Welcome to Writing for Mass Communication. This course will provide you with a
foundation for professional media writing, as well as several “new media” skills being
implemented in newsrooms throughout the world. If you are a major in the College of
Journalism and Mass Communications, you must earn no lower than a “C” in this course.
My office hours are by appointment only. I will bring a sign-up sheet to each lecture.
Please make sure you keep your appointment with me.
You will note that I am giving you Wednesdays off from lecture. This omission from the
schedule will place a much greater urgency on your attendance in each lecture. Please do
not miss class if you can help it.
You will receive a lab syllabus during your first lab meeting containing your lab
instructor’s name, office number, phone number and office hours.
General requirements for enrollment in MMC 2100
* You must have completed the required six hours of English credit, typically ENC 1101
and 1102. You may have fulfilled this requirement through AP exam scores.
* You must have a strong command of written English. If you have significant problems
with grammar or spelling, you must take responsibility for remedying these issues.
Failure to meet these requirements will affect your ability to earn a passing grade in this
Required text and materials
• Rich, Carole. (2007). Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method (5th or 6th
• Associated Press Style Book (2009, 2008 or 2007)
• Kessler, L., & McDonald, D. (2008). When Words Collide (7th ed.). Belmont,
Calif.: Thomson-Wadsworth. [earlier editions are acceptable]
• Access to a digital camera (doesn’t need to be fancy)
• USB key/Flash memory drive (most cost between $10 and $15)
Due to the pacing of this class, in addition to the abundance of material that will be
covered, students must attend both lecture and lab. Attendance will not be taken on a
regular basis; however, pop quizzes will be given throughout the semester during lecture.
Quizzes and assignments that are missed during an unexcused absence cannot be
Classroom procedures and expectations
• BE ON TIME – because we are eliminating Wednesdays from the lecture schedule, it is imperative that we begin each class on time.
• Please turn off all cell phones and pagers. No texting or emailing during class.
• No food or drinks are allowing in the computer labs. Drinks with caps are
permitted in the lecture hall.
• Laptop use – students will be provided computers in lab; laptops are permitted for note taking during lecture, however, students who are off-task will be asked to
leave the class.
• Those talking out of turn will be asked to leave lecture
• Students should check their Gator email accounts several times each week.
• Students should check the course blog regularly for updates and information.
• Students must turn in their work on time. If a student needs to turn in work late,
he or she must clear it with me first.
• Students who miss lecture are responsible for getting notes from their classmates
before attending lab. Each lecture will offer information essential for your success
• If you are struggling, it is your responsibility to meet with your instructor during
office hours before you fall too far behind.
Students are expected to do their own work, inside and outside of the classroom. Students
are expected to work independently, unless directed otherwise, and they may not claim
anyone else’s work as their own. Students are also expected to do their own work on in-class assignments or quizzes. Students who are caught cheating or using the work of
others will receive a zero on the assignment or quiz.
You are responsible for taking your own notes. The use of commercially produced notes
will result in disciplinary action as outlined in the University’s Student Conduct Code.
Students with special needs
Any student who requires special assistance with any aspect of this class should contact
the Office of Student Services at 352-392-1261. Students with special needs should
notify the instructor immediately and are responsible for making sure the instructor is
informed of any provisions needed. Students who notify the instructor of a special need
after an assignment or quiz cannot make up the assignment or retake the quiz.
• Communication Coaching Center (1088 Weimer Hall) – Student members of
the Journalism and Communications Ambassadors staff the center to provide
assistance to students.
• Computers – Call 392-HELP for locations and hours of computer labs on
• College’s Library – The library is located next to Gannett Auditorium in Weimer Hall and has a collection of commercial newspapers and trade publications.
• Knight Division for Scholarships, Career Services and Multicultural Affairs
(1090 Weimer) – Provides information on scholarships, job fairs and internships.
• Career Resource Center – The university provides free testing and counseling
about careers. The placement office is in the Reitz Union (392-1601). The contact
for our college is Nadine Francis.
• Division of Student Services – (392-1261) Contact this office if you need to miss class due to an on-going medical problem or family emergency. The office will notify your instructors of your absence.
• Counseling Center – (392-1575) The center provides students with guidance
regarding a range of personal issues. http://www.counsel.ufl.edu
• Disability Resources – (392-1261) Students requesting classroom
accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of
Students will provide documentation to the student, who must then provide this
documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation. You must meet
with your lab instructor and with me to discuss special arrangements.
