Fall 2012 T/Th 11-12:20
Sandra Mardenfeld sandramardenfeld.com
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (845) 398-4127 and 516-884-6477
Office Hours: Tues.: 12:00-1:00 HUM 001
and by appointment.
This course will focus on how to write feature pieces. The student will practice writing on a weekly basis, and will be exposed to “good” writing as we analyze samples of others’ work. The following topics will also be covered: How to write a good query letter; How do you get information from sources; What are your responsibilities as a reporter to your sources; Writing—What is good writing? How do you construct a well-developed article? By the end of the course, the student will be proficient in writing pitches, FOB, BOB and Well pieces, analyzing the writing market, and writing and researching tight, well-rendered articles.
- You will be able to identify and write the following types of articles: FOB, BOB, profile, travel, personal essay, feature, and recipe-driven piece.
- You will understand the mechanics of publishing your work, from contacting editors to sending out professional packages.
- You will know how to read publication contracts well enough that you can make good business judgments.
- You will understand how to present yourself to interview subjects as well as how to find them. You will be able to conduct interviews well enough to produce professional articles from your notes.
- You will produce a professional-quality portfolio after several revisions of your work.
Text: Feature Writing by Friedlander/Lee. Allyn & Bacon. Seventh Edition. ISBN: 0-205-74780-9
- Regular attendance. Three class absences are permitted, but it is the student’s responsibility to make up all work by the next class. Additional absences will cause failure in the class. Extenuating circumstances, with documentation only, will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the professor. Three lates equals one absence. Once I start the class, you are considered late.
- Active participation in classroom discussions. This class is part seminar and dependent on class input. Class participation counts as part of your grade.
- The completion of all assignments. There are NO extensions on assignments. Assignments should be complete when you come into class. This means a printed copy, not on disk or flash drive. You will not be allowed to go to the computer lab and print it out.
- All deadlines must be met on the day they are due. If you miss a deadline you will be given a zero for that assignment. If you cannot make it to class that day, you have 24-hours to email me that assignment.
- Students cannot request extra credit. It is not given to boost a grade. However, occasionally extra credit contests will be done in class. If you are absent, these cannot be made up.
This course meets the NYSED requirements of at least 45 hours of class instruction and 90 hours of homework (reading, writing, editing, and/or research) as assigned in the syllabus.
Students are expected to meet the highest standards of academic integrity. Students must adhere to the norms of a serious intellectual community. A student’s responsibilities include:
1. a duty to respect the efforts of others by submitting his or her own work;
2. a duty to acknowledge properly the efforts of others.
Students are required to submit their own work. Ideas, data, direct quotations, paraphrasing, or any other incorporation of the work of others must be clearly referenced. To do otherwise constitutes plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism include:
1. direct quotation or paraphrasing from published sources that are not properly acknowledged.
2. the use of other persons or services to prepare work that is submitted as one’s own.
Cheating is unacceptable. Examples of cheating include:
1. any communication, written or oral, among students during an examination;
2. providing or receiving information about the content of an examination.
If a faculty member determines that a student has committed academic dishonesty by plagiarism, cheating or in any other manner, the faculty has the academic right to 1) fail the student for the paper, assignment, project and/or exam, and/or 2) fail the student for the course and/or 3) bring the student up on disciplinary charges, pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct.
Some simple rules (based on common courtesy) are important to maintaining an effective learning environment for all students:
1. The class will start on time. If you must be late, enter quietly and take a seat near the door
2. The class will end on time. Do not interrupt the class by leaving before its conclusion. If you must depart early for a bona fide reason, coordinate with me before the class
3. The classroom is not a social hour. Do not converse with other students during lectures
4. No active electronic devices in the classroom (phone, iPod, computer game etc.). It is permissible to record a class lecture.
5. Do NOT text in class. You will lose points on your attendance/participation rubric AND if you are caught more than once, you will be asked to leave the classroom (which will count as a partial absence for the day).
Attendance and Participation (25%), Writing Assignments, (25%), Quizzes (25%) and Portfolio (25%)
A+= 97 or higher
F=64 and lower
Feature Writing—At a Glance
September 6th—Welcome, What is feature article writing?
