COMM 101: Reporting and Writing News

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2021
Credits: 3
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: No
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

An introduction to defining, gathering, and writing the news. Stresses accuracy, objectivity, fairness, and balance. Practice in interviewing techniques, following rules of professional style, and writing basic news story structures for print, broadcast and online publications. Discussion of issues involving press rights and responsibilities, cultural sensitivity, taste, libel, and ethics. Required of all communication and journalism majors. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • Write a hard news story under deadline with accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Develop a keen sense of ethics with regard to news reporting and be able to demonstrate and ethical viewpoint in news products.
  • Write a soft news story under deadline with accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Demonstrate the subtleties and differences in writing for different media.

Major Course Content

  1. Introduction to Definitions of News Values and Journalistic Terms
  2. Explication of the News Concepts, Freedom of the Press, Responsibilities of the Press, and the Public’s Right to Know
  3. The Qualities of the News
  4. The Evaluation and Selection of News Stories
  5. Copy reading Symbols and Techniques; Copy Preparation Requirements using a computer.
  6. Publication Style
  7. The Form and Organization of News Stories
  8. Leads: Design and Content
  9. Handling Attribution
  10. Reporting Speeches
  11. Reporting Meetings
  12. Interviewing Techniques
  13. Feature Stories

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Assignments provided by instructor. Research for news stories students complete on their own. Newspaper or online news source.

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Take the following facts and create a 1-3 paragraph news story using the inverted pyramid:
A train crashed near the town of Brainerd, Minnesota The monetary loss is estimated at $6 million The cargo was headed for a zoo in Milwaukee It was snowing Officials are still investigating the cause This happened yesterday evening Among other cargo, the train was carrying 35 crocodiles. Brainerd has a population of 5,000 6 crocodiles have been caught. Officials recommend the people of Brainerd keep thier small animals inside as a precautionary measure. 8 crocodiles were found dead presumably of exposure. Other cargo lost included 65 new cars 8 tons of grain and a tanker of milk.

Examples of Outside Assignments

Interview a Citrus College employee with a focus on finding and featuring a Citrus angle. I will be looking for your ability to:
Maintain and emphasize a focus Use fair and accurate reporting practices Good use of grammar, spelling and quoting techniques Format your work correctly for publication
This does not have to be a long assignment -- a page or two is fine. The biggest mistake people make is that they don't stick to a focus and the story is like a list of interesting and uninteresting trivia about the person. If you find the Citrus angle, make sure you stick to it.
Or another example: Read chapter 3 and be prepared for a quiz Thursday.

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture