What benefits can a consumer expect from use of and/or exposure to your product
  • Why is your product a better choice vs. your competitors?
Thus, writing a good value proposition or USP can be tricky unless you are clear on what your audience is looking for!

Some great resources and examples:
Can you think of an example value propositions for the following brands?
Remember: A value proposition or USP is NOT the same thing as a slogan! 

Advertising Assignment - Due April 15

Congratulations! Your agency is handling the advertising for a new restaurant!

Using the information provided in the link below, students will need to create an advertisement that includes art and copy (headline, sub-head, body of text) for presumed placement in The Seattle Times daily print newspaper.

For the artwork, you may use Photoshop or an electronic paint/photo program or simply cut-and-paste the ad together on paper using photos and printed text. There are several free image sources that you can use to procure your graphics, including Creative Commons Image Search.

As a disclaimer, please be aware that some of the best ads actually have very little copy! We'll review some examples in class. However, this exercise is about ad copywriting -- so we'll use a strategy that has at least a paragraph of supplemental ad copy to your design and layout.

As a supplement to your mock ad, you should also turn in separately a brief description (2-3 paragraphs) of your marketing challenge and strategy.

See the link below for the full assignment:

Writing Ad Copy

When writing ad copy for a print or web outlet, you'll want to consider how much space you have to work with. Your character count and copy length will be greatly determined by the design and layout of your ad.

In print, your copy typically includes the following:
  • Headline
    • A short, eye-catching burst of copy that usually is no more than one line 
    • In some cases, it may even be a fragment of a sentence or clever phrase 
  • Subhead (optional)
    • If room allows, this is a secondary headline that adds more context to the headline
  • Body of text 
    • This is longer explanatory text (if room allows)
  • Call-to-action
    • What do you want someone to do? Call a phone number? Visit a website?  Click a link for more information? 
Don't forget that the ad will also likely include a logo, product shot and/or other graphics and photos. How will the copy be positioned relative to the images? What about white space? Make sure your ad isn't too cluttered with images and text by ensuring that there is adequate white space to add "breathing room" for your design.

Related Link:

Creating Great Ad Copy

D&AD has assembled a few videos that will help you improve your writing:

First, we'll start with clarifying what a copywriter does:



Learn how to fine-tune your writing in under one minute:



Here are three award-winning examples of writing for advertising:


Examples of Ads (Print & Web)

Looking for inspiration? Check out these links to example print and web-based ads:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

WEEKS 9 & 10 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

SUMMARY:

For these weeks, we will:
  • Review the hard and feature news/press release format
  • Practice writing ledes for press releases
  • Discuss and identify problematic press releases
HOMEWORK:
  • Re-write of second story (optional) - due March 11
  • Complete your third writing assignment - due March 11
  • Press release writing assignment - due April 1
  • Read the following chapter:
    • 20: "Journalism and Public Relations"

News Release Assignment

NEWS RELEASE ASSIGNMENT

Using the information provided in class, please write an original news release about Women In Need Victim Services (WIN). For this assignment, you should also include an appropriate headline to accompany the actual release. If you feel it is helpful, you can also write a sub-headline (optional).

Please note that the handout might include more information than needed in the final release that you create. You are to use the provided information as source material, but do not cut-and-paste the information directly into the release as the wording must be your own. You will need to re-write the provided info and assemble it into a news release. Pay special attention to the lede, which should reflect the newsworthiness of the announcement so that the media will recognize the value of the release.

Want to use a formatted press release template?  Microsoft Word also has templates available. See this link for a few.

DEADLINE: April 1

WORD COUNT: Approximately 400 words



Problematic Press Releases

The links below represent two pages of a recent press release that was sent a few years ago by a real PR company. I was shocked to find that it contained at least one grammar and/or spelling error! It also has some AP Style problems. Proof read this release for any problems and tell me what you find!
So, what makes a BAD news release? CopyPress has rounded up eight ridiculous examples of press release fails. Take a look at these examples so that you don't make the same mistakes!
Here are some examples of problematic press releases cited in the above article:

Introduction to News Releases

Are you familiar with the news release format? PR practitioners typically issue a news release to journalists and other audiences when they have an announcement or significant news development for their client.



