Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Reynolds High School Journalism Institute Available for continuing-education credit through Arizona State University

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Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

Reynolds High School Journalism Institute

Available for continuing-education credit through Arizona State University
ASU Director:
Steve Elliott

Professor of Practice

Print Director, Cronkite News Service

Office: 602-496-0686

ASU Assistant Director:
Anita Luera

Director, Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism

Office: 602-496-5477


Cronkite School Main Office: 480-496-5555

Course Objectives
Participants will leave the institute able to help high school students start a campus news operation or improve an existing news operation They will be better equipped to teach about journalism and the First Amendment. They will leave with a better understanding of the news media’s role in society. Through classroom learning, out-of-class assignments and hands-on efforts, participants will focus on the core values of journalism and the skills needed for a successful multimedia news operation. They will develop a lesson plan that will allow other teachers to administer a course of study on a journalism topic.


In an effort to revitalize scholastic journalism, the American Society of News Editors, with a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, chose the Walter Cronkite School of Mass Communication at Arizona State University to administer a two-week summer institute for high school teachers committed to advising student newspapers. Led and designed by the Cronkite School’s journalism faculty, the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute will take place on the ASU campus from June 16-28 with a class of teachers recruited from around the country. By completing the program and assignments, participants may earn continuing-education credit from ASU. The program includes representatives from professional journalism organizations and features a strong conceptual context for understanding news media issues along with applied journalistic skills.

The institute's overall goals are:

  • producing teachers who are better informed about the operations, practices, news values and ethical decision-making in the craft of journalism;

  • imparting or enhancing the writing, editing, layout, photo, graphics and multimedia skills that teachers need to better advise students and to start or strengthen a school newspaper;

  • shifting the focus of many high school news operations to fair and balanced news reporting and writing rather than essay writing, public relations and opinion pieces;

  • and instilling a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the First Amendment.

Note on Graduate Credit
In consultation with ASNE, some participants have elected to seek graduate credit online through the University of Nevada, Reno, rather than continuing-education credit through ASU. Completion of ASU’s Reynolds Institute, including all assignments in this syllabus, is part of the University of Nevada, Reno’s requirements for graduate credit. Other assignments and requirements are contained in materials provided by the University of Nevada, Reno, and that institution is providing platforms, support and evaluation for those assignments, as well as deriving and dispensing graduate credit. ASNE will facilitate registration for graduate credit.

Mentor Teacher
Alan Weintraut of Annandale High School in Annandale, Va., will serve as a mentor teacher during the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute at Arizona State University. In addition to leading sessions, Weintraut, the 2006 Dow Jones Teacher of the Year, is available throughout the institute to answer questions and participate in discussions on any issue. His e-mail is

Participant Responsibilities

Participants in the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute are required to:

  • attend all sessions listed on the agenda;

  • refrain from behavior that interferes with their own learning or the learning of others, including conversations, text messaging and emailing/Web surfing during sessions;

  • participate fully in the creation of the institute’s online publication by, at a minimum, serving as lead reporter on one substantial package;

  • complete an original lesson plan that can be a model for other journalism instructors;

  • and complete other assignments listed below.

Participants are expected to participate fully in classroom discussions. They are expected to review articles that will enhance sessions, as directed by the instructor.

A participant who misses any session without prior approval from the director or assistant director or who fails to participate fully in creating the institute publication will be asked to leave the institute and will receive no continuing-education credit. A pattern of tardiness, incomplete assignments and-or inadequate participation in the institute’s online publication, as determined by the director, also will result in a participant’s removal from the institute and no continuing-education credit. A participant engaging in behavior that interferes with his or her learning or the learning of others, including conversations, text messaging and emailing/Web surfing during sessions, will be counseled individually on the first occasion, warned on the second occasion and asked to leave the institute on the third occasion, receiving no continuing-education credit.

Academic and Journalistic Integrity

Adhering to the highest ethical standard is of special importance in the world of journalism, where reliability and credibility are the cornerstones of the field. The Cronkite School has a “zero tolerance” policy on academic dishonesty in all courses. If any participant is found to have engaged in academic dishonesty in any form – including but not limited to cheating, plagiarizing and fabricating – he or she will receive no continuing-education credit and will be asked to leave the institute.

By completing the contract in this syllabus, participants may receive eight units of continuing-education credit from Arizona State University at no cost to them. Participants will receive a certificate from ASU confirming this credit. There is no grade for this experience.
Continuing-education credit will be assigned after 5 p.m. Arizona time on Friday, July 12, the deadline for lesson plans. Those with assignments pending as of 5 p.m. Arizona time on Friday, July 12, will receive a prorated share of continuing-education credit based on assignments completed.

