Assignments & Grading

PROJECTS (20 percent each):

Reported news story – For this project, you will go out and report on an event of your choosing. Prior to pursuing the story, you must get your idea approved and have discussed a plan for reporting and writing it with me. You will be required to interview at least four people you do not know. Good articles will be compelling for the reader, will explore an event and its reasons for existence in some depth and will remain focused on the main point. Your story should contain thoughtful quotes that add value and substance to the issue. (Rough Draft Due Nov. 1; Final Due Nov. 3)

  • Project One Guidelines
  • Project One Rubric

Media kits – You will be placed in small groups to select an organization for which you will produce a media kit (clear your organization with me in advance). For this organization you will produce a cover letter, a fact sheet about the organization and event, a backgrounder about the organization, and several other promotional elements. This will involve good reporting and writing skills on your part, as you will need to interview people involved with the organization to get the majority of the information. Also, good writing and grammar are essential for this assignment because you are representing the organization. Media kits must include additional elements, such as a photograph and caption, a question and answer with the event organizer, etc. Your grade will be based on the quality of the press kit, your participation in group work, and your presentation of the press kit to the class. (Due Dec. 8)

  • Final project information
  • Rubric
  • Peer assessment sheet
  • Project plan

ASSIGNMENTS (25 percent):

  • Hard news article
  • Soft news article
  • PR feature article
  • Press release

HOMEWORK (15 percent):
You must be in class for the editing workshop to receive credit for homework assignments. No emailed submissions will be accepted.

  • Crime news
  • Breaking news
  • Meeting article
  • Feature article
  • Social media article
  • Press release
  • Backgrounder & fact sheet
  • Memo to management

QUIZZES (20 percent):

You will take a quiz in class each week using your clicker. The date of the quiz will not be announced beforehand. Quizzes will contain 5-10 questions on the following topics:

  • AP Style
  • Grammar
  • Information from readings
  • Information from lectures

You are allowed (encouraged) to use your AP Stylebook and any notes you have from class. You may not use your textbook. Missed quizzes cannot be made up unless you have documentation for a university-approved absence. Students who forget to bring their clickers may take the quiz on paper with a five-point penalty.

EXTRA CREDIT (added on to various grades throughout the semester):

Cleaning Your Copy – (20 points on your first quiz grade) – complete the online grammar refresher course, and email me a copy of your course report before class on Sept. 8.

Get your self-reported article published – (5 points on your project) – publish your self-reported article written for this class in a news publication (The Flyer, The Daily Times, etc.) (Due by Dec. 8)

Join SPJ, WXSU, NBS, SU-TV, The Flyer or PRSSA – You will have various opportunities to attend meetings for CMAT’s professional groups throughout the semester. For each meeting you attend, I will add 10 extra credit points to a quiz grade. You must get the extra credit verification sheet signed by the club’s adviser or an officer, and bring it to me in class the week of the meeting. It is your responsibility to get these sheets signed and turned in. I will not accept sheets more than one week past the meeting date.


Your grade on each writing assignment consists of the points earned for content minus the points
 deducted for errors and mechanics.

Step One: Content

The content grade is based on criteria for each specific writing assignment. A rubric (a listing of grading criteria) will be provided for most assignments. The criteria vary depending on the particular assignment. General criteria for all assignments include writing style, organization, clarity, and appropriateness for topic and audience.

Step Two: Mechanics

After determining the content grade, points will be deducted for grammatical errors, spelling errors, factual errors and AP style errors. The points are deducted as follows:

– 2 points = grammar and punctuation errors

– 2 points = AP style errors

– 2 points = spelling error (Deducted both for misspelled words and typos.)

– 10 points = Failure to make a deadline, which means turning in anything late. Additional points will be deducted for assignments turned in more than one day late

– 10 points = Factual error. This includes inaccurate information and errors or typos in proper nouns, numbers, addresses, dates and quotes.

– 20 percentage points = You will receive a 20 percent deduction for using your friends, family members, employers or work 
colleagues as sources for stories that require your own reporting (unless otherwise directed).

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