A good press release requires that you quickly and clearly communicate the news value of your company's announcement to the media outlets that you target.

Something to always consider: How will a journalist judge your release if they are very busy? Imagine that the recipient has dozens of press releases a day. How will your press release stand to be perceived as valuable by the journalist to the news beat that they cover?

NEWS LEDE

If your announcement is "hard news," then the traditional news lede approach may be appropriate. This means that the key W's should be present in the first sentence or two of your press release: who, what, when, where and (sometimes) why. Sound familiar? You might recall this approach from your journalism classes.

Some examples:

FEATURE LEDE

What if your news announcement is lightweight and/or fun? "Soft news" announcements that target columnists, magazines or feature-oriented publications may be better communicated through a more feature-style approach to your writing. This means that you can include playful, creative and/or descriptive details for your lede. You'll still need to convey important "news" near the lede -- but the first two sentences might not necessarily contain all the basic details. BE CAREFUL with this approach as you do run the risk of the release being perceived as frivolous by many journalists.

Some examples:

WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

In determining what style of lede to choose, consider the content and context. What type of info are you trying to communicate? What is the context in which it will be received? Which approach will be more likely to be successful considering the style of media outlet you are targeting? What is the NEWS VALUE (if any) of the announcement?


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

WEEKS 7 & 8 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

SUMMARY:

For these weeks, we will:
  • Continue to review and practice "summary ledes"
  • Review how to best integrate quotes and sourced information into our writing
  • Learn a bit about cultural sensitivities in language and writing
HOMEWORK:
  • Begin your third writing assignment (draft due March 4; final copy due March 11)
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
    • 7: Basic News Leads
    • 8: Alternative Leads
    • 9: The Body of a News Story
    • 10: Quotations and Attributions
    • 11: Interviewing
    • 17: Feature Writing

ASSIGNMENT: Feature or News Writing

For the third graded writing assignment, students can choose to do a NEW story in either the FEATURE or TRADITIONAL NEWS format. The same standards and criteria apply to this assignment as before. Please note that this third story does not have a re-write option.

First draft due Friday, March 4. 

Multicultural Awareness in Writing



It's time to "check yourself"! While most of us have no intention to discriminate against others, there may be times that your personal world view or experience differs from those of other communities. In fact, it isn't uncommon for some words to have very different meanings across various ethnic and/or cultural communities.

As a responsible communicator, it is important to be highly aware of the power of the words you choose in your writing. The lecture above exposes some common complications and challenges faced by writers as they construct their content in our (thankfully!) diverse world. For your reference, there are many helpful and informative multiculturalism reporting resources that are worth bookmarking and reviewing:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Quotations & Attributions in Writing



So, you've conducted your interviews for your story...but what's next?

How do you know what is worthy of quoting and including in your story? Also, what about attribution? Is there a proper way to give credit to a source that you interview in your reporting?

Additionally, are there times that it makes more sense to simply paraphrase information rather than quote your subject directly?

Answers to all of these questions and more can be found in the above presentation, which focuses on quotations and attributions in reporting.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

WEEKS 5 & 6 OVERVIEW: Summary Ledes & Organizing your News Story

SUMMARY:

For these weeks, we will:
  • Review and practice "summary ledes"
  • Review the "inverted pyramid" format
  • Learn tips and tricks in organizing the information in your traditional news story
  • Learn about the "hourglass" style of news reporting
HOMEWORK:
  • (Optional) If you choose to do a re-write of your personality profile, then please make sure to turn it in on Friday, Feb. 26
  • News story is due Friday, Feb. 19 for in-class peer editing. A final draft will be due by the next Friday, Feb. 26.
  • Third writing assignment due Friday, March 11.
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
    • 7: Basic News Leads
    • 8: Alternative Leads
    • 9: The Body of a News Story
    • 10: Quotations and Attributions
    • 11: Interviewing
    • 17: Feature Writing

Qualities of Good Writing -- Slides





Here are some links related to today's lecture:

Organizing Your News Story

Once you determine your story and conduct your interviews, you'll need to start assembling the structure of your news story. For traditional news reporting, there are some expectations on how you will organize and order the information in your story.

