Intro to
News Reporting

Dr. Barry Hollander
Room 229 Journalism

9:05 - 9:55 a.m.
Mondays and Wednesdays
Labs at other times

Our Class Calendar
UGA's Academic Calendar
Hollander's Lab


Welcome to jour3410, Intro to newswriting and reporting.

This is a lecture-lab format. I run the lecture and teach a lab; others also teach labs. Two-thirds of your grade comes from the lab, one-third from the lecture. Lectures are largely about reporting, how to find information or interview people, labs are more about writing, but expect occasional overlap. Journalism is about finding stuff out and telling true stories about it. Never invent.

Also, I give lots of leeway to the labs, so what we talk about in lecture may not (and often will not) necessarily dovetail with what you talk about in lab. It's okay. Don't panic. All is well. Below you'll find the class calendar. Check it for readings and details about what we're doing in lecture every week. Remember, your labs are semi-independent, so it's possible the same text chapter may be read at different times. Deal.

Note: you are part of a "study pool" at Grady. I will discuss this in class. Depending on the number of studies available, participating in one study will either be required or for extra credit.



* Carole Rich's Writing and Reporting News, 8th Edition is okay as apparently that's what the bookstore bought. Buy it now. As I said before, check the bookstore BEFORE you bought the text. Check the bookstore to be sure.

* An Associated Press stylebook. You will need it in later classes in journalism AND public relations. Get the latest version and keep it. Make it your friend.

Your lab instructor may require you bring both to lab. Assume so unless told otherwise.

For you obsessive-compulsive types, the tentative weights in the lecture are as follows: 45 percent from each of the TWO exams. For you non-math majors, that equals 90 percent. That extra 10 percent for pop quizzes, you washing my car, etc. I reserve the right to quiz you on chapters you should have read for that week, so when I have on the calendar that you should read the text, I mean it. By Monday. If we fail to have enough "stuff" in the semester, I'll shift weight back to the exams and make them something else, like 49.655%. Or the square root of Pi. Math is fun.

What's an overall A? 93 and up. 90-92 is A-. 87-89 is B+. 83-86 is B. And so on. UGA doesn't have an F- but, dammit, it ought to.

You may make up an exam only if you arrange for it in advance. Let me say this again but use all my various typographic options to make it stand out -- only in advance. If you miss an exam and don't communicate with me -- either by email or my office phone before the end of the class period in which the exam is given -- you may NOT take a makeup. All approved make ups (before or after) are essay exams. Yes, essays, as in 5-10 questions that require long, profound answers. Feel profound? Here's your chance.

My advice? Be there on test day and don't come with any sad stories. Just drop.

DO NOT at the end of the semester email me whining about your grade. This is not high school or a private school where you can intimidate an underpaid teacher into changing a grade because mumsy and dadsy paid loads of money for overindulged BMW-driving yuppie larvae to hang out with other overindulged BMW-driving yuppie larvae. I am indifferent to your plight when it comes to grades. I get paid regardless.



The web page is the syllabus. Check here often for changes, random thoughts, schedules, and updates. Here are a few important rules to remember: No cheating, no stealing, no spitting or public scratching, no calling me at home, no begging, no bribes, and no mentioning Hope Scholarship.

When class begins, neither laptops nor cell phones are to be visible. No checking messages, no texting, no receiving calls. No Facebook, no Twitter. Survive 50 minutes disconnected from the collective. Exceptions only if you have a UGA-approved note taking disability or you are taking notes for someone through Disability Services, otherwise it's important for you to know how to take notes on paper. A survey I read the other day had 90 percent of students admitting they text or check email during class. Not on my watch.

You get three free misses in lecture. That's 10 percent of the course. That's a week-and-a-half of class. On the fourth miss it's a drop of 5 points from your lecture numeric grade. There are no excused absences, no unexcused misses. I don't want to hear why you did not attend class, so don't email me to say why you missed unless it's something extraordinary, like Ebola. On your fifth miss, it's 5 more points off. On your sixth miss, another 5 points, and this goes on with how many absences you have. I can keep going if you like, all the way to an F for the lecture. Unfortunately I can't go any lower than that (don't think I haven't tried!).

Here's some advice: save up your absences for that sudden illness or unexpected family death or family trip and spend them wisely. Attendance is expected; a lack of attendance hurts your grade. If tardiness becomes an issue, such as people walking in late, I will use the Tardy Roll in which each tardy counts as a half-absence. And you may also get to wear the dreaded Tardy Sorting Hat during class -- it spends most of class time insulting the wearer.

