Journalism Syllabus


Journalism Syllabus, 2008/2009
Ms. Mazzaferro

Daily Materials:  Every day, students must have the following materials: college-ruled paper, a notebook, blue or black ink pens, red pens, pencils, highlighters, planner, and post-its.
1)  Respect:  Students will treat one another and the instructor with respect.  Students will treat the classroom as a safe space.
2)  Try:  Students will try and do their best on every activity.  They will put in effort, and will come in for tutoring and extra help as needed.
3) No Excuses:  Students will not make excuses when they do not have work or are not prepared for class.  Students will take responsibility for their own education.

Writing Assignments:  There will be a variety of writing assignments during the term.  ALL ASSIGNMENTS MUST BE WRITTEN IN BLUE OR BLACK INK OR TYPED TO RECEIVE CREDIT.  Major assignments are to be typed using MLA format. 

Make-Up Policy:  It is the responsibility of the student to get make-up assignments for EXCUSED absences.  In order to receive make-up work, you must have an excused absence.  A student has two days for every day they missed due to an excused absence to make up the missing work.  THIS MAKE-UP POLICY ALSO INCLUDES TESTS.  It is the student’s responsibility to check the calendar, assignment board, and make-up box to get the make-up work.  The make-up work is due at the beginning of the class period on the due date and must be handed to the instructor.

Late Policy:  All major assignments are due at the beginning of the class period of the day assigned.  All major assignments are announced well in advance of the due date, and in the event of illness, medical appointments, field trips, or family vacations, the student must make arrangements for the work to be turned in on time.  COMPUTER OR PRINTER MALFUNCTIONS ARE NOT EXCUSES FOR LATE WORK.  The instructor may be called at school if any questions or problems arise.  A late assignment is ANY assignment that is not complete and ready to be graded on the required date.  If the assignment is turned in later than required on the date due or is turned in one day late, the assignment will be docked 50% off of the points possible and then graded.  It will not be accepted for points after that date.

Note:  This late paper policy does not apply to daily assignments like homework or in-class writing.  ABSOLUTELY NO HOMEWORK OR DAILY WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE DUE DATE.  In the case of field trips, school activities, or conflict management responsibilities, homework must be turned in the day before or on the date due.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his/her work is turned in on time.  IF A STUDENT DOES NOT ATTEND CLASS OR IS ASKED TO LEAVE CLASS DUE TO DISCIPLINARY ISSUES, THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO MAKE UP THE CLASS WORK OR RECEIVE CREDIT FOR LATE ASSIGNMENTS.

Newspaper:  Each student in the class will have a role in the production of the school newspaper, The Eagle’s Aerie.  The roles will be assigned by the instructor by the second week of the term.  Participation and completion of assignments for the newspaper will account for fifty percent of the final grade.  Students may earn the right to carry a press pass which allows them to leave the journalism class to work on assignments.  This pass may be revoked at any time by the instructor. 

The Writing Process:  All written assignments must include interview questions, interview notes, drafts, revisions, and a final copy.  Each draft is considered a major assignment.  Each student must complete all drafts assigned prior to writing the next draft.  Submitting a final draft on which there is little or no revision means you will not receive a grade for the final draft.  All printed sources must be cited, all non-printed sources (e.g. online, CD-ROM, internet) must be printed and the hard copy attached to the final paper.  All work must be kept in the portfolio.

Portfolios:  Each student will build a portfolio of work throughout the term.  This portfolio of work will represent the newspaper work completed throughout the term and will include a copy of each edition of The Eagle’s Aerie produced during the term.

Plagiarism/Cheating:  Plagiarism is using another person’s thoughts or expressions without citing the source.  Students who plagiarize or cheat will receive a zero for the assignment or test and will be referred to administration.  If plagiarism or cheating of any kind happens a second time, the student will receive a two day suspension from class and the instructor will hold a parent-instructor-student conference.  Students plagiarizing or cheating a second time will also lose all publication privileges.

Tardy Policy:  Class begins when the bell rings, which means that students are IN THEIR SEATS WITH THEIR MATERIALS OUT AND READY TO WORK.  Tardy students should enter the room quietly and record their names on the side of the white board, take their seats, and begin working on the assignment.  The work due on that day is considered late.  The school detention policy will be followed.  Detentions will be served on Fridays after school unless the instructor chooses another time.

Dismissal Policy: The instructor, not the bell, will dismiss students.  The class will not be dismissed until the room is clean and checked by the instructor.

Grading:  Grades are not rounded in this class.   
        90%-100%   A
        80%-89.9%     B
        70%-79.9%     C
        60%-69.9%     D
        59.9% and below   F

Publication Expectations:  Students will receive a calendar of deadlines at the start of each publication cycle.  All students are expected to STAY AFTER SCHOOL on the Tuesday before the paper is sent in for publication UNTIL IT IS COMPLETE in order to review the paper as a class and make any final changes. 

Journalism Club:  Students in the journalism class will partake in the Journalism club in order to raise funds to produce the paper.  The Eagle’s Aerie is a student-run paper, and in order to distribute papers each month and repair and replace equipment, the students must raise money.  Meetings are Tuesdays after school and will be announced in advance.

Extra Credit:  Extra credit is a privilege, not a right.  Opportunities will be determined by the instructor and will be in conjunction with all other assignments, if at all applicable.  Extra credit WILL NOT be offered during the last week of the term.

Press pass rules and expectations for the Eagle’s Aerie staff

•    Students will follow the Code of Ethics adopted by the class.  Failure to do so will result in the confiscation of the Press Pass.
•    Appropriate behavior is expected at all times, whether or not the student is in the journalism class or doing work for the Eagle’s Aerie.  If reports of inappropriate behavior are received, the press pass will be confiscated.  Part of being a reporter for the Eagle’s Aerie means that you are held to a higher standard all of the time, whether you are working or not.
•    Any instructor may confiscate a Press Pass at any time if a student’s behavior is inappropriate.
•    Students must maintain a grade of at least a ‘C’ in the class to keep the Press Pass.  If the grade drops below a ‘C’, the Press Pass will be confiscated until the grade returns to at least a ‘C’.
•    Students may only use their Press Pass at an event if they are assigned to that specific event.  Using the Press Pass to get into an event when not assigned to that event will result in the confiscation of the Press Pass.
•    Press Passes must be worn at all times when covering a story or doing work for the Eagle’s Aerie.
•    If a Press Pass is lost, the replacement fee is $5.

Equipment liability waiver
Students enrolled in the Journalism class at McNair High School are allowed to check out school cameras, tripods, and other equipment to use for Journalism assignments.  This equipment is not available for personal use or any other classes.

Equipment must be requested in advance through Ms. Mazzaferro.  Requests must include the name of the proposed project/assignment, which specific equipment is needed, and the dates requested.  All equipment is for overnight use only and must be returned by 7:20 am the following day. 

Once equipment is checked out to you, you are solely responsible for it!  All equipment is to be treated with professional care.  You must receive instructions on proper use and care of each type of equipment before you are allowed to check it out.  Any problems should be reported immediately to Ms. Mazzaferro.

By signing below, you agree to abide by all McNair policies, checkout rules, and requirements.  You also agree to take on full financial responsibility for the repair/replacement of the assigned equipment in the event that it is damaged, broken, lost, or stolen.