Journalism 100 syllabus: University of Alabama

May 20, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: teaching journalism.

Journalism 100

Overview | Goals | Teaching and learning philosophy |
Required texts | Quizzes | Other assignments | Grading |
Missed quizzes policy | WebCT | Reading the newspaper |
Attendance | Honesty | Students with disabilities | Schedule

JN 100-002
Introduction to Journalism

Spring 2005
Instructor: George L. Daniels, Ph.D.


As the prerequisite for all classes in the journalism department, this survey course introduces students to the concepts, processes, and practices of journalism. Students will be challenged to think how journalists think, learn what journalists do and see what they themselves will be experiencing as journalism majors. This freshman-level course also reinforces basic college study skills and introduces some of the software tools used to produce news products.


1. Students will develop a conceptual understanding of what journalism is and what it isn’t

2. Through readings, lectures and an independent book review assignment, students will become acquainted the evolution of journalism as a profession and some who work in the profession

3. Students will become familiar with the technological tools of the 21st century journalist including the most common software packages used in reporting, writing, editing and production.

4. Based on exchanges with journalism students and faculty, students in the course will gain an understanding of what to expect as a journalism major at the University of Alabama educationally, socially and professionally

5. By the end of the course, students will demonstrate a readiness for journalism study and ability to operate in a team setting by participating in a “capstone” assignment that involves news writing, editing, and design and presentation of the product to classmates.

Teaching and Learning Philosophy

As the student, you are responsible for your own learning. By planning the course schedule and course activities and developing the course assignments, the instructor in this class is simply the facilitator. If at any time, your learning is hindered by a lack of clarity or understanding of course material or expectations, it is your responsibility to speak up. The instructor is ALWAYS ready and willing to help. But, you have to ask.

Required Texts

Stovall, J.G. (2005). Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Semester subscription to The Tuscaloosa News. Price $8.00 (Checks Payable to George L. Daniels). ALL CHECKS OR CASH MUST BE SUBMITTED BY NO LATER THAN Friday, Jan. 28


In this course, quizzes are not tests and NOT exams. By covering only two to three weeks worth of course material, they are designed to promote REGULAR, DAILY reading, study and review of course concepts. Secondly, they ALWAYS include current events of local, state, national and international importance. Preparation for quizzes begins with preparing each day’s assigned readings BEFORE class. It continues after class as you review notes and readings TOGETHER. Assume all readings, lectures, and key points of guest speakers and facilitators are FAIR GAME for quizzes. Typically, a quiz will have between 10 and 20 items, mostly of an objective nature (multiple choice, True-False, Matching). Some short-answer or essay items may also be included.

Other Assignments

Quizzes are only one measure of your knowledge and understanding of course concepts. Two other assignments– a journalism book report and a final project — are explained in greater detail on separate assignment sheets that can be downloaded from WebCT. Periodically, you will be asked to complete written assignments in class. These must be completed during class time and CANNOT be MADE UP. Computer malfunctions and other calamities are common and should be anticipated. That means completing major assignments AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. In this class, LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.


Grades in this course will be based on the following grading scale:

98-100 A+
92-97 A
90-91 A-
88-89 B+
82-87 B
80-81 B-
78-79 C+
72-77 C
70-71 C-
68-69 D+
62-67 D
60-61 D-
Below 60 F

Here’s how the points awarded for each element of the final grade will be weighted:

Quiz 1 5%

Quiz 2 5%

Quiz 3 10%

Quiz 4 10%

Quiz 5 10%

Final Exam 20%

Journalism Book Report 10%

Classroom Assignments 10%

Team Project & Presentation 10%

Attendance 10%

Missed Quizzes Policy

If you miss one of the quizzes, you will not be permitted to make it up except in the following circumstances:

1) You have contacted the instructor AND discussed your reasons for missing the quiz by the day of the quiz and have received permission to make-up the quiz. In such an instance, students will usually be required to take the quiz EARLY and sign a statement not to discuss its contents with members of the class. Leaving a message on voicemail or sending an e-mail message to the instructor DOES NOT constitute discussing the situation with the instructor and receiving permission to do a make-up. PLEASE NOTE, REQUESTS for make-up quizzes are not automatically granted.

2) A make-up will be given without prior permission in the following circumstances:

You provide official documentation that you were either an in-patient in a hospital or were being treated in the emergency room of a major medical facility such as DCH Medical Center during the TIME OF THE QUIZ. NOTE: Admission slips from the University of Alabama Health Center WILL NOT BE AUTOMATICALLY ACCEPTED as bona fide excuses for missing quizzes.

3) You provide official documentation that a member of your immediate family died or was admitted to the hospital on an emergency basis no more than 24 hours prior to the scheduled quiz time. “Immediate family” is defined as a parent, sibling, spouse or child. It does NOT include grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles. “Official documentation” consists of a letter written on hospital or doctor’s office letterhead or admissions paperwork signed and dated by hospital personnel that states that you, or a member of your immediate family, were medically incapacitated within 24 hours of the scheduled quiz and were under treatment during that time. Such documentation may also include a death notice or obituary printed in a local newspaper, a funeral or memorial services program, or a letter written on the letterhead of the company that handled burial arrangements for your family stating the date, time, and location of the services. Notes from your parents WILL NOT ARE ACCEPTED as official documentation.

FINAL NOTE: Makeup quizzes may be significantly different in style and format from the one given at the scheduled time of the quiz.

This is a Web-assisted course!

