Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 5
Hours: 4 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (84 total per quarter)
Advisory: ENGL 1A, 1AH, or 1S & 1T; not open to students with credit in JRNL 52A.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable
Formerly: JRNL 52A


An introduction to gathering, synthesizing/organizing and writing news in journalistic style across multiple platforms. Includes role of the journalist and related legal and ethical issues, including instruction and practice in reporting and the fundamentals of news writing for media, with analysis of typical news stories. Concentration on the language and style of news writing; organization and structure of news stories; the lead and the basic story types. Students will report and write based on their original interviews and research to produce news content. Experiences may include covering speeches, meetings, and other events, writing under deadline and use of AP Style.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the fundamentals of news writing and the organization and structure of news stories, including the basics of news gathering and reporting.
B. Gather, organize and synthesize information to compile into news stories and write the stories.
C. Analyze contemporary issues and apply ethical consideration to news writing.
D. Prepare news stories for converging media.

Course Content

A. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the fundamentals of news writing and the organization and structure of news stories, including the basics of news gathering and reporting
1. Grammar
2. AP Style
3. Quotes and attributions
4. News writing basics
5. The inverted pyramid
6. Different lede styles
7. Reporting with numbers and statistics
8. Non-sexist and non-discriminatory language
B. Gather, organize and synthesize information to compile into news stories and write the stories
1. Write lead
2. Write simple and complex/long-form news articles using the inverted pyramid and other formats under deadline
a. Informative, analysis, opinion editorial, review, etc.
3. Develop interview questions and conduct interviews
4. Covering a speech, event, meeting, or interview
5. Computer-assisted reporting
6. Using news releases and wire services
7. Selecting and using diverse sources
8. Compiling and editing the story
C. Analyze contemporary issues and apply ethical consideration to news writing
1. Diversity in reporting (reflecting the community to fairly represent minorities, women, and LGBT sources)
2. Media legal and ethical issues
3. Evaluation and selection of news; principles of news judgment
4. Objectivity and fairness
D. Prepare news stories for converging media platforms
1. Writing for broadcast and social media
2. Writing for print
3. Writing for the internet
a. Introduction to search engine optimization
E. Laboratory activities: writing assistance for all stages of writing or production, depending on project type

Lab Content

Production of a regular news or feature product with a journalism emphasis by and for students and distributed to a campus or community audience. Some suggested possible lab activities leading toward publication might be (options):
A. Finding stories
B. Reporting and writing news, feature, opinion and sports stories
C. Using video equipment, editing video
D. Using a digital camera and photo editing software
E. Electronically filing stories, photos and other visual media
F. Proofreading, copyediting and improving stories
H. Applying standards, including multiple named sources, adequate lead, spelling, grammar, AP style
I. Using design software
J. Interviewing for news media
K. Role of student media on campus
L. Finding college, expert and real person sources using standard methods, websites and social media
M. Online and multimedia presentation of stories
N. Utilizing journalism resources, such as textbooks, guides and websites to improve skills
O. Understanding and applying ethical standards for news reporting and photojournalism
P. Understanding and applying ethical standards for news reporting
Q. Understanding news staff organization
R. Understanding media law as it applies to journalism
S. Using software and web programs to present stories
T. Exploring careers in news media
U. Exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in news media
V. Using critique and self-critique to improve the product
W. Understanding the business side of student media, such as advertising, promotions, printing and distribution

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Access to computer word processing software, tape recorder, camera, or other equipment necessary for news gathering and reporting.
B. When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Writing assignments
B. Style quizzes
C. Exams
D. Critiques; peer critiques
E. Professional protocols (meeting deadlines, attendance, adherence to ethics)

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture and visual aids
B. Discussion of assigned reading
C. Discussion and problem solving performed in class
D. In-class essays
E. In-class exploration of internet sites
F. Quiz and examination review performed in class
G. Homework and extended projects
H. Guest speakers
I. Collaborative learning and small group exercises

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Examples of Primary Texts and References:
Brooks, Brian, et al. News Reporting and Writing. 10th ed. Bedford St. Martin's, 2011.
Harrower, Tim. Inside Reporting. 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2012.
Missouri Group. News Reporting and Writing. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013.
Mencher, Melvin. Melvin Mencher's News Reporting and Writing. McGraw-Hill, 2013.
Rich, Carole. Writing and Reporting News - A Coaching Method. 5th ed. Cengage Learning, 2013.
Examples of Supporting Texts and References:
Goldstein, Norm. Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. New York: The Associated Press, 2013.
AP Stylebook online.
Kessler, Lauren, and Duncan McDonald. When Words Collide: A Media Writer's Guide to Grammar and Style. 8th ed. Cengage, 2012.
Associated Press. Associate Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. Basic Books.
Strunk, William. The Elements of Style. Tribecka Books.
News U (Poynter News University) offers many free or low cost resources and materials for teachers and students for this course.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Reading approximately 250 pages from a textbook, websites and/or handouts, that include:
1. Explanations of what constitutes news, the structure of basic news stories, finding sources, interviewing and writing various types of stories
2. Examples of news stories from professional media that demonstrate good writing, structure, use of sources and style
3. Explanations of media law and ethics: libel, copyright, privacy, photo alternation, naming sources, avoiding conflict of interest and maintaining objectivity
B. In-class assignments and exercises and a final exam to demonstrate comprehension of journalistic standards and critical thinking as applied to sourcing and writing feature stories
C. Presenting at least one story as an online presentation, such as a webpage or blog with hyperlinks and graphic elements
1. Writing leads and structuring stories
2. Using Associated Press Style
3. Editing for conciseness
4. Using different styles for broadcast news and online news reporting


Communication Studies, English, Journalism