3 Units Fall 2015 – Thursday – 9-11: 40 a m. Section: 21005 Location: ann 413 Instructor: Heidi Schulman Office

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JOUR 203: Newswriting: Broadcast

3 Units

Fall 2015 – Thursday – 9-11:40 a.m.

Section: 21005

Location: ANN 413
Instructor: Heidi Schulman

Office: TBD

Office Hours: By appointment.

Thursdays before and after class are ideal. Email me or speak to me in class to let me know you would like to meet.

Contact Info: Home telephone: 310-458-0958

Cell phone: 202-716-4380

Email: HHSHeidi@aol.com

Email is the best way to contact me. Please use “J203” in the subject line.


The goals of the Annenberg School of Journalism are to develop your writing, reporting and critical thinking skills while teaching you about news values, judgment and ethics as well as how to report on a diverse world on deadline.

In this class, you will learn what makes a story newsworthy and which elements should be included in a good broadcast story.
Expect to write every week, both in and out of class. You will do well if you come to class on time with your writing and reading assignments completed, and ready to discuss what is current in broadcast news. You will know how you are doing because your graded assignments will come back to you each week and there will always be time for questions in class.

This course will cover the basics of broadcast news writing. The emphasis will be on writing for TV, but the skills apply to radio as well. By the end of the semester, your writing should approach professional standards: clear, concise, accurate, and conversational.

You will learn to be a good video storyteller. You will learn to spot what is most important in a news story and communicate it simply in words that mean something. You will discover that broadcast writing is easy because you write the way you talk.
You will also discover that pictures and sound are as much a part of a broadcast writer’s vocabulary as words are. Sometimes words enhance the pictures and sometimes the writer should just get out of the way and let the pictures speak for themselves.
You will gain a greater appreciation for what pictures and sound add to a story when you begin to shoot and edit basic video with a cell phone camera. You will also learn to edit a basic video and sound story using Premiere software.
We will pay close attention to what is worth writing. Each week, we will view stories that have aired since we last met and discuss their merits. We will analyze the same story done by different reporters. And we will closely follow coverage of “breaking” stories that occur during the semester. Finally, we will discuss the timely ethical and editorial decisions which challenge broadcast journalists every day.
Broadcast writing is not an academic exercise; it is a real-world skill. To be a good journalist, you must learn to say what you mean. The discipline and critical thinking demanded of a good broadcast writer will make you a better writer in any medium.

The new Annenberg Media Center (MC) is a state-of-the-art converged newsroom that will help you enormously in your professional development.

In this course, you are required to sign up to work a weekly shift of four consecutive hours at the Media Center, where students produce content across platforms for Annenberg Television News, Annenberg Radio News, Neon Tommy, and Intersections: The South Los Angeles Report. Broadcast majors will work at Annenberg TV News and Neon Tommy. Print majors will work at Annenberg Radio News and Neon Tommy.

Your participation counts for 10% of your overall course grade in both J202 and J203. The purpose of this learning lab requirement is to reinforce your classroom learning by giving you hands-on experience in a professional news environment.

You should treat your learning lab shift as you would a part-time job. You are expected to fulfill all duties and responsibilities for the position you are assigned.

MC anchoring or paid management work will not count toward this requirement. Non-MC positions including jobs, internships, or other outside commitments cannot be substituted for the MC shift.

  1. You must fill out the MC REGISTRATION each semester to become a member of the Media Center, even if you worked in the MC last semester. To start fulfilling your lab requirement, register at this site: http://bit.ly/1F7SUxH.

  2. You must also read and acknowledge the MC TECHNICAL POLICIES to gain access to the MC, check out equipment, use online media storage, and make studio reservations. Read the policies for each outlet all the way through and acknowledge them electronically at Annenbergprograms.com/technical.

  3. You will also sign the MC Intellectual Property Policy in the Media Center at the start of the semester, during workshops and shifts.


You are required to attend workshops to prepare for your shift in the Media Center. It is essential that you attend all of the mandatory workshops to get full credit for your Media Center work. You will be required to bring your laptop and all class-assigned field gear, including video cameras, to the workshops and to your shifts.


  1. You must notify the student manager in charge if you cannot make the appointed hours of your shift. The MC attendance policies and procedures will be provided at the start of the semester.

