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John Hatcher

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News Editing
Fall 2010


Editing: Tentative schedule
* This will change and evolve with the semester, but this will at least give you a proposed roadmap for the course. I send you updated versions as it changes.


In class

(Deadlines and assignments due at the start of class. Late work not accepted.)
- Come to every class prepared for a current events/AP style quiz

Tuesday, 9/7

Review the syllabus


Note: Come visit me and say hello within first two weeks of semester.

Thursday, 9/9

Corrections, crediblity and ethics

Review of reading

- A career as a fact checker
- Mistakes happen
- A case study of one correction
- A checklist for fact checking

In class assignment: A test of checklists and Strategy 46. We will go through the corrections in today's New York Times to see if they are ones that appear on the "corrections of routine information" and also if a checklist would have made a difference.

- What's your credo?

Think Like An Editor Strategies: 1, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50

Assign: Visit Grammar Girl's grammar tips and read through Strategies 23 and 25 and decide which three grammar rules are the ones you find most challenging. There are several web pages worth of tips so you'll want to spend some time going through this carefully.

Tuesday, 9/14

Start copy editing unit

Begin grammar review by sharing grammar rules that pose challenges and looking at examples.

Grammar myths

Deadline: Come prepared to discuss which grammar tips you found most useful, most confusing. Post your top three grammatical challenges here. (3 points)

Think Like An Editor Strategies:23, 25

Thursday, 9/16

Five minutes with the Statesman

Do checklists work? A recap.

Grammar, continued

Continue to add to our grammar study guide

Continue to review grammar using Think Like An Editor, Grammar Girl, and AP Stylebook

Quiz No. 1 on grammar items covered so far. Quiz is open book, open notes but must be finished in alloted time.

Tuesday, 9/21


Deadline: Come prepared to discuss which punctuation tips you found most useful, most confusing

Think Like An Editor Strategies: 27

AP Stylebook: Section on punctuation

Thursday, 9/23

Finish punctuation
National Punctuation Day

Spelling, accuracy, credibility and corrections
- pretest of spelling words in Think Like An Editor
- review of spelling "tips"
- Spelling Olympics


Think Like An Editor Strategies: 26, 28, 46 and 47

Some spelling rules to help you

Tuesday, 9/28

AP Style

Introduce the multimedia election guide project

Get started on story tightening project.

Think Like An Editor Strategies: 24

Assign: Multimedia project

Reading: A great grammar resource

Thursday, 9/30

Tight writing, trimming a story
Interesting strategy from a guest on Grammar Girl

Brief punctuation quiz at end of class.

Time for election teams to get together and make plans for their first deadline on Tuesday.

Deadline: After reading the idesas suggested by Grammar Girl and strategies 32, 33, pick a story from LakeVoice and edit using these guidelines. Post your edited story here.

Think Like An Editor Strategies: 32, 33

Assign: Editing team assignments posted. Teams need to meet before Tuesday to begin talking about how to divide up their assigned election responsibilites.

Tuesday, 10/5

Transitions, cliches, verbs

Assignment: Read "Falling Glass" and edit with an eye toward cliche and transitions discussed in Think Like An Editor Strategies: 34, 35, 36. Post your edit/analysis here.


Deadline race selection (5 points): Each team must meet before class to decide how to cover the races and issues in their section of the election. Team must post on Moodle assignments before start of class. You will want to consult the sample ballot and election responsibilities as you think about this.

Thursday, 10/7

Copy Editing Unit Quiz  

Tuesday, 10/12

Start multimedia, content maestro unit
- Story budgets, planning and creativity
- Seeking out credible information
- Sorting it out for consumers

* We have three weeks to conceive of, plan and produce a creative, innovative and interactive Election Guide. Whoa!

Introduce WordPress if there is time


Think Like An Editor Strategies: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Assign: Research component (20 points) Oct. 19 deadline. Your job is to become an expert in one area of this election. Members of each team will have one week to do thorough research of all aspects of their race, paying close attention to attributing and sourcing all information. (See strategies from "Think Like An Editor" on giving credit and the credibility of sources). You must create a 2 to 3 page, single-spaced summary of your assigned area that:
- Summarizes information from at least 5 recent articles from credible news organizations about your race or issue.
- Summarizes databases, web sites and other credible resources that are useful to your race
- Lists local organizations and individuals useful to your issue or race
- Lists potential art for this race or issue
- Brainstorms a list of at least 5 story/multimedia ideas that could be pursued in your race
Here is a few places you can search for background:
- Candidates and volunteer group websites. These organizations are great resources and want to help you get information about their candidate or their view of the election. Don't be afraid to give them a call. Remember that they will be busy so contact them as early as you can.
- Articles. Google makes you think you are searching the web, but you want to dig deeper. Through the library, we have access to amazing resources. Put a reference library to work for you. They are very helpful. Start your search looking for the name of the publication using the Electronic Journal option.
- Databases. As noted on the first assignment for this project, the Federal Election Commission website has tons of information. Give it a try. You might need to look locally for other campaign finance data.
- Local experts. We have some smart people on campus. Seek them out for informational interviews.
- Surveys. Want to know what students think nationally? Try the Pew Center. They do surveys weekly and publish the full surveys and the results. You could build a project around this data alone.

