Aug 13, 2020  
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog 
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



3 Credit Hours

Student Level:

This course is open to students on the college level in either the Freshman or Sophomore year.

Catalog Description

MCM2412 - Writing For the Media (3 hrs.)

This course emphasizes the fundamental principles of gathering and writing news. Special emphasis is placed on accuracy and style. As part of the course requirements, class members may gather and prepare copy for Cowley College Media, including The Cowley Press, newscasts, podcasts, vodcasts, the web and social media in addition to regular class requirements. This course will also cover the legal issues/policy surrounding writing for the media.

Course Classification:



ENG 2211 (Comp. I)

Controlling Purpose:

To acquire the necessary skills needed by beginning reporters for multiple media, including print, broadcast, social media, pod/vodcast and Internet.

Learner Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  • apply journalistic ethics in developing news stories
  • develop story ideas that have news value
  • apply the rules of demographics and psychographics to define audiences
  • evaluate credibility of news sources
  • apