Course Syllabus

Fayetteville State University

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Performing and Fine Arts



Semester: Fall Year: 2004

Course No.: COM 330-01 Course Name: Writing for Mass Media Credit Hours: 3

Day/Time Class Meets: TR 12:30-1:50 Room/Bldg:

Instructor: Dr. Eugenie Almeida

Office Location: 206 Telecom Center Office Phone: 672- 2031

Office Hours: M:10-2 WF: 12-2




A study of the various forms of written expression in mass media.

Prerequisite: Comm 205, Engl 120.



Baker-Woods, G.; Dodd, J. E.; Ford, K.; Keller, K.; Plumley, J.; Smeyak, G. P. & Walsh-Childers, K. (1997). Mass Media Writing: An Introduction. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.



Upon completion of the course, the student will achieve the following NCATE approved course objectives:


Knowledge:(1) Be able to identify technical terms applicable to both print and broadcast journalism.

(2) Understand the professional role of a journalist and media writer.

(3) Demonstrate familiarity with the rules, forms and styles applicable to different


(4) The student will acquire facility in techniques of designing and writing a variety of

media products including:a) news storie, b) news features, c) PR releases, d) radio news spots,

e) tv features.

(5) Demonstrate an understanding of the legal and ethical principles that are used in the

media professions.


Assessment:1) Use a variety of formal and informal assessments aimed at meeting program goals and positive student learning including written pieces, formal exams, and peer review.

(2) Assess and apply ethical and legal standards inherent to the journalism profession.


Reflection:(1) Reflect on and evaluate teaching and learning through editing written work, reading text material, reviewing newspapers, magazines, radio and television material in a critical fashion, and teacher-student conference.



(1) Apply new technologies to teaching, learning and research including:

    a) using computer word processors to edit and revise speech outlines;

    b) use the internet to acquire source material and to access media products;

    c) adapting one’s ideas to the needs of media technology.



1) Understand the differences that exist among people and their cultures and the ways in which these differences affect individuals’ view of the world, their values, and their interpretations of the events of their lives.

(2) Learn how to empathize with the needs of both media professionals and the diverse audiences they serve.


Collaboration:(1) Collaborate with colleagues, parents, local schools, agencies and the community to support learning and achievement for all students.



Knowledge INTASC #1. The teacher understands the major concepts, assumptions, debates, processes of inquiry and ways of knowing that are central to the discipline he or she teaches.


Reflection INTASC #9.4 The teacher is committed to reflection, assessment, and learning as an ongoing process.


Technology INTASC #6.13 NCDPI #6.4 The teacher knows how to use a variety of media communication tools, including audiovisual aids and computers, to enrich learning opportunities.


Diversity INTASC #3 The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.


Collaboration INTASC #10.12, NCDPI #10 The teacher establishes respectful and productive relationships with diverse home and community situations, and seeks to develop cooperative partnerships in support of learning and well being.


Other course competencies acquired in the course include: NCATE communication (1.0-4.2), NCDPI information skills (1-5), workforce development skills (3.1-3.4).





Newspaper interview  50 points

News story (event, occurrence) 50 points

Press release 50 points

News feature item 100 points

Radio news spot 50 points

Television script (group) 100 points

PR Brochure (group) 100 points

In-class exercises 100 points

Exam 1 75 points

Exam 2 75 points

Exam 3 75 points


Total Points 725 points



A=667-725 points  (92-100)

B=602-667 points   (83-91)

C=530-601 points  (73-81)

D=464-529 points  (64-72)

F= 463 points or below                   (63 or less-Academic Failure)


I= Incomplete            Must have passing grade to qualify.





Date     Topic     Assignment

8/17 Overview of course; the process of communication Text, Ch. 1

8/19 Precision & Accuracy in Media Writing Text, Ch. 2


8/24  In-class exercises

8/26 In-class exercises Appendix B


8/31  Journalistic writing style Text, Ch. 3

9/2 Preparing to Write Text, Ch. 4    In-class exercises


9/7 Conducting Interviews

9/9  Writing News Stories Ch. 5

In-class exercises


9/14 Writing News Stories News interview due 9/16

9/16  In-class exercises


9/21 Feature Stories News story due 9/23

9/23 In-class exercises


9/28 Review for Midterm

9/30 Midterm


10/5 Writing Broadcast news Ch. 7

10/7 Writing Radio news Ch. 8


10/12 Fall Break

10/14 Radio script due 10/14


10/19 Television news Ch. 9

10/21 Television news Ch. 9 Form groups for tv script


10/26 TV Group work

10/28 TV group work TV script due, 11/1


11/2 12 Public relations writing Ch. 10

11/4 In-class exercise


11/9 PR External & Internal Ch. 11.

11/11 Introduction to Advertising Copywriting Ch. 12 Press release due


11/16 Form groups for PR brochure

11/18 PR group work


11/23 15 PR group work



11/30 Mass Communication Law Ch. 15

12/2 Review for Final Exam PR brochure due on 12/2

Final Exam is scheduled on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 at 12:30-2:20.



The final grade for this course will be based upon several factors. To be successful, the student is expected to demonstrate maturity and a shared sense of responsibility for his/her intellectual and aesthetic development. As a consequence, all students are expected to:

1. to arrive on time as excessive lateness will also affect your final grade.

2. possess a copy of the textbook and complete all assigned readings

3. complete all assigned work on time

4. participate fully in classroom activities and discussions

5. use the library, computer lab and mass media resources in assignment preparation

6. perform satisfactorily on exams

7. apply self-directed study and practice methods in the use of news sources

8. practice professional communication skills often, in class, with guest speakers, with the instructor and otherwise;

9. take to heart the adage that proper preparation prevents poor performance.



Student presentations comprise the majority of the course although lectures, discussions, and video review and analysis will also be used. Lectures will be used to present material in the text along with handouts. As we have the use of a classroom with media capacity, media equipment will be used for some assignments. The VCR unit is also available for student presentations along with a screen which can be used for transparencies and film.



Make up examinations or assignments will be given at the discretion of the instructor. All assignments must bee turned in at the beginning of class on the date they are due. Late work will only be accepted with a valid, instructor-approved excuse. Otherwise, you will lose credit for every day that the assignment is late. Unless otherwise indicated, all written assignments must be typed. Students are allowed three absences without penalty; however, you are encouraged to attend every class.



Baran, S. J. & Davis, D. K. Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment and Future. 3rd Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2003.

Bunton, K., Connery, T. B., Kanihan, S. T., Neuzil, M. & Nimmer, D. Writing Across the Media. Boston, MA: Bedford, St. Martin’s, 1999.


Brader, M. & Roth, R. L. Getting the Message Across: Writing for the Mass Media. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin, 1997.


Brooks, B. S. && Pinson, J. L. Working with Words: A Concise Handbook for Media Writers And Editors. NY: St. Martins Press, 1995.


Fedler, F; Bender, J. P.; Davenport, L. & Kostyn, P. E. Reporting for the Media. 6th Ed. FL: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1997.


Kaye, B. K. & Medoff, N. J. The World Wide Web: A Mass Communication Perspective. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999.


Stovall, J. G. Writing for the Mass Media. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2002.