Thursday, 10/14

Be an entrepreneur

Students will talk about the web sites they visited from todays reading and share
some of the examples of online media they looked at and what made them effective pieces of journalism and how they used multimedia to do this.

Let's look under the hood
Lab time to work with aspects of the WordPress that you have created.
Here is our "to do" list of skills we need to learn:
- Post an entry
- Post a headline
- Post a photo
- Create a hyperlink
- Post a youtube insert using VodPod.
Using Google maps to create your own map.
Working with Picasa to create slideshows.
Tutorial on Picasa
Slideshow example
Another example
Learn to use different Widgets on Wordpress
Create a facebook badge
Embed a Twitter feed
What's a tag and how do you use it?
How are tags different from categories?

*Deadline: Today is the final day to bring in any grammar hunt examples.

Reading: Online journalism award winners and Politifact. Peruse the sites. What tricks do they use that you can borrow? What are the tools you need to know to create effective multimedia products? What advice do the experts offer?
A few lists of tools to use:
- The Freebees list
- SND's toolkit
- Mindy McAdams' excellent summary of some of the ways to use the tools

Deadline: Complete WordPress Get Started steps before the start of class. Before the start of class you must post your link to your blog on Moodle to get credit. (5 points).

Tuesday, 10/19

Tackiest blog contest: Who has used all the bells and whistles on WordPress to create a truly tacky blog filled with photos, videos and other items from the "to do" list.

Return to WordPress to keep working and see what we can learn.

Using Twitter to cover a murder trial

Group discussion (30 minutes): What did you learn from your research? What is interesting? What do readers want to know?
* Students will be asked to give brief summaries of what they learned in their research that they found was intriguing to readers. (Note: This may be pushed to Thursday to allow time on blogs.)



*Deadline: Today is the final day to bring in any grammar hunt examples. All items must be turned in before the start of class. I won't accept any more after class begins.

Deadline: Research component (20 points). Due before start of class.

Deadline: Tackiest blog contest. This is an optional assignment. Come to class ready to show off what you've done with your WordPress blog. Prizes will be awarded to the best blogs.


Thursday, 10/21

Final budget meeting to hear team strategies and present story budgets. Team leaders will present their team's strategy and vision.
* We will do a 30-minute "Fish Bowl" where we will watch team leaders meet to discuss their election plans and present their budgets. Each team leader will have about five minutes to pitch.Expect to sell the class on your vision and how you will:
- Tell stories that think about our audience and what new information they want
- Use original reporting and existing resources to present useful, thoughtful, accurate, well-sourced journalism
- Use multimedia tools to present the story in a creative, visually appealing, interactive format

Then we will get started logging into LakeVoice and coordinating election guide production work.

My questions:
- How can we promote our project?
- How should we "package our projects on Lakevoice (tags, categories, pages, etc.)
- Should we create some kind of logo for our project?

Deadline final budgets (post here before start of class): Teams are expected to meet before Thursday to talk about what they learned and use this to plan their stories. Team leaders will submit final budgets and plans for each team. These are due before start of class. Budgets will give a name and summary of each project your group is doing along with information about the way the story will be told and how your entire package of stories will fit together. Here is an example of a sample budget.



Tuesday, 10/26

Lab time for election guide

- One resource on graphics
- Another resource
These two handouts give a nice overview of important things to remember when using graphics and also a list of the kinds of graphics.

A few thoughts, reminders and resources for your election projects.
1. Remember that it is still ultimately all about storytelling. Even if you are presenting a table of information about candidates, that table should have a focus or a point. Make it clear with your headlines and summaries what it is you want readers to know. How do candidates compare on issues important to Duluth? You might ask that and the reader knows the table is going to have something relevant to their lives. Remember that what we bring that no one else can is a LOCAL perspective.
2. How to tell the story. Below I will post again the list of resources that are also on the class schedule from a day or two ago. Some of you seem to be thinking of trying things that can only be done with Flash. On the list of "freebees," there are some flash programs. To be honest, I've never worked with them so don't know if wordpress can then host the flash projects you create or whether they would have to then be stored somewhere else. But if you're interested in trying it, I'd be interested in learning with you. I'd encourage you to try something new, in part for this class and in part to have it in your portfolio to show future employers.
3. Come see me. There is no way in class time on Tuesday I can workshop the ideas of 25 people and I know the budgets from yesterday have already been changed. So, I will be in my office most of Monday. Come in and let's look at and talk about what you have and what you could do.
4. Have something to show me on Tuesday. By the start of class on Tuesday I'd like to see that all of you have a working draft up on WordPress so we can look at them and troubleshoot them. They may be rough but I want to see something.
5. Communicate. As requested, I created an open discussion forum for you guys on Moodle ( Refine those budgets, communicate and think cohesion. Team leaders did a fantastic job with their budget pitches on Thursday. Now they face the challenge of talking both with team members and with fellow team leaders. I actually had chills at one point listening to you guys talk with great expertise about the election. The trick now is to see planning this issue as a dynamic process. You'll want to refine those budgets, think about what our lead story should be and think about how you want to use pages, categories, tags and logos to create a cohesive package of stories.
That's it. Aim high. Take chances. Fail. Just don't get it wrong (accuracy...)
Prof. Hatcher
Reading: Online journalism award winners and Politifact. Peruse the sites. What tricks do they use that you can borrow? What are the tools you need to know to create effective multimedia products? What advice do the experts offer?
A few lists of tools to use:
- The Freebees list
- SND's toolkit
- Mindy McAdams' excellent summary of some of the ways to use the tools