  2. Missed shifts must be made up within two weeks of your absences, religious holidays exempted. You must make arrangements with your designated student manager to make up your shift.

  3. Your instructor will receive alerts from the MC about any serious attendance issues by Friday, October 9 - - - the end of the seventh week of the semester. Your instructor will also receive final attendance records by Wednesday, December 16th - - - the last day of the exam period.

  4. Failure to fulfill your obligations will hurt the Media Center portion of your grade in this class.

To get your questions answered and to sign up for non-course-related activities, including anchor auditions, stop by the Open House/Sign-Up Day on Wednesday, September 2 from 10AM to 4PM. If you have questions before then, email mediacenterann@gmail.com.

“Broadcast News Handbook,” Fifth Edition

Author: C.A. Tuggle, Forrest Carr, Suzanne Huffman

ISBN: 0-07-352-609-6

Website: www.mhhe.com/tuggle3

“NewsNow,” Pearson Education, Inc.

Author: Green, Lodato, Schwalbe, Silcock

ISBN-10: 0-205-69591-4

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-69591-1

Course Reader Fall 2015-2016 (Custom Publishing)

Publisher: USC Bookstore

This is the same Reader required for J202.

Bring your Course Reader to class with you each week!

As we begin writing to video, we will work with stories indexed in the reader along with their corresponding video.

Dictionary: Merriam Webster, www.m-w.com
Another book we may use but which is not required:

“Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook, 4th edition”

Author: Robert Papper

ISBN: 0-205-44974-3


I get it that you consume most of your news online. But this is a broadcast writing class. You must watch and listen to broadcast news. Every day!

As an aspiring journalist, you should know what is going on in Los Angeles,

in California, across the country and around the world. Read the LA Times and the New York Times every day. Stacks of free NYT are delivered to the ASC lobby daily. Watch at least one national newscast every day. If you can’t watch in real time, you can find complete broadcasts online:

ABC World News Tonight: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/

CBS Evening News: http://www.cbsnews.com/evening-news/

NBC Nightly News: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/

PBS Newshour: http://www/pbs.org/newshour/

You should also watch at least one local newscast each day: KABC, KCBS/KCAL, KNBC, KTLA, KTTV.

Listen to radio news, especially in your car. If you hear “Morning Edition” or “All Things Considered” on NPR (KPCC at 89.3FM), you will also hear local cut-ins. KNX (1070AM) is all news all the time; or check the news at the top of the hour on their website: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/station/knx-1070/.

Each week, we will talk about what we have seen and heard. And from time to time there will also be specific viewing assignments. You should also expect frequent current events quizzes. All the questions will come from television and radio news in the 36 hours or so just before class. Right answers are worth a point and your raw scores will be graded on the curve at the end of the semester. Visual intelligence is important to television journalists, so one current events quiz will be a visual one.
Develop a list of other news sources you check daily, which might include:

LA Observed – http://www.laobserved.com

The Daily News – http://www.dailynews.com

Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com

Sacramento Bee – http://www.sacbee.com

Pro Publica – http://www.propublica.org

California Watch (from the Center for Investigative Reporting) – http://www.californiawatch.org

Politico – http://www.politico.com

Following several news organizations on news apps and Twitter will help you keep up with breaking news and steer you to more in-depth reporting on important stories.


All Annenberg majors and minors are required to have a PC or Apple laptop for use in Annenberg classes. Please refer to the Annenberg Virtual Commons for more information. To connect to USC’s Secure Wireless network, please visit USC’s Information Technology Services.

Obviously, you may use your laptop in the classroom only for purposes relevant to the class.