Most news stories use the "inverted pyramid," while a less-common approach is the hourglass reporting format.

Find out all about these newswriting styles and more in the presentation below.


Organizing A News Story 

Looking for an example of a traditional news story? 

Here is one from The New York Times:
Learn more tips and tricks on organizing your story:

The Hourglass Style



The hourglass style of writing is gaining acceptance in mainstream journalism. For a detailed explanation, visit this Web site:

The Hourglass: Serving the News, Serving the Reader

Here are some sample news stories with an "hourglass" structure:


About Summary Ledes


Examples of Summary Ledes


For your news story, you should use a summary lede. Here are some examples of strong summary news ledes.

British Police Arrest Nine on Terror Charge (from the Washington Post) - Use of "active" voice in the lede. 

F.D.A. Widens Safety Reviews on New Drugs (from New York Times) - use of active voice in lede; contextualizes relevance of news development (the "so what" factor)

The Five W's: Which Should Lead?

The same news story can be written numerous ways. The following are examples of different summary lead strategies for the same news story:

Emphasizing who:

Dave Benyl and Jim Conway are experts when it comes to broken cars, and they warn motorists to steer clear of highway construction zones.

Emphasizing what:

Until the $20 million construction project to improve Chandler Boulevard is completed, auto repair experts are advising motorists to find an alternative route.

Emphasizing where:

Chandler Boulevard from Kyrene Road to Dobson Road is not the place these days for motorists trying to avoid damage to their cars.

Emphasizing when:

The $20 million construction project to improve Chandler Boulevard will not be completed until June, and until then auto repair experts are advising motorists to steer clear.

Emphasizing why:

Because of all the nails, screws and bad bumps, auto repair experts are advising motorists to steer clear of Chandler Boulevard.

Emphasizing how:

The best way to avoid the bumps, screws and nails on Chandler Boulevard during the six-month construction project is to find an alternative route, auto repair experts say.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

WEEK 4 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW: News Stories

SUMMARY:

For this week, we will:
  • Learn about best practices in pitching a news story
  • Learn tips and tricks in organizing the information in your traditional news story
HOMEWORK:
  • Personality Profile (Written Assignment #1) due Friday, Feb. 5
  • Prepare three news story ideas
    • We will decide the story topic based on your pitch to the class. This will be the focus of your second writing assignment (draft due Friday, Feb. 19).
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
    • 7: Basic News Leads
    • 9: The Body of a News Story
    • 10: Quotations and Attributions
    • 11: Interviewing
    • 17: Feature Writing

What is Newsworthy?: Traditional Journalism Basics

What is it that a reporter should consider as newsworthy? In the following presentation, we explore the basic ingredients of news writing criteria.

ASSIGNMENT: Traditional News Story

Overview: Develop and apply news writing and reporting strategies and techniques, interpersonal communication skills, and writing skills that are critical for success in upper-division courses throughout the Murrow College.

Your Task: For the second writing assignment, we will explore the traditional news reporting format. Your task is to write a publication-ready news story using AP style guidelines. Remember that this is not an opinion or feature story -- so your personal opinions or biases should not be present in the story structure, source selection or word choices in your reporting.

Peer Edits Due Date: Friday, Feb. 19

Due Date: Friday, Feb. 26

Your Audience: Readers of a traditional daily print newspaper, such as The Seattle Times or The New York Times.

Minimum Length: 500 words

Secondary Sources & Interviews: Choose (and use in your story) TWO secondary sources. These sources should not be random -- make sure that they have some credibility, expertise and/or connectedness to the subject matter on which you are reporting! Citing other publications is not considered a source. Also, please avoid anonymous sources and try to avoid using friends or direct family members for your interview subjects. Please include the names and contact information for your sources when you turn in the final draft of the story.

 

IN CLASS ASSIGNMENT - Three pitches

Prepare three story ideas for a traditional news story. You will present these ideas to your classmates and the class will collectively decide which of your story ideas you will pursue (deadline for first draft: 2/19).

