Journalism 309 syllabus -- sample

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Professor:  Tim Pilgrim, associate professor
Office:  CF 265  360-650-3253
Office hours:

The class is MAC ONLY -- Use only InDesign (CS 6.0) on Macs in Fine Arts 101, CF 161 or the WWU journalism department (fonts used must fonts available in those labs).

It is required that student lab computers (and personal electronic devices and phones) are NOT ON during class lectures and presentations -- ignoring this requirements means a loss of participation points.

In any EMAIL to PILGRIM, students should PUT J309 on the SUBJECT LINE so the message will not be deleted.

Students without the proper prerequisites who enroll in J309 must drop the class.

"Fearless Editing" (2005, Allyn and Bacon) by Carolyn Dale and Tim Pilgrim
(Note: This is a text by WWU journalism professors and is less expensive than other editing texts. All royalties earned from sale to students in J309 are donated by Dale and Pilgrim to the WWU Journalism department's scholarship fund.)

"Working with Words" (7th edition) by Brian Brooks, etc. OR acceptable if students already have a copy, "When Words Collide:  A Media Writer's Guide to Grammar and Style," (a recent edition) by  Lauren Kessler and Duncan McDonald

The Associated Press Stylebook (latest edition)

Non-required supplemental texts and readings:
Pegie Stark Adam, "Color, Contrast and Dimension in News Design" -- Pilgrim has a copy for overnight checkout

Students need notebook and pencils or pens. A USB storage device (flash drive) or reliable external storage on a non-journalism server is strongly recommended.

Available labs: InDesign is available in CF 202 (our classroom open only until 5 p.m.) and in CF 161 and Fine Arts 101, along with a Mac lab in the AW building, most of which are 24-hour labs and also have Macs with Adobe CS 6).

Please use Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari to view Pilgrim's site and this syllabus -- Microsoft browsers display them poorly.


Thorough knowledge of InDesign (Adobe Creative Suite 6.0 for Macintosh is REQUIRED. (Students who do not complete training must drop the class.) Students may also obtain supplemental individual help from the Student Technology Center (in Haggard Hall) in order to increase proficiency. Also, they may seek help from online tutorials such as this:
Adobe InDesign CS6 Tutorial

Some other software used in J309 will not be taught; students are urged (but not required) to become familiar with Photoshop, Illustrator and Excel. Dreamweaver, Final Cut Pro and Soundslides are useful Web software (most have tutoring and training available at the Student Technology Center). (In addition, a number of online and printed tutorials are available for InDesign, PhotoShop and Illustrator.)

Catalog description:
Prerequisites: Journalism 207 and 307 or 380. News copy desk operations; editing; headline writing; dummying; page make-up and news graphics; and computerized editing.
Journalism 309 is a five-credit class in which students use InDesign and to a more limited degree, Illustrator, Photoshop, Word and Excel.  J309 does NOT teach their use; instead, it focuses on editing concepts and relies on students to develop the necessary software skills to apply those concepts. The journalism department faculty urge students to enjoy and learn from class material focused on developing "word" editing skills traditionally needed by editors -- along with the more modern visual, computer-oriented skills becoming important nowadays. Copy editors at newspapers, editors at magazines and those in public relations creating publications need to master many skills (including current Web editing skills such as curating, aggregating and contextualizing).

This course focuses on comprehension, analysis and evaluation of the concepts of priority, clarity, community, unity, contrast and beauty as they relate to media editing -- and also focuses on imparting the following skills:
* editing news stories for content, leads, accuracy and legality;
* editing for AP news style and journalistic English;
* writing headlines and deck heads;
* handling wire copy ( including trims, cuts and updates);
* gaining understanding of typography;
* cropping and sizing photographs and writing cutlines;
* exercising legal and ethical judgment;
* creating and editing infographics;
* designing InDesign pages (tabloid, broadsheet, magazine sizes);
* integrating concepts focused on during the quarter;
* learning how the concepts can be applied to newsletters and Web pages;
* incorporating fact checking skills gained by using Wilson Library resources, J309 reference sources on Pilgrim's J309 Web page, phone books, maps and other print and Web resources -- many available through Wilson Library.

Student skills:

Most students will feel more comfortable with some of these tasks than with others. But, editing requires skills in both areas. Students should expect to spend much out-of-class time in the lab in order to gain skills and complete assignments.  Students will also have the opportunity to capitalize on their strengths by completing in class a final assignment that embodies all the major elements of the class.

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Many class and lab sessions allow students to learn the important concepts and practice demonstrating their understanding of the concepts in the editing process. The skills of editing focused upon are cumulative; successive projects require a deeper and broader conceptual understanding and ability in application.   The course grade is based on an introductory assignment, four major assignments, two in-depth journalistic English quizzes, an infographics assignment and a four-hour in-class project assigned in Week 9 and completed in Week 10 (all parts must be completed) -- along with attendance/participation points.

All assignments must be submitted on Macintosh using Adobe CS 6 InDesign documents (no e-mails, no PDFs and no other submissions unless indicated by Pilgrim).

The J309 course possible points for grades A to F is broken down as follows:
Stories 1 -- practice only -- no points.
Stories 2 -- 145 pts.
Basics quiz 1 -- 100 pts.
Stories 3 -- 200 pts.
Basics quiz 2 -- 100 pts.
Page 1 design -- 100 pts.
Infographics -- 25 pts.
Feature design -- 100 pts.
Participation/attendance -- 80 pts.
In-class final project -- 150 pts.
Total possible -- 1,000 pts.

In-class points, including quizzes, infographics assignment and attendance/participation points (students lose partial attendance points if not in class within 5 minutes of starting time) CANNOT  be "made up."  Assignments not turned in because of "computer" problems will receive 70% of possible points -- if loss is documented and determined by Pilgrim to be legitimate (notify him immediately upon having any such problems so that legitimacy is established) -- only one such compensation per quarter, however.

Also, five points are deducted from any assignment handed in after deadline -- and beginning at five minutes past deadline, the late penalty outlined below applies.

The course has 1,000 possible points. Points -- not "grades" -- will not be assigned to each project (a "grade" for the course will be assigned at quarter's end). Out of the 1,000 possible points, the plus and minus system (A, A-, B+ etc.) is used in assigning final grades.

In general, however, a total of 90 to 100 percent of the possible points on a project indicates excellent performance; 80-89 percent, very good performance; 70-79 percent, average; 60-69 percent, below average; lower than 60 percent, unacceptable performance.

The final project value is 15 percent of the possible points for the quarter. At quarter's end, a "loose curve" will be used to determine final course grades.   Several editing projects will be started in class and completed in the lab later as part of the homework.

The normal LATE PENALTY is 10 percent per day if turned in any later than five minutes after the assigned time on day due (weekends count as one day). Pilgrim reserves the right to minimize the penalty in cases of emergencies encountered by students. In-class exercises cannot be made up.   During class sessions,  students may confer with each other -- except on the two quizzes. Increased learning occurs with such collaborative effort.  For all graded assignments, HOWEVER, assignments submitted must be only the student's own work -- no identical submissions (see the WWU catalog regarding academic dishonesty). Also, assignments submitted in the class will be used (without author's name) as examples in future J309 classes -- and possibly in future editions of the class textbook -- unless students notify Pilgrim in writing they do not agree being included in the textbook update.

J309 students take J309 with the understanding that for educational purposes to further student learning, their work from class assignments may be shown and used in class discussion.


Please note that Pilgrim has a HEARING DISABILITY, so student conversations during class should be held in the hallway so class learning will not be interrupted. Also, no cell phones or other computer devices (iPods, etc.) in class -- turn them off before you enter.

Student projects created in this class become part of the teaching resources of J309 and may be used as examples in future classes and writings by J309 instructors (student names will be removed from examples). Also, copyrighted material is used in class assignments for educational purposes (under "fair use"). Students must not reuse any materials provided (but they should keep a copy of assignments for a portfolio).

No grades are posted in hallways. Beginning Thursday noon of finals week, students may pick up their final projects in a file cabinet located in CF 251. Students should e-mail Pilgrim during finals week at the scheduled final time with questions about the grading process.

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J309 schedule -- Winter 2013:
Readings below are from "Fearless Editing" (FE), "The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual" (AP) and "Working with Words" (WWW). Complete all readings by the beginning of the week.

