132.10 Campaign Reporting (Fall 2000)
am - 12:15 pm Tuesday and Thursday
Address: 801 22nd St., NW, Suite T409E, Washington, D.C., 20052
Hours: 2 - 4 pm Tuesday
Boys on the Bus" by Timothy Crouse (Crouse)
Guide to Public Opinion Polls" by Sheldon R. Gawiser and G. Evans Witt
Control Room: How Television Calls the Shots in Presidential Elections"
by Martin Plissner (Plissner)
Frenzy" by Larry Sabato (Sabato)
2000: Politicians and the Press, Nieman Reports, Summer, 2000.
Studies Journal, Winter, 1997, Covering the 1996 Presidential Campaign
from this issue will be assigned topically.
Studies Journal, Winter, 2000, Campaign 2000 -
from this issue will be assigned topically.
by CNN and Time Magazine - General
site for keeping up with this year's political developments.
Post Political Coverage - General
site for election year, including calendars, past stories and links to
other political sites.
Vote Smart - One
of the oldest and best web-based clearinghouses on issues and candidates.
Institute Campaign Resources - Explore
this site for a wealth of links to campaign coverage, reference material,
campaigns, government agencies and other links.
is an advanced writing course to develop news gathering and writing skills
and to apply those skills to the coverage of political campaigns. Through
hands-on experience, readings, and discussions, students will learn reporting
techniques to illuminate how campaigns work and how politics affects the
lives of citizens. Through in-class exercises and outside assignments,
students will hone the writing skills needed to bring clarity, context,
reader appeal and objectivity to news stories and news features. Through
lectures and class discussions, students will study the history and practice
of political journalism.
unfolding 2000 campaigns will be a laboratory for the course, and students
should be prepared for changes in the course schedule to take advantage
in a modern newsroom, computer literacy will be expected along with writing
competency. Unless otherwise specified by the instructor, all
outside class assignments will be posted as Prometheus files in a word
processing format that can be edited by the instructor. All writing in
the computer lab should be done in Word.
There will be no midterm. The final exam will cover the readings and lectures.
Among other things, it will test knowledge of the changes in political
journalism since the publication of the landmark book, "The Boys on the
Bus" by Timothy Crouse. The final will constitute 20 percent of the grade.
Assignments: In-class and take-home reporting and writing exercises and
quizzes will occur periodically. They will constitute 20 percent of the
Drawn from actual congressional campaigns developing in the 2000 elections,
the stories will be written over the course of the semester for 50 percent
of the grade. Students will select a contested race for the U.S. House
or Senate. This could include a House district or Senate seat from
a student's home state or in the Washington area. Students should discuss
their choice of a race with the instructor. All stories must be double
spaced with standard margins and type size. Students are encouraged to
read and watch news media coverage of the 2000 campaigns, but any use of
material from that coverage in stories for the class must follow the rules
of attribution. Plagarism will not be tolerated, and students should
be familiar with university's honor code. Reporter notes are subject
to request. Each story will count for 10 percent of the grade. Unless otherwise
specified by the instructor, deadlines are the start of class on the dates
will be graded on content, writing and newsworthiness. Grades will be lowered
for errors in AP style, grammar, word usage and spelling, and for missed
deadlines and factual errors. The grades for stories that contain a misspelled
name will be lowered a notch, automatically. Grades will be applied as
though stories were presented in a newsroom. To receive an A, a story should
be of publishable quality or near publishable quality, requiring only modest
editing. A story receiving a B would be one sufficiently developed that
it could be published in the current news cycle with more reporting and
some rewriting. A story that requires more reworking than can be accomplished
in the current news cycle would receive a C. A story receiving a D would
fail to meet minimum reporting and writing standards, requiring a complete
overhaul. A story that shows disregard of professional standards and contains
factual errors would receive an F.
Rewriting will be allowed for the four major news features, which are stories
1, 2, 3 and 5. Stories that receive an A may be rewritten for practice,
but will not be graded again. Stories that receive a grade of A- to C-
may be rewritten for regrading but it will result in no more than one letter
improvement. Stories that receive a D or F must be rewritten but they will
receive a final grade of no more than a C. Failure to rewrite in these
cases will result in an F. All rewrites will be due at the next session
of class, unless specified differently by the instructor.
Punctuality in attending class and meeting story deadlines will be expected.
Unexcused absences will count against the final grade, even if no written
assignments are required in class. Students should be prepared to discuss
their writing during class and critique the work of others during class
discussions. Attention in class will be expected, and e-mailing and other
non-instructional uses of the computers during a lecture are prohibited.
1 - 5: 50% (10% for each story)
1, Campaign Setup: Sept. 19
2, Campaign Finance: Oct. 10
3, Issues: Oct. 26
4, Poll Exercise (in class): Oct. 31
5, Post Election: Nov. 16