We will not be utilizing the system for minus grades in this course. Students will be
evaluated according to the following grading scale:
A = 100-90 C+ = 79-77 D = 60-66
B+ = 89-87 C = 76-70 E = 59 and below
B = 86-80 D+ = 69-67
• Late assignments will receive a letter grade reduction for each day past the due
• Students should keep track of their own grades and should keep all assignments
throughout the semester.
• Scores of .5 or higher will be rounded up to the next whole number.
The lecture grade counts for 25 percent of your overall grade in the course. Your grade is
based on an average of:
• Average of in-lecture quizzes (100 points)
o Four quizzes will be given throughout the semester to encourage you to
keep up with the readings and to attend lecture. The lowest of the four
quiz scores will be dropped.
• Exam One (100 points)
• Exam Two (100 points)
* No make-up exams will be given unless you have an approved excuse and contact me
prior to the exam.
Students’ grades, along with class announcements, will be posted to the college
We will not go over quizzes or exams during lecture. If you believe there is a problem
with your grade, please see me during office hours.
Lab portion of the course
Your performance in lab is the majority of your grade (75 percent) in the course. You
must attend the lab in which you are enrolled. No lab grades will be dropped or curved.
You will have opportunities for extra credit. Your lab instructor will go over grading for
the lab assignments in more detail during lab one.
MMC 2100 – Lecture Timeline
Lecture – Mon., May 9
Introduction to course, syllabus
Resume preparation (bring to class Tuesday)
Read Chap. 24 for Tuesday
Lecture – Tues., May 10
Read Chap. 3 and Chap. 8 (through p. 144) for Thursday
Lab 1 – Tues., May 10
Grammar lesson, commas (5 rules to remember handout)
*Cleaning Your Copy (must complete by Tues., May 17)
Short essay (theme: instructor’s choice)
Focus on grammar, no AP style
Lecture – Thurs., May 12
Intro to hard news – What is news?
Hard news ledes/AP style
Practice news story for Monday
Read Chap. 7 for Monday
Lab 2 – Thurs., May 12
Résumé and cover letter
Lecture – Mon., May 16
Collect practice news story
Hand out reading for Tuesday
Lecture – Tues., May 17
Old media vs. new media – where is journalism headed?
Read Chap. 8 (p. 145-end) and Chap. 11 for Thursday
Lab 3 – Tues., May 17
Hard news story from handout
Lecture – Thurs., May 19
Soft ledes/feature stories
In-class: read handout of great lead-ins
Come with questions for the speaker on Monday
Soft lede extra credit due Monday
Lab 4 – Thurs., May 19
Web hit/hard news story
Lecture – Mon., May 23
Collect soft lede extra credit
In-class speaker for Lab 7 assignment
Completed story (with 2 UF student sources) due Tuesday
Read Chap. 18 (to p. 344) and sample profile piece for Tuesday
Lecture – Tues., May 24
Midterm exam review
Lab 5 – Tues., May 24
Soft lede feature from handout
Lecture – Thurs., May 26
Midterm Exam – bring ID and pencils
Read Chaps. 5 & 19 for Tuesday
Lab 6 – Thurs., May 26
Lecture – Mon., May 30
NO CLASS – MEMORIAL DAY
Lecture – Tues., May 31
Finding stories, blogging, EHST pointers
Lab 7 – Tues., May 31
In-class interview story due: emergency preparation at UF (focus on hurricane season)
Blogging lecture and instruction in lab
Portfolios and interviews begin
Lecture – Thurs., June 2
NO CLASS – email story ideas/progress to lab instructor
Read Chap. 14 for Monday
Lab 8 – Thurs., June 2
NO LAB – work on EHST
Lecture – Mon., June 6
Public relations writing
Sample press release due Thursday
Read soundslides/video handout for Tuesday
Lecture – Tues., June 7
Soundslides and videos
Read photography handout for Thursday
Lab 9 – Tues., June 7
Lecture – Thurs., June 9
Collect sample press releases
Bring in 10-20 pictures for Soundslides lab
Read Dr. Singer’s piece for Monday
Lab 10 – Thurs., June 9
Lecture – Mon., June 13
Future of journalism
Lecture – Tues., June 14
Final Exam – bring ID and pencils
Lab 11 – Tues., June 14
NO LAB OR LECTURE JUNE 15 & 16