Never ever ask me if I did a roll the previous class or how many classes you've missed. I don't compute this until the end of the semester, often long after you've left campus. Save your absences for emergencies, illnesses, the deaths of multiple grand-uncles, or for those lousy Monday mornings where it's raining and you can't get out of bed. Do the counting of misses yourself. C'mon, you're in college. And yes, 9:05 a.m. is early, but it's not THAT early. Jeez.

Boilerplate Stuff: Read It! Live it!

* All academic work must meet the standards contained in  "A Culture of Honesty." Each student is responsible for reading these lengthy, verbose, carefully crafted standards. Basically, know the rules and follow them -- or else. There's a long statement I'm supposed to include, someting about how you agree to abide by the University's academic honoest plicy and how you should read the stuff at the link above and, especailly, how ignorance of the law is no excuse. And so on and so on.

* The syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary, which is a fancy way of saying the instructor reserves the right to change things whenever he damn well pleases. He's that kind of guy. The web page trumps the syllabus, either in a game of Spades, Rook, or in real life. Check here often. Make it your home page. Tell your friends.

* Cheating may be harmful to your health. Hollander ignores the official university process for cheaters and dreams up his own awful things to do to those he catches. Do not tempt his imagination. He is a sick man. Plus he was a cop reporter for years. He knows people who will kill people for $20, or even a cheap bottle of wine.

* Any cell phones or laptops being used during class will be confiscated and Hollander will do disgusting things with them behind the podium. Do you really want to touch it afterward? No, I didn't think so.

* Don't break the rules because we write them. You can't win. We own you.













































and Monday's Date

If a box is gray we've finished that week

Stuff We'll Do
Remember you are responsible for readings by Monday of that week unless otherwise noted below. Beware of quizzes. Also note that your lab may assign chapters from the text at different times than the lecture. Hell, you may get quizzed twice on the same chapter. How cruel is that?

Remember the information below changes often as I get word of possible guest speakers or we get ahead, or behind, in material. Check here often. I'm still fiddling and this is a work in progress.


1 (8/17)

Read Rich, chapters 1-2, by Wednesday.

Monday: Intro class, how it all works (or sometimes doesn't work). Drink coffee. Group hug. Explain why you're actually here, why my voice only halfway works due to the permanent loss of one vocal cord (violins will play, angels will weep, and behind the podium where you can't see I'll add a dollop of adult beverage to my coffee).

Wednesday: Ignore those who didn't bother to show on Monday and instead we talk about what is news and the criteria of what makes something news (see your text, and my powerpoints). IMPORTANT -- my powerpoints are NOT online. In other words, you signed up for a class at this time, so come to a class at this time. Don't whine. it's not that early. And even if it is, just don't whine.


2 (8/24)

Read Rich, Read Rich, chapters 4-6.

Monday: NO CLASS. You're welcome.

Wednesday: Four ways we find news, especially on observation and interviewing and whether we can we record someone. Other material as I see fit, even a bit of video.


3 (8/31)


Monday: More on ways we find news. Also, how beats organize the world. Why beats are great. Why beats suck. Finding story ideas.

Wednesday: Finding third places, beats, and covering what people care about, covering what people should know about, and the tension between the two. How people learn about stuff (also may appear later). Also, trends.


4 (9/7)


Monday: Labor Day, no class. Go do some actual labor.

Wednesday: TBA.


5 (9/14)


Rich chapters 14-15.

Monday: Law and ethics. See SPJ Code of Ethics, moral reasoning, and elements of journalism.

Wednesday: More on law/ethics, probably using some of the stuff above. Oh, and this interesting graphic of "most honest" profession.


6 (9/21)

Chapter 18 -- speeches & news conferences section, not meetings.

Monday: TBA. Perhaps more law/ethics. Or how to be illegal and unethical and not get caught. No. Wait. I'm not supposed to say that.

Wednesday: What makes journalists tick. Move into covering speeches.


7 (9/28)


Monday: More stuff, similar to that above, only more so. Maybe some on speeches, definitely some on rallies and protests, including this new piece. Also other odds and ends.

Wednesday: More on speeches and public events. Also other info as I see fit.


8 (10/5)

Review Chapter 18

Monday: Guest today talks about our portfolio blitz. You'll see her in your labs as well.

Wednesday: Exam 1 review. Text chapters you are responsible for: 1-9, 14-15, 18 (speeches stuff, not meetings). TENTATIVE DATE and CHAPTERS.


