Broadcast Journalism II Syllabus Spring 2018

Mass Communication and Communication Studies Department

Towson University

Class meets Tu/Th from 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Course description:

Advanced news and feature writing, interviewing, reporting and editing for broadcast and new media Prerequisites: MCOM 381 and majors only. EMF students upon approval.


Jenny Atwater
Office: Media Center, 204
Office Hours: M: 12:30-2 p.m., Tuesdays 11-12 p.m. Other days by appt.

EMAIL (| 410-704-2004

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

  • Research, write and create at least 3 broadcast news packages
  • Sharpen your understanding of what “news” is, and what makes a good news story
  • Work as a team to produce a TV newscast using your best work
  • Demonstrate the ability to work cross-platform in a converged media environment
  • Acquire hands-on skills in interviewing, writing, and reporting for broadcast news, as well as videography and non-linear video editing
  • Become aware of some of the commercial, ethical and legal issues affecting broadcast journalism and develop an understanding of how to create accurate and fair news reports
  • Understand the ever-changing TV news environment.

Course Goals:

The goal of this course is to give you a sense of what it’s like to be a TV news reporter. Our primary focus will be on producing news packages. You will build on your broadcast writing skills learned in MCOM 381. During the course of the semester, you will develop your skills in researching a story, gathering information, interviewing, shooting, editing and producing news packages. Because this is a 400 level class, I will expect advanced reporting skills from you. This means having a wide variety of sources, covering newsworthy topics, creating a balanced story, giving yourself plenty of time to complete the assignment, and, finally, taking care to create a visually interesting story.


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

  • A midterm and final exam: 20 percent
  • Out of class assignments: 40 percent ( VOSOT 10%, Pkg #1: 10 %, Pkg #2: 20 %, )
  • Newscast: 20 percent
  • In-class assignments and quizzes: 10 percent
  • Attendance: 10 percent


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. Exhibiting professional behavior during class by refraining from: checking email, facebook or other websites during class;  making or receiving phonecalls or text messages during class;  leaving class for water or bathroom breaks.
  4. All cell phones must be turned off and placed in your bag during the ENTIRE class. Each time I see your cell phone on your desk or in your hands, you will lose 2 points off your participation grade.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)



  • A portable hard drive. We will go over the proper hard drive to buy. The files we’ll be creating will be very large. It’s a good tool to have as you continue on at TU. It’s very likely that you already bought one for MCOM 258 or MCOM 381
  • An SD card. Our new cameras shoot on SD cards. You will need to buy an SDHC Class 6 card. The following brands are recommended by the makers of our cameras:  San Disk, Panasonic and Toshiba. You can find these on sites like B and H Video, and amazon.
  •  Headphones!!! Please stick a pair in your bag and bring to every class.


  • Premier Pro. We will be using this program to edit your video assignments. It is the industry standard and will be a marketable skill for you to have. The more you use it, the better you’ll get at it.
  • I highly recommend you check out for the tutorials on Final Cut Pro X.


Late assignments
This is a 400 level 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 come in more than 10 minutes late to class more than 3 times, those three late arrivals will add up to one absence.

Workshop Days

Each time a package is due, you will have the class period that it’s due to edit your story. ALL stories must be edited in class on those days. I will not accept packages that are not edited in class during those workshop days.

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) Do NOT fabricate sources. (5) Get a head start on deadlines so you do not have to face temptation. (6) 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. Finally, I expect you to shoot and edit all of your own video. In other words, I expect you to do your own work. If you are caught turning in work that someone else shot and edited, you will receive a ZERO for that assignment.

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.

TU Weapons Policy

Towson University prohibits students from bringing weapons to campus. Please click on the link above for more information.

 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