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COM206 syllabus

COM 206 Fundamentals of Journalism

Fall 2014, TR 2:00-3:15; Communication Center 106

Dr. John Beatty

Olney Hall 157


Home phone (610) 433-5339

Course blog: or syllabus directly at

Course Description: This course introduces you to journalism, news, news media, reporting, beats, writing and style. You will learn the basics of journalism from a perspective centered on the shift from “legacy journalism” to converged journalism, crowdsourcing and social media.



  • To help you reason, research and report in organized, complete and entertaining fashion, including data-based reporting;
  • To familiarize you with journalistic writing and reporting methods including interviewing, research, backgrounding, attaining balance, and upholding legal and ethical standards;
  • To familiarize you with journalistic writing techniques such as style, ledes, story structure,  transitions and attribution;
  • To develop critical skills relating to critiquing all media messages including traditional  news and new media forms;
  • To investigate the recent past and present of journalism with an eye towards its future;
  • To learn as much about the world as possible;




Brooks, B.S., Kennedy, G., Moen, D.R. & Ranly, D. 2013. Telling the Story (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St Martin’s. (ISBN 978-1-4576-0911-4)

Also register at News Central to access additional resources and VideoCentral (access code in inside back cover):

A pocket dictionary is recommended, preferably Webster’s.

Also recommended is:: Goldstein, N. 1998. The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.



There will be one test and one final exam covering material in the text, on videos, in links and in lectures.

Periodic quizzes will be given on current events, primarily as covered by websites and in The Collegian. The lowest events quiz grade will be dropped. These quizzes may also test supplemental readings and websites.

Writing will include assignments involving original research such as covering campus events or speeches.

You will also be required to help lead one class discussion, working with two partners.




In addition to the assignments listed, you are required to follow the news, and read a daily newspaper or its website each day. The Philadelphia inquirer and the Daily News are suggested. is a website of the parent Philadelphia Media network, but is independent of and A report of daily news is also available at the textbook’s NewsCentral site. I expect you to participate in class. Attendance, alertness, contribution to discussion, and catches or questions about something in the papers contribute to participation. Journalism is a public profession and you should get used to interacting in public settings..



Any course in journalism includes elements of professional behavior. Just as if you were “on the job,” I expect you to attend class. Roll will be taken at each class meeting. For any absence to be excused you must contact me beforehand and provide documentation of your excuse or have a friend do so if you are unable. Given normal extenuating circumstances, you will be allowed a total of two unexcused class absences. Further unexcused absences, or excessive excused absences will lower your final grade.

Assignments, tests or quizzes missed due to excused absences can be made up, but those missed due to unexcused absences cannot.

Adjustments to the schedule and requirements listed in this document are to be allowed for, if not expected.

You have the responsibility to know and observe the Academic Integrity Policy. This policy forbids cheating, plagiarism, fabrication and abuse of academic materials. The normal penalty for a first offense is an “F” for the assignment; subsequent or more major offenses can result in an “F” for the course. All offenses are reported to and cataloged by the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences.



Writing assignments……………………… 45%

Blogging, photo, technical ………………10%

Midterm  ……………………………………… 10%

Final exam……………………………………. 15%

Current events quizzes…………………… 10%

Participation, discussion leading …….. 10%


Grade assignment:                  A = 94 and above; A- = 90-93; B+ = 87-89; B = 84-86; B- = 80-83; C+ = 77-79; C = 74-76; C- = 70-73; D+ = 67-69; D = 64-66; D- = 60-63; F = below 60.

In other words: A = All major and minor goals achieved; B = All major goals achieved, some minor ones not; C = All major goals achieved, many minor ones not; D = A few major goals achieved but not prepared for further advanced work; F = None of the major goals achieved.

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