For each story idea, please flesh out the potential story in a "pitch" that you might make to your editor. Include background information and the anticipated angle of the story. Be sure to justify why the story is newsworthy.

In your story pitch, you should:
  • summarize the idea
  • explain why this story idea is worth doing (why it is newsworthy for your intended audience)
  • list at least two specific possible sources representing both sides of the issue
  • identify the specific media outlet it is intended for
The completed story should be about 500 words. It should use at least two human sources that are directly related to the story. Internet sources may be used to background your stories, but you should use LOCAL sources to comment on these materials.

Make sure that each story idea is ACHIEVABLE given your deadline and resources. In other words, don't attempt to interview President Obama (unless you have good connections in the White House).

Remember that you will actually be writing the story that is selected by your classmates!

Pitching News Stories

Got a good news story? You'll want to "pitch" it to your editors first. Here's the scoop on pitching your news story ideas...


Tips & Tricks: Story Pitches

Here are some tips & tricks on creating your pitches:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

WEEK 3 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW: Interviewing & Feature Story Reporting

SUMMARY:

For this week, we will:
  • Conduct peer edits and then revise our personality profile story
  • Review and discuss the art of "feature writing"
HOMEWORK:
  • Personality Profile (Written Assignment #1): Final copy due Friday, Feb. 5
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
    • 10: Quotations and Attributions
    • 11: Interviewing
    • 17: Feature Writing

Feature Writing


Feature Writing from Brett Atwood

EXAMPLES OF ARTICLES CITED IN THE PRESENTATION:
EXAMPLES OF STRONG FEATURE ARTICLES:

PERSONALITY PROFILES 
TREND STORIES
 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WEEK 2 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW: Interviewing Tips & Tricks/Feature & Personality Profile Writing

SUMMARY:

For this week, we will:
  • Learn the basics of feature writing and personality profile/biography writing
  • Write a personality profile story about another student
  • Polish our interviewing techniques
HOMEWORK:
  • Personality Profile (Written Assignment #1) is due on Friday, Jan. 29 (peer edit)
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
    • 10: Quotations and Attributions
    • 11: Interviewing
    • 17: Feature Writing

Personality Profile Assignment

Overview: Develop and apply interviewing strategies and techniques, interpersonal communication skills, and writing skills that are critical for success in upper-division courses throughout the Murrow College.

Your Task: For the first assignment, you will write a personality/feature profile of another student in the class. Focus on something unique or interesting about the individual (a hobby, accomplishment, habit, etc. -- not just where the person lives), and stick to it throughout the story. DO NOT give a person's life story; find a focus.

You'll need to interview the person you profile and two people who are appropriate secondary sources. Apply your curiosity and eye for detail, as well as your skills as a writer. Treat all your interviews, work and notes professionally.

Minimum requirements: 500 words (Times New Roman 12 point font, double-spaced)

Peer Edits Due Date: Friday, Jan. 29

Due Date: Friday, Feb. 5

Your Audience: Readers of the features section of a Sunday paper, either in the subject's hometown or in the local area, your choice.

Preliminary Memo to Features Editor: A typed memo about your profile person will be due prior to the story completion. It should include the following:
  • The full name of the person you will profile
  • The names and job descriptions/relationships of the two secondary sources who know the person you are profiling
  • What you think might be the focus of the piece
  • The locale of the newspaper; name the profile's hometown paper, size of its readership, and publication cycle
  • A few sentences justifying why your profile person deserves space in the features section of the Sunday paper.
Approach: In advance, draft some interview questions. Feel free to brainstorm questions with classmates. Consider:
  • Background information and context
  • Probes for interesting focus/issue, following up with related details to add depth
  • Rapport with the profile subject and secondary sources 
Secondary Sources & Interviews: Choose (and use in your story) TWO secondary sources. These folks must know the profile person well enough to answer questions in detail and provide interesting examples, background and context. Who could contribute a local angle or flavor in connection with the profile's focus? Think about who would make a good source. 

What Makes A Good Interview?

What Makes a Good Interview?

Well-known anchor and reporter Katie Couric has decades of interviewing experience via her various gigs on broadcast and web outlets. The video below has her take on how to conduct a good interview.