Institute Publication
Participants will collaborate on the creation of an online publication hosted by School Newspapers Online. Each participant must be the lead reporter on one substantial package included on the site. Each participant is responsible for producing or commissioning a photograph, photo illustration or graphic to accompany this package. Participants, guided by the instructions below, are required to submit three story ideas to the instructor by Friday June 7. They are encouraged to maximize the benefit of this experience by seeking leadership roles such as team leader within a reporting group or a higher-level role supervising the overall publication. These roles will be explained during an organizing session on Monday, June 17. Participants will have time to report and write at various points during the institute and over the weekend.

Institute Blog

Participants will be responsible for contributing to a blog posted at As explained below, each participant will be required to post text accounts and photos from a set number of sessions and will be required to participate in providing constructive and thoughtful comments on others’ posts. They need to register to participate in the blog by the start of the institute. NOTE: The ASU institute’s blog and assignments related to it are separate from the platform and requirements used by the University of Nevada, Reno, for assignments leading to graduate credit.

Books and Equipment
Participants should bring the Associated Press Stylebook provided by ASNE. Each participant is encouraged – but not required – to bring a digital camera that has a removable memory card or USB cord for removing pictures for editing. There will be some cameras available for loan. Participants might find it helpful to bring a laptop to complete assignments at the hotel. There is free Internet access on campus, and participants have free wireless Internet in their hotel rooms and in the hotel’s lobby. The institute will provide participants with 4-gigabyte flash memory drives to take home electronic versions of institute materials. A portable hard drive is helpful but not required for video assignments. Ear bud headphones are helpful for video assignments.
Advance Reading
To maximize their learning at the ASU institute, participants should review the following articles beforehand. Most are quick reads, and many can lead to story ideas for the institute’s online publication. Many have links that can take you down avenues that interest you:
General Topics (Familiarize yourself with these sites)


Poynter Institute: Tip Sheet for High School Journalists
Steve Elliott: Story Ideas, Monday, June 17
Poynter Institute: Creativity Tools for Journalists

Poynter Institute: Better Meetings, Better Stories

Poynter Institute: Principles of Collaborative Story Planning
Steve Elliott: Reporting and Writing, Monday and Tuesday, June 17-18

Poynter Institute: Interviewing Bibliography

Poynter Institute: Email Interviews

Poynter Institute: Five Myths About Short Writing

Poynter Institute: A Writer’s Time

Poynter Institute: 25 Non-Random Things About Writing Short

Poynter Institute: The Power of Leads

Poynter Institute: Reporting, Writing and Editing Bibliography
Running the Local Paper: Randy Lovely, Tuesday, June 18

Interview with CJR about Tucson shooting coverage

Republic begins charging for online access (September 2012)

New Republic editor one of nation’s top gay journalists
Commentary: Sarah Gassen, Wednesday, June 19

Sarah Gassen: Our lives are kaleidoscopes of tiny, isolated moments in time

Go Straight to Column Writing?

Dave Barry on Being Funny
Practical Ethics: Steve Elliott, Wednesday, June 19

Newspaper’s Ruse Raises Issues of Journalistic Ethics

Poynter Institute: Rebuilding Trust – What Newsrooms Are Doing

Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics
Ken Paulson: First Amendment, Thursday, June 20

First Amendment Center
Video: Steve Elliott, Thursday, June 20

Online Journalism Review (See shooting tips)

Poynter Institute: Multimedia an Adolescent, No Longer an Orphan

Paul Conley: Teach Yourself Multimedia
Law of the Student Press, Mike Hiestand, Friday, June 21

Browse Student Press Law Center site, including Classroom Resources

Social Media: Dawn Gilpin, Friday, June 21

Cronkite School Social Media Guidelines

Poynter Institute: Social Media Skills You Need for Journalism Jobs

Poynter Institute: Social media is underutilized as a journalism tool

Poynter Institute: News Organizations Adopt Social Media Policies

Most Journalists Use Social Media for News Gathering
Fun With AP Style and Grammar, Steve Elliott, Monday, June 24

AP Stylebook drops ‘illegal immigrant’

Associated Press Stylebook Reflects Evolving Zeitgeist

Optional: Web Training From Poynter’s News University: Cleaning Your Copy

Optional: Web Training From Poynter’s News University: Get Me Rewrite
Diversity: Tuesday, June 25

Poynter Institute: The Disappearance of Diversity
Poynter Institute: Diversity in the Digital Age

Poynter Institute: Hero or Victim Not the Only Choices
Managing Your Boss: Kristin Gilger, Tuesday, June 25

Poynter Institute: So Your Boss Isn’t Perfect
Dan Gillmor, Wednesday, June 26

Browse, Gillmor’s site on media literacy
Gregory Favre: Back to the World, Friday, June 29

The Future of News: New Relationships, New Pressures, New Potential

The Joys of Believing

Nervous? Who’s Nervous?

