Midterm Study Guide

The exam will be emailed to you on November 2. Please be sure that your email of record with the university is correct.

It will be a Word (.doc) file in which you will write your responses.

When you have finished writing your responses, please change the file name to your last name (for example, if your name was John Smith, you would name it smith.doc or smith.docx) then upload it to turnitin.com before Tuesday, November 18 8 at 11:59 p.m. Instructions for submitting to this site can be found here. Because the turnitin website will generate an alert for duplicative work (that is, anything that is not your original writing), you must properly cite any quotes you use—whether from the textbook or from any other source.

This exam covers the topics presented in the first six weeks of class.

The exam consists of ten questions—each worth ten points—that should elicit brief essay-style answers. Your responses will be graded on how thoughtfully and completely they answer the questions, using specific examples from your assigned readings, the lectures, and news events. Spelling and grammar will also be considered.

You can best prepare for this exam by being current on your reading assignments (Chapters 1 through 4 in Kovach and Rosenstiel and Chapters 1 through 5 in Gillmor) and by reviewing your notes for lectures 1 through 6.

Here is an example of the type of questions you will see in the exam:

From the list below, what information neighborhood might you be in when you’re on YouTube? Explain your answer, using specific examples from the course, to illustrate you understand the differences between neighborhoods.

  1. News
  2. Advertising
  3. Entertainment
  4. Raw Information
  5. All of the above

Good luck, everyone!

You can download these instructions here.

Submitting to turnitin.com

As you know, we will have you submit your midterm exam to turnitin.com. You should have already received an email inviting you to establish or confirm a turnitin account for out class.

Here are some helps for working with the turinitin.com site.

Here’s an instructional video.

And here are some written instructions you can download:

Week 8 (Oct 19) lecture

We discussed journalism’s first obligation today–that of truth of verification. We discussed some ways journalists verify information and how verification can sometimes be challenged. We also addressed the changing nature of knowledge and how we arrive at the best available version of truth.

Here are the slides:


Here’s a link to the CJR article we referenced on Katrina coverage.

If you want to find out how newspapers were so wrong about their coverage of the mine disaster, you can read this.

Here are some additional links related to today’s lecture:

What is Epistemology? (Yale University Professor Keith DeRose)

Innocence Project – See how these investigations overturn death row convictions. Of note, check out Eyewitness Misidentification (the greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide)

How News Organization can build trust in the Verification Process  (Scott Rosenberg’s Blog Post)

Advice for Investigative Journalists (A journalism of verification)

Please note that the upcoming test will not in the offered in the Testing Center as previously announced, rather it will be a take home test (I decided I wanted to read typed responses, rather than your handwriting). It will be available between November 2 and November 8. You’ll get a study guide of sorts next week. Please be aware that because we’ll be using Turnitin.com, you will be receiving instructions on signing up for it (if you haven’t already established an account) and uploading your finished test.

The Media Primary | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)

The Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Research Center report on the tone of coverage for each of the presidential candidates. According to these studies, the candidates receiving the most positive coverage are Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain. President Obama is receiving the most negative least favorable coverage, according to the study. You can read the report here: The Media Primary | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).

Week 7 (Oct 12) Lecture

Tonight, we bravely confronted Fairness, Balance, and Bias. We discussed how to identify fair and balanced coverage and zeroed in on bias–how to identify it and how to blame (ourselves). I hope you enjoyed our discussion and found it eye-opening. Here are the slides:

Here is the study on the press and politics from which we drew a few reference points.

We did make one assignment. This one calls for you to identify an issue for which you are passionate, locate two diametrically opposed articles, then write about them, following these directions:

Week 6 (Oct 5) Lecture

Tonight’s topic: Opinion. We tackled the sometimes confusing differences between straight journalism, journalism opinion, and counterfeit journalism opinion. Among the keys are language and labeling. You can view or download the slides here:

Two important housekeeping items: the test we discussed last week is postponed until the end of the month. I’ll give you more information in the coming weeks. Secondly, your assignment for next week is simply to catch up on the reading already assigned, and to read the following sites regarding critical thinking.

First, this one on recognizing propaganda.

Next, please read the links on this page on logical fallacies, particularly those on ad hominem attacks, circularity, correlation not causation, slippery slope, and straw man. These are devices typically employed on cable television.

Finally, a word about Steve Jobs. Although his death was expected, I found it interesting to be showing slides on a Mac (using Keynote software) and to get word during class that he had passed. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of you first got the word on an iPhone. While we joke about being Apple “fanboys,” Jobs was undoubtedly the most innovative figure of our time. I’m looking forward to the upcoming biography by Walter Isaacson. In the meantime, you might take a moment to watch this commencement speech he gave in 2005.

Week 5 (Sept 28) Lecture

In tonight’s lecture we pondered the question, “What is News?” We looked at the factors for determining what is news and applied them to numerous examples. You can see the slides here:

This week we have the first in a  series of news log assignments. This week’s assignment is due in class on Wednesday, October 5. You can view and download it here: