M    1:00 PM  -  1:50 PM 	A405
Class meets once a week, on Monday.

Short reading assignments for each Monday are due on the previous Friday. See daily course outline.
Contact Information:
  • 403 St. Joseph (Box 461)
  • E-mail: My last name, at the setonhill.edu domain.
  • 724-830-1909 (but e-mail is usually the best way to reach me)

Office Hours:
  • Monday, 4-5
  • Wednesday, 2-3
  • Thursday, 9-10
  • By appointment

From the Catalog

Course through which students may earn credit on The Setonian (student newspaper) and its online counterpart. Meets for one hour per week, with an additional production lab for each issue (4 or 5 times per semester). Repeatable for credit.
Production Labs

You are responsible for scheduling your own "production labs" in keeping with the needs of producing the print and/or online issues of the Setonian. Your production lab may involve selling advertisements, editing articles, laying out pages, delivering papers, sorting through archives, fact-checking, or doing almost anything related to getting the paper produced.

To schedule your production lab, contact the editor-in-chief, Stormy Knight, at setonian@setonhill.edu, and ask to be put on the mailing list (so you'll know when the office will be open and what jobs will need to be done).

Please be assertive about finding out when you are most needed.

Because writers and photographers get their names attached to their work, and thus already get credit for their work, the production lab is designed so that more people share the other kinds of very important -- but far less glamorous -- work that goes into producing a paper. (Therefore, taking a picture or writing a story does not count towards the EL200 production lab requirement. You are, of course, welcome to take those pictures and write those articles on your own.)

If you are assigned to write a "breaking news" story or photo for the Setonian Online, outside of our regular print production schedule, I would consider counting such work for part of your production lab, but please talk to me about it beforehand.

Developing and maintaining a good working relationship with your peers is part of the learning process in this course. 

If you cannot carry out a task an editor has entrusted to you, please tell your editor before the deadline passes. Don't leave your peers hanging -- it's a matter of professionalism and simple good manners.

The student editors and managers who work on the Setonian are just as busy as you are. If you wait until the last minute to ask them to give you a job, or if you are only available from 2:17 to 2:43 on alternate Tuesdays when it is raining, I don't expect the student editors to drop everything and find a way to squeeze you in. (You can work for The Setonian from home if you arrange to pick up printouts to proofread, or if you help publish the Setonian Online -- it uses the same blogging software I'll be teaching you to use in class.)

The course is designed to give those students who are interested in working on The Setonian additional skills and leadership training.

This course is intended to meet New Media Journalism learning objectives 4, 5, 7, and 8.

  1. Examine a wide range of genres, styles and cultural literatures.
  2. Examine the traditional canon and innovative nontraditional writers and writing.
  3. Demonstrate analytical skills of reading literature.
  4. Demonstrate a high level of research and writing skills.
  5. Write and speak in a wide range of formats appropriate to major emphasis... 
  6. Speak and write about issues in the discipline and how they interact with the culture at large.
  7. Articulate the ongoing relation between personal habits of reading and writing and the evolving study of English.
  8. Produce a professional portfolio that demonstrates an awareness of and engagement with vital issues in an appropriate professional field relating to new media journalism
This term, the course will also focus on the 2008 US elections.

Because a small core of dedicated students can burn out if others in the organization do not share the load, the course asks you to demonstrate your willingness and ability to participate in the group effort to publish the voice of the student body, and in so doing to serve the entire Seton Hill community.

  • Contribute substantially to each issue of the paper. Shortly after each print issue comes out, submit a brief reflection (in the form a 400-words news story, including quotations from your peers and supervisors) on your contributions to the paper. (These are the "Portfolio" assignments, which typically also include other short assignments.)
  • September: Visit The Newseum (a news museum) in Washington DC (Saturday, Sept 20... Bus ticket is about $20, admission to the museum is about $8 for students. I'll provide precise costs once we have a headcount. Bus leaves from SHU about 5am, and returns late that same night.)
  • October: EL200 students will sponsor a public event (perhaps a debate between College Democrats and College Republicans, or a celebration of the First Amendment, or something else entirely)
  • October-early November: Attend a local political event and write a 400-words story (coordinate with peers so we don't have everyone covering the same event)
  • Nov 4: Election Day (plan some time to follow the coverage, online and on TV)
  • December: A 600-word evergreen story with a 200-word sidebar.  (The idea is to build up a bank of stories that The Setonian can draw from for its first issue in the spring semester, or future Summer Setonian or Welcome Back issues. An "evergreen" story is a topic that will remain "fresh" for publication anytime -- no stories about winter, exams, Christmas, or New Year.)

