Class Schedule


English 211: News Writing and Investigative Reporting

Class Schedeule

(subject to slight modification)


Unit 1: The Elements of Journalism—Then and Now


8/25: Introduction

  • syllabus overview
  • Discussion: Why study journalism?


8/30: Discussion: What is Journalism For?


  • pp. ix-77 in Kovach & Rosenstiel
  • Bache, “A Calm Observer,” pp. 3-8 in Shapiro
  • Barber, A History of the Amistad Captives, pp. 8-10 in Shapiro


9/1: Gathering and the facts, reporting the news

  • Chapters 1 and 2 in Knight and complete end of chapter exercises and be ready to discuss your answers
  • Metzler, “Learning to Listen” (pdf in Dropbox/ on blog)
  • Blog: find a news article with an interesting lede, post it to the blog and write brief assessment of its quality/merits.
  • Discussion of blogging


[Group B blogging Sept. 5-9]


9/6:  Building the story

  • Group A article #1 due
  • Read Chapters 3 and 4 in Knight and complete exercises
  • Shapiro, pp. 45-67: Bly, Riis, and Wells
  • Blog: choose one article in Shapiro, assess quality of the lede, quote, and description.  Post assessment of the article to blog by class time.
  • How will blogging group cover 9/11?

9/8:  Writing Well

  • Read chp 5 in Knight and complete exercises
  • Workshop Group A’s articles

9/13: More on Writing Well

  • Read chp 4 in Kovach and Rosenstiel and 6 in Knight; complete exercises
  • Read Shapiro 89-133: Tarbell and Sinclair

9/15: Objectivity vs. editorializing

  • Chapter 5 in Kovach and Rosenstiel
  • Read Shapiro 184-192 and 254-260
  • Blog: Evaluate one of the week’s readings from Shapiro in terms of principles of Kovach and Knight and post analysis to blog

[Group A Blogging Sept. 19-23]

9/20: Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Advocacy Reporting

  • Group B article #1 due
  • Read chps 6-8 in Kovach and Rosenstiel
  • pp. 275-284 in Shapiro

9/22: Reading like an editor

  • Workshop of Group B article #1
  • Read chps 7 and 8 in Knight
  • Bring an article to class from a major news organization that you think is in need of editing

9/27: Covering Global issues

  • Aslan reading TBA
  • Chp 10 in Kovach and Rosenthiel
  • Reza Aslan lecture, 8 pm

9/29-9/30: Reading Days

[Group B blogging Oct. 3-7]

10/4: Covering National/Global issues,  contd.

  • Group A article #2 due  (**must be national/international angle)
  • Identifying a topic for you investigative journalism article


10/6:  Covering National/Global issues, contd.

  • Workshop Group A article #2
  • Read chp 9 in Knight

[Suggested event: 10/10: Lecture by Don Goodrich producer of the 9/11 documentary Axis of Good ]

10/11: Telling stories visually

  • Guest lecturer Bryan Alexander

10/13: Telling stories visually, contd.

  • Infographic analysis due to blog
  • reading TBA

[Group A Blogging Oct. 17-21]

10/18: The Tools of Investigative Reporting: Social Media? Your personal interests?

  • Group B article #2 due (must be national/international angle)
  • Read Carson, pp. 292-313 in Shapiro

10/20: Investigative Reporting contd.: (un)covering conflict

  • Read Hersh, pp. 337-352 in Shapiro

10/25: Investigative Reporting contd.: anonymous sources and political intrigue

  • Read Woodward and Berstein, pp. 368-375

10/27: Investigative Reporting contd.: Using the Library

  • Meet in library

11/1:  Investigative Reporting contd.: Other on-line sources

  • Group A article #3 due (must focus on an issue, law, or policy)
  • Reading TBA

11/3: Avoiding bias when investigating

  • Workshop Group A article #3

11/8: Structure of Investigative Articles: Reportage vs. Narrative

  • Readings TBA

11/10: Structure of Investigative Articles: Reportage vs. Narrative

  •  Readings TBA


[Group A blogging Nov. 14-18]

11/15: Structure of Investigative Articles: heading and sub-headings

  • Group B article #3 due (must focus on an issue, law, or policy)

11/17: Structure contd.

  • Workshop Group B article #3


[Group B blogging Nov. 28-Dec 2]

11/29: Journalism and the Law

  • Draft of investigative article due

12/1: Workshop investigative articles


12/6: Worskhop investigative articles


12/8:  Last day of class