MCom 100w

Writing Workshop

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Extra credit

As promised, here are some extra credit options for this class. As previously noted, you can submit up to 30 points worth of extra credit.

The last day to submit an extra credit assignment is Monday, May 11.

Your extra credit options are:

  • Copy Edit the World: You are required to submit 30 points worth of Copy Edit the World for this class. Once you’ve done that, you can submit another 15 points worth of Copy Edit the World for extra credit.
  • Common Sayings: Look up the meaning and origins of up to three common sayings or unusual phrases that you’ve heard or read. For example, one we discussed in class was “a long row to hoe,” which turned out not to mean or be spelled the way most of you expected. Each saying is worth five points; you can submit up to three. For a good example of this option, you might want to check out this former student’s “common sayings” submission on her 100w blog.
  • Similes & Metaphors: Collect some similes and metaphors that you find to be particularly striking and effective. They should be gleaned from your daily reading – from books, newspapers, magazines, or websites. For each, note the source and whether it’s a simile or metaphor, then briefly explain why you think it works. That is, explain how it allows the reader to “see, hear, smell and/or feel” what is being described.  Please note: Handing in a list of examples plucked from a “simile/metaphor” website will garner you no credit for this assignment.  (5 points per pair – that is, one simile and one metaphor. You can submit up to three pairs for a maximum of 15 points)
  • Write a Review: Write a review of a current film, play, television series, music performance or video game. If you haven’t written a review before, be sure to read some reviews first; this should be a critical review and analysis, not a plot summary. (350-500 words, 15 points)
  • IMHO: Write a second In My Humble Opinion. (See the assignments page for specifics of this option; 15 points)
  • Letter to the Editor: Write a letter to the editor and get it published in the Spartan Daily or another local newspaper. (100-150 words, 15 points)
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Typo time

On Monday I’ll review AP style and the “Copy Edit the World” assignment. To help you get your “editing chops” up to speed, here are some fun errors I spotted and photographed over winter break.

The way the Copy Edit the World assignment works is that you must identify and correct an error to get credit. In this case, I’m offering two points extra credit to the first person to add a comment to this blog that identifies and corrects an AP style error, typo or other error in any of these pics.

Ypromo typoou’ll probably notice more than one error, but please just pick one to identify and correct in your comment. That will give more of you a chance to experience some of that “extra credit love.” (Also, please first check any published comments to see which errors have already been identified and corrected.)

surfing typo  menu typo

Extra credit options

The last day to submit anything for extra credit for this class is Monday, Dec. 8. As previously noted, you can submit up to 30 points worth of extra credit.

Your extra credit options are:

  • Copy Edit the World: You are required to submit 30 points worth of Copy Edit the World (with your corrections) for this class. If you get on a roll, you can submit up to 15 more points worth of Copy Edit the World for extra credit.
  • Common Sayings: Look up the meaning and origins of up to three common sayings (or unusual phrases). Each one is worth five points for up to 15 points extra credit. One that we discussed in class was “a long row to hoe,” which turned out not to mean or be spelled the way most of you expected. For a good example of this option, you might want to check out Colette’s recent “sayings” submission on her blog.
  • IMHO: Write a second In My Humble Opinion. (See the assignments page for specifics of this option.)
  • Letter to the Editor: Write a letter to the editor to the Spartan Daily or a local newspaper (or to the CSU Board of Trustees or your state legislator). Your letter should be 125-250 words; it’s worth up to 15 points). If you’re looking for topic inspiration, check out these two articles:

 

Editing practice

Your first 10 points worth of Copy Edit the World is due Wednesday, so it’s time to get in some practice. Check out the images posted below to see if you can spot the errors.

If you find an error, click on the “comments” link at left and write a comment identifying and correcting the error. Each error is worth 2 points extra credit, and the first person to get it right gets the points.

The two print items have one sneaky error each; the ad contains several errors. (One error per person, please. Give someone else a chance to earn some extra credit too.)

typo exampletypo example 2  errors in ad
Good work so far, but there are still a couple errors left to find. Good luck!

Ethical extra credit

Yes, doing the right thing can earn you extra credit. Just attend the sixth annual Spuler Ethics Symposium on diversity in the media, write a 350- to 500-word news story, news release or reflective essay about it, and post it on your blog … and earn up to 15 points extra credit.

Spuler Ethics SymposiumThe focus of this year’s symposium couldn’t be more timely: Diversity in the media, including how issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious cultures and disabilities are portrayed and conveyed in advertising, journalism and public relations.

The guest panel includes: SJSU graduate Janelle Wang, TV news anchor, NBC Bay Area Channel 11; JMC Lecturer Lloyd La Cuesta, former South Bay bureau chief, KTVU Channel 2; Dona Nichols, JMC “Diversity in Media” lecturer; and Dr. Vernon Andrews, SJSU kinesiology lecturer. The panel is moderated by JMC Prof. Matt Cabot.

The Spuler Ethics Symposium, which is sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, in Engineering Hall 189.

The Spuler Symposium is named for Phil and Dean Spuler, who met at San Jose State in the late 1940s as staff members of the Spartan Daily newspaper. Both the Spulers had successful careers as journalists. The Spuler estate created an endowed fund for media ethics in 2008 to help students who are passionate about journalism achieve their goals.

Convo typos

Imagine my dismay to see so many AP style and other errors in the JMC spring 2014 convocation packet. Oh dear. Apparently they didn’t pay attention to these kinds of things in JOUR 61, MCOM 100W, or PR 190.

But you can benefit from their carelessness by identifying and correcting their errors. I’ll add 2 extra credit points to your grade if you add a comment to this blog post that identifies and corrects one of their errors.

One correction per person, please, so several of you can share the “wealth.”

JMC convocation Good job! Thanks to all who suggested corrections.

 

Ghoulishly good extra credit

Just in time for Halloween comes this ghoulishly good extra credit option: Write a short (but true) tale of a memorable Halloween experience for up to 15 points extra credit.

To get the full 15 points, you’ll have to craft an engaging lead and tell a good tale. Your first-person Halloween essay/story should include details and description, and maybe some quotes. Feel free to include anecdotes, similes and metaphors. (Of course, it may essentially be one big anecdote.) It should be about 200-300 words, and reading it should make me smile (making me laugh is even better). Or, if it’s sad and makes me teary, that works too. But focus on that “human interest/appeal to emotions” news value, perhaps along with a dose of “unusualness.”

Have fun with it, and post it on your blog by the end of this week.

Here’s my story:

I blame it all on my Uncle Eddie. He’s the one who showed my best friend Martha and me how to turn a stick, some string and a old wooden spool of thread into a terror-inducing device.

It was almost Halloween. We were 12 or 13 years old — the age when you’ve stopped going out trick or treating but haven’t yet figured out what to do instead. We lived out in the country: No streetlights, not much traffic, and not much to do. You had to make your own entertainment.

So that’s what we did. With my uncle’s help, we hatched a plan to scare Martha’s siblings. Her parents were out for the evening, and her one of her older sisters was babysitting the four younger kids (yes, it was a big family — nine kids in all).

Uncle Eddie showed us how to use a pocket knife to notch the edges of an old wooden spool (my mother sewed, so a empty spool of thread wasn’t hard to find). Then he tied a piece of string tightly around the spool, and wrapped the rest of the string around it. We slid the spool onto a stick (actually, a TinkerToy connector), and tested it out. We pressed the spool against a window pane and yanked the string. It made a loud, ominous rattle against the glass: Brrapp.

We rewrapped the string and did it again. Excellent! It was already dark out, and we were ready.

We snuck across the field to Martha’s house, giggling all the way. We picked a dark window and placed the spool against the pane. We pulled the string. Brrapp. Again. Brrapp.

We ran away, giggling quietly. Found another dark window. Repeat: Brrapp. Brrapp. Heard nervous kids inside the house, saying, “What’s that? What’s that?” Brrapp. Brrapp. Then we ran back across the field to my house, laughing.

“Ha-ha, I guess we really scared them!”

We were quite pleased with ourselves. After a while, Martha went home … and that’s when things went sour. Turns out her youngest brother, Mark, got so scared that he puked, and the other kids panicked and called the police. Martha confessed, and was grounded for months. Her parents banned me from coming to their house — I was clearly a bad influence.

I vowed to never try anything like that again … until another Halloween, when my cousins (Uncle Eddie’s sons, of course) and my brother and I found ourselves with a bag of rotten apples, which we decided to throw at passing cars … never expecting that we’d actually hit one. But that’s another story.

Check out Access

accessissue1Earlier this semester, Access Editor-in-Chief Thyra Phan came to our class to talk about Access magazine, and how you could contribute a story — for extra credit and a byline.

Well, the first fall issue of Access is now out. It appeared as an insert in today’s Spartan Daily, but if you didn’t pick up a copy on campus you can also read it online at http://accessfall2013.wordpress.com/

Be sure to check out the cool coffee brewing video at http://accessfall2013.wordpress.com/coffee-notes/

The next copy deadline is mid-October, so now is the time to submit your story idea.

 

Schedule changes

I’ve adjusted the class schedule to make up for last week’s missed class. The biggest change: The midterm exam is now scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, our first day back from spring break.

I’ve shuffled the April class schedule quite a bit, so please review it for updates. Pay particular attention to assignment due dates because several of them have changed. For example, your second scholarly journal article summary is now due Monday, April 15, and the final 10 points of Copy Edit the World is now due May 1.

You may also note that I’ve eliminated the class session on opinion writing (originally scheduled for 4/29) and the accompanying in-class writing assignment, a letter to the editor, to help us stay on track. Instead, if you’re interested, you can submit a 125- to 175-word letter to the editor for extra credit. It will be worth up to 10 points, and is due by Monday, May 6.

 

 

Covey to speak at JMC

Extra credit opportunity: Lou Covey, a 1974 SJSU Journalism graduate and former member of the Spartan Daily, will speak at JMC at 12 noon, Tuesday, March 19 (Room TBA).

Covey will discuss his newspaper and online career, and reflect on working with his JMC mentor, Dr. Dwight Bentel. Covey served as Dr. Bentel’s teaching assistant while attending SJSU.

For up to 15 points extra credit, you can write either: 1) a news story about his presentation or 2) a reflective essay on the media industry trends he discusses and how those trends could impact your planned career path. Your news story or essay should be 250-350 words; it is due by the start of class on Wednesday, March 20. (Yes, tight deadlines are a fact of life in the media fields.)

Read more about Covey and explore his website, Footwasher Media. You might want to get started by watching “Journalism is Dead,” a recent video commentary by Covey:

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