Introduction to Journalism

During the course of this school year, we will look critically at the history of journalism and how journalism has evolved into the multifaceted, controversial element that it is today.  Journalism is a constantly changing aspect of our culture, and it can mean many different things to different generations of people.

One note of interest for this course: the study of journalism is both writing-intensive and highly dependent on collaboration with others.  Students in journalism should be willing to work hard and consistently focused on contributing to the class as a whole.

Check this page frequently, especially for updates to the course calendar and homework assignments.  IMPORTANT: Although Intro to Journalism and Sophomore Journalism are similar courses, we do NOT always do the same thing in each course.  It is vitally important that you look at the announcements and click the links that are specific to YOUR course.

Use the additional links in the drop-down menu at the top of this page to access information about this course, including the course calendardocuments and resources and other helpful links.

If your Broadcast video clips are saved in .AVI file format, follow these instructions to convert them:
1) Save the files on the computer's desktop
2) Open the program "Any Video Converter Lite" and use the program to convert any videos you need.
3) Once the videos show up on the list of converted videos, double click the magnifying glass to show the folder where all the videos downloaded.
4) Open iMovie, then drag the video files to the "upload" symbol in iMovie in order to upload them.

Once your video clips are saved in MP4 format, you can easily import them to iMovie.
1) Open iMovie.
2) Go to File, Import Movie. Navigate to the saved files and select them for import.

Watch the video on the LRC's homepage for instructions and tutorials about how to use iMovie.

We have four and a half weeks left in the school year, but they will be busy ones in terms of the academic work that will be happening in class.
  1. Students are reading nonfiction books. They need to keep on track of their reading schedules so they are ready for weekly discussions.  We will be finishing books by Friday, May 15. See the "Journalism Resources" tab of my website to find reading schedules and discussion questions.
  2. Students will be finishing up group Broadcast projects next week (by April 29).  
  3. Students will be writing a journalistic feature story about an issue of their choice. Assignment details and the rubric are posted on the "Journalism Resources" tab of my website.  Please see the "Journalism Calendar" page of my website for a more detailed schedule of class work. The final draft of this story will be due on Friday, May 15.
It is vital that students stay on track during these last few weeks in order to finish strong.  The deadline for turning in any late or missing work for the grading period will be Friday, May 15.

4/15/2015 & 4/16/205
Read the following instructions very carefully regarding in-class activities over the next two days:

Open up your Course Packet to page 107-109 (extra copies are posted on the Journalism Resources tab of my website, if you don't have your Course Packet).  You will be completing these 3 pages over the next two days of class.  Your goal is to watch two complete news broadcasts (18-20 minutes each) from the sources listed below.  Both broadcasts should be from the same day.   You will have class time Wednesday and Thursday to complete this activity.

Make sure you mark the source (ABC, NBC, CBS) of the broadcast and the date the original broadcast occurred. For each broadcast, write the different stories that each news broadcast talks about in order, as well as how long the segment lasts and any comments you have about how they covered the story.

Once you have watched two complete broadcasts, complete the discussion questions on page 109.  You will turn in all 3 pages of this on Friday.


NBC Nightly News

**NOTE: This source only has videos from the last 5 days.

Go to

Above the video box, click on “Watch Full Episodes”

Pick an episode from the category labeled “full episodes of Nightly News”


CBS Evening News

**NOTE: This source has the most videos – about a month’s worth of archived episodes.

Go to

Select the day you want to watch, then sit back and watch.  The show should play all the way through (18-20 minutes) once an initial commercial runs.  It may play a short 15-second commercial during every regularly scheduled commercial break, as well.


ABC World News Tonight

Go to

Choose a video that has a “play” symbol, not the ones that say “verify to watch.” (You can change the month from April to March, but if you do, keep in mind that another site may not have a video that old)

Your video may take a minute to load, but it should begin playing after a short commercial.

Use the following quizlet link to study Photojournalism terms:

3/6/2015 & 3/9/2015
Read the feature story titled "Four Walls to Hold Me" by Rick Bragg.  This article is posted on the Journalism Resources tab of my website (at the very top of the page).  Work alone or with a partner to answer the following questions.  Then, go back to your table and go through the discussion questions with the students at your table.  We will share out with a class.
Discussion Questions:

1. This article talks about four different men who are aging in prison and one additional prisoner who is middle aged.  For each man, explain who he is, what crimes he committed, and what he is like now.

2.What details does Bragg give that seem to support keeping the old men in prison? What details does he give for allowing them to be free?  Which arguments do you think are most convincing?

3. Discuss the term “criminal menopause.” What does this reference allude to? Why do you think this term developed?

4. The author uses a metaphor to describe what prison sentences used to be, prior to political change.  What is this metaphor, and do you think it’s effective?  Why/why not?

5. What is the author’s purpose in writing this article?

6. Find transitional words and phrases in this piece.  Discuss – how does Bragg’s use of transitions make it easier for readers to follow along with such a complex story?

7. What is your personal opinion regarding this topic?  Should prisoners be locked away for life, or should they be released once they are no longer capable of committing crimes?

The next month might be a little crazy with all of the adjusted schedules, so make sure you are keeping up with the calendar and emailing me with any questions!  The block schedule will allow us to do some fun and in-depth activities in class that we wouldn't normally be able to do.

Welcome back for second semester!  This grading period, we are going to be spending a lot of time talking about ethics in journalism, but first, we are going to focus on opinion writing.  This grading period will push you and challenge you, but you will definitely grow as a writer and a global citizen during this time.

If you are interested in applying to be part of the 2015-2016 Talisman staff, click here to go to the applications page.  Deadline to apply is January 7.

Watch at least two of the videos at the following links. They are part of a series of Profile stories about random people in the United States called "Everybody Has a Story," written by Steve Hartman.
Soul Food:

Use this Quizlet link to study terms for the Parts of a Newspaper quiz.  Students will need to know these terms as we begin to use design software later this week.  We will quiz over these terms on Friday, October 31.

The first grading period is almost over!  Over the next week, students in Introduction to Journalism should be hard at work completing their Current Events Analysis and preparing for our upcoming Press Conference.  We have been learning about newswriting and will put those skills to the test on Monday, October 13 when we host a press conference to find out more about the upcoming construction project at Hayes.

We are beginning our introduction into newswriting over the next few weeks.  Be brave and adventurous as we experiment with a new style of writing, and don't be afraid to ask questions when you get confused!

Use the following Quizlet link to study key terms and ideas for Monday's quiz over the History of Journalism.

If you would like to review the video we watched in class today about In Text Citations, I am including the video below:

YouTube Video

This week, we will be finishing up our discussion of the History of Journalism and turning in our first final-draft quality papers.  Make sure that you are continuing to memorize the First Amendment (the quiz is Monday 9/15!), and see me if you need any help with your paper or have questions.
I have posted copies of the Persuasive Paper rubric and the Quiz study guide on the "Journalism Resources" tab of my webpage as well as the powerpoint notes about History that we discussed in class.
Next week, we will take our History of Journalism quiz and then move on to learning about journalistic newswriting skills.

We are off to a great start for this school year!  As we continue to discuss the History of Journalism in class, we will look this week at key Supreme Court cases from history that deal with students' First Amendment rights in school.  Expect to work hard, think hard, and consider challenging ideas over the next two weeks.

Technology Screencast Video
View the following video to familiarize yourself with all of the electronic resources that we will be using in this classroom.  

Then, use the following link to join my class in EssayTagger (upload any document you wish - the document itself won't be graded at all).