Your final grade in this class will consist of:

30% - Writing assignments

25% - Midterm (week 8)

25% - Final

10% - Quizzes (mainly current events)

10% - Media Center learning lab requirement

Broadcast writing is an acquired skill. The grades on your first stories probably won’t be what you are used to. Don’t worry! It gets easier. Your grades will count less during the first 3 weeks of class, as you are learning. Where you end up matters more than how you start.
A” stories are accurate, clear, comprehensive stories that are well written and require only minor editing. Voiceovers call for appropriate pictures. VSV’s and packages include good sound bites and natural sound. They are written in correct broadcast form and are actually as long as you say they are. Everyone who appears on camera is properly identified. These stories are ready for broadcast.
B” stories require more than minor editing and have a few style or minor spelling errors or an error of omission.
C” stories need considerable editing or re-writing and/or have many minor style or spelling errors.
D” stories require excessive re-writing and have numerous minor spelling and style errors. They should not have been submitted.
F” stories have at least one factual error that is material to the story.
Accuracy is the real measure of a news story, so getting it right is most important. A story with a factual error that is “material” to the story must be graded harshly. We will discuss what makes a fact material. Generally, it is a fact essential to the truth of a story. Mid-identification of the subject of a story is material. Mis-location of an event is almost always material. An erroneous number is often material, etc.


Class begins at 9. Not at 9:15 or 9:30. It’s like a newscast. If you are the anchor and the show begins at 5, you can’t show up at 5:15. We will write in class each week so you learn to write clearly under deadline pressure. Missed in-class assignments cannot be made up without a medical excuse.

You will also write stories at home each week. You should print a hard copy of your homework stories before you come to class each week and bring them with you. We may work with them in class. If you have any question about an assignment, I am happy to discuss it. Email is best.
All assignments should include your name / date / story slug (title) in the upper left corner and conform to two-column broadcast style. That means scripts should be double-spaced on the right hand side of the page, with sound bite verbatims single-spaced. You will receive a script form at the start of the semester and this will become clear.
Accuracy is your biggest priority. Carefully review the requirements of an “A”

story. Then re-read your work and make certain it is accurate.

It is important that you also consider diversity. Is your story fair? Does it represent all factions in a balanced way? We will discuss the need to include varied viewpoints in your reporting, including socioeconomic/class differences, race and ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation, geography, and generational issues.
Since broadcast writing is a little like learning a new language, you will improve with practice. If you are disappointed with your grade on a story, speak to me about it. In most cases, you may rewrite the piece and email it to me by midnight the day of the class. I will average your grades on at least one assignment. And at the very least, your extra effort will earn extra credit.

If you must miss a class, arrange to turn in your homework assignments before that class. You can post them on Blackboard and email me a copy. If you are absent, you are responsible for learning what is due the following week and completing it on time. As with in-class assignments, late homework will only be accepted with a medical excuse.




Office hours: Mondays and Thursdays, 5-8PM; Tuesdays noon to 2PM; other

Days by appointment. Please email in advance to reserve a day and time.
Take her your graded work for a one-on-one consultation and valuable tips on how to improve your writing. If you feel you are struggling, make an appointment early in the semester! Even if you are not, she can help make you a better writer.

As indicated above, please complete readings and assignments before class.

You will post written assignments on Blackboard and bring a hard copy to class.

There will inevitably be changes as we move along, so remember to check each week.

WEEK 1 – August 27

We will introduce ourselves and review the syllabus. We’ll discuss what is news, how broadcast differs from print, and convergence. There will be a “tell the story” exercise, a current events quiz, and a diagnostic writing exercise. We will talk about the Annenberg Media Center and hear from MC representatives about your learning lab work there. We will discuss leads and the various story forms you will learn this semester. Finally, we’ll screen and discuss TV news stories.

Homework: Writing – Course Reader, pages 233-234, “Dispute” (A) through

Brushback” (J). Write a broadcast lead for each story.

Then choose one of the stories and write a brief (:20-:25) copy story in broadcast style.

Reading – Course Reader, pages 169-170: “Basic Rules of Broadcast Writing” Course Reader, page 247: Mike Daniels on Print and Broadcast

Tuggle, Chapter 1 – pages 1-15: “Characteristics of Broadcast News Writing.”

News Now, Chapter 1 – pages 2-33: “What is News?”

ATVN Broadcast Book, Chapter 2 – pages 3-10

WEEK 2 – September 3

We’ll discuss: What is a lead? How do you find one? How do print and broadcast leads differ? How do kinds of broadcast leads differ? What makes a well-written lead? How can you vary the lead? Then, we’ll practice writing leads. You’ll learn the “tell a friend” approach. We’ll talk about active v. passive voice. You will learn the basic two-column script form and review the various story forms you will master. We’ll talk about the role of social media.