Note: Depending on your project, you'll want to consult different resources to help you think about the most effective way to tell your story. Start with "Think Like An Editor," strategies 41 (headlines), 42 (points of entry), 43 (graphics and maps), 44 (photos) and 45 (promos and refers).

Thursday, 10/28

Publication day: Drafts must be on LakeVoice at the start of class. Class time will be spent doing final editing, reviewing and troubleshooting. Deadline: Multimedia election guide. A draft version of this project must be saved on LakeVoice before the start of class.

Tuesday, 11/2

Election Day: A Twitter experiment of Election Day coverage.


Deadline: You must come to class having created a Twitter account for yourself. To receive credit for this, you must then "follow" LakeVoice using your Twitter account. How do you do this?
Step 1: Go to Twitter and sign up.
Step 2: Search for the lakevoicenews on Twitter account and "follow it" by clicking "follow" on that page while you are signed in to your account.
Step 3: Read about how previous classes have used Twitter as an effective reporting tool.

Thursday, 11/4

Favorite things: A look at what worked and what we learned with the Election Guide


Deadline: Read all stories from the Election Guide and post your "favorite things" listing your favorites in the following categories:
- Most creative story idea
- Most effective use of multimedia tools
- Best headline
- Best original reporting

Tuesday, 11/9

Start page design unit

Learning basics of effective design by looking at pages that you bring in.



Deadline: Examples of effective design (10 points). Due before the start of class.
1. Go to the Newseum website and pick out a front page.
2. Save a copy of it as a pdf file on your computer (you'll have to share it with us in class).
3. Read exerpts from The Non-designer's design book and the Prairie Journalist's Companion (chapter on design).
4. Critique the page you have chosen using the ideas from Robin Williams' critique (reading will be posted on Moodle as a pdf). Talk about all four aspects of CRAP as you review this page. (critique should be about 250 to 300 words).
5. Post your critique along with the pdf of your page on Moodle and be prepared to talk about it and share it with the class.


Thursday, 11/11

Introduction to InDesign
- Using a style sheet
- Text basics
- Photo basics
- Learn text wrapping
- Learn jumping (or linking) text
- Columns, justified, etc.
- Jumplines
- Exporting document as a pdf file

Open a computer and introduce InDesign. Review where and how you can access this program.

Deadline: Come to class having begun to work with InDesign. Make sure you can do the tasks outlined in the following tutorials:
- Introducing InDesign
- Creating a new document
- Using Control Panel
- Setting up a new document
Peruse this list of video tutorials and review any of them that are listed as (Basic) in their description. These are the skills you'll be required to learn in the next week.

Assign: Newspaper design project No. 1
In this assignment each of you will have the same content (text, photos, etc.) to choose from. Your job will be to plan and design that page using these existing resources.


Tuesday, 11/16

Planning a page, budgets, art and other elements.

* Editors should have gone through all stories and planned their budgets and have started planning out their pages and moving toward layout of those pages.


Think Like An Editor Strategies: those relevant to news selection and story planning



Thursday, 11/18

Lab time

* Last inclass time to lay out pages before deadline. You will want to show me your pages at this point so I can offer some guidance and feedback. You should be at least 70 percent of the way done with the page at this point.


Tuesday, 11/23

Critique of pages, favorite things Deadline: Newspaper design project No. 1. A pdf of your page must be posted on Moodle before the start of class.

Thursday, 11/25


Tuesday, 11/30

Introduction to PhotoShop
We will learn some of the basics of PhotoShop.
* Bring your own picture if you would like or use the one that I supply.

Introduction of final project



Deadline: PhotoShop tutorial. Must be completed before coming to class.

Assign: Final design project



Thursday, 12/2

Lab time  

Tuesday, 12/7

Magazine pages: Elements of design

Creating an online portfolio of your design work

Student-produced magazine pages

Thursday, 12/9

lab time  

Tuesday, 12/14

Learn how to create online portfolios and successfully share them.  

Thursday, 12/16

lab time  

12/20 4-5:55 p.m. (time of final exam)

Page Design Project Deadline
Class does not meet
Deadline: Page design project. Post a link to your portfolio by the end of the final exam (Monday, 5:55 p.m.).