Welcome to your first professional-level reporting course in the School of Journalism!

The goal of the School of Journalism is to train you to perform the mission of journalism in our society. That mission is to get citizens the information they need to participate in governing themselves. Journalism that performs this mission well has rightly been called the life blood of democracy.

JRN 200 is the first of a two-course sequence in news writing and reporting that helps prepare you to do that mission well. The course focuses on reporting for the print media. But JRN 200 will also introduce you to reporting through web logs (blogs) and video. You will find that careers in journalism are requiring reporters who can use all these ways of transmitting information to audiences.   

This course provides the foundation for your major and career. You will learn to assess the needs and interests of audiences for stories. You will learn to use basic reporting methods such as observation, interviewing and documentary records to do those stories. You will learn to shape stories for print, blog and online. You will learn to write stories accurately, concisely and clearly, in vigorous, grammatically correct English on deadline. Finally, you will attempt to get one or two of your stories for class published.


The primary objective of this course is to help you begin the transition from student journalist to journalist. Think of this course as your first job in the news business. The lab is a newsroom with high professional standards. Your instructor is your editor/news director/online producer, and you’re the rookie. JRN 200 will begin to help you develop professional habits and skills.   

Specific objectives include helping you to:


  • develop news judgment by recognizing essential news values
  • gather information through observation, interviewing and documents including public records
  • organize information effectively in news stories
  • write stories on deadline that are accurate, clear and in AP style
  • attribute information fully and accurately in stories
  • use attribution and direct and indirect quotations
  • revise print story information for electronic platforms including blogs and video
  • understand legal and ethical issues in reporting
  • incorporate diversity and fairness in reporting
  • understand the business of journalism and the ongoing changes in the industry

As in most jobs, your work ethic, to a great extent, will determine how well you master these objectives. Success will require showing up punctually, meeting deadlines unfailingly and following instructions exactly. If you do well, you’ll earn a bonus (good grades and advancement in this major). If you’re absent or careless, unethical or just plain lazy, you’ll likely find yourself on probation (a grade of 1.0) or fired (0.0).