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Teaching Journalism

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cansportschick, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Cansportschick

    Cansportschick Active Member

    Has anybody taught journalism or is currently teaching journalism?

    The reason I am asking is next week I have to teach two sets of students. What ideas do you have if my lecture becomes boring? For print writers and editors that are teachers, are there any exercises that I should try to incorporate into the lecture to keep the students engaged in the lecture?

    Also, what are your good and bad journalism teaching stories?

    I know that when I was a student, I took copy editing and while I did learn a lots from it, I was constantly trying to keep myself awake during the lecture.

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
  2. Lester Bangs

    Lester Bangs Active Member

    You say you are teaching ... guest speaking or actually teaching for a long period of time? What is the outline of the course ... basic journalism or some aspect of it?
  3. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    Lesson One: Go to law school.

  4. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I'm in my second year of fulltime teaching after two semesters partime. I was an SID for six years and reporter for five before that, so I often regale my students with fascinating stories from my illustrious career. ::)

    Seriously, I do incorporate stuff that I did into my lessons, and that seems to work better than just lecturing straight out of the book. If you want some lesson plans or anything, drop me a PM.

    Good luck....
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I find I do best when I relate stories of what I did, both positive and negative.

    I haven't taught a full on class and don't have the credentials to do so (only a B.A. in English). I do as much mentoring as I can with neophyte writers at my current shop, which I realize isn't the same as teaching.

    I've been a guest speaker at a local university a couple of times though. Telling stories from my day-to-day grind seems to be particularly helpful to the college kids I deal with.
  6. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Grade school? High school? College? What's the class supposed to be about?
  7. What are the classes?
  8. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Put on the most recent episode of Sportscenter and do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.
  9. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    A few caveats:

    -- I've "lectured" high school students for their journalism/school newspaper class, so my advice might not apply.

    -- I wasn't very good at it. Maybe because it was 7:50 a.m. Maybe because I am boring. Maybe both.

    I'd recommend keeping students involved. This can include showing up with nothing prepared and taking questions (There will be questions. My favorite came after a half-hour of detailed discussion of reporting technique, interview strategy, notetaking tactics complete with powerpoint, etc. The question: How do you write a sports story?)

    Two weeks ago, I was asked to speak to a high school class. I brought in video footage of various sports "moments" (R Bush's somersault-capped TD against the Bears in the NFC title game, Manny's HR, midges swarming Joba). I had the students write a paragraph describing each moment, lede-style. Then they read some of their efforts, which was followed by a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each. We talked about clarity and brevity. We talked about verbs being the muscle and adverbs the fat of writing. We talked about showing rather than telling.

    Then I read some examples of professional work in regards to each piece of video and we discussed strengths/weaknesses of each.

    Then, to demonstrate the difference between showing and telling (basic but critical aspect of all writing, expository or no, journalistic or no) by asking students to name a great dancer (they said Elvis). Then another (they said some rapper I've never heard of).

    Then I had them list details of each dancing style, and I explained how you could say "Elvis was a great dancer" as easily as you could say "Bow-wow was a great dancer", but this wouldn't help me see or understand either. But when you include details (i.e. when you SHOW), I can get a feel for the talent of both.

    Anyways, that is probably stupid. But the videos and the show vs. tell thing actually seemed to sink in.

    I've had students fall asleep during my mroe traditional lectures.
  10. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    I would start with a lesson on the difference between who and that.
  11. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    I've never taught, but zimbabwe has some great points. Journalism theory is important, but boring. No matter the age, you want to keep people involved and interested. Make this as interactive as possible.
    One time a local columnist filled in my for my J101 class and we did an exercise that would be good for students of any age: Give them a budget (just slugs, no lengths) and ask how they would design the front page (just dummy it, no hed specs or anything fancy). Midway through you throw them a curveball by announcing some breaking news and see how that changes things. The initial items we had were something like:
    *Grade school teacher earns national honor at luncheon
    *local HS is in state finals
    *funeral for local firefighter that died during a fire.
    *natural disaster kills ___ people on different continent
    *breaking news (I forget what we had, but it was something 1A worthy)

    It's make people think about what's important, timeliness and impact of stories.
  12. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    A very loud noise every six to eight minutes is important
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