Students holding positions of responsibility on the Setonian (or the Setonian Online) may be eligible for work-study funding. If the work you get paid to do also helps meet your EL 200 requirements, that's fine with me.

I will often send out bulk e-mails to the address on file for you in the J-Web system. If you check a different address more regularly, please use SHU's e-mail forwarding service so that you don't miss important updates.

Submit your work to Turnitin.com.  Unless a homework assignment specifically mentions a printout, you may assume that I don't want a hard copy.

Students are expected to attend every class, and they are expected to take the initiative to make and support requests for excused absences (see Seton Hill University Catalog, p. 24, "Academic Engagement and Class Attendance").

Requesting Excused Absences

To request an excused absence, print out and complete a copy of my "Absence Form" (available at http://jerz.setonhill.edu/teaching/Absence.doc) and hand it to me (or complete it electronically and e-mail it, if you are unable to make it to campus).

I am happy to excuse students who have legitimate reasons, but no matter the reason, students are still responsible for the material covered during their absence. An excused absence does not automatically grant an extension for any work collected or assigned that day.

For some classroom activities, such as listening to peer oral presentations, there may be no appropriate make-up assignment. (See 5.2 Participation.)

5.1.1. Emergency Excused Absences
Those who miss class due to an unplanned emergency should submit an "Absence Form," with proper documentation, as soon as the immediate crisis has passed.  This simple one-page form is designed to give me the information I need in order to help you stay on track. (A note from a doctor or a photocopy of a court summons only gives me part of the information I need.)

If you miss class unexpectedly, I request that you resist the impulse to ask me to e-mail you a summary of what you missed. I welcome the chance to help you get caught up, but please consult the syllabus and a classmate's notes first, and then bring any specific questions to me.

5.1.2. Scheduled Excused Absences
Those who miss class due to a scheduled activity must plan to complete all make-up assignments before the missed class. In order to give us both time to plan, you must submit a complete, acceptable "Absence Form" (see above) at least a week before the missed class.

  • If there is insufficient time to plan an acceptable make-up assignment, or if an approved make-up assignment is late or unsatisfactory, then I may still record the absence as unexcused.
  • When I sign a roster of away games, my policy is that the student should also hand me completed copies of all the necessary "Absence Forms."

5.1.3. Unexcused Absences
Repeated late arrivals and early departures will begin to count as absences. 

Special notes for once-a-week courses:

  • Each meeting is very important. Provided you can make arrangements to catch up on missed work, I will permit one absence without penalty. 
  • Each additional absence lowers your final grade by two-thirds of a letter grade.
  • After three consecutive absences (excused or unexcused), or four total absences, your final grade becomes an F. (I will of course consider making an exception for extenuating circumstances, but it may not be possible to recover after missing that much of the course.)

If you are absent from class without a legitimate excuse on a day when a major assignment is due -- perhaps because you stayed up all night working on a project and are too tired to attend class -- the assignment will be counted an extra day late. (You might as well go to bed without finishing the project, come to class so you don't fall farther behind, and then turn in the paper the next morning.)

Students are expected to contribute actively to a positive classroom environment, both in person and online.

Common sense and common courtesy dictate that absences, late arrivals and early departures, use of telephones or headphones, lack of preparation or participation, inattentiveness or disruptive behavior will impact your participation grade. Those who contribute above and beyond the call of duty will receive a bonus.

Students who dislike public speaking may wish to invest more effort in their online writing, and vice-versa.

Class participation may raise a student's final grade by up to 1/3 of a letter grade, or lower it by up to a full letter grade.  Having above-average class participation will earn you a slight boost if your final grade falls near a border (e.g. I will have a reason to report a 2.95 as a B).

