REAL STORIES: The Art and Craft of Journalism

ENGL 2600-01/ 2601-01/4600-02

Fall 2012


Course Title: Real Stories: The Art and Craft of Journalism

Course Time: Wednesdays, 9:15 am-12:15 am

Course Location: Benildus 100/101


Julia Goldberg, Office hours: Tuesdays: 9:45-10:45 a.m. or by appointment BEN 219

Email: Emails will be responded to within 24 hours.


The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm

Telling True Stories Harvard University Press (TTS in syllabus)

News Reporting and Writing Missouri Press (NRW in syllabus)

Additional readings as provided by the instructor

You should bring a writing utensil and a notebook to every class.



This course will examine journalism as a craft, vocation and historical institution. Areas of study will include: the laws and ethics related to professional writing; the craft and technical tools associated with newspaper and magazine writing; and critical thinking and analysis of news and arts writing. Students will both evaluate published journalism, as well as produce stories. The course will include guest visits from working journalists and opportunities for publication.



A: 100% – 90%

B: 89% – 80%

C: 79% – 70%

D: 69% – 60%

F: Below 60%




100% class attendance is required and is critically important to faculty and your peers.  More than 1 absence (unexcused or excused) may adversely affect your grade.  More than 3 absences can result in not receiving credit for the course.  Tardiness is unacceptable and may also result in a lowering of your final grade.  Students are responsible for attending every class in a timely manner.

Consequences for absences are determined by individual departments and are stated in course syllabi.

Exceptional circumstances such as serious illness, family/religious obligations, university sponsored activities and professional opportunities may arise. In the event that this happens students are responsible for alerting the instructor in advance of the arranged absence. At this time a contract between instructor and student may be created, outlining how and when missed assignments will be turned in. The instructor ultimately decides if there is a penalty, and their decision is final.

The Policy for Real Stories is as follows:

  • You are allowed one absence this semester. Each absence thereafter will result in a letter grade deduction of your final grade. At three absences, it will be very difficult for you to pass the class, and I will recommend that you withdraw.

Late Assignments

Late work will be penalized 10% per day (with the “late clock” beginning at class time rather than the end of the workday), for four days, at which point the work will not be accepted.

Outside Publication Policy

Several of this semester’s assignments will be eligible for publication with participating organizations. Completion of the assignment does not guarantee publication, which will ultimately be decided by the guest editors visiting the course. Failure to adhere to set deadlines and make requested revisions will disqualify work for consideration for publication, as well as impact grades as outlined in this syllabus.


Electronic Devices

Cell phones, MP3 players, and other personal communication or entertainment devices are to be silenced or turned off, and not used or displayed during the class period.


Accommodating Special Needs

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Santa Fe University of Art and Design makes every effort to provide appropriate accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  Students may receive these accommodations if they contact their professor and register with Emily Powell, Director Academic Advising and Resource Center: 505-473-6570.


Ethics/Academic Integrity

Students are expected to exhibit academic honesty in the completion of all course assignments, exams, and activities. Cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Incidences of academic dishonesty will be dealt with according to the Santa Fe University of Art and Design college policy on academic integrity.


Emergency Class Cancellation

If an emergency arises in which class must be cancelled, a note will be posted on the classroom door informing students of the cancellation and related information. If a cancellation notice is not posted, students are expected to remain in the classroom until dismissed by a college representative. In the event of severe weather, students should call the campus weather phone (505-473-6533 begin_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting) in order to receive specific information about the nature of the delay or closure. Students are also encouraged to listen to local radio/television announcements for information or check the Santa Fe University website:

If the college is open, students are expected to attend class.


Typing/Format of Assignments

  • Critical writing assignments must be typed following standard formatting practices for college writing use a readable type style (12 point type), indent paragraphs, double space between lines, and use one inch margins.  MLA format and style conventions should be followed for all written assignments (essays and responses).
  • Before handing in written assignments, edit and proofread your work carefully.
  • Each assignment should have your name, the course number, the date, and instructor name on separate lines (double-spaced) in the upper left corner of the fist page.  If the paper has a title, center it on the first page, after the above information.
  • Use page numbers and place them in the upper right corner of the page. If you are uncertain how to have word processing software generate the correct page number in the header of your document, consult the computer lab.
  • For more information on MLA format and style conventions, see The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the appropriate section of a recent (published after 2007) writer’s handbook, or one of the many reputable online sources.
  • Journalism assignments should adhere to the AP style requirements that will be reviewed in this class. Journalism assignments do not require MLA style and conventions, such as cover sheets.