WEEK 1 (Jan. 9) Introduction and Ch. 1, 2, 3 and 12 in FE; read Ch. 1, 2 and 3 and pp. 361-69 in WWW: review entire AP stylebook; begin Practice stories; COMPLETE InDesign training session before Week 2

WEEK 2 (Jan. 14, 16) Continue AP, journalistic English, InDesign work; work on headlines and editing; complete Stories 1; assign Stories 2. Read Ch. 4-5 (and reread Ch. 1-3 and 12) in FE; read Ch. 4, except active-passive voice, and 5 in WWW
Due: Practice stories due at 10:15 a.m. on Wed., Jan. 16

WEEK 3 (Jan. 21, 23 -- no class Monday, MKL Day) Continue AP style, journalistic English, headlines; expand editing; work on Stories 2 in and out of class; take Basics Quiz 1; reread Ch. 4, 5 & 12 in FE, and reread Ch. 1-5 in WWW; review entire AP; begin libel and ethics; assign Stories 3
Due: Basics Quiz 1 (100 pts.) given at beginning of class on Wed., Jan. 23
Due: Stories 2 (145 pts.) printed on InDesign page at 11:15 a.m., Wed., Jan. 23

WEEK 4 (Jan. 28, 30) Continue with AP style, journalistic English; begin more complex editing; work on Stories 3; read Ch. 7 (photos) in FE; read Ch. 6-9 and active-passive voice (pp. 69-73) in WWW

WEEK 5 (Feb. 4, 6) Continue complex story editing; conclude journalistic English review; conclude Stories 3; begin editing photos; assign Page 1 layout; complete Stories 3; read Ch. 6 and Ch. 11 (layout/design) in FE; read Ch. 12 and 13 in WWW
Due: In-class journalistic English basics Quiz 2 (100 pts.) -- at beginning of class Mon., Feb. 4
Due: Stories 3 (200 pts.), each story printed on its own separate InDesign page -- due at 10:15 a.m. on Wed., Feb. 6.

WEEK 6 (Feb. 11, 13) Continue Page 1 layout; read Ch. 14 and 16 in WWW and especially Ch. 8 in FE; reread Ch. 6 and 11 in FE

WEEK 7 (Feb. 18, 20 -- no class Mon., Feb. 18, Presidents Day) Page 1 work; layout; color theory lecture and analysis; read Ch. 10 (infographics) in FE; read Ch. 11 and 12 in WWC; read (optional) Pegie Stark Adam's "Color, Contrast, and Dimension in News Design" (on reserve in Wilson Library)
Due: Page 1 design (100 pts.) in electronic form placed in Editpro folder and submitted in reduced-size b&w version printed on InDesign page at 10:15 a.m. on Wed., Feb. 20
Due: In-class Excel training (mandatory in order to achieve total participation pts. for the quarter) -- at 11:20 a.m. Wed., Feb. 20

WEEK 8 (Feb. 25, 27) Complete in-class infographics assignment; assign feature page layout; expand visual approaches to content; read Ch. 9 (typography) in FE; typography lecture
Due: Weak infographic (& typed page articulating reasons why the infographic is weak) at beginning of class Mon., Feb. 25 (5 pts.) -- AND one student-created infographic done in class and containing a chart created (using Excel and InDesign) due at the end of class (20 pts.)

WEEK 9 (March 4, 6) Integrating writing, editing and design; feature page layout due; final project assigned
Due: Broadsheet feature page design (100 pts.) in Editpro folder and in reduced-size b&w version printed in InDesign on Wed., March 6 at 10:30 a.m.

WEEK 10 (March 11, 13) Dead week. Work in class both class days on final design projects; course evaluation
Due: Rough draft of final project placed in Editpro at end of class on Mon., March 11 -- ROUGH DRAFT MUST BE SUBMITTED IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE PROJECT
Due: Final in-class project (InDesign project submitted to Editpro as required -- NO PRINTED VERSION IS TURNED IN) due at end of class on Wed., March 13

Week 11 (March 18-22 -- Finals Week)
Pilgrim will be available during the final exam time via e-mail to students for conferences -- but no office hours. Pick up final in-class project comment sheets beginning Thurs., March 21 in the filing cabinet in CF 251.

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Created December 2012