This course expects you to use the internet regularly. I'm not expecting you to have 24/7 internet access, but just as students in generations past learned to carry an extra inkhorn and spare lamp wicks, there are certain common-sense strategies that will help you do the necessary work.

  • Print out a copy of the course syllabus, and print out online readings in advance, so that you can work on the readings if the internet happens to be down.
  • Get in the habit of e-mailing drafts to yourself, so that you can retrieve them from your archives if you lose your thumb drive or your hard drive crashes. (The website docs.google.com will let you store your word-processor files in a format you can edit online.)
  • Unless the homework assignment specifically mentions a printout, you should assume that I don't want a hard copy. (Most homework will be submitted via turnitin.com, though some assignments will ask you to use other services. We will spend some class time familiarizing ourselves with the various tools.)

Getting Credit for Late Work

By default, late assignments automatically lose one letter grade if they are not submitted on time, and another letter grade for each additional day late (counting weekends as one day). This means that no assignment will earn any credit if it is more than four days late (unless there are extenuating circumstances).

If you are asking that I waive a late penalty, e-mail me a copy of your completed Absence Form (see section 5.1, above) with a subject line that follows this pattern: "Smith EL200 Ex 1-2 Absence Form". (Make sure your absence form specifies the assignment in question.)

Deadlines for the submission of turnitin.com assignments are typically 15 minutes before class starts. (This is to discourage you from being late for class because you were working on your homework, and it also permits me to scan the assignments briefly before class begins.) If your assignment is late by a few minutes, but you are still on time to class, your paper won't count as late.

Please note that late submissions always go to the bottom of my to-do list. If I have already marked and returned a set of assignments, chances are I won't even notice when you submit your late work.  Call my attention to late submissions by e-mailing me a note with a subject line that follows the pattern "Smith EL200 Ex 1-2 Late." 

If you are concerned about not getting a late paper back soon enough to help you complete the next step in a multi-stage assignment, please make an appointment during my office hours, so that I can go over it with you orally.

Special Cases

Some assignments are designed to get you ready for a particular day's class, or to give you the skills you'll need to tackle a larger assignment. For that reason, some assignments can't be made up. (I am willing to make an exception in extenuating circumstances, with proper documentation and follow-through from you.)

Reading Response (4R) Items: These time-sensitive assignments earn no credit if they are late. (You should still complete any items you missed in order to get full credit for your class portfolio.)

Class Participation: The ideal way to get credit for a missed in-class activity is to contribute substantially to the online discussion. Post thoughtful comments on the course website, your peers' websites, and/or your own. To make sure that I see and record credit for this alternative work, include the URLs of your make-up blogging assignments in an e-mail to me. If you post comments on someone else's blog, include the URLs of those entries, too.)

Make-up/Extra Credit Assignments: I do not have a policy of inventing make-up or extra-credit assignments to enable you to pull your grade up in the last few weeks of the term. At any time, however, you may demonstrate your willingness to work hard for your grade by doing more than the required amount of work on your weblog. (Call my attention to this extra work when you submit your weblog portfolio.)

Required Texts for Media Lab (Fall 2008)

  • Goldstein, Norm. The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Basic Books, 2007.
  • Kanigel, Rachele. The Student Newspaper Survival Guide. Ames, Iowa: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.
  • Rosales, Ph.D., Rey G. The Elements of Online Journalism. Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

The links below are for your convenience. You may buy these from any source, including the SHU bookstore. 

(You may use an older version of the AP Stylebook if you already own it.)

This section contains important official statements, using language provided by the SHU administration.

Disability Statement
If you have a disability that requires instructor consideration please contact the Director of Disability Services at 724-838-4295. It is recommended that this be accomplished by the second week of class.

If you need accommodations for successful participation in class activities prior to your appointment at the Disability Services Office, you should offer information in writing that includes suggestions for assistance in participating in and completing class assignments. It is not necessary to disclose the nature of your disability.

Academic Honesty and Ethical Conduct

Seton Hill University expects that all its students will practice academic honesty and ethical conduct.