9 (10/12)

Chapter 20

Monday: Exam 1. Expect 40-50 questions, a mix of multiple guess and true/false. I write test questions first from my lectures (and supporting material, like videos and such). After that, I finish with stuff from the textbook. Any links on this calendar are also fair game, such as the code of ethics. Honestly, most questions come from my lectures, not the text.

Wednesday: Meetings and stuff.


10 (10/19)

Rich chapter 19

Monday: Governmental reporting. Importance of local news.

Wednesday: Public opinion.

Thursday, 10/22, is withdrawal deadline. Flee while you can.


11 (10/26)

Chapters 20-21.


Monday: No class. You're welcome.

Wednesday: Covering crime and punishment. Blotters and incident reports and all the rest. We'll visit the campus police site and the Athens-Clarke site. The Athens Banner-Herald blotter and other info on that page for other counties. More on cops, perhaps some on tragedies and disasters, which uses the Dart Center's web site.

Fall break is Friday, because it takes UGA students at least two days to find Jacksonville, Florida.


12 (11/2)


Monday: Unexpected death in the family. Class canceled.

Wednesday: Semi-random crime stuff.


13 (11/9)

Rich chapter 17

tories are everywhere and other essays on craft

Monday: Change. We have a guest, Kyle Wingfield, of the AJC. Feature stuff moved to Wednesday.


Wednesday: I'll discuss profiles and features. Read Mrs. Kelly's Monster for class today, for discussion.


14 (11/16)


Monday: More on profiles and features. A great site for terrific narrative journalism is here and one on longform journalism here. I'll probably use some in class. If you love writing, this site should become a favorite place to visit. Also, the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. Oh, and here's a local government story told in a different way.

Or other stuff. Data journalism, writing with numbers, computer-assisted reporting. Because, yes, math matters. IRE ExtraExtra

Wednesday: More data journalism, because our guest this day canceled on us.



15 (11/23)

Thanksgiving Break. Eat a turkey. Go break something.


16 (11/30)

Monday: Review for second exam.

Wednesday: THERE IS NO FINAL EXAM, just this second exam. The test is like before, only with different questions -- 40 or 50 multiple guess and true/false, taken mostly from my lectures or videos, a sprinkling from the text. The textbook chapters you're responsible for cover the one on speeches and meetings (just the meetings part), cops/courts, profiles and features, government statistics stories. Actual chapter numbers are: 17, 18 (meetings part), 19-21.

On final grades for the class. As you know, 2/3 comes from your lab grade. Eventually your lab instructors will give me a numeric grade for the lab and through the magic of Excel I'll multiply that by .67 and your lecture grade by .33 and, poof, we have a numeric grade. Then I'll look at other stuff, like absences and bribes. As to what's an A, etc., see above somewhere on this page. I will not know grades until late because some lab instructors, including the guy who teaches Thursday afternoons (me) is slow.

  17 (12/7)

Monday there is no class. You're welcome.

Tuesday is a Friday (don't blame me, blame UGA). May affect your labs, but not this lecture.

Course Evals Here. Do them.
Hopefully they'll be separate for lecture and lab.































































































































New study how people get news.


John Oliver on Native Advertising.



video on public records


Ccomputer-assisted reporting, writing with numbers. Remember the immortal words of that great philosopher Barbie, who famously said: "Math class is tough."More on writing with numbers, covering public opinion, etc., from the Literary Digest disaster of 1936 to today. Looking at some good analytic journalism stories. To make my life simple, the links are guns, gangs, student fees, low-income students, empty homes, income drops, traffic stops, and fish. May not use 'em all. Plus have some hard copy ones I may show.


cancer | Danielle | gambling | school | baseball | one roof |




Finish up features. Discuss the dangers of angry roosters. I'll show some stories, we'll talk a bit about this one. But lots of narrative can be found in the latest Pulitzers, not only in features.



USAToday ghost factories series


Twitter video on journalism



crap I may or may not use


Writing ledes
Polishing and tightening

More on multimedia. Here are the 2010 online journalism finalists. Below are some stories I may visit to discuss multimedia work.

cancer | Danielle | gambling | school | baseball | one roof | Taliban | Galapagos


Dying Medium


nd as a side note -- I've not won a Pulitzer. Yet.




green beans









internship info



videos about polls here and here

Rich, chap 12
1 2 3 4 5

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


Places in class I often visit

Funny police blotters
Obscure Store
Offbeat AP news
Al's Morning Meeting
Google News
ABH's AP National News
AJC National/Intl News
Regret the Error
Pulitzer Prizes
Nieman Narratives stuff today

Story links

Look at some good multimedia stuff being done today in journalism. Stories here, here, here, here, here, and here.

this and this

Short mag video