Good Interviewing Tips

As you prepare for your first interview, it might be helpful to have some tips and resources from the pros. Take a look at the following articles for hints and tips on what makes a good interview:

Special Ledes

Special Lede Examples

EXAMPLES OF "SPECIAL LEDES" FOR FEATURE NEWS STORIES:

NARRATIVE LEDE
CONTRAST LEDE
STACCATO LEDE
DIRECT-ADDRESS LEDE
QUESTION LEDE
QUOTE LEDE

Thursday, January 14, 2016

WEEK 1 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW: Course Introduction & Intro to Writing

SUMMARY:

For this week, we will:
  • Discuss and review the syllabus and course policies
  • Write one-page bio of yourself and share with the class
HOMEWORK:
  • One-page bio due next class
  • Read the following chapters:
    • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
    • 10: Quotations and Attributions

In-Class Assignment: One-page Biography

If someone gave you one sheet of paper to write about yourself, what would you share? Would you write differently if this were for a potential employer?

In the professional world, executive bios serve to "sell and tell" stories about who is running each company. To start off this semester, I'd like you to "sell and tell" me about yourself. Write a one-page (2-3 paragraph) biography in the third person that speaks to your accomplishments and aspirations.  If you feel it is appropriate, it is OK to add some personality into the bio. While not required, you'll see this in some of the examples below.

For inspiration, here are some examples pulled from the Internet:
RELATED LINKS:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Syllabus

COM 300 - Writing in Communication (3 CREDITS)

Spring 2016
Office Hours: By appointment
Email: rkrichardson@wsu.edu

MATERIALS & RESOURCES:
COURSE OVERVIEW:

Welcome to your first professional writing course in The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication! The course will provide you with the training and discipline necessary to succeed as a communication practitioner. It will also familiarize you with writing for a variety of communication professions, including advertising, broadcasting, print journalism, organization communication/business and public relations.

You will learn that accuracy and clarity are the hallmarks of good writing in any communication profession. Further, you will hone your ability to recognize the difference between image and reality and to develop a sound information sense. Such skills will make you more competitive for internships and jobs.

By the end of the semester, you will know how to select appropriate information, knit that information into relevant assignments, write with deadline pressure, utilize outside resources, conduct interviews and edit your work. 

It is hoped that this course will enable you to become an astute media consumer, as well as a critical contributor. Remember: College is your current job. You are developing attitudes and habits that will carry over to your professional life. At the end of the semester, evaluate yourself. Would an employer want to hire you as an intern?

My teaching mission is to share and propagate the standards and ethics held by this school’s namesake – Edward R. Murrow. It is my goal to help instill a set of core values, ethics and skills that will help to immunize content creators against the inevitable temptations present in this industry. In this industry, credibility is earned. One poor choice can destroy an entire career. For this reason, you will need to operate at the highest standards of truth, fairness, balance and accuracy.

Re-Writes:
You may be asked to rewrite an assignment for practice. Failure to rewrite assigned stories by the deadline may result in an F grade for that assignment.

COURSE LEARNING GOALS:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of appropriate communication industry principles, issues, social responsibilities, and objectives.
    • Specifics: Public perception and factual reality, basics of communication law and ethics; learn to engage specific audiences for specific purposes.
  • Develop the ability to evaluate information and issues.
    • Specifics: Use of news characteristics to determine news values; learn how these characteristics also influence public relations; learn to determine marketing challenges and unique selling propositions for advertising campaigns; learn to determine appropriate material for business letters.
  • Create communication print and broadcast products in appropriate communication industry and business formats.
    • Specifics:  Write news in print and broadcast formats; write press releases and public service announcements; develop advertising campaigns; write a business memo.


COURSE CURRICULUM MAPPING (Click to enlarge)




SELECT UNIVERSITY POLICIES


Copyright (2016) Robert Richardson.

This syllabus and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are my intellectual property and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes through commercial note taking services, without my written advance permission, could be viewed as copyright infringement and/or an academic integrity violation, WAC 504-26-010 (3)(a,b,c,i). Further, the use of University electronic resources (e.g., Blackboard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU’s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218), a violation of WSU’s Electronic Communication policy (EP 4), and also violates the terms of use for the Blackboard software program.

