Schedule changes

If you’ve looked closely at the class schedule this week, you may have noticed that I’ve made a few changes. I’ve moved up a couple assignments, originally scheduled for later in the semester, to mid-March, and I’ve pushed back the start of the Broadcast Segment.

The upshot: This will give you an extra week to complete your “Real Life Reporting” assignment, the final project for the News Writing Segment of this class. It also gives you a bit of a breather between the due dates for your two major writing projects for this segment, the Profile and Real Life Reporting assignments.

We’ll start the Broadcast Segment after spring break. At three weeks, I know it looks short … but you’ll apply those skills again for your final magazine/multimedia project.

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Scholarship opportunity

Up to $10,000 in scholarships is being offered to students interested in a career in journalism and who live in or attend school in the Bay Area. The scholarships are being offered by the SF/Bay Area chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association.

The 2009 scholarship application is available at www.aajasf.org (go to the “Scholarships” tab). The application deadline is March 31.

Revisions

I’ve asked some of you to revise some assignments. But even if I don’t request it, you can revise any assignment where you received a less-than-stellar grade. Revising makes most sense for assignments where you get a B- or less.

With a good revision, you can earn back up to half the points you lost the first time around. Just put “revised” in the title of the blog post — that’s my signal to go back and regrade it. If I don’t get back to it within a week, pop me an email reminder.

Your ‘Real News’ assignment

For your “Real News Reporting” assignment — the culminating project of the news writing segment of this class — you’ll need to find and write your own news story or news feature. This assignment is due March 14, so you’ve got a month or so to figure it out, but it’s not too early to start planning.

To help you get started … here are links to information on some on-campus events that could work for this assignment:

You can also cover an off-campus, local (to you) meeting or event for this assignment. Just make sure it works as a hard news story or news feature.

Meet the reporters

The Berkeley Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists is sponsoring “Meet the Reporters: A Lively Discussion” on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 12-2 p.m. at UC Berkeley’s Northgate Library. Interested students are welcome to attend.

Established in 1975, NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, with more than 4,100 members. It provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.

Instructor’s Note: This meeting is a good candidate for your upcoming “Real News Reporting” assignment, as well as an opportunity to hear from and meet with some reporters. You can attend this session, takes notes/quotes, and write it up as a hard news story, or take a more feature-style approach by perhaps focusing on (by interviewing) one of the speakers.

Newsweek goes niche

I hear some people saying that the print media’s much publicized financial/circulation problems only affect the nation’s big dailies, that smaller newspapers and magazines are doing just fine. But I guess that doesn’t apply to newsmagazines.

Newsweek has announced that it is undertaking a major overhaul of its publication, including its content, design and target audience. Newsweek editors appear to be hoping that the magazine/cable TV model of narrow-casting — targeting a niche audience — will work for them.

Read the NYT article about it: Newsweek Plans Makeover to Fit a Smaller Audience – NYTimes.com

Pondering the future

With layoffs continuing in the newspaper business (and spreading to PR and advertising agencies), it’s hard to know what to tell students who want to pursue a career in the news media.

So I was glad to see Mindy McAdams’ blog post, Advice for Journalism Students Now. If you aspire to a career in journalism, this blog post tells you what skills newspaper editors and publishers are looking for.

McAdams teaches online journalism at the University of Florida and writes the Teaching Online Journalism blog.