To successfully complete the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute and to receive continuing-education credit, a participant must complete the following assignments as well as participate fully in the creation of the institute publication on The assignments include a lesson plan that others can use. ASNE will feature the best lesson plans on its site.
Please pay careful attention to deadlines. There are several deadlines before and during the institute associated with the institute publication. The lesson plan may be submitted after the institute according to the deadlines posted below, though many participants likely will be able to complete theirs during the institute.
Assignment Due Dates

Here are due dates and times for assignments (see details below) before, during and after the institute:

  • Floating

    • Contributions to ASU institute blog.

    • Social media contributions.

  • 7 p.m. Friday, June 7

    • Three story ideas for institute publication.

  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18

    • Submit completed story and photo from session with Randy Lovely.

  • 9 a.m. Monday, June 24

    • Submit rewrite of article on Randy Lovely.

  • 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 24

    • First draft of story for institute’s online publication.

  • 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25

    • Post group multimedia vignette project to institute Web site.

    • Submit QuickTime movie version of video.

  • 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26

    • Submit final version of story for institute online publication.

  • 6 p.m. Thursday, June 27

    • Story and photo/video/graphic posted to institute online publication.

  • 9 a.m. Friday, June 28

    • Letter to principal; memo to school faculty.

  • 5 p.m. Friday, July 12

    • Lesson plan due.

    • Editorial and ethics policies.

Assignment No. 1: Story for Institute Publication

Each participant is required to be the lead reporter/photographer for one substantial package for the institute publication, meeting deadlines set in this syllabus and any other deadlines set by supervising editors and team leaders. This is a requirement regardless of whether a participant has a leadership role with the institute’s online publication. Articles can be hard news, features, opinion pieces, etc., but they should connect to the institute and its focus, the institute’s surroundings, journalism overall or high school journalism. Each participant is required to submit three story ideas before the beginning of the institute (see the due date below). Here is a guide to what constitutes a substantial package, followed by suggestions for researching story ideas:

  • Format: Expect text stories for the institute publication to range from 550-850 words, though this is a general guideline. Stories may be in video or another format provided they meet the definition of complex enterprise below.

  • Illustration: Text stories must be accompanied by a photo, video or informational graphic. The illustration or video doesn’t necessarily have to be by the staffer, though the staffer is responsible for making sure it is done and submitting it by deadline. Public-domain or handout art may be used when appropriate and with the instructor’s approval, but there must be no question as to whether the institute’s publication has rights to it.

  • Based on an issue, not an event: It’s fine to suggest basing a story on a particular speaker or session during the institute, but the article should focus on a larger issue being discussed or take a more detailed look at the person speaking. For example, if a speaker discusses the challenges facing newspapers, expand the article to include background you research and the opinions of others, perhaps people you meet at The Arizona Republic, other speakers and industry experts interviewed by phone.

  • Feasible: You will have narrow windows within which to work on your article. Because of that, most successful reporting efforts are on topics related to the institute or its immediate surroundings (e.g. Cronkite School programs). This allows you to use presentations by and interviews with various speakers for your reporting.
  • Multiple Sources: With very few exceptions, and these must be approved by the instructor, articles for the institute’s publication must be based on multiple sources. As a guide, aim for at least three and preferably five sources that you interview. You’ll find that even effective opinion pieces draw on interviews and reporting.

  • Context and background: Do your research before, during and after reporting. Strong articles include relevant background and a nut paragraph that connects the subject to a larger issue or trend. If you report a story about how your fellow advisers’ journalism programs are faring due to censorship, tight budgets or something else, connect this to a larger trend by interviewing experts at the institute or connecting with experts and-or advocacy groups by phone.

Here are possible sources for your story ideas:

  • The institute’s agenda.

  • The reading list above.

  • The Cronkite School’s website ( The school number of programs that would make for interesting features, such as the News21 national reporting initiative.

  • Your own experience: Issues you face in the classroom likely challenge many of your counterparts at the institute. The institute probably will have a speaker or three who can speak to that issue.

