COMM 240C: Student Media: Senior Staff

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2023
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 90
Lecture Hours : 36
Lab Hours: 54
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 72
Prerequisite: COMM 240A.
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: No
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

Advanced level lecture/laboratory journalism course that produces the Clarion, the college's student media website. Senior staffers learn and put into practice the "watchdog" function of journalism. Working in teams, and in collaboration with the other student publications classes, senior staffers produce in-depth, investigative and enterprise story packages that may include a main article, sidebars, photos, charts and graphs, and/or illustrations for publication. 36 lecture hours, 54 lab hours.

Course Objectives

  • Senior staff members identify important issues for in-depth investigative and enterprise stories.
  • Advanced-level student journalists work collaboratively to produce in-depth investigative and enterprise story packages for publication.
  • Advanced journalism students demonstrate computer-assisted research and photojournalism skill sets while investigating controversial issues and interviewing people who impact community college life.
  • Senior staff members research and gather verifiable facts, information and authoritative quotations in reporting and writing in-depth investigative and enterprise stories that are told truthfully, accurately, fairly, and with balance.
  • Senior staff members learn to respond courteously and in good faith to readers/viewers/listeners to correct factual mistakes and/or omissions in order to set the record straight.

Major Course Content

  1. Organizational structure of the Multimedia Newsroom
    1. Role of faculty advisers, lab supervisors, and student editors
    2. Duties and responsibilities of senior staff members
    3. Publication schedule and deadlines for print and online publications
    4. Procedures and policies: Student Media Staff Manual
  2. Student journalists' rights and risks
    1. Watchdog function:  in-depth newswriting; investigative journalism; enterprise story 
    2. Covering community colleges: scope, mission, governing boards
    3. Prior restraint: student publications and broadcasts
    4. Covering government, politics, public affairs; public agencies
    5. Covering local law enforcement and courts
    6. Office of Campus Safety; Education Code #67380 (timely access to campus crime information, ie, within 48 hours of request)
    7. News room searches
    8. Jeanne Clery Act; Federal Education Records Privacy Act (FERPA)
    9. California Code Section 409.5: Journalists access to yellow-tape areas
    10. Shield laws
    11. Open meetings: Ralph M. Brown Act (California)
    12. Open records: Freedom of Information Act (federal); California Open Records Act (Bagley-Keene)
  3. Planning the in-depth story package
    1. Campus investigations and enterprise news reports
    2. Team assignments and production timeline
    3. Research methods: computer-assisted reporting
    4. Sources: authorities; public records; data and statistics
    5. Sidebar options: photojournalism, multimedia, graphics and art
  4. Principles and practice of media law and ethics
    1. Service to the public: truth, accuracy, fairness and balance
    2. California Newspaper Publishers Association
    3. First Amendment coalition
    4. Code of Ethics:  Associated Collegiate Press

Lab Content

  1. Advanced guided practice for writing for student publications.
  2. Advanced guided practice in photo composition, cropping and caption writing.
  3. Advanced guided practice in photo illustration and infographics.

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Read professional newspapers, news magazines and news website.

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

News stories, features, sports, arts and entertainment, profiles, opinion and editorial for student media.

Examples of Outside Assignments

Textbook readings and exercises. Covering news events relating to Citrus College. Attending student journalism conferences.

Instruction Type(s)

Lab, Lecture, Online Education Lab, Online Education Lecture