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Journalism: Course Syllabus

Mr. Altenberg, Room 70 Computer Lab 796-7152 [email protected] Why Journalism is not like most other classes: Journalism is more than a class ­ it is a real world business!

We have a legal and financial obligation to produce several publications, and by joining this class you assume responsibility for meeting these obligations. You are expected to be a hard-working and cooperative member of the Journalism staff. We are running a business with a budget of around $25,000! We have some absolute deadlines that we must meet, or possibly lose thousands of dollars! You can expect to work late ­maybe even very late--on several occasions during the course of the school year, in order for us to complete all work to high standards, in order to meet production deadlines. Furthermore, there are strict quality standards upon which every piece of writing, every photograph and every page of our publications are evaluated. There are certain principles of layout and design that we will follow in creating our publications. You are expected to learn and follow these principles, and you are expected to meet the high quality standards in all the work you do as a Journalism staff member. So Journalism is not just another class! Journalism requires a high level of commitment, focus, hard work and professionalism from all of you ­and if you're not ready to make such a commitment, then maybe this class is not for you.

Course Objectives:

1. To develop skills in journalistic writing, editing, photography, layout and design. 2. To develop computer skills in word processing, desktop publishing, photo management and manipulation and touch-typing. 3. To design and create the annual Roundup yearbook, the annual Yearling magazine of art & writing, a school calendar, and several issues of The Washington Post school newspaper. 4. To market and sell the yearbook, magazine, calendar and newspaper, and to sell business and personal advertisements for these publications. 5. To learn together with respect, responsibility, communication and cooperation. ·

Examples of Class Activities:

Reading, writing, lecture, discussions, hands-on activities, drawing pictures & diagrams, taking photos, and other activities to learn about journalism, journalistic writing, photography and photo journalism, layout & design, desktop publishing, computer file management, digital photo manipulation, marketing & sales, and other topics. Using various software applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, photo manipulation, and more. Using keyboarding software to develop touch-typing skills. Going "on assignment" around campus to take pictures, interview people, conduct surveys and polls, conduct research about people and events, and other duties as assigned. Lunchtime, after school and evening work, attending sports games and other school events as reporters and photographers, and working late to complete all assignments before each publication deadline. Approaching local businesses as well as individual people and asking them to support our school by purchasing advertising space in the yearbook, magazine or newspaper. Guest speakers, field trips, other activities, as time permits

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Required Materials:

A 1" or 1½" 3-ring binder with a set of section dividers just for Journalism class. There will be many different kinds of papers to keep track of; please get a separate 3-ring binder for this class! You are expected to save all class work for this class until the end of each quarter or longer! Lined paper, 2 or more pencils and 2 or more pens (dark blue or black only). Dictionary: Please have your own and learn to use it whenever you need to confirm the spelling or meaning of a word! WMS Agenda: You will have daily/weekly/monthly and even longer term deadlines and due dates to keep track of ­just for Journalism, plus homework for other classes­ use your Agenda every day in all your classes!


Optional Materials:

A digital camera: This is by no means a requirement, but if you do have a digital camera (at least 4 megapixels resolution), you may use it for journalism assignments. (The journalism program and Washington Middle School cannot and do not assume any responsibility for damaged, lost or stolen personal property.) A computer with Internet access: If your family has a computer at home with word processing software, it can help you with your articles and other writing assignments. If you have Internet access, then we can use email as an effective means of communication. Also, there will be a lot of information for journalism class (including deadlines and due dates, and your grades) posted at my website,


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Completing all publication assignments by their deadlines! Whatever it takes for you to complete your assignments before the deadline, you are expected to do so! Reading, writing, photography, research, design work, and other duties as assigned. Lunchtime, after school and evening work, attending sports games and other school events as reporters and photographers, and working late to complete all assignments before each publication deadline. This includes several "deadline parties" throughout the year, which start right after school and may go well into the evening. (The way to avoid late nights meeting deadlines is to keep up with your work and complete all assignments before the deadlines!) Parent/guardian signatures will be required on progress reports and other papers sent home. Since not everyone has a computer at home, no computer-based homework is ever assigned. However, additional practice or work time on a computer, as needed by individual students, may be necessary in order to practice basic skills or complete class assignments. Students are expected to do this work in the rm. 70 computer lab, the library, or at home (if possible). All homework and classwork assignments and due dates will be posted at

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Late Work:

Journalism is more than a class ­ it is a real world business with some absolute deadlines that we must meet, or we run the risk of losing thousands of dollars! Students who miss their publication deadlines will "pay the price" in lower grades and loss of class privileges (such as their "Press Pass" to go on assignment around campus). Students who miss several deadlines may be exited from the class altogether! If you are absent, you should make up work you missed. Only work completed promptly will be given full credit. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT TO FIND OUT WHAT WORK HAS BEEN MISSED! Late work will be accepted on some assignments, for partial credit. Some assignments must be completed and turned in by the due date in order to receive any credit at all.

