jouR201 week 1 discussions

Question # 00711115 Posted By: mac123 Updated on: 08/21/2018 03:39 PM Due on: 08/21/2018
Subject English Topic American Literary Tradition Tutorials:
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OUR 201:Reading material is below 2nd week
Respond: Week 1, Topic 1 - Defining "News" (Req'd)

The traditional open newsroom is called a bullpen. Everyone talks and listens to everyone else. That's what you'll be doing here in these discussions -- learning from each other. So, let's get started!

Hollywood's celebrities. They seem to be everywhere in the news these days. Celebrity dating, celebrity dancing, celebrity brawling, celebrity babies, celebrity divorcing, celebrity “reality” TV. With a controversial president in the White House, economies sputtering across Europe, refugees flooding the Continent, American troops still dying on foreign soil, and so many other pressing issues on the world stage, how can celebrity shenanigans be news?

Well, there must be a reason why every media outlet--including the serious ones like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal--are covering this stuff. Sure, with the exception of something like Michael Jackson's death they're not always putting it on the front page. But some non-tabloid newspapers do. Broadcast news outlets certainly give it a lot of play. And these stories are Internet news staples.

Tempting as it may be to bash or defend the starlets and other celebrities who have captivated our interest, that's not what we need to talk about here. We need to focus our attention on what makes news “news” to information consumers -- its audience, timeliness, proximity, impact, conflict, prominence, singularity or oddity and emotion. Is the media’s coverage of Hollywood’s bad girls -- too much, too little, appropriate, etc.? From the journalist's perspective, is this coverage valid?

Before you engage in discussion of these issues, please make sure you understand what professional journalists consider the definition of news by reading the following material located in the Course Resources:

  • The Characteristics of News
  • Chapter 1of The News Manual
  • Chapter 65in 21st Century Communication: A Reference Handbook and
  • pages 5-8of the Handbook of Independent Journalism.
  • Then, review this video from the Newseum
YOUTUBE VIDEO:What is news? Jaclyn Trop at TEDxDetroit 2013

Your objective here is to understand this fundamental building block of the basic news story.

Your task:

When you're done with your reading, you will craft an informed response to this discussion prompt in which you explain what makes one story more newsworthy than another, with examples.

Start by looking at what professional journalists at U.S. newspapers or U.S. broadcast and cable TV outlets have selected as the day's news; you’ll find links to major U.S. newspapers in the course webliography.

Compare those headlines to the top news at sites like Yahoo News, Google News or the HuffingtonPost.

Select three news stories and explain why they are news. Why are theynews?

In your reply to this discussion prompt,identify the news characteristicthat was leveraged for the news angle in each story. Was it:

  • Timeliness
  • Impact
  • Proximity
  • Singularity or Oddity
  • Conflict or Controversy, or
  • Prominence?

Identify the elements of newsin each of your three stories by completing this worksheet for each one:









Then, tie this information together by explaining why each story isnews.And if they're news, is the news media’s coverage of Hollywood’s bad girls too much, too little, appropriate?

Make sure you support your explanation with information from the four assigned readings and the video listed above. Use in-text citations and a reference list in your response.

Respond: Week 1, Topic 2 - AP Style & Active Voice (Req'd)

Try It #1 - Active vs. Passive Voice

Every week when we cover a new skill, you'll have a chance to practice it before moving onto your graded assignment. To earn any credit for your Try It work, you will need to complete all elements of the exercise.Those are:

  • Read the week’s assigned readings;
  • Write and post your Try It exercise;
  • Critique at least two of the Try It exercises posted by your classmates; and
  • Revise your Try It exercise in response to the feedback that you receive.

Your written exercises must reflect your best efforts to understand the AP style rules and the professional journalistic conventions being taught in this class. Expect to revise your Try It submission!

Your critiques must be thorough, substantive and potentially useful to everyone reading them, too. (To learn more about the value of theseTry Its, please see the "Try Its!" post under Content > Syllabus > Classroom FAQ.)