News critiques: 50 points

Article #1 for plus revisions: 200 points

Article #2 for Santa Fe Reporter plus revisions: 200 points

Article #3 for Site Santa Fe plus revisions: 200 points

Journalism response pieces and other writing and in-class assignments: 150 points

Mid-term: In-class exam, which will include AP style questions: 100 points

Final paper: 100 points

Total Points: 1,000



(All assignments are subject to change, and will be reviewed in each class)

August 29: Introduction to class

Sept. 5: During class: Field trip to RE:MIKE and OMEGA Mart

For class:

Read Chapter 4, “Interviewing” in NRW; TTS, Part 2, the introduction, plus: “To Tape or Not to Tape?”, “Interviewing: Accelerated Intimacy,” “Field Notes to Full Draft.”

Write: Pick any of the short essays in Part 2 of TTS, Finding, Researching and Reporting Topics. Write a one-page response to this essay that includes the questions, ideas and reactions you have to the writer’s piece. This is a response piece, and also will allow me to take a look at your writing. It is due in class.

Prepare: Review the following websites in advance of our field trip:,,, Use these websites to also research these organizations and their projects. Prepare for our field trip: five open-ended questions/ five close-ended questions.

Sept. 12:

During class: Guest speaker Todd Lopez from and discussion of assignments

For class:

Read: NRW, Chapter 5, “Handling Quotations and Attributions.”

Prepare: First news critique group: Bring a news article of sufficient length for examination to class and critique it for issues of quotation. Are there direct quotes that would have been better summarized? Visa versa.

Write: Your story based on the field trip to Omega Mart and RE:Mike; pay special attention to your use of quotes.

Review: The website in advance of Todd Lopez’s visit. Prepare questions for Todd and familiarize yourself with the site.

Sept. 19: During class: We will do an in-class research-on-deadline quiz. If you would like, you can bring an laptop. Otherwise, you will be able to complete your assignment in the computer lab in BEN.

Read: NRW, Chapter 6, “Gathering and Verifying Information.” TTS: Part 3, the introduction, plus: “The Ladder of Abstraction,” “Profiles,” “Every Profile is an Epic Story,” and “Narrative Investigative Writing.”

Prepare: News Critique Group, #2: Evaluate a story for its news-gathering and information. Consider what is missing. Make a list of the obvious sources that were used to develop the stories, and come up with a list of missing sources that would have improved the story.

Provide: In-class initial drafting and ideas for your story, including potential sources and research.

Sept. 26: During class: Bring a rough draft of your story to class for peer review and editing. Please also bring the piece in electronic format so that you can work on editing and making corrections during class time. * Please keep in mind that some of your assignments may be due earlier, depending on when and what is assigned by Todd.

Oct.  3: During class: Guest speaker Alexa Schirtzinger from Santa Fe Reporter; discussion of SFR assignments

For class: News critique #3: Find a significant story about the 2012 elections; evaluate it for its storytelling and structure, based on this week’s NRW readings.

For class: Prepare one or several pitches for Alexa for your election/politics-related story. These can be verbal pitches.

Read: NRW: Chapters 9 and 11, “The Inverted Pyramid” and “Alternatives to the Inverted Pyramid.” Read TTS: Part 11, “Finding Good Topics: A Writer’s Questions” and “Finding Good Topics: An Editor’s Questions.”

Oct. 10: Read: NRW, Chapter 10, “Writing to be Read.”

Review: The accompanying exercises for Chapter 10 in the NRW workbook (handout). We will work on these in class so familiarize yourself with them.

Prepare: Critique #4:  Find a story that breaks strict journalistic structure and is more alternative. Evaluate it for its risk-taking/structural innovation.

Prepare rough draft ideas/sources/questions for your SFR piece. We will have in-class writing time to work on writing these.

Oct. 17: To prepare for Mid-term: Review in NRW, Appendix 1 and 2,” Twenty Common Errors of Grammar and Punctuation” and “Wire-Service Style Summary.”

In-class: Midterm quiz plus SFR stories due. You will be allowed to use the Appendixes for your mid-term quiz.

Oct. 24:

Read TTS Part VII, “Editing.”

Prepare: News critique #5: Wild card: You decide which elements of craft/newsgathering to critique, or synthesize several.

In class: Catch our breaths: Journalism Movie Watching (we’ll vote on what movie).

Oct.  31: Adventures in Multi-Media.

For class: Bring to class one example of interesting (to you) multi-media journalism to share with the class (via the internet)

Read: NRW: Chapter 2, The Changing Media Landscape

Review: Knight Digital Media

Nov. 7: Guest speaker Joanne LeFrak, Site Santa Fe and discussion of Site Santa Fe gallery guide assignments

Nov. 14: Field trip to Site Santa Fe

Nov. 21: Thanksgiving Eve; no class

Nov. 28: Public information segment. In class: Guest speaker Gwyneth Doland, executive director for the Foundation for Open Government

Review: Handouts on NM open government laws. Review:

Due in class: SITE Santa Fe articles

Dec. 5:

In class: Seminar on The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm

Read: The Journalist and The Murderer by Janet Malcolm; Read NRW, Part 7, Media Law and Ethics.

Dec. 12: Finals due