The University regards plagiarism, cheating on examinations, falsification of papers, non-sanctioned collaboration, and misuse of library material, computer material, or any other material, published or unpublished, as violations of academic honesty. Violators of the code may expect disciplinary sanctions, which are discussed in the Seton Hill University Catalog, page 30, Code of Academic Conduct.

Many of your college assignments will involve quoting from or responding to other people's words and ideas. However, using those words or ideas without properly citing them, or resubmitting your own work for a different class, constitutes plagiarism.

Paraphrasing the thoughts or written work of another without reference -- even with permission from the source -- is also plagiarism.

Helpful information is available at What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It.

Any plagiarism or other form of academic dishonesty will result in a zero for that assignment. Any plagiarism or other form of academic dishonesty on a draft will result in a zero for the final grade on that assignment. All academic dishonesty will be reported to the dean's office.

The whole course is based on 500 points, simply because that number happened to make the various components work out to nice whole numbers.

All assignments are marked on a 4-point scale, just like your official university transcript. Every year, some students panic because they see their grade hovering in the 70s, and they worry they are going to get a C.  But with a four-point system, if a particular exercise is worth 40 points, and you get 30 on it, you got 75%, or a B.

  • Exercises (240 pts)
    • Ex 1: Personal Goals (250 words; informal personal essay, including a quote from Setonian editor-in-chief Stormy Knight) 40pts
    • Ex 2: Field Trip Report (400 words; informal personal essay OR news feature) 50pts
    • Ex 3: Spot News (600 words; news coverage of a local election-related event) 50pts
    • Ex 4: Evergreen Draft (800 words; profile or other feature suitable for January or Summer publication) 50pts
    • Ex 5: Evergreen Revision + Sidebar (200 more words) 50pts
  • Portfolios (160 pts) -- Four collections of reflective writing, including
    • A lab report (a 400-word news article, written in the third person, following all the principles of good journalism)
    • A richly-linked blog entry (collecting your thoughts on the readings and other class activities)
    • Other brief items as specified (I may ask you to respond to a discussion question, or react to a breaking news event, or provide an update on an ongoing project.)
    • Due on the Monday after issues 2 through 5 are printed. Accordingly, the four portfolio due dates are scheduled for
      • Sep 29
      • Oct 20
      • Nov 10
      • Dec 02
  • News Project Portfolio (100 pts) -- a portfolio that documents your planning for, contributions during, and reactions to the election-related class project. Exactly what this portfolio entails will depend on what the class project turns out to be. (My suggestion is that we organize a public event, such as a presentation on the First Amendment, or a debete between the College Republicans and the College Democrats.)  (Self-reflection essay, 25pts; oral presentation, 25pts; my assessment -- supported by your documentation -- of the ambitiousness and success of your project, 50pts)

  • No Final Exam. This term, I've scheduled an election-themed project, so I'm hoping we can wrap up the project presentations by mid-November, so that we won't have to meet during the final exam slot. (The final draft of Ex 5 is due during the final exam slot, but class will not meet on that day.)

Recent Comments

Daniella Choynowski on Ex 5: Evergreen Final (10 Dec, 15:16h)
Jeremy Barrick on Ex 5: Evergreen Final (05 Dec, 22:59h)
Daniella Choynowski on Ex 5: Evergreen Final (05 Dec, 19:16h)
Dennis G. Jerz on Ex 4: Evergreen Draft (30 Nov, 22:19h)
Aero Windwalker on Ex 4: Evergreen Draft (30 Nov, 22:15h)
Shellie Polly on Portfolio 4 (30 Nov, 22:22h)
Jeremy Barrick on Portfolio 4 (29 Nov, 10:25h)
Jeremy Barrick on Evergreen Story Pitches, Cont'd (17 Nov, 01:21h)
Daniella Choynowski on Portfolio 3 (10 Nov, 02:16h)
Shellie Polly on Portfolio 3 (09 Nov, 21:12h)
Jeremy Barrick on Portfolio 3 (09 Nov, 12:55h)
Kayla Sawyer on Portfolio 3 (08 Nov, 16:54h)
Daniella Choynowski on Portfolio 3 (08 Nov, 15:52h)
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