All students are required to use WebCT ( to obtain some course resources, communicate and monitor individual progress. Students are EXPECTED to check WebCT e-mail prior to EACH class meeting. Announcements via WebCT e-mail are considered official communication. Additionally, WebCT will be used for designated online discussion days.

Reading the Newspaper

Reading the newspaper is one of the BEST ways to learn about journalism and what journalists do. On most days, students will use a copy of The Tuscaloosa News to discuss various concepts in journalism writing style as well as current events. Students who subscribe to the Tuscaloosa News at home are not required

Attendance Policy

Showing up for class each morning is just like showing up for work. It is each student’s responsibility to sign the attendance roster each day. After two FREE absences (meaning, they don’t count against your final grade), attendance constitutes 10% or 10 POINTS in your final grade. Students are encouraged to save those “free absences” for family emergencies or unforeseen events. There are NO EXCUSED absences in this course.


Cheating, plagiarism and falsification represent violations of the fundamental ethic that underlies communication and information profession. Information is expected to be as complete, accurate, fair and original as it is possible for the communication professional to make it. Full credit or attribution will be made for any information or insight that did not originate with the author. Any evidence that this ethic has been violated will be turned over to the university for appropriate action. Except for team assignments, where collaboration is required, all assignments should be completed independently.

Notice for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who need special consideration should inform the instructor and contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 348-4285. This should be done no later than the second class meeting so that there is ample time for arrangements to be made. Additionally, any student who needs this syllabus and/or other materials made available to him/her in a format other than a standard printed format—such as Braille or on tape—should also inform the instructor.

Tentative Class Schedule, Readings,
and Assignment Due Dates***

Week 1: Jan 5-7

Topics: Introduction to Course, Getting to Know Your Newspaper, Introduction to Journalism & News
Reading Assignments: No Assigned Readings
THIS WEEK—Students Should Purchase Textbook from Bookstore
Assignment Due, Jan. 5 Student Profile Sheet with Mug shot

Week 2: Jan. 10-14

Topics: What is Journalism For?; What Is It Like to Be a Journalist?
What’s it Like to be Journalism Major?
Reading Assignments: Chapter 1 “News and Society”

Week 3: Jan. 17-21

Topics: History of Journalism
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 20 “Beginnings of Journalism”
Chapter 21 “Journalism Comes of Age”
Chapter 22 “News Realities, New Journalism”
Jan. 17: Martin Luther King Day. No Class.

Week 4: Jan. 24-28

Topics: History of Alabama Newspapers and Newspaper Industry
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 4 “Newspapers”
Jan. 24: JOINT CLASS with JN 100-001 in Phifer Hall 216
Jan. 26: QUIZ I
Jan. 28: Class Meets at Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library ; Deadline for Tuscaloosa News money

Week 5: Jan. 31-Feb. 4

Topics: The Culture of Journalism; Newsroom Structure and Routines Reading Assignments:
Chapter 2 “The Culture of Journalism”
Chapter 12 “Editors”
ASSIGNMENT DUE Feb. 2: Name of book for Journalism Book Report

Week 6: Feb. 7-11

Topics: Reporting and News Gathering
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 8 “Reporters”
Chapter 9 “Reporting”
Feb. 9: QUIZ 2
ASSIGNMENT DUE Feb. 11: Journalism Book Report by 9 a.m.

Week 7: Feb. 14-18

Topics: News Writing
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 10 “Writing News and Features”
Feb. 14: Online Discussion ONLY- No Formal Class
Feb. 16: JOINT CLASS with JN 100- 001 in Phifer Hall 216

NOTE: Midterm grades posted on WebCT by noon on February 16

Week 8: Feb.21-25

Topics: News Writing; Feature Writing
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 10 “Writing News and Features”

Week 9: Feb. 28-March 4

Topics: Writing on Deadline; Editorial Writing; Sports Writing
Reading Assignments: TBA
March 4: QUIZ 3

Week 10: March 7-11

Topics: Your Future as a Journalism Major; Editing Roles; Associated Press Style
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 13 “Editing and Headline Writing”
Chapter 11 “Style”

Week 11: March 14-18

Topics: Page Design; Visual Journalism and the Visual Journalism Track Reading Assignments:
Chapter 17 “Publication and Web Site Design”
Chapter 14 “Visual Journalists”
NOTE: March 16 is the last day you can withdraw from courses without a failing grade

Week 12: March 21-25

Topics: Graphics Journalism
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 15 “Graphics Journalism”
March 23: QUIZ 4
March 25: Online Discussion ONLY- No Formal Class

March 28-April 1: Spring Break.

Week 13: April 4-April 8
Topics: Photojournalism; Broadcast Journalism
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 16 “Photojournalism”
Chapter 18 “Broadcast Journalists”
April 8: Lab Day for Discussion Groups 1 and 2; Online Discussion Groups 3 and 4

Week 14: April 11-15

Topics: Multimedia Journalism/Convergence; Journalism Issues & Ethics
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 25 “Ethical Practices”
Chapter 26 “Journalism: Present and Future”
April 15: Lab Day for Discussion Group 3 and 4; Online Discussion Groups 1 and 2

Week 15: April 18-22

Topics: Legal issues in Journalism; Journalism Career Paths
Reading Assignments:
Chapter 24 “Law and the Journalist”
Chapter 3 “Becoming a Journalist”
April 22: Quiz 5
Assignment Due, April 22 All Team Projects Submitted by 9 a.m.

Week 16: April 25-29

Topics: Team Project Presentations

Week 17: May 2-6: FINALS WEEK

Final Exam: Friday, May 6: 8-10:30 a.m., Phifer Hall, Room 327


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