Journalistic-style writing is supposed to be in active voice.This Try It focuses on identifying and changing passive voice verbs into active voice in news leads.It has several parts:

1.After reading Writing in Active Voice in our Course Resources > JOUR 201 Manual, please review this video:

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Revising: from passive to activ voice

2. Selecttwoof the sentences below and revise them to turn any passive voice structures into active voice. Try using the Hemingway app, Grammarly Blog’s zombie test,or MS Word's grammar check program to verify that you've succeeded.Expect to revise your exercise after you receive feedback!

n.b. You must use the sentences provided in this Try It. Do not try to complete this exercise using sentences youhave selected from the news.

Please post your finished work here by11:59 p.m.Eastern timeThursdayand include an explanation of what you changed and why. Your focus here is on the use of active voice, but don't hesitate to grapple with the other aspects of lead-writing that you read about under Course Resource > JOUR 201 Manual:The Characteristics of News, The Central Point, and News Lead Basics.

3. Post thorough, word-by-word peer reviews of at least two of your classmates' Try It exercises, then engage your classmates in discussions about their exercises, critiques, or responses to critiques.

Your critiques and your general discussion of each other's work should be completed each week by 11:59 p.m.Eastern time Sundays.

4.Revise your Try It. Review the suggestions for improvement from your classmates and your instructor, especially those related to the Associated Press style rules, and rewrite your exercise. If your feedback suggests your grammar needs a touch-up, you can refresh your memory of basic English grammar rules with JOUR 201's grammar practice quizunder the My Tools > Quizzes link in the blue navbar at the top of your screenbefore you submit your revised Try It.

Your revisions -- there could be several -- should be posted as soon as possible for continued review and further revision as may be needed. Try It activities typically will conclude by 11:59 p.m.Eastern time Sundays each week.

You will not receive individual assignment grades for your Try It responses; these are practice exercises, not tests of your skills. TheseTry Its, peer reviews andrevisions are designed to help you prepare for your graded assignments.

However, they do count toward your participation grade.You must complete all elements of these exercises by their deadlines to be eligible forfullTry It participation credit.

Post your Try It exercise as a reply to my initial conference post each week, so your classmates can see what you've come up with (and you can see theirs). It helps if you add your name to the subject line, creating your own "sub-thread" within this forum so that we can find and respond to your work, i.e., Try It #1 ~ Jones.

And write your exercise in a Word document first.You should not post it here until you have thoroughly edited and proofread it, using your own eyeballs and brain backed up by the spelling- and grammar check functions in your Word. You might be surprised to learn: your eyeballs and brain connect better when you edit and proofread on paper!

Here are your choices:

  1. Three of the six people injured were hurt seriously enough in the earthquake to require transport to Hayward General Hospital by emergency responders.

  2. An empty can of turpentine was found by firefighters in the alley behind the store.

  3. Thomas Anthony of 101 Magnolia Street was arrested by theHarkensville police and charged with driving over the speed limit on Main Street.

  4. The convicted murderer was walked to the electric chair at5 the warden after he was served a breakfast of steak and eggs.

  5. After a vote of no confidence was taken by theHarkensvilleCity Council, the mayor was forced to resign from office.

  6. The man who was found dead near a dumpster in Springdale, Illinois, by a Pizza Hut employee had been stabbed multiple times.

  7. The marathoners were greeted by an ecstatic crowd ringingcow bellsand blasting horns as they entered Prospect Park.

  8. A proposal to build 200 townhouses on Baxter Road was endorsed by theHarkensvilleplanning boardThursday.

  9. A Massachusetts law that made it a crime to stand on a public road or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion clinic was struck down Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  10. Cypress City would be allowed to fluoridate its water under a ballot measure the will go before voters in November.

  11. Authorization for the story was provided to the reporter after the editor was told there was enough money in the budget by the publisher.

  12. It wasn't immediately clear whether there were additional fatalities, according to police.

  13. A 17-year-old Monroe County girl who pleaded guilty in a drunken-driving crash that killed a Carmody woman was sentenced Monday in juvenile court to 30 days of detention at the county jail and 500 hours of community service.

  14. There are 27 schools that the school chancellor wants to close on the list.

  15. A key figure in the D.C. tax scandal is among the 11 government workers charged by police in what is being called the biggest corruption scandal in the capital city’s history.