Expect a current events quiz. As always, we’ll screen and discuss stories.
Homework: Writing – Course Reader – page 227: Write a broadcast lead for

each of the 4 stories on the page.

Course Reader – page 236: Write “Chase” as a short broadcast reader (copy story) with special attention to the lead. What makes this story interesting?

Think about the “tell a friend” approach we discussed in class. And read your story aloud. If you can’t read it, don’t write it!

Reading – Tuggle, Chapter 3 – pages 29-54: “Writing Great Leads and Other Helpful Tips.” Pay special attention to active voice.

News Now, Chapter 7 – pages 129-133.

Course Reader – pages 175-182: “Radio and Television Leads and Copy Stories.”

Course Reader – pages 170-172: “Broadcast News Writing Reminders.”

WEEK 3 – September 10

Tomorrow is the last day to drop a class without a mark of “W,” and to receive a refund for Session 001.

We’ll do a short leads “boot camp,” preparing for next week’s leads quiz by reviewing what makes a good lead. We will review the week’s reading and talk about some of the basics of a good television story: Choosing what is important.

Writing short. Writing the way you talk. Using active voice. Material facts.

We will look at videotape logs and what they mean.

We will begin to talk about videotaping interviews and what makes a good interview. We’ll do an interviewing exercise in class.
Homework: Writing – Course Reader – page 480 + video: “Rain/Melrose Flooding.” Write the story as a short broadcast reader. Screen the video. What is the strongest picture? Does the video change the way you might write the story if you were writing to picture? Come to class ready to discuss.

Interview – Find someone to interview about any aspect of their work. Record the interview on your mobile phone and come to class ready to discuss what you think is the best part of the interview…..the best sound bite.

Reading – Tuggle, Chapter 5 – pages 63-81: “Interviewing: Getting the Facts and the Feelings.”

News Now, Chapter 5 – pages 81-105: Interviewing.

Take Mobile Video Tutorial:

WEEK 4 – September 17

Leads quiz! You will have ½ hour to write 5 straight broadcast leads.

We will discuss and screen your mobile phone interviews.

Then we will begin to work with video. We’ll talk more about time code and what makes good video. We will focus on the kinds of television stories we have mentioned every week: readers, voiceovers (VO’s), VSV’s (or VO/SOT’s) and

packages - - with an emphasis on voiceovers. We’ll talk about writing to picture: Does the picture dictate the lead? The story? How do pictures help you tell the story? How do words complement pictures? In class, you will re-write as a voiceover the “Rain/Melrose Flooding” story you wrote for homework as a reader. We will review broadcast script form.

Homework: Writing – Finish “Rain/Melrose Flooding” as a voiceover if you did not finish it in class. Write 2 more stories as voiceovers: Course Reader – page 464 + video: “Obidiah’s Rescue.” Course Reader – page 408 + video: “Big Rig Accident.” Think about how the pictures best help you tell the story.

Reading – Course Reader – pages 183-188: “Writing to Video.”

Tuggle, Chapter 7 – pages 108-135: “Television News Story Forms – the VO.”
WEEK 5 – September 24

We will review your leads quiz. Then we will review voiceovers and discuss the pictures you used in your homework stories.

We will begin to talk about sound. What is the difference between sync sound and natural sound? What is a good sound bite? How do you write into a sound bite? What is a VSV? In class we will talk about the best sound bites from

“Uber LAX/Hydrogen Fuel.” Then you will begin to write the story as a VSV.

We will talk about tweeting quotes.
Homework: Writing – Finish the “Uber LAX/Hydrogen Fuel” VSV you began in class. Then write “Hillside Falls” (Course Reader page 447 + video) as a VSV.

Reading – Tuggle, Chapter 8 – pages 137-152: “Television News Story Forms – the VO/SOT.”

Course Reader – pages 189-194: “Adding Sound to Radio and TV Stories” and “Adding Sound to Radio and Television Reminders.”

Video Reporting Assignment – Due in 2 weeks on October 8, the week before the mid-term. Cover a news event on campus or in the community – the same one you are covering for J202. For this class, shoot video and sound. Then write the story as a VSV of about 1:00. There should be an on-camera intro, video leading into at least 2 sound bites, and an on-camera close

Write 2 tweets for the event/story.
WEEK 6 – October 1

We will continue to talk about sound and look at some good examples of sound in television stories. We will also discuss reporting considerations you should be encountering in your news event assignments. How do you ensure you are covering all sides? How do you tell an accurate, fair story?