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If You Want Extra Help Understanding or Completing Any Work in this Class:

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ASK FOR HELP! Please ask for help during class. ("The squeaky wheel gets the grease!")

If you want extra time in the lab, or additional help outside of class, ask me. I am happy to open the lab before or after school, or during lunchtime, and to meet with students who want extra help.

Assessment & Grading:

· Graded assignments and formal assessments will include: o Various paper-and-pencil and computer-based assignments. o Successful on-time completion of reporting and/or photography assignments and the writing and editing of stories/articles/layouts for the various publications. o Selling at least 5 ads for the yearbook and/or newspaper, or making at least 8 sincere attempts to sell ads. o Timed typing tests to measure progress toward the goal of touch-typing at 25 ­ 35 wpm and 98 ­ 100% accuracy. o Paper-and-pencil quizzes and tests. The grading scale is the usual: A 90% and above B 80 ­ 89 % C 70 ­ 79 % D 60 ­ 69 % F Below 60 % Extra Credit opportunities are always available, but students must already have completed the regular assignments before they are eligible for extra credit. Students who put in lots of extra time on marketing & sales, reporting on and/or photographing school events, working to meet publication deadlines, or other tasks, will receive extra credit for their extra efforts.



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Course Expectations and Rules

Guiding Principles:

Show RESPECT to yourself, other people, and property. Accept RESPONSIBILITY for your work, your decisions, and your actions. COMMUNICATE what you think, feel, want and need. Ask for help! Work COOPERATIVELY with your classmates and school staff. Be PREPARED and FOCUSED. School is for learning first, socializing later. DO YOUR BEST to do your best: work hard, play fair, be nice.


1. Follow all school rules. Be a Peace Builder! 2. Be in your seat, with all materials ready, when the bell rings. 3. Stay focused on the lesson and the work you need to complete; do not distract others from their learning and the work they need to complete. 4. Listen attentively to whomever is speaking. "Stop, look, listen!" 5. Work cooperatively in whatever groups you are assigned. 6. You may drink water during class. No other drink, food, candy or gum.


Students are encouraged and rewarded for being good students and good citizens! The class as a whole can also earn class-wide rewards. Rewards may include: · Bronco Bucks, positive notes and phone calls home · Free computer time · Class Party


Students who do not follow the rules and procedures of Mr. A.'s classroom and the journalism program will face some or all of the following consequences. 1st: Verbal warning 2nd: Time out, and/or lunch clean-up duty, 3rd: Lunch clean-up duty, and/or detention during lunch, before or after school, note or phone call home, loss of "Press Pass" priveleges th 4 : 1- or 2-day suspension from class, note or phone call home 5th: Administrative referral, detention, phone call home, possible parent conference, possible behavior contract... Severe infractions such as fighting will be immediately referred to the school administration. Repeated behavioral infractions will result in an Unsatisfactory citizen grade on the quarterly or semester report card. Students who do not demonstrate the maturity to be able to work productively in the selfdirected environment of the journalism class may be exited from the class.

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Mr. Altenberg, Journalism Teacher It is the Teacher's Job to Teach and to Help Students! It is the Student's Job to Be Ready to Learn and to Help Themselves and Others!

Dear Students and Parents, Please read carefully and discuss the Course Overview and Expectations and Rules. Please come talk to me if you have any questions or concerns. Please complete and sign the form below, then return it to me. Thank you for your support.

Student - Parent - Teacher Contract

Mr. Ted Altenberg

______________________________________ Student Name (print clearly)

Student Agreement:

I have read and understand Mr. Altenberg's Course Overview and Rules and Expectations. I agree to abide by the rules and do my best to be successful.

______________________________________ Student Signature

____________ Date

Parent Agreement:

I have read and understand Mr. Altenberg's Course Overview and Rules and Expectations. I agree to help my child to be successful.

______________________________________ Parent/Guardian Signature

____________ Date

Parent Contact Information:

_________________________________ Best phone number(s) to call _________________________________ Best time(s) to call

_________________________________ Parent E-mail

_________________________________ Student E-mail


Introduction to Computer Concepts and Business Applications

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