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Introducing The Craft of Journalism

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 23, 2014 - July 11, 20143M-F 9A-4POpenTracy Breton10098

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the craft of journalism. Students will learn to report stories, how to conduct interviews and become close observers of everyday life. Students will become stronger writers, rid their writing of clutter, and learn what it takes to become a good reporter.

This course teaches news writing as a thought process, a set of skills and a vital function in a democracy. Students will learn how to think as a journalist, weighing news values, making decisions on the importance of facts and how to use them to tell a compelling story. They will learn effective interviewing techniques, how to ask the right questions to get information, and how to navigate through ethical dilemmas that reporters face in their jobs. We'll be working throughout the course on finding the heart of stories and telling them clearly, without wasting words. In this course, students will also learn the responsibilities and challenges of the only profession --"the press" -- specifically protected by the First Amendment. There will also be field trips to Providence City Hall and the state Superior Court where students will learn how to use public records to get information for stories. Students who succeed in this course are strong writers who often go on to write for their high school or college newspapers.

Aims & Objectives of the course include:

-Spot the news --the importance, the significance, the effect --in a sizable amount of information.

-Gather basic information for a news story, knowing the key questions to ask based on what the reader needs to know.

-Take clear, accurate notes.

-Think conceptually.

-Use the basic mechanics of language --grammar, style, spelling and punctuation--well.

-Find, focus and craft a clear, accurate news story.

-Write a short profile.

-Use the Internet as a journalistic tool.

-Know where to find information in the public record and how to background issues and people.

-Be discriminating consumers of news.

Pre-Requisites: Students should be strong writers and have a mastery of the English language, both spoken and written. They should know the rules of English grammar and punctuation.

Tracy Breton, the instructor of this course, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and formerly a reporter for The Providence Journal.