The Process to the Press: Understanding College Print Publications (98-148)

“StuCo: College News,” Spring 2012


Greg Hanneman (ghannema@)
Patrick Gage Kelley (pkelley@)

Time and Place

Thursdays from 6:30 to 7:50 p.m. in Baker Hall 237B

Course Description

This course gives students an in-depth look at the entire process of creating a collegiate print publication. We intend to guide the class on a journey through creating a finished newspaper. Students will explore story creation and topic selection, writing an article with a section focus (news, sports, science and technology, culture), editing articles and helping junior writers, and understanding the final copy, layout, and publication process. Along the way, we will highlight aspects of the process unique to collegiate journalism and survey the ways in which student newspapers address them.

Unit 0: Introduction

Week 1 (Jan. 19)

  • In Class: Course introduction and administration. The landscape of college press publications (Part 1) — The Observer, Reporter, and The Tartan.
  • Homework: Pick a college publication (not The Tartan or The Pitt News). Learn how it's set up, find an issue PDF or hard copy, read it, and be prepared to discuss what you found out. Try to answer as many of the questions on the attached sheet (PDF) as you can.
  • Handout: Course information sheet (PDF), Homework 1 (PDF)

Week 2 (Jan. 26)

  • In Class: The landscape of college press publications (Part 2). Discussion and survey based on last week's homework.
  • Homework: Read two college newspaper articles and one professional newspaper article. Think about the qualities and characteristics of "good" articles.

Week 3 (Feb. 2)

  • In Class: The landscape of college press publications (Part 3). Continued discussion and survey based on publication profiles. What kinds of stories are there in college publications? What makes a good story?
  • Homework: Brainstorm ideas for your article assignment and investigative project. Why would they be good stories? Be prepared to discuss your ideas next week.

Unit 1: The Writing Process

Week 4 (Feb. 9)

  • In Class: Discussion of story ideas and assignment of articles. Tips for interviewing and research.
  • Homework: Assemble a list of sources for your midterm writing assignment. What questions do you have for each one of them?
  • Handout: Tips for research and interviewing (PDF)

Week 5 (Feb. 16)

  • In Class: Elements and structure of a college newspaper article.
  • Homework: Conduct at least two of the interviews you need for your midterm writing assignment. Start writing.
  • Handout: Slides: Elements of a newspaper article (PDF)

Week 6 (Feb. 23)

  • In Class: Class canceled (Greg sick).
  • Homework: If you don't already have one, bring in a rough draft of your midterm assignment for next week!

Unit 2: The Editing Process

Week 7 (March 1)

  • In Class: The role of a section editor. Peer editing of midterm assignments.
  • Homework: Prepare to turn in next week: interview notes, rough draft, final draft, and any supplemental materials for your midterm assignment.

Week 8 (March 8)

  • In Class: Midterm assignments due! Presentation and discussion of midterm articles.
  • Homework: Start or continue work on your investigative project.

Unit 3: The Production Process

Overview of newspaper production

Layout practicum

Financing a college newspaper

Unit 4: Recap of Investigative Journalism

Presentation of investigative projects