Syllabus: Journalism

    Instructor: Lisa Bullock                                                        

    Contact: lbullock@industrialisd.org  / (361)284-3226 x1225 (classroom)                                                       Conference: 7th Period: 2:00 – 2:46 PM (exact time varies based on daily schedule)


    Throughout modern history, people have depended on the mass media to spread the word about events and people to the public. Journalism introduces students to the exciting world of print, online and broadcast media. All units and projects will enhance our focus on yearbook production.

    Students will have the opportunity to use computer-aided publishing tools and other hands-on production tools. Some out-of-class time will be required. 



    The goal of this course will be to introduce students to the study of journalism while focusing upon yearbook production. 



    Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to

    1.       Communicate in the print or broadcast media today with an emphasis on writing, including interviewing, reporting, reacting and                   synthesizing.

    2.       Become an intelligent consumer of the mass media.

    3.       Discover and explore the various forms of writing utilized in journalism.

    4.       Analyze his/her own writing, the writing of others and to have his/her writing evaluated by a teacher.

    5.       Understand and accept the legal, moral and ethical responsibilities inherent in a free press. 

    6.       Develop responsibility in meeting deadlines.

    7.       Research and add validity, emphasis and depth to writing.

    8.       Produce a school publication, including financial and advertising challenges.

    9.       Practice and enhance the verbal, written, personal and social skills needed to publish a school publication.

    10.     Present his/her writing in an attractive, inviting manner – including headlines, graphics and photography.

    11.     Build awareness of the world around him/her, both social and political.

    12.     Evaluate journalism as a career.



    ·         Yearbook Projects

    ·         Photography/Journalist Assignments

    ·         Writing/Design: Journalism/Yearbook

    ·         Reading/responding to/ analyzing various articles/writing



    Students should come to class ready to begin working each day. Deadlines are an important part of producing publications. Therefore, journalism students should think of assignment due dates as deadlines. If a student needs an extension of time, he/she must request if from me in advance of the stated deadline. Extensions will be granted at my discretion. Because this is a project-based class, students are expected to use their class time wisely in order to complete their projects on time.

    Please follow these writing guidelines:

    ·         All assignments are to be completed and on my desk by the time indicated. We are journalists and have to work within strict deadlines.

    ·         All writing assignments are to be completed using proper grammar, syntax and punctuation in the AP style.

    ·         Give fair coverage of all students, even when you have a personal dispute with someone. We want to ensure everyone is included in the yearbook.

    What I expect most of all from our class is hard work on the part of the individual writer/photographer and teamwork on the part of the class.



    I will treat all students with the utmost respect, not only as individuals, but also as important creative thinkers. My responsibility is to guide you in your journey towards newsgathering and communication – and to ensure you grow as a prospective journalist, a member of this community and as an individual. 



    The following schedule is subject to change based upon student/class need:

    ◊ Unit 1            Organization

    § StudioWorks

    § Assignments/Titles

    § Photography Intro

    § Schedule

    ◊ Unit 2            Theme & Design

    § Layout

    § Planning

    § Cohesiveness

    ◊ Unit 3            Photography

    § Basics

    § Angles

    § Advanced

    ◊ Unit 4            Writing

    § Coverage

    § Copy

    § Legal

    § Leadership

    ◊ Unit 5            Sales

    § Book Sales

    § Ad Sales

    The following topics will be covered within the units above, in no particular order:

    ·         Journalism history

    ·         Newswriting basics

    ·         Inverted pyramid

    ·         Editing, AP Style rules

    ·         Elements of news, news value

    ·         Fact vs. opinion

    ·         Lead writing:  summary leads, grammatical leads

    ·         Interviewing:  gathering quotes, using quotes

    ·         Broadcast journalism

    ·         Writing for your audience

    ·         Headlines

    ·         Principles of design

    ·         Appeals vs. Propaganda

    ·         Sales

    ·         Composition

    ·         Caption writing

    ·         Cropping Typography

    ·         Type styles/use

    ·         Feature leads

    ·         Brainstorming topics

    ·         Questioning strategies

    ·         Styles:  

    o   Hourglass

    o   Nut graph  

    o   The Frame

    ·         Creating sidebars

    ·         Sports writing

    ·         News stories

    ·         Feature stories

    ·         Editorial writing

    ·         Libel/slander

    ·         Code of ethics

    ·         Significant legal cases

    ·         Role of the staff member, editors



    ·         Balfour Curriculum

    ·         Studio Balfour software

    ·         Excerpts from mass-media publications



    ·         60% grades = major grades may include (but are not limited to) such items as yearbook-deadline projects, writing assignments, photography assignments, and evaluations.

    ·         40% grades = daily grades may include (but are not limited to) such items as daily work, quizzes, homework, participation, and evaluations.

    Students will have at least 10 daily grades and 3 major grades each six weeks. At no time will extra credit (assignments or points) be allowed to raise a student’s average above a score of 100.