September 11th—Introduction to the magazine. How to write a pitch letter. Guidelines Subject roundtable. Pass around magazine sign-up list.
September 13th— Read Chapter 3: The Magazine Article and Article Ideas. Go over stories on p. 76 and 90. Homework: Bring in a magazine of your choice. Bring in research telling us who its market is, what sections they have, etc. Query letter subject due. Discussion: Why readers like magazines. Role of advertising. Mags in the media mix. What is slant—writing towards a specific readership. In-class exercise: Oral presentation—tell us about your magazine. Write in the voice of your magazine exercise. In-class editing groups go over query letter subjects—two or three done in front of class.
September 18th—Pitch letter due today—first draft. Bring in a newspaper and/or a newsletter. Guidelines due. Discussion: Article types. Where to find stories. Research 101, primary vs. secondary sources. In-class exercise: Find a story in the newspaper—how would you expand your information?
September 20th— Read: Chapter 1—The Newspaper Feature Story. Discussion: Go over Mrs. Kelly’s Monster, page 25. Writing the article. How to nab an interview. Choosing significant details. How to use quotes. The importance of beginnings and endings. How to edit 101. What is a FOB story?
September 25th—Read Chapter 2—The Newspaper Feature Story Idea. Go over stories on p. 45 and 51. FOB story draft due. Feature story idea due. In-class exercise: Editorial meetings to go over FOB stories. Discuss feature story ideas—where to go for research.
September 27th—Read Chapter 6. Go over stories on p. 186. Discussion: More writing techniques. Feature story updates. How to do basic travel articles. In-class exercises: Plan a field trip with your group—what place would make a good travel article, what information do you need to collect? Who will you interview. Take notes independently even if you go together. Travel notes due on October 6th.
October 2nd— Read chapter 4 and 5. Go over stories on p. 119 and 148. FOB story (to be graded).
October 4th—Feature story draft due. Discussion: More on travel writing, basic photography, what to do about releases, what do press trips entail? In-class activity: compare travel notes—what information were you missing?
October 9th—Feature story article due (to be graded). Read chapter 7. Go over stories on p. 201, 207 and 226. Catch-up day.
October 11th— Travel story draft due—do not put your name or any identifying markings on your typed story. Discussion: The editor/writer relationship. Writing the profile piece. Match the profile you’d like to do to a particular publication. In-class exercise: Judging the travel articles.
October 16th—Read chapter 8. Go over story on 250. Rewrite day.
October 18th—Travel story due (to be graded). Rewrite day.
October 23rd—Profile draft piece due—bring in five copies. In-class exercise: Editor’s roundtable for profile pieces. Write query letter for profile in class—be sure to know what publication and who the correct editor is to send to.
October 25th—Discussion: Writing the personal essay. Do personal essay charts. Budget, business plans and marketing. Rework profile piece day.
October 30th— Bring in a long magazine article that you like—at least 2000 words. Make 3 copies of it. Read chapter 9. Go over 279/280.
November 1st—Profile piece due. Bring in completed query letter and two copies of the profile with a SASE and a stamped envelope (to be graded). Read chapter 10. Discussion: Legalities/contracts.
Election Day—Off. Go VOTE!
November 8th—Personal essay rough draft due today. Discussion: Writing about food: the recipe-driven story, etc. In-class exercise: One-on-one edit session.
November 13th—Discussion: More on markets, how to make money freelancing—what does it take? Specialization vs. generalization. Rewrite day.
November 15th—Personal essay (to be graded) due. Rewrite day.
November 20th—Recipe-driven story draft due—leave all identifying markings off of your typed copy. Bring in completed recipe if you wish—make sure that doesn’t have any markings either. Judging of the recipe-driven stories. Discussion: Contracts and rights. Evergreen stories. In-class exercise: Evergreen brainstorming and round robin.
November 22nd—Happy Thanksgiving
November 27th—Recipe-driven story due. Discussion: More on evergreen. Start talking about food reviews. Bring in assigned food.
November 29th—Evergreen draft due. Food review field trip.
December 4th— Workshop: Food review due.
December 6th—Portfolio construction.
December 11th—Portfolio construction.
Final Exam Week—Final portfolio review TBA.
Schedule is subject to change. If you’re absent, check with a classmate or with me about changes in assignments.