Module 2: Journalism History

Welcome to Module 2! You will have two weeks to complete the reading and assignments in this module. You’ll create your 1st Beat Story  and you’ll crack open the textbook to dive deep into journalism’s vital role in America.

Before you start with the text, read the study tips to help you review the material in your textbook more effectively. Once you are done with the study tips and the chapter, you have a quiz to test your knowledge and some blog posts to help you truly consider the ramifications of the material. Enjoy!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe and discuss the essential role journalism plays in a democracy
  2. Explore the specific functions the press performs to fulfill democratic needs
  3. Consider the factors that influence whether and how well journalism can perform those functions
  4. Organize your beat resources
  5. Analyze a story within your beat
  6. Develop a story from your beat

Learning Activities:

  1. Read study tips on Reading a Textbook for True Understanding
  2. Read the first chapter of the textbook: Craft, S. & Davis, C. (2016). The mirror, the watchdog, and the marketplace. In Principles of American journalism: An introduction. Routledge.
  3. Self-Directed Course: Introduction to Beat Reporting, Lesson 2: Preparing for your First Stories
  4. Read The News Manual, v. 1
    • Chapter 6: Writing the News Story in Six Simple Steps;
    • Chapter 8:  Quotes;
    • Chapter 9: Attributions
  5. The Lede and the Nut Graf by Kevin Devine
  6. Optional: The nut graf tells the reader what the writer is up to”  by Chip Scanlan
    • A new resource I found to help someone better understand the difference between a lede and a nut graf.
  7. Optional: Purdue OWL’s “How to Write a Lead
    • This resource is mentioned by Kevin Devine because of its lede examples. However, Devine’s link was out of date.
  8. Optional: Additional lessons from Introduction to Reporting (lessons 3, 4, or 6) or chapters in The News Manual (chapters 1-5 and 7).
  9. Optional: Audio Story – Why are beats important
  10. Optional: Online resources from the publisher to help you with the quiz.

Assignments* (Due by 9 am CT on 9/15):

  1. [Bb Quiz 2] Complete the Chapter 1 quiz.
  2. [Blog Post 3] A. Develop Place for Beat Resources (share in post); B. Dissect your first story.
  3. [Blog Post 4] Create a blog post addressing one of the first three learning objectives for this module. Your blog post should address one activity from the text, support your findings, and discuss any preliminary work you took to complete the activity. Respond to a classmate’s post on the two other activities. If you need to complete your response before anyone else posts,  create a shorter post inspired by that activity. Activity details are in the post instructions.
  4. [Biweekly Article 1] Write your 1st beat story before your chosen due date. Please select the category of “1st Beat Story” when you publish the post.
    • If you need to review the introduction to beat reporting, you can always go back to Module 1.
  5. [Extra Credit] Please follow the link to find more about a brief survey you can take for extra credit.

*When assignments are not available, I am probably still finalizing it. Feel free to email me to let me know you would like to begin or review the specifics of the assignment.

Instructor Note:

The link to this module’s chapter, under “Learning Activities,” is provided with the assumption that you are ordering the textbook but still need a week or two before it arrives. You will NOT be provided with a full copy of the textbook through the blog and should email me if you haven’t gotten your textbook before we start the next module.

Class Meetings: Tu/Th from 9 to 10:15

Zoom meeting information is in Live Discussion category.

  • Tuesday, September 1
    • Prepare: Review Beat Reporting, Lesson 2
    • In Class: Discuss and begin developing beat resources.
  • Thursday, September 3
    • Prepare: Review assigned chapters in the News Manual and dissect your story (Blog Post 3, part B)
    • In Class: Nick & Russell will join us as you pitch your first beat stories and discuss the story basics
  • Tuesday, September 8
    • Prepare: Blog Post 4
    • In Class: Discuss the text and the assigned activities
  • Thursday, September 10
    • Prepare: Publish your stories (or an initial draft)
    • In Class: Present & critique stories


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