As writing practice, you will write “MacDonald’s Protest” as a VO/SOT in class.

There will be a current events quiz. We will screen and discuss stories.

Homework: Writing – Write “Burbank Metro Link Crash,” (Course Reader –

page 413 + video) as a VO/SOT. Remember to tell what happened! Then write “Poolside Bear” (Course Reader – page 473 + video) as a VO/SOT. Beware of too much detail. What kind of story is this?

Reading – News Now, Chapter 6 – pages 107-122: “Sight and Sound.”

Video Reporting Assignment – Your report on a news event is due next week.
WEEK 7 – October 8

Game day! (But not until the afternoon. You are expected in class this morning.)

Tomorrow is the last day to drop a class without a mark of “W” on the transcript.

Your video reporting assignment is due today.

We will conduct an in-class writing boot camp in preparation for the mid-term.

We will review general problem areas and make time for individual conferences to answer specific questions. In class, you will write “Cliff Rescue” (Course Reader – page 420 + video) as a :30 VO. You will also write “Metrolink Crash” (Course Reader – page 413 + video) as a :45 VO/SOT.

There will be a current events quiz and we will screen and discuss stories.

Homework: Review for the midterm in whatever way you find helpful. I recommend reviewing selected reading to make sure you understand conversation style, active/passive voice, and attribution. If you have questions about proper broadcast form, ask them! Since the test is open book and you may bring your form sheets, there will be no reason for errors in form.

Most importantly, practice writing VO’s and VO/SOT’s with time limits. You might re-write print stories from the newspaper or Course Reader. Assume you have appropriate pictures and the quotes are on-camera sound bites. If you have questions or would like me to comment on your practice stories, email me.
Video Reporting Assignment – Due in 2 weeks on October 22. Cover a public meeting, the same one you cover for J202. Write a VSV report on the meeting, describing the picture and sound on the left side of your script.
WEEK 8 – October 15


You will be given fact sheets, raw video, and a video tape log.

You will be asked to write one :30 VO + 2 tweets and one :45 VSV + 2 tweets.

This is an open book test. Form counts!

We will spend any remaining class time discussing your video reporting assignments as well as viewing and discussing TV news stories.

Homework: Public meeting reporting assignment is due next week.

Reading – News Now, Chapter 3 – pages 39-51: Reporting

RTNDA Guidelines for Breaking News”



Covering the Courts/An Associated Press Manual for Reporters”

http://www.ncpress.com/Legal Files/glossary/html
WEEK 9 – October 22

Your public meeting reporting assignment is due today.

We will review and discuss your mid-terms: Successes. Common mistakes. Questions. Problems.

Then, we will review story forms: Readers, voiceovers (VO’s), VO/SOT’s and packages. How do they combine to form a newscast? (Mencher CD Chapter 9 – “Terror Folo” – the actual program rundown from ABC World News Tonight the Sunday after 9/11) Finally, we will preview packages: how are they different

From VO/SOT’s?

In class, you will write “USC Hit and Run” as a :45 VSV. We will discuss

Current events quiz. Screen and discuss TV packages.

Individual review of class grade and progress, as requested.
Homework: Writing – Re-write “USC Hit and Run” as a package running at least 1:10. Remember that the package will probably include a standupper and must include a sign-off. Your story will be very much like the VSV you wrote in class. That’s fine. But you should be aware of the difference in form.

Reading – News Now, Chapter 7 – pages 133-144: “Writing for Broadcast.”

Viewing assignment TBA.
WEEK 10 – October 29

Editing session: Premiere training for the entire class.

You will meet in ANN digital room (specific room #TBA) for VSV training: How to import footage, open editing software, set up projects, label video and edit simple VSV.

Homework: Editing assignment (TBA)

Reading: Tuggle, Chapter 9 – pages 153-167: “Television News Story Forms – the Package.”

Course Reader – pages 221-226: “Writing Simple Packages for Television.”

News Now, Chapter 6 – pages 119-122: “Sight and Sound.”