    Note: On various assignments, students will benefit from grading rubrics tailored to their weaknesses. Their grading criteria may differ from that of their peers. Students will be expected to revise assignments. The teacher may lower a student’s final score on an assignment one letter grade if appropriate corrections are not made by the assigned deadline.  


    Journalism Writing Rubric: 

    ·         Criteria

    o   The accurate description of the assigned subject or event

    o   The use of proper language, jargon and tone to reach the target audience    

    o   The proper use of grammar, punctuation and spelling in the writing activity  


    ·         Unacceptable 

    o   Providing an inaccurate description of the assigned subject or event, or making-up “facts,” or not citing your sources   

    o   Use of language, jargon or tone that is inappropriate to the target audience or the use of any obscenity in the writing     

    o   Poor use of grammar and punctuation and/or multiple spelling errors  


    ·         Acceptable 

    o   Some inaccuracies in the description of the assigned subject or event with none taking away from or changing the tone of the story and all sources cited 

    o   Some inappropriate uses of language, jargon or tone with none of those taking away from or changing the tone of the story and no obscenities present 

    o   Some syntax errors with none of the errors taking away from or changing the tone of the story


    ·         Exemplary 

    o   Very few or no inaccuracies inside the description of the assigned subject or event and all sources cited    

    o   Very few or no inappropriate uses of language, jargon or tone for the target audience and no obscenities present     

    o   Very few or no grammar, punctuation or spelling errors 



    Here are two ways to earn extra credit:

    Note: At no time will extra credit (assignments or points) be allowed to raise a student’s average above a score of 100.

    1.    Grammar on the Go: You may earn additional extra credit by observing errors and correcting grammar mistakes on billboards, within mass-media publications, and any type of media format per my approval. To earn the extra credit, you must take a picture/video of the mistake and write down the named error as well as a proposed correction. Remember that some grammar “mistakes” are used for stylistic effect; therefore, I must approve the mistake/correction for the extra points. Additionally, the mistakes may not be found on the Internet, and must be based within our geographical region. Only one person will receive the extra credit per mistake. For example, if a billboard on Hwy 59 displays a grammar mistake, only the first person to turn in the mistake/correction will receive the extra credit. These guidelines are to ensure there will be no sharing of individual work. The goal of this opportunity is to promote grammar awareness/improvement. Students may earn five points (40%) per grammar mistake/correction at teacher’s discretion.



    Each student is expected to complete all homework assignments. Incomplete homework will definitely be reflected in the student’s overall average.



    Please refer to the Student Handbook for district policy.



    Cheating will not be tolerated. If the instructor suspects cheating, the paper(s) will be taken up and the student(s) will choose from the following: 1) take a zero, or 2) reschedule and complete an alternative assignment/exam/quiz within two school days of the infraction. If the instructor knows cheating is occurring, the grade will be a zero with no opportunity given for the student to make up the work. A parent call/conference and or an office referral will result for a repeated offense. Please be reminded that plagiarism is cheating.



    The following rules will ensure student success and improvement:

    1.    Always bring your supplies.

    2.     Be in your assigned seat when the bell rings.

    3.     Follow directions the first time they are given.

    4.     Listen attentively when someone else is speaking.

    5.     Speak positively, respectfully, and thoughtfully. 

    High School students have been in the education system long enough to understand appropriate and inappropriate classroom behavior. The following actions will be taken if a student is disrespectful (such as class disruptions, foul language, discourteous or rude remarks):

    ·         First offense – verbal warning

    ·         Second offense – lunch or after-school detention

    ·         Third offense – conference with the principal/parent

    Indy Lunch - (in connection with 2nd offense above) When a student shows no effort during group work or in-class/homework assignments, I will assign Indy Lunch.  Indy Lunch consists of the student coming to my classroom during lunch and completing an independent assignment during that time (the student must remain with me for Indy Lunch until the assignment is completed).   

    If at any time inappropriate behavior is of a nature that requires the intervention of a third party in order for the class to continue with the least amount of disruption, the instructor reserves the right to remove the student via referral to the office.



    I will give Journalism passes for photography and such on a regular basis to be used for out-of-class yearbook assignments.



    The following supplies should be brought to class every day:

    ·         Pen/pencil

    ·         Paper

    ·         Folder with brads in which to keep work, notes and handouts

    ·         A flash drive on which to keep work

    In order to keep supply cost down, I am asking students to bring the supplies listed below for their class period:

    ·         5th/6th Period (Journalism): 1 box of tissues




































    Journalism/Yearbook Production


    Please provide the information below and note the contact method you prefer so that I may contact you if needed. I am often able to respond to emails faster than to phone calls during the school day.

    ► Contact #1_______________________________

    Relationship to student___________________

    Phone #______________________ Email_____________________________

    ► Contact #2 ______________________________

    Relationship to student ___________________

    Phone #______________________ Email_____________________________

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions pertaining to your child’s progress in class or you have any questions pertaining to the course.


    Please sign below to indicate you have read and understand the Journalism Syllabus:

    Student Name_______________________ Student Signature______________________ Date____________

    Parent Name_______________________ Parent Signature_________________________ Date_________­­­­___