Newswriting I

Discipline: Media Studies
Instructor: Goff
Credits: 3
Day: null
Start: 16:45
End: 18:00
Field Work: Day 1 | Portugal Download Syllabus

This course introduces the reporting, writing, and presentation skills that are the basis for good journalism. Students will master basic newswriting techniques; study the future of journalism in our port countries and the U.S.; and produce an e-newspaper to be distributed to the entire shipboard community. In class, students will learn and practice the news production process, which includes data collection, organization, revision, documentation, and presentation. Discussions will cover the nature of news; the difference between news and feature writing; credible sourcing; lead writing and the inverted pyramid organizational model; quotations and attribution; and interviewing skills. We will examine models of news media in each country, as well as ethical and legal issues. In ports, students will be assigned “beats” to cover. Outstanding beat stories will be published in the shipboard e-paper. That publication will address both happenings on board ship and upcoming ports in the form of tips, news, and interviews with faculty and students-an activity which will significantly enhance students’ experience of ports. Additionally, students will be asked to find examples of news from diverse media in every port. Back in the classroom, we will compare journalism practices from country to country as we also consider the current crisis in American journalism.

Field Work

Country: Portugal
Day: 1

"The city of Évora is a World Heritage site with mansions and monuments that bear testimony to the greatness of the 16th century's court. Monsaraz is a beautiful medieval village with castle, walls and fortifications." So read the guidebook descriptions of these two tourist destinations near Lisbon. The Newswriting I class will be taken on a standard tour of these indeed lovely villages. But they will view the tour from a critical distance, using reporting skills they have learned in class and insights gained from taking multiple tours in previous ports. Students will use this field lab as the central example for an assignment to write a 750-word editorial on the topic of "Tourism," an editorial which will draw on the students' cumulative experience as a tourist on the Semester at Sea voyage. Keeping a critical distance will not diminish the attractions of Evora and Monsaraz. Part of the appeal of both villages is the variety of architectural styles, particularly Renaissance and Gothic sites and the pre-historic megaliths found there. In Evora students will visit the megaliths, Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), and Vasco da Gama Palace, as well as other sites. We will stop for lunch at the Água de Prata Acqueduct, in one of the cafes built between the arches (Rua da Cano street, Travessa das Nunes lane, Rua do Salvador street); this will be an out-of-pocket expense. At Monsaraz, we will see more megaliths; the Castle Keep; and the Mannerist fountain, among other sites.