News Gathering & Writing I

COMM 2311

Updated January 05, 2011

  • State Approval Code: 0904015706
  • Semester Credit Hours: 3
  • Lecture Hours per Week: 3
  • Contact Hours per Semester: 96

Catalog Description

Provides instruction in the fundamentals of writing news for the mass media. The course includes instruction in methods and techniques for gathering, processing, and delivering news in a professional manner, including developing story ideas, researching, interviewing and writing for the media. Work is done in a laboratory. (Lab fee) (0904015706)

Course Curriculum

Basic Intellectual Compentencies in the Core Curriculum

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Computer literacy

Perspectives in the Core Curriculum

  • Establish broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which he/she lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diversified world.
  • Stimulate a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic, and social aspects of life in order to understand ways in which to be a responsible member of society.
  • Develop a capacity to use knowledge of how technology and science affect their lives.
  • Develop personal values for ethical behavior.
  • Develop the ability to make aesthetic judgments.
  • Use logical reasoning in problem solving.
  • Integrate knowledge and understand the interrelationships of the scholarly disciplines.

Core Components and Related Exemplary Educational Objectives

Communication (composition, speech, modern language)

  • To understand and demonstrate writing and speaking processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation.
  • To understand the importance of specifying audience and purpose and to select appropriate communications choices.
  • To understand and appropriately apply modes of expression, i.e. descriptive, expositive, narrative, scientific, and self-expressive, in written, visual, and oral communication.
  • To participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.
  • To understand and apply basic principles of proficiency in the development of exposition and argument.
  • To develop the ability to research and write a documented paper and/or to give an oral presentation.


  • To interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables and schematics, and draw inferences from them.

Humanities and Visual and Performing Arts

  • To demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • To understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within an historical and social context.
  • To respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • To articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.
  • To develop an appreciation for the aesthetic principles that guide or govern the humanities and arts.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the influence of literature, philosophy, and/or the arts on intercultural experiences.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • To examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures, and cultures.
  • To develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.
  • To analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on the area under study.
  • To recognize and assume one's responsibility as a citizen in a democratic society by learning to think for oneself, by engaging in public discourse, and by obtaining information through the news 4 media and other appropriate information sources about politics and public policy.

Instructional Goals and Purposes

Panola College's instructional goals include 1) creating an academic atmosphere in which students may develop their intellects and skills and 2) providing courses so students may receive a certificate/an associate degree or transfer to a senior institution that offers baccalaureate degrees.

General Course Objectives

  •  To recognize appropriate journalistic style.
  •  To recognize the historical significance of the free press in the United States.
  •  To discern between news and other forms of journalistic writing.
  •  To recognize the problems faced by journalists in producing work for the media.
  •  To develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in higher level communication courses and the workplace.

Specific Course Objectives

After studying the book, current events and multimedia presentations, students should be able to complete all behavioral/learning objectives listed below with a minimum competency of 70% on exams and quizzes.
  •  Recognize the duties and positions of journalists in various media outlets.
  •  Explain the process for preparing an article for media.
  •  Explain the 5Ws and H of journalistic style, and write various types of leads.
  •  Write a clear and concise news story.
  •  Identify sources for news articles, from face-to-face interviews to the Internet.
  •  Conduct an interview.
  •  Recognize the value of quotations, and be able to include quotes in an article.

General Description of Each Lecture or Discussion

Students in Introduction to Mass Communication will be required to do the following:
  •  Read assigned chapters in the text.
  •  Take a quiz on each chapter.
  •  Complete assigned articles, short essays and reports on various topics in mass media.
  •  Watch assigned video presentations and write summary reports on the presentations.
  •  Write articles as assigned.
  •  Pass a final, comprehensive exam on all course content.

Methods of Instruction/Course Format/Delivery

The course is offered in the traditional classroom for lectures, discussions and audiovisual presentations, and online via Canvas platform as a hybrid (web-assisted) course, allowing students the flexibility of working both online and face-to-face.


Assessment will include chapter quizzes, writing and critical thinking assignments, reports and a final exam. Students will also be graded on class attendance and participation.
The grading scale for this course includes:
  •  Quizzes – 30%
  •  Assignments – 50%
  •  Attendance/Participation – 10%
  •  Final Exam – 10%

Text, Required Readings, Materials, and Supplies

Inside Reporting: A Practical Guide to the Craft of Journalism, By Tim Harrower, (McGraw-Hill, 2007) (Chapters 1-5 for COMM 2311)