Reporting & Writing
for Online Media (JOU 4341) is a journalism course at the University
of Florida's College of Journalism
& Communications where students learn to report on & through
the Internet. The course is a part of the online journalism track and
was created by Professor Mindy McAdams.
In Fall 2003, it is taught on Tuesdays, during UF periods 8 – 10
(3 – 6 p.m.) in Weimer 2050.
... Course Goals
Student journalists in this course will practice reporting longer stories
specifically for presentation on the Web. Topics covered include blogging
as journalism, in-depth interviews, modular story structure, linking strategies
and use of online communities to find sources and gather information.
Verification and selection of reliable sources are emphasized. Students
produce two original online projects and maintain a weblog during the
... General Courtesy
Students are expected to treat one another and the instructors with respect.
Respect is conveyed in many forms, not all of which will be discussed
in the syllabus. Refrain from bringing a cell phone/pager to class. If
a student brings these devices to class, they must be turned off. If a
cell phone rings during class, the student will be asked to leave class
for the day and accept an unexcused absence.
... Course requirements
Each student in this course must have an active e-mail account and check
it a regular basis, the ability to maintain a weblog and Internet access
to check the updated online syllabus. All written exercises in this course
must be typed. The syllabus will note whether exercises are to be turned
in via e-mail to the instructor or handed in at the beginning of class.
Exercises will only be accepted in the format called for by the online
syllabus. All work will be evaluated based on the ability to meet the
assignment requirements, clarity, professionalism and quality.
All grades on assignments, projects and quizzes are based on the traditional
90% and above A
85 – 89 B+
80 – 84% B
75 –79% C+
70 – 74% C
65 –69% D+
60 – 64 % D
below 59% E
... Assignments and Quizzes
Project assignments and quizzes will be given periodically throughout
the semester. Each is used to evaluate student understanding and application
of material covered in the course.
Projects are broken into several “deliverables” that allow
students to budget time and receive feedback prior to handing in the final
product. Graded assignments are noted in the timeline section of the syllabus.
All quizzes are unannounced pop-quizzes and subject to the instructor’s
discretion. The quizzes will be conducted during class periods. Those
arriving more than 10 minutes after class starts on a day a quiz is administered
will receive a zero for that quiz. Those with excused absences will complete
a small assignment in lieu of the quiz; those with unexcused absences
are not permitted to make up the points on the quiz.
... Attendance and Participation
Attendance guidelines are explained above. Each student can earn a maximum
of 75 points in their final grade for attendance & participation throughout
the semester. Each student is expected to participate in class by reacting
to readings, asking questions in class and offering original ideas. The
weekly discussions can extend outside of the classroom through the class
weblog. Details regarding the weblog and how to post to it will be discussed
in class. Students who actively participate will get more out of the class.
... Tardiness and Attendance
Students are expected to be an active part of the class, therefore regular
attendance is required. In fact, the final grade includes 75 attendance/participation
Arriving late to a class can become a distraction. Late students should
be quiet and courteous upon entering the room. If tardiness becomes a
habit, the instructors reserve the right to reflect that in the “attendance”
There will be several quizzes given throughout the semester. Students
who arrive more than 10 minutes after class begins will not be allowed
to take the quiz.
If a student misses class due to an emergency, it is the student’s
responsibility to get class notes. If an absence is unavoidable, the student
should contact the primary instructor before missing class to request
an excused absence. In most cases, students must provide material justifying
the absence (jury duty notice, military orders, conference/seminar brochure,
etc.) for the absence to be classified as “excused.”
Students who miss more than one week (3 hours of class time) due to unexcused
absences will find their final course grade lowered one letter for each
missed week. Therefore, two weeks of unexcused absences result in the
final grade being lowered by one letter (such as from “B”
Late assignments are not accepted. Students should realize that if an
exercise is to be e-mailed to an instructor by 3 p.m. then any submission
after 3:01 p.m. may not be accepted and is “late.” This strictness
is meant to introduce students to the deadlines of a newsroom. Late work
can mean a missed story opportunity.
Students who fail to turn in an exercise by the time it is due or miss
class due to an unexcused absence will receive a zero for that exercise.
Students who arrange an excused absence must turn in the exercise as instructed
by the online syllabus before the class begins. Those with excused absences
can make up a missed quiz by completing a short assignment; those with
unexcused absences will not be permitted to make up missed quizzes.
... Students with Disabilities
Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the
Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation
to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor
when requesting accommodation. More information about the University’s
policy and procedures can be found online at http://www.dso.ufl.edu/drp/.
... Academic Honesty
University of Florida students are expected to understand and abide by
the university’s policy for academic honesty. Students who break
the university’s honor code, are found to be cheating or fraudulently
use another student’s ideas/work will fail this course.
Plagiarism in weblog posts, exercises or project articles will simply
not be tolerated. The instructors will continually check to ensure that
students are not copying work from another source to fulfill class assignment
... Extra Credit
Throughout the semester, extra credit may be available to students. Extra
credit opportunities may include participating in a research study, answering
an additional question on a quiz, etc. However, there is no guarantee
the instructors will provide students with extra credit opportunities.
Extra credit, if offered, will be offered equally to all students as an
... Reading Assignments
Students are expected to have finished the day’s readings before
coming to class. Reading assignments are available on the online syllabus.