Welcome to JEM 200 – Media Writing


JEM 200 Media Writing is the first professional course in the curriculum of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee.

In this course, students are introduced to writing for the media — a basic skill that is common to all forms of media. Students should also gain an understanding of news and information and the important role that they play in society. Journalists are those professionally entrusted with offering our society information that is accurate and credible and doing so in a timely fashion. This task cannot be duplicated by any group in society.

This course emphasizes professional skills, attitude and demeanor. Students are expected to acquire and display all three. They should take their work seriously. The should work honestly and with a sense of integrity. They should attend all lab and lecture meetings, and they should be on time. All of these things have high value in the world of professional journalism, and students should have the intelligence and maturity to understand and develop these habits and characteristics.


Students in any university course are expected to do three things: prepare, attend and engage.

Those who cannot or choose not to do these things in this course will not be successful.

Students are given ample opportunity to prepare themselves for all phases of this course, particularly the lecture section. Lecture notes are posted on this website, and those notes should be reviewed before attending the lecture.

Lecture attendance is expected of all JEM 200 students. We have specific attendance policies that you should be aware of. They are spelled out on the attendance page. You are also required to fill out and submit a form on that page showing that you have read and understood these policies.

Even though the lecture may have as many as 150 people in attendance, that does not preclude engagement. Students are certainly welcome to ask questions or express opinions to the entire class at any time during the lecture period. Even when they do not choose to do this, they should be constantly questioning what is being said and trying to analyze the principles, skills and concepts that are being discussed.

Students should bring a laptop, tablet or cellphone to lecture — something with which they can connect to the Internet. The device should be fully charged and in working order. These devices are necessary for taking attendance and recording feedback.


Students are strongly encouraged to tweet the lecture. They should use the hashtag #jem200. The tweets from the lecture should be public. A student who does not wish to use his or her regular Twitter account should establish another account just for sending the JEM 200 tweets.

Why tweet the lecture? Take a look at this article on JPROF.com. It’s written for instructors, but it will give you some insight as to why tweeting the lecture is a good idea.

The texts

WFMM9-coverThe texts for this course are Writing for the Mass Media (9th edition, 2015) and the AP Stylebook. You should purchase these books and bring them to your lab sections; you will not need to bring them to the lecture. If you would like to order Writing for the Mass Media from Amazon, click on the image to the right.

You are also required to purchase Photojournalism: Telling Stories with Pictures and Words for this course. This book is part of the Tennessee Journalism Series, a set of books produced with the idea of “multimedia first.” That is, the iPad editions of the books contain not only text and photos but also audio, video, picture galleries and other multimedia elements. It is highly recommended that if you have an iPad, you should buy the iPad edition of this book. (This link takes you to the iTunes page for the book.) If you do not have an iPad, the book is also available for the Kindle and in a print form. This book is not available in any bookstore; it can only be purchased online.

The Tennessee Journalist (TNJN.com)

The Tennessee Journalist is the student-operated news web site of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. It is part of the curriculum of the School, and any course in the School may use TNJN as it sees fit. Posting decisions are made by the student staff of the site. T


News is information that is timely, interesting and significant. The information has to be in a form appropriate for the medium in which it is carried. To be able to produce news, a journalist must be able to report and to write.

Video introduction to JEM 200

Introduction to JEM 200 from Jim Stovall on Vimeo.

This is a video introduction to JEM 200 Introduction to media writing, a journalism course at the University of Tennessee. The video tells a little about what is covered in the course and what instructors try to teach.

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