Discriminatory Conduct Statement

Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information).

Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.  (Visit oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info).

Academic Integrity Statement

Washington State University, a community dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, expects all Academic integrity will be strongly enforced in this course. Cheating is defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010(3). It is strongly recommended that you read and understand these definitions:  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010.

Violation of academic integrity on any assignment will involve (i) an academic penalty ranging from a minimum of both a zero on that assignment and the reduction of a full letter grade on your final grade to failure of the entire course, (ii) filing of case with the Office of Student Conduct, and per university regulations, (iii) inability to withdraw from the course.

More information regarding WSU policies can be found at: http://academicintegrity.wsu.edu/

Reasonable Accommodation Syllabus Statement

Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center.

Pullman, Everett or WSU Online: 509-335-3417  http://accesscenter.wsu.edu, Access.Center@wsu.edu
Spokane: http://spokane.wsu.edu/students/current/studentaffairs/disability/
Tri-Cities: http://www.tricity.wsu.edu/disability/
Vancouver: 360-546-9138 http://studentaffairs.vancouver.wsu.edu/student-resource-center/disability-services

Campus and Classroom Safety Statement

Classroom and campus safety are of paramount importance at Washington State University, and are the shared responsibility of the entire campus population.  WSU urges students to follow the “Alert, Assess, Act” protocol for all types of emergencies and the “Run, Hide, Fight” response for an active shooter incident. Remain ALERT (through direct observation or emergency notification), ASSESS your specific situation, and ACT in the most appropriate way to assure your own safety (and the safety of others if you are able).

Please sign up for emergency alerts on your account at MyWSU. For more information on this subject, campus safety, and related topics, please view the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight video and visit the WSU safety portal.

For the Everett campus, all students should also be enrolled in the local RAVE Emergency Alert system. If you are not already registered, please do so at: https://www.getrave.com/login/everettcc. You can also find Everett-specific emergency information at https://www.everettcc.edu/emergency/

First Week Class Attendance (Rule 72)

Students who do not attend class during the first week of the semester will likely be dropped from the course. Students with extenuating circumstances should notify the Office of Student Affairs.   Valid reasons for missing class do not relieve the student of their responsibility for that missed work.

Academic Regulations, Rule 34a

Students may only repeat a course graded C- or below one time at WSU during fall or spring semesters.  Additional repeats are allowed from another institution or at WSU during summer terms or by special permission of the academic unit offering the course.

SELECT COLLEGE & COURSE POLICIES

Incomplete Policy:
A grade of Incomplete WILL NOT be given without proof of extenuating circumstances. See Academic Regulations, 90h. Please consult with the instructor when difficulties arise. REMEMBER: Any story containing a misspelled name or other major error of fact may receive an AUTOMATIC F grade. Repeated errors drastically reduce your grade.

Attendance:
I expect a professional attitude. Attendance and promptness are mandatory, as they will be in the "real world." Tardiness of 10 minutes of more may be considered an absence. There are NO automatic extensions or makeups. If a family emergency or illness occur, notify me IN ADVANCE or no makeup. One is the limit, and it must be done during class. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Electronics:
Please keep your phones in your backpack during class time. Although we have access to computers in the classroom, please refrain from web browsing unless prompted by the instructor and/or it is related  to research for an assignment.

In-Class Video & Audio Recording Policy:

Students should not record audio or video of the instructor or other students in the classroom without first procuring permission or consent from all recorded subjects. Washington state is a "two-party consent" state that requires the consent of every party to a phone call or conversation in order to make the recording lawful. For more information on the legality of recording in the classroom, see: "Is it legal to record your teachers or professors?"