  16. More than $1 million in expenditures to a well-connected Republican consultant are being reviewed by ’s comptroller.

  17. Two people were killed, including the operator of the crane, when a crane toppled onto a high-rise apartment building in the Upper East Sideon Friday.

  18. Three Palestinian students in Gaza hoping to pursue advanced degrees at American institutions this fall were denied their Fulbright scholarships by the State Department because Israel has not granted them permission to leave.

  19. The federal government is considering allowing loaded, concealed weapons to be carried by visitors in some of the national parks, wildliferefuges and monuments.

  20. The voting rights of two men were restored by the Board of Elections yesterday, 20 years after they were stripped of them because they were found to be not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

  21. Super delegates were pressedThursdayby the two top Democrats in Congress to go public with their preferences for their party’s next presidential nomination by the middle of the week.

  22. Appointments to the court were approved by the Senate panel in a 12-11 vote taken as the hearing ended.

  23. Four motorists were killedby automobile accidents over Memorial Day weekend.

  24. With five seconds left in the game, an illegal time-out was called by one of the players.

  25. To save time, the story was dictated to the rewrite desk by the reporter.

In addition to posting your own exercise,you must critique the work of at least two of your classmates. Be specific about where you think their work could be improved and cite specific AP or grammar rules from the Course Resources), then discuss generally what you're learning about the skills emphasized in this exercise.

I recommend thesandwich method for your peer reviews:

1. Start by telling your classmates what you like about his or her lead. Be specific. Don't just write, "I like your lead." Write why,the "because" part of your reason for liking that lead. Use the Checklist for News Lead-Writing Exercisesto help you review your classmates' work.

2. Then, give at least two specific suggestions about how your classmates can improve their leads. For example, if the lead contains a passive verb, tell the classmate which verb is passive and explain what that means. Suggest a way to change the sentence so it's active voice. If the lead has too many words, point that out and suggest the words you would remove to bring it under the 20-word limit.

You will not get credit for merely complimentary posts. Please make your critiques usefulso that they will truly help you and your classmates improve their writing -- in the process, you'll learn more about your own writing, too!

Your major objectives this week are to learn what constitutes news to professional journalists and how to apply the basics of Associated Press style to writing a concise summary news lead.

For your first task, please introduce yourself to your classmates early in the week in the introductions area of the classroom.


  • The Characteristics of News
  • The Central Point
  • Chapter 65 in 21st Century Communication: A Reference Handbook
  • pages 5-8 of the Handbook of Independent Journalism
  • Writing in Active Voice
  • Chapter 1 in The News Manual
  • Chapter 16.2on active voice in The Writer's Handbook
  • Using Slugs and End Marks
  • News Lead Basics
  • Step-By-Step: How to Write a News Lead
  • Checklist for News Lead-Writing Exercises


  • How To Use An AP Stylebook
  • Course AP Stylebook
  • Course Glossary
  • Error Log


  • Introductions
  • Topic 1: Defining "News"
  • Topic 2: Try It #1 - AP Style & Active Voice

Notes:Initial responses to Try Its are dueThursday. Comment on at least two of your classmates' posts in the Topic 1 thread and critique at least two of your classmates' Try Its by the end of the week. This is a writing class! Please post your best writing. And expect to revise your Try It based on any feedback that you receive.

You may not be able to comment on your classmates' posts in some of the discussion threads until you have posted your initial responses to the topics. Subscribe to your initial responses to discussion posts to help you stay connected with what your classmates are saying about your ideas!

You'll find your instructor's expectations for your online participation and strategies for successful discussion posts listed in the Classroom FAQ under the Syllabus link to the left of your screen.


  • Begin working on your Story 1 (news lead) assignment by watching the assigned meeting videos in the Resource List of Public Meeting Videos attached to the Story 1 assignment folder under the Assignments link.
  • There are three quizzes that you must complete during this course with a grade of 80 percent or better to demonstrate your mastery of key newswriting conventions. They are available under the Quizzes link in the table of contents to the left side of your screen. You may take the quizzes at any time during the course, and as many times as you would like, beginning this week. The quizzes must be completed by the last day of the class.
  • To refresh your memory of English grammar rules, complete the practice quiz in the Quizzes module. You can take it as many times as you want; it covers the rules for 20 common writing mistakes made by professional communicators.

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