News Now, Chapter 7 – pages 140-144.
WEEK 11 – November 5

We will discuss your editing assignments. What did you learn about picture and sound?

We continue to focus on packages. What are the elements? How do packages differ from VO/SOT’s? How should a package begin? When should you use a standupper? We will talk about maximizing sound in packages and screen “Skid Row Poets.” In class you will write “LAX Threat” (Course Reader – page 349 + video) as a package. Be careful with the facts in the story! Several versions of what happened are offered. Write only what you know.
Homework: Writing – If you did not finish “LAX Threat” in class, finish it as homework. Also write “Hate Crimes” (Course Reader – page 443 + video)

as a package. Think carefully about what the most important video is.

Reading: Prepare for discussion of ethics and judgment in broadcast news.

News Now, Chapter 12 – pages 220-238: “Ethics.”

News Now, Chapter 13 – pages 239-256: “Diversity.”

Tuggle, Chapter 13 – pages 243-261: “Why We Fight.”

Review RTNDA ethics statement at www.RTNDA.org.

Reporting: Beat assignment. You will shoot mobile video and interviews for the same story you are doing for J202. Your package is due at our last class before the final, December 3. It will include a script with video and sound descriptions on the left side of the page.

WEEK 12 – November 12

Tomorrow is the last day to drop a class with a mark of “W.”

We will discuss ethics and diversity in broadcast news, including the reading you did in preparation. We will screen and discuss the judgment calls made in “Manson” and “Paula Cooper,” then talk broadly about judgment calls routinely made in newsrooms. Finally, we will have a conversation about diversity and choosing words without bias. Handout: Mencher, Chapter 17 – “Auditing Your Emotions.”

We will review the basic elements of broadcast story-telling in the various forms you have learned: How can you vary the lead? When do pictures dictate story structure? How can you “refresh” a story by writing a new “top.” How do you distill several elements into a story?

In class, you will write “Youth Justice Coaliton Coffin March” as a package.

We will discuss any issues you are encountering with your beat assignment stories. There will be a current events quiz.
Homework: Writing – If you did not finish “Youth Justice Coalition Coffin March” in class - - you may polish it as homework.

Also write “Nursing Home Fire” (Course Reader – pages 299-301) as a breaking news package to lead the 11 o’clock news. Assume you are the reporter sent to report live from the scene. Also assume the interviews in the transcript are on videotape and you have stringer footage of the fire itself, as well as the aftermath: firefighters mopping up, victims in the triage area,

the burnt-out building, etc. Since it is a live, breaking story you will want to write a live-in-the-field open and close as if you were on the scene. There is a lot of information in this story! Think first about how you want to structure your story so you keep “like elements” together. Remember: People are the most important element!

Reading – In preparation for producing a newscast in class next week.

Tuggle, Chapter 11 – pages 189-223: “Producing TV News”

Tuggle, Chapter 12 – pages 225-241: “The Care and Feeding of Television Live Shots.”

Course Reader – pages 210-212: “Updates and Breaking News for Radio and Television.”

I will also provide a list of stories you may read and/or screen for next week’s in-class exercise.
WEEK 13 – November 19

As a class, you will write and produce a short newscast using stories from the Course Reader, today’s LA Times, and various online sources.

Homework: TBA

Video Reporting Assignment – Your beat report package will be due at the class after the Thanksgiving break.
WEEK 14 – November 26
WEEK 15 – December 3

Your final beat assignment package is due today.

We will conduct a writing boot camp focusing on packages to prepare you for the final exam. You will write a full package on deadline from a story in the Course Reader. You’ll do your last current events quiz. There will be time for individual questions/conferences. And we will talk about what you have learned and how to use it.

Homework: Review in whatever way you think is helpful.

I will let you know exactly what you will be asked to write on the final.

You may need to combine several elements to make a coherent story.

Picture, sound and form are all important! This should be easy since you are already fluent in packages.

I recommend reviewing reading on VO/SOTS and packages. Consider general writing tips. Review active/passive and attribution if you think you still need it. As always, the exam is open book and form counts!

Most importantly, practice. Write any stories you like from the lists we used in class - - - or any other source - - as packages. Read them aloud to be sure they are conversational. Time them to be sure they are as long as you say they are. If you like, email them to me for comment.

You may want to schedule a final session with the broadcast writing coach, Liz McHale. Don’t leave it for the last minute! If you have any questions, ask!


Thursday, December 10 – 11AM – 1PM (Location TBA)
IX. Policies and Procedures

Statement on Academic Conduct and Support Systems

a. Academic Conduct


Presenting someone else’s ideas as your own, either verbatim or recast in your own words - is a serious academic offense with serious consequences. Please familiarize yourself with the discussion of plagiarism in SCampus in Section 11, Behavior Violating University Standards https://scampus.usc.edu/b/11-00-behavior-violating-university-standards-and-appropriate-sanctions/. Other forms of academic dishonesty are equally unacceptable. See additional information in SCampus and university policies on scientific misconduct, http://policy.usc.edu/scientific-misconduct/.

USC School of Journalism Policy on Academic Integrity

The following is the USC Annenberg School of Journalism’s policy on academic integrity and repeated in the syllabus for every course in the school:

“Since its founding, the USC School of Journalism has maintained a commitment to the highest standards of ethical conduct and academic excellence. Any student found plagiarizing, fabricating, cheating on examinations, and/or purchasing papers or other assignments faces sanctions ranging from an ‘F’ on the assignment to dismissal from the School of Journalism. All academic integrity violations will be reported to the office of Student Judicial Affairs & Community Standards (SJACS), as per university policy, as well as journalism school administrators.”

In addition, it is assumed that the work you submit for this course is work you have produced entirely by yourself, and has not been previously produced by you for submission in another course or Learning Lab, without approval of the instructor.
b. Support Systems

Equity and Diversity

Discrimination, sexual assault, and harassment are not tolerated by the university. You are encouraged to report any incidents to the Office of Equity and Diversity http://equity.usc.edu/ or to the Department of Public Safety http://capsnet.usc.edu/department/department-public-safety/online-forms/contact-us. This is important for the safety of the whole USC community. Another member of the university community - such as a friend, classmate, advisor, or faculty member - can help initiate the report, or can initiate the report on behalf of another person. The Center for Women and Men http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/cwm/ provides 24/7 confidential support, and the sexual assault resource center webpage https://sarc.usc.edu/ describes reporting options and other resources.

Support with Scholarly Writing

A number of USC’s schools provide support for students who need help with scholarly writing. Check with your advisor or program staff to find out more. Students whose primary language is not English should check with the American Language Institute http://dornsife.usc.edu/ali, which sponsors courses and workshops specifically for international graduate students.

The Office of Disability Services and Programs http://sait.usc.edu/academicsupport/centerprograms/dsp/home_index.html provides certification for students with disabilities and helps arrange the relevant accommodations.

Stress Management

Students are under a lot of pressure. If you start to feel overwhelmed, it is important that you reach out for help. A good place to start is the USC Student Counseling Services office at 213-740-7711. The service is confidential, and there is no charge.

Emergency Information

If an officially declared emergency makes travel to campus infeasible, USC Emergency Information http://emergency.usc.edu/ will provide safety and other updates, including ways in which instruction will be continued by means of Blackboard, teleconferencing, and other technology.

X. About Your Instructor

I worked for 25 years in broadcast news. Some of you may begin your professional careers as I did, as a research and production assistant for NBC News in Washington, D.C. I then moved to San Francisco, where I wrote, produced and finally reported for KCBS Newsradio. I worked freelance in radio for a year or so in Los Angeles before landing a job as a reporter and anchor at KNBC-TV……and finally a job as an NBC News Correspondent. I reported for all NBC news programs, including Nightly News and Today. My passion was covering political campaigns and issues. But I really came to appreciate the power of good video and good writing when I produced and reported longer-form pieces on a wide range of subjects as the West Coast Correspondent for the Today Show.

When I left daily television, I “crossed over” into the political world, working in a presidential campaign and then serving a 6-year term as a presidential appointee to the Board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I also did some documentary work, including co-writing and producing a 6-hour miniseries on twentieth century American women. I have since used my experience in video story-telling to illuminate the work of two non-profits I care about: one that provides jobs and education to disadvantaged young people right in USC’s neighborhood, and another that works to improve the lives of women victims of war in nine countries, many of them in Africa.
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