  • Participants: One year’s group included an adviser from a worldwide online high school, for example. The experiences and opinions of your fellow advisers are fair game in the proper context.

  • Articles and news releases (suggestions below):

- The Arizona Republic:
- East Valley Tribune:
- The State Press (ASU student newspaper):
- ASU News Releases:
- Poynter Institute Media News:

- Editor & Publisher:

- American Journalism Review:

- Columbia Journalism Review:


Participants are required to meet the following deadlines in addition to deadlines set by supervising editors and team leaders:

  • 7 p.m. Arizona time, Friday, June 7: Submit three story ideas you are interested in reporting for the institute’s online publication. A sentence on each is fine. Email them to The instructor will provide feedback on your ideas.

  • 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 24: Submit a printout of a first draft of your article to the instructor and email a copy to your mentor. Make copies to share with others during writing circles the next day.

  • 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26: Submit a printout of your completed article to the instructor. Place the photo or graphic in the designated folder on the shared network drive (you’ll receive instructions on this).

Stories should be prepared in Word, double-spaced, 12-point font, Times News Roman, with each new paragraph indented. The top of each version of the story should have your name and note whether it is the first draft or final version. Save an electronic version of your story on your flash drive and in the network folder.
Assignment No. 2: Contributions to Institute Blog

Description: Each participant will post to the institute’s blog, which is at These posts will relate to the institute’s sessions and should offer insights and observations that will benefit those who don’t attend the institute. While the institute’s online publication hosted by will explore issues in depth, the blog will offer more of a spot news and spot analysis view of the institute and provide a forum for sharing thoughts and ideas. Note: These assignments are separate from any blogging required by the University of Nevada, Reno, for graduate credit.


  • Each participant will post on at least three sessions or events in the first week and three in the second (one may be from happenings or experiences over the weekend). These sessions are the participant’s choice, but the posts must meet deadlines described below.

  • At least three of the six required posts must feature photos taken by the participant.

  • At least one must feature a video clip that preferably is shot by the participant (there are small video cameras for loan) but may be something embedded from YouTube or another source provided it is relevant to the post.

  • Each participant is required to offer at least four comments on others’ posts in the first week and four comments on others’ posts in the second.

  • Optional: The instructor recommends that you practice and begin the exchange of ideas immediately by creating a brief post introducing yourself and saying what you hope to take from the institute.

This assignment requires participants to register for access to Blogger. You will receive a notice inviting you to do so. Instructions for registering, as well as for posting text and photos to Blogger, are included in this document. Participants will have access to institute labs to complete this assignment.

The goal for posts is to offer news, observations and insights from various institute sessions on deadline. The point is NOT to critique sessions or to simply agree or disagree with points raised. Offer some news and then insights that tie institute lessons to your experiences and help others think about the points raised. Keep the focus on the institute’s sessions and related events. The point is NOT to provide commentary on the community, news events, the heat, the hotel, etc., but it is fine to offer posts on those subjects if original reporting is involved. Each post should be in the range of 200-250 words. Given the brief format, you’d do well to focus on one key point raised (or one key experience had) and explain why it’s relevant to you and to the reader. Comments should advance the discussion or personalize the information rather than simply agree or disagree with points.

To receive credit, each post MUST end with the following signature flush left:
Your Name Steve Elliott

Your School Arizona State University

City, State (AP style on state) Tempe, Ariz.
The instructor will moderate posts and comments. No foul language is allowed. If quoting foul language in posts, consult the instructor on how to handle that in the text. Posts that include foul, confrontational or non-constructive language will be removed.
The deadline is midnight for posts on a particular session that ends at or before 6 p.m. that same day. The deadline for posts on an evening session/event is 1 p.m. the next day.
Suggested Reading
Nine Signs of an Effective Blog Post

Ten Tips for Writing a Blog Post

How to Write a Blog Post

Assignment No. 3: Social Media Contributions
Description: Each participant is required to use Twitter and-or Facebook during the institute to offer posts related to news originating from sessions. Social media posts on other subjects are welcome as well but don’t count toward this assignment.


  • Each participant will offer at least two Twitter and-or Facebook posts related to news originating from sessions in week one and three Twitter and-or Facebook posts related to news originating from sessions during the second week.


It’s fine for these posts to promote and link off to your blog posts. Use these:

  • Reynolds Institute Twitter hashtag: #reynasu (Note: Without this hashtag the instructor can’t track your posts.)

  • Reynolds Institute Facebook group:



  • 9 a.m. Monday, June 24, for week one.

  • 9 a.m. Saturday, June 29, for week two.

The Most Effective Facebook Posts Are …

What Are Hashtags?

Assignment No. 4: Coverage of Randy Lovely’s Talk
Description: Each participant will cover a one-hour talk and Q&A session the afternoon Tuesday, June 18, with Randy Lovely, senior vice president and editor of The Arizona Republic ( Participants should be ready to ask him about anything they wish during the Q&A session. Each participant will write a story on deadline and shoot and edit a photograph. Participants later will rewrite their stories based on a feedback session and the instructor’s comments.

  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18: Submit printout of story to Steve Elliott and submit edited photo to the designated folder on the shared network drive (we’ll walk you through this).

  • 9 a.m. Monday, June 24: Email reworked story to Steve Elliott the evening before or submit a printout of the reworked story to the instructor upon arriving Monday.

Stories should be prepared in Word, double-spaced, 12-point font, Times News Roman, with each new paragraph indented. Put your name on top and note whether it is the deadline version or the rewritten version. Aim for 350-450 words in the initial version.

Assignment No. 5: Group Multimedia Vignette
Description: Working in teams on Thursday, June 20, participants will report and produce multimedia packages dealing with a subject set by the instructor and post those packages to the institute blog according to the deadlines below.
These packages will consist of a news video of lasting around 90 seconds to two minutes, at least one photograph and 250-400 words of text.
Timing and Topic
Participants will break into teams and head out to gather material on the following topic: Living With the Heat. The package should be narrowly focused on an individual or small group and on a focused angle involving the heat.
You will be working in the heat. Dress accordingly. Drink lots of water. Wear sunscreen.
You will work with video equipment issued by the school. Participants will check out this equipment and will be responsible for its safe return.
Coverage Area
Plan on reporting within easy walking distance of the school. If you are concerned about heat, keep in mind that with a little creativity you can tell this story without spending a lot of time, if any, outside.

Work quickly to get the material you need to produce this package and to get video off of their camera and safely onto a hard drive (no easy task). In addition, lunch is available at noon, so teams will need to eat quickly and keep working. Be strategic in your coverage choice. You’ll have been around campus long enough by Thursday to have an idea of where you’ll go to seek out your subject or subjects.

Teams must have their package posted to the institute’s blog site ( and must provide a QuickTime version of their video by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25. The group will screen videos in the school’s theater that evening. Each group will introduce its video and discuss the strategy behind its package, and participants will critique each other’s work.
Assignment No. 5: Letter to Principal, Memo to Faculty
Description: You’ll leave with loads of new information and ideas. A big part of the next step is telling people back home about it. Prepare a one-page letter telling your principal what you’ve learned and how your news operation may change once your students learn about it and a one-page memo informing your fellow teachers of the same. It will be up to you to deliver these notes.
Deadline and Format
Submit printouts of each by 9 a.m. Friday, June 28.

Assignment No. 6: Editorial and Ethics Policies
Description: Editorial and ethics policies are essential to any news organization. Develop a draft or update existing policies based on what you learn at the institute.
A Tip
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel with these. There are plenty of good templates for editorial and ethics policies. JEA Digital offers this integrated editorial policy, for example:

Deadline: NO LATER THAN 5 p.m. Arizona time, Friday, July 12.

Assignment No. 7: Lesson Plan
Description: Create a lesson plan for your class that you think others would be able to use. These will go on the institute Web site. ASNE will post the best plans on its site. Produce a unique lesson plan after reviewing titles and examples of lesson plans posted on There are scores lesson

plans already posted by ASNE, so you’ll need to be especially creative. Mentor teacher Alan Weintraut and your fellow participants are excellent resources for this assignment. Use the format provided by ASNE. It is included in this document.

Deadline: NO LATER THAN 5 p.m. Arizona time, Friday, July 12.
Format: In Word. Use the format enclosed. Email final version to Steve Elliott at



City, State


I. Overview and Rationale

II. Goals for Understanding

III. Essential Questions

IV. Critical Engagement Questions

V. Overviews and Timeline

Activity 1 (One ?-minute class)

Activity 2 (One ?-minute classes)

VI. Assessment
Include all worksheets or handouts required to do the lesson.

Sample References :

McLellan, Michele, ASNE Credibility Handbook. “Common Errors”.

Steele, Bob, ASNE Credibility Handbook. Guide seven. “Discussion Guide: Putting the Tools to Work”. (

If your lesson plan is posted on, we will show our appreciation by awarding you a gift certificate to the JEA Library.

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