Course Assignments & Evaluation Criteria:


ItemPoints%
Written Assignment #1 1515
Written Assignment #2 1515
Written Assignment #3 1515
Written Assignment #4 1515
Written Assignment #5 1515
Written Assignment #6 1515
Participation1010


GradePointsGradePoints
A93 - 100%C73 - <77% (or below 77%)
A-90 - <93% (or below 93%)C-70 - <73% (or below 73%)
B+87 - <90% (or below 90%)D+67 - <70% (or below 70%)
B83 - <87% (or below 87%)D60 - <67% (or below 67%)
B-80 - <83% (or below 83%)F0 - <60% (or below 60%)
C+77 - <80% (or below 80%)

GRADES WILL BE BASED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

A, A - = The copy is EXCEPTIONALLY well-written, thorough and is FREE OF ERRORS in style and grammar. The lead is clear and concise. The copy is well-organized and contains effective transitions, quotations and descriptions. The copy is ready for publication or broadcast.

B+, B, B- = The copy is WELL-WRITTEN but may contain MINOR ERRORS in style and grammar. The lead is solid and summarizes the copy. Most of the information is presented clearly and according to proper writing style. It requires minimal editing for publication or broadcast.

C+, C, C- = The copy is POORLY WRITTEN and shows a lack of organization. The copy may have a rambling, vague lead and a poorly-constructed, awkward body. There may be an excess of style and grammar errors. The copy requires a good deal of editing.

D+, D = The copy shows very little organization or purpose. It contains many of the necessary facts, but they are so ineffectively presented that a major rewriting effort is needed to make the copy cohesive and meaningful. The copy has TOO MANY STYLE AND GRAMMAR ERRORS. It can be published or aired only after extensive editing and rewriting.

F = The copy is LIBELOUS, INCOMPLETE, CONFUSING OR HAS FACTUAL ERRORS. Style and grammar errors are found throughout. Correct writing is either missing or lost completely. It cannot be published or aired.

Note: A C grade (not C-) is necessary to pass each assignment and this course.









Writing Center

Need help with your writing mechanics? There is a free resource that you get as part of being a WSU student. We have an online writing center that is really helpful if you ever want an additional set of eyes on your writing for copyediting.

Check out eTutoring.org to connect with trained peer tutors that can help review and advise you on how to improve your writing skills. Typically, submitted writing to eTutoring is reviewed and responded to within 48 hours.

More information can be found at
http://universitycollege.wsu.edu/units/writingprogram/units/writingcenter/undergrad/eTutoring

What Grade Can I Expect? WHERE IS MY "A"???!!!!

I'm sure many students are wondering what to expect re: the grading formula and criteria. Per the syllabus, we have a fairly high standard for each writing assignment.

GRADES WILL BE BASED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

A, A - = The copy is EXCEPTIONALLY well-written, thorough and is FREE OF ERRORS in style and grammar. The lead is clear and concise. The copy is well-organized and contains effective transitions, quotations and descriptions. The copy is ready for publication or broadcast.

B+, B, B- = The copy is WELL-WRITTEN but may contain MINOR ERRORS in style and grammar. The lead is solid and summarizes the copy. Most of the information is presented clearly and according to proper writing style. It requires minimal editing for publication or broadcast.

C+, C, C- = The copy is POORLY WRITTEN and shows a lack of organization. The copy may have a rambling, vague lead and a poorly-constructed, awkward body. There may be an excess of style and grammar errors. The copy requires a good deal of editing.

D+, D = The copy shows very little organization or purpose. It contains many of the necessary facts, but they are so ineffectively presented that a major rewriting effort is needed to make the copy cohesive and meaningful. The copy has TOO MANY STYLE AND GRAMMAR ERRORS. It can be published or aired only after extensive editing and rewriting.

F = The copy is LIBELOUS, INCOMPLETE, CONFUSING OR HAS FACTUAL ERRORS. Style and grammar errors are found throughout. Correct writing is either missing or lost completely. It cannot be published or aired.

To add context to the above, it might be helpful to see the typical breakout of grading in this class. 

Spring 2015:  75% C or better; 25% drop or below C
Fall 2014:  73%; 23%
Spring 2014:  62%; 36%

For the spring 2015 semester (and the others, as well)  the peak of the curve was a C.

For example, here is the complete breakout of grades across all sections of COM 300 at WSU for the Spring 2015 semester:
A                             0
A-                           1
B+                           1
B                             4
B-                            25
C+                           45
C                             55
C-                            11
D+                          8
D                             3
F                              1
Drops                    20