A guide for ENGL 2501 and ENGL 3801
Summer’s over — time to welcome some new students into the newsroom!
This semester, only my second at Emmanuel College, I am teaching ENGL 2501, Introduction to Journalism, and ENGL 3801, Feature Writing.
Students in both class will be required to maintain Word Press blogs. Why? Student journalists not only need to realize that their words are public but they have to also acknowledge that hitting “publish” had better mean “it’s accurate and it’s all my work.” The blogs can also serve as a showcase of their work for future employers, demonstrating not only that they know how to write but they also are confident in experimenting with a content management system.
My first journalism classroom, in 1986, was filled with typewriters and a professor who would whack the desk next to me with a pica stick whenever he observed a spelling error. We pasted up the Boston University Daily Free Press using paper and wax in a room that reeked of cigarettes, photo developer and burnt coffee.
The only similarity between now and then? The writing (okay, maybe the coffee, but now it’s certified organic free trade). My students use laptops and tablets; they’ll be breaking news in 140 characters or less. Their readers will still expect them to tell the whole story at some point — clearly, without bias, with photos and video that enhance their coverage.
The intro students will spend their semester writing smaller stories, with larger midterm and final projects. We’ll discuss political coverage as the state chooses new leadership and we’ll look back at some of the bigger stories of the summer — locally, the Market Basket employee walkout, nationally, the Ferguson, Mo. protests.
Feature writing students will have one semester-long project, a magazine story on a subject of their choosing. We’ll talk about how to brainstorm for ideas and expand upon them, read a lot of published stories and, at the tail end of the semester, dissect student stories as a class to, hopefully, make them better.
Questions when we’re not in class? Remember the best way to get my attention when I’m not in class is to Tweet @jpaluzziSun.