Broadcast Journalism I Syllabus Fall 2017

Course description:Theory and practice of broadcast journalism. The gathering, writing, and presentation of news for audio-only and audio-visual media. Ethical standards for broadcast journalism will be analyzed. Prerequisites: MCOM 258 ; junior/senior standing.” (Towson University Undergraduate Catalog 2017-2018)

Jenny Atwater
Office: Media Center, 204
Office Hours: Monday/Wednesday: 12:30-2:30; Tuesday: 9:30-10:30, Th/F: by appt.

EMAIL –| Office Phone: 410-704-2004


At the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Develop proficiency in intermediate reporting skills
  • Understand and develop proficiency in the writing of news copy for radio and multimedia news platforms
  • Understand the process of producing radio newscasts
  • Develop an understanding of TV newscasts
  • Develop proficiency in elements of broadcast news, including: interviewing, audio editing, and assembly of newscasts
  • Develop basic video journalism skills (both shooting and editing video)
  • Develop an awareness of ethical standards for broadcast journalism
  • Develop an awareness of your potential as a broadcast journalist
  • Develop an awareness of social media and how it relates to broadcast journalism


To work on these skills, you’ll be expected to successfully complete the following assignments:

  • Take weekly quizzes that test your knowledge of current events and course reading materials (10% of your grade)
  • Complete in-class and homework assignments (10% of your grade)
  • Produce a podcast (10% of your grade)
  • Work in teams to create two current, live radio newscasts (15% of your grade)
  • Work in teams to create one current, live TV newscast (10% of your grade)
  • Take two exams. (25% of your grade )
  • Produce a TV News Package (10% of your grade)
  • Attendance (10 %)


Since this course is intended to teach you the basics of the business, it is also the appropriate place to begin practicing the professional standards that will be expected of you in the workplace. In the classroom, this means:

  1. Meeting deadlines without complaint.
  2. Attending and actively participating in all classroom meetings.
  3. Arriving on time. Quizzes are given within the first five minutes of class. If you are more than five minutes late, you may not take the quiz.
  4. Exhibiting professional behavior during class by refraining from: checking email, facebook or other websites during class;  making or receiving phone calls or text messages during class;  leaving class for water or bathroom breaks.
  5. All cell phones must be turned off and placed in your bag during the ENTIRE class.
  6. Allocating an appropriate amount of time outside of the classroom for assignments, interviews, lab work, and consultations with the professor. Remember that in order to successfully complete an assignment, you must adhere to your source’s schedule.
  7. Understanding that it is YOUR responsibility to turn in your work on time. I will NOT seek out missed assignments from you.

As your professor, you can expect that I will:

  1. Be fair in applying class policies, grading criteria, while adhering to industry values and standards.
  2. Conduct useful discussions that will help you complete your assignments and provide some one-on-one feedback during lab time.
  3. Answer email promptly between business hours on business days (generally 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday).
  4. Post and keep office hours. (This is the appropriate time to disucss personal matters such as missed deadlines and class absences, questions regarding grading or missed coursework. This is also a good time to get my feedback on assignments you are working on before they are due. I am always happy to read and comment on rough drafts.)


News Now. Visual Storytelling in the Digital Age. (REQUIRED)



Late assignments
This is a journalism course and you are expected to meet deadlines. Late assignments are not accepted. This includes classroom items such as quizzes. If you are late to class, you’ve missed a deadline. I will NOT let you take or makeup a quiz if you are more than five minutes late. You will NOT be able to make up exams without a valid excuse.

I expect you to attend class and be punctual. If you know you will be absent, it is your responsibility to do the following: 1) Email any homework to me before class starts. 2) Check with classmates and the course website to keep up to date on readings and assignments. 3) Meet with me during office hours should you have any questions. Attendance is part of your participation grade which is worth 10 percent of your grade. If you miss more than two classes, you will lose 25 points off your participation grade. Any more than three and you will lose all 100 points. If you are 6 minutes late or more, I will make note of your tardiness. Three late arrivals will be counted as an absence.

Students with Disabilities
This course is in compliance with Towson University policies for students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with Disability Support Services (DSS) 7720 York Road, Suite 232, 410/704-2638 (Voice or TDD) Students who suspect that they have a disability but do not have documentation are encouraged to contact DSS for advice on how to obtain appropriate evaluation.  A memo from DSS authorizing your accommodation is needed before any accommodation can be made.

Student Athletes
Within the first two weeks of class, obtain a letter from your coach explaining your place on the team and a schedule of any away games or competitions during the semester. Make arrangements to  take any tests or prepare any assignments that conflict with this schedule before the test or due date, not after.

The best way to avoid plagiarism in this course: (1) Do your own, original reporting. (2) Write your own sentences. (3) Quote and attribute anything that you did not write yourself. (4) Get a head start on deadlines so you do not have to face temptation. (5) Do not try to recycle projects/stories from your other classes without prior permission from me. The university policy on academic integrity states it is a violation to submit “substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without authorization of the instructor(s). What constitutes a ‘substantial portion’ of the same work is determined soley by the university. Please familiarize yourself with the MCCS plagiarism policy. All cases of plagiarism will be handled according to this policy.

Special note: Broadcasting is unique in that it presents different ways of plagiarizing/fabricating work. Do NOT let your sources READ their sound bites. I can ALWAYS tell. If you let your source read his/her sound bite, it raises many questions. Did you tell them what to say? Are they simply reading what you wrote? You will lose points for this and possibly fail the assignment. If your source is too nervous to speak spontaneously, find a different source.

Legal Liability
In all assignments, students must comply with all laws and the legal rights of others (e.g., copyright, obscenity, privacy and defamation) and with all Towson University policies (e.g., academic dishonesty). Towson University is not liable or responsible for the content of any student assignments, regardless of where they are posted.

College of Fine Arts and Communication Civility Code

All COFAC students, staff, and faculty are expected to exhibit and practice civil behaviors that exemplify: (1) respecting faculty, staff, fellow students, guests, and all university property, policies, rules and regulations; (2) taking responsibility for one’s choices, actions and comments; (3) delivering correspondence – whether verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic – with respectful language using professional writing standards and etiquette; and (4) accepting consequences of one’s choices and actions.
The use of offensive, threatening or abusive language, writing, or behavior will not be tolerated and can lead to academic dismissal. Further information about civility can be found in Appendix F of the university catalog, or at this link:

TU Weapons Policy

And finally…
Towson requires me to remind you that you may not attempt a class for the third time without prior permission from the Academic Standards Committee. Information regarding this policy can be obtained through Enrollment Services.


Story grades are given using this grading scale:

A or A- | 90 – 100 | Publishable work. It is a story that is clear, interesting, and well-written. It has thorough reporting, good organization, effective quotes, smooth transitions and no spelling, grammar, or accuracy errors.

B+, B, B- | 80 – 89 | Publishable with some editing. It may have some minor spelling or grammatical errors. The lead is effective. The body is cohesive and well-organized. The reporting covers almost all of the important information.

C+ or C | 70 – 79 | Requires extensive editing to publish. Several sections must be rewritten. The lead may be buried or fail to focus on the most important aspects of the story. The body of the story is disorganized and contains many minor errors. In reporting, it missed some pertinent information.

D+ or D | 60 – 69 | Needs a complete rewrite to be published. The facts are presented ineffectively. The story contains an unacceptable number of spelling, grammar, or accuracy errors.

F | Below 60 | Contains major factual errors or distortions. Names are misspelled. Could not be rewritten and published.

Letter grades will be assigned according to this scale:

94-100 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
84-86 B
80-83 B-
77-79 C+
70-76 C
60-69 D
0-59 F