Assignments & Grading

Readings & AP Style Quizzes (20 percent):

You will take a quiz each week (some online, others in-class using clickers). The dates of the quizzes will not be announced beforehand. Quizzes will contain 5-10 questions on both assigned readings and AP Style & grammar.

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.

Critiques & Homework (20 percent)

You will have several opportunities to acquaint yourself with news writing and reporting by reading/viewing the work of media professionals. Some assignments will require you to bring in work to critique, while others will be assigned to you in class. You will complete questions related to the critiques and your assigned readings in class, which will be collected, along with your critique article, for your assignment grade.

Assignments (30 percent)

Assignments will be written and submitted during class time based on prompts assigned by the instructor. These articles will help you practice journalistic writing and prepare you for projects. There will be five assignments:

  • Online & social media breaking news writing
  • Meeting news writing
  • Government news writing
  • Soft news writing
  • Photojournalism

Projects (30 percent)

Your projects will go beyond in-class writing prompts in that you will be required to do your own story selection, reporting and writing. You will be expected to pitch story ideas for my approval, interview sources in-person or via phone and write a journalism article based on the news event. There will be three projects:

  • Hard News Reporting
  • Soft News Reporting
  • Photojournalism Reporting

Extra credit:

Get your self-reported articles published – (5 points on your projects) – publish your self-reported articles written for this class in a news publication (The Flyer, The Daily Times, The Salisbury Independent, etc.) (Due by exam day)

Join SPJ, WXSU, SU-TV or The Flyer – 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.

Other campus events – There will be a variety of opportunities for students to attend campus events I deem relevant to class for extra credit. I will alert you of these opportunities as they arise. If you attend events designated for extra credit, you must get the extra credit sheet filled out and turned in within the week of the event.

Grading of Assignments:

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.

– 30 points = You will receive a significant deduction for using your friends, family members, employers or work colleagues as sources for stories that require your own reporting.


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