Journalism II-IV Syllabus

Mrs. Bourquin
Portable 30
[email protected]

Course Description:
Journalism II-IV
Course No.:  1006300-1006330
Credit: 1.0

This course is designed to develop basic entry-level skills required for careers in the writing and editing industry. The purpose of this course is to enable students to develop fundamental skills in the production of print or electronic journalistic media.

Textbook:  Journalism Today: Seventh Edition

Class Supplies:
Students need: 1GB or larger flash drive, an Edmodo account, highlighter, a composition book, and a three-prong two pocket folder.

In addition, students should bring the following supplies for classroom use:

  • 1 pack of poster board (11X14 5 pack)
  • 1 pack of thin color markers or colored pencils
  • 1 roll of blue painters tape

Classroom Procedures:
Instruction for this course is a blend of topics and hands-on learning through the production of the school newspaper The Vertical, the school newsletter The Panther Press, and the school literary journal Happenstance. Instruction and hands-on learning will include, but not be limited to:

  • writing processes
  • editing
  • layout and design
  • interviewing
  • photojournalism
  • advertising and sales
  • print and digital media
  • careers in journalism

Hands-on activities are integral to this course.  This course may require students to participate in activities during your lunch period, during Power Hour, and before or after the school day. Class time will typically be allotted to newspaper production and participation in editing workshops. Brainstorming, issue planning, and discussion are an important part of the success of our publication. Participation in this process is not only required, but necessary. Assessments will also be given to monitor students’ mastery of the material taught in class.

Press Pass & Coverage of Events
Participation on the school newspaper staff affords students with more freedom than most other classes. It also requires them to exhibit a high degree of maturity and good judgment. As members of a group that produces a concrete product that will be distributed to and read by both students and adults, those on the staff can be expected to hold to accepted journalistic standards and ethical practices. As individuals they are recognized as representatives of the paper even if they are not actually on assignment. When students are gathering information for the paper, he or she must wear his or her press pass. When the press pass are distributed the students will sign an agreement to not abuse the privilege. If a student abuses the privileges, his or her press pass will be taken away, and he or she will not be able to leave the room to conduct interviews or use the press pass for events free of charge for newspaper coverage.

Absences and Late Work
Journalism is a class that requires extra work and dedication on the part of the staff. Often it is necessary for students to come in before school or after school to work on the paper. I understand that the students have busy schedules, and I try to work out any conflicts with the students to help produce a paper the staff can be proud of. A successful paper and success in class is dependent on attendance and meeting deadline.

If the student is absent, article deadlines do not change. The student needs to remain in contact with their editors and advisor in the case of an absence that impacts deadline. A contact sheet will be given to each student to enable this communication. If you have 3 or more unexcused absences, I will contact the Dean of Attendance and a parent/guardian to discuss concerns. An unexcused absence is any absence where a parent/guardian has not contacted the school to verify the absence of the student and/or has not provided a not that excuses the absence per school/district policy.

If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out what we did in class and complete the missed work on time. A day per excused absence is allowed for making up work (excluded: deadline based articles, see above policy). Late work will receive a point reduction of 10 points per day. Unexcused absences reduce grades by 50%.

Grading Policy
Assessments                                                        70%
Quizzes, tests, article portfolios

Assignments                                                             30%
Classwork, writing practice, advertising/fundraising, journals

Semester grades are calculated according to district policy: Each quarter is 45% of your semester grade and the semester district exam is 10 % of your semester grade.

Grading Scale
A = 90-100
B = 80-89
C = 70-79
D = 60-69
F = 0-59

Classroom Operations

  1. Respect yourself, others, and property.
  2. Be in class on time.
  3. Turn in all assignments on deadline.
  4. Attend functions that you are assigned to cover or arrange a replacement in case of extreme emergency.
  5. Show respect for everyone: teacher and peers alike. We will speak one at a time!
  6. We will be doing fundraisers and advertising sales to help fund our publications expand the equipment available for our use in our room. You must participate!
  7. Much time will have to be spent outside class writing, interviewing, editing, selling advertisements, etc. Class time is precious and we MUST have articles in order to layout during class time.
  8. Help maintain a clean room and protect our equipment by not defiling it with food, drink (water’s OK), or gum.
  9. Learn something and help your peers learn something.
  10. Challenge yourself creatively and encourage your peers to do the same.

Cell Phones and other digital devices
There will be opportunities in class where cell phones (tablets, etc.) will be permitted in class for academic purposes. Unless the teacher has explicitly approved the use of cell phones in class, all cell phones (tablets, etc.) must be silenced and put away for the duration of class. Unapproved cell phone (tablet, etc.) use during class time will follow the same consequences of any violation of classroom operations.


  1. Two warnings
  2. Detention and parent contact
  3. Referral to Dean’s Office

Right to change: This syllabus may be subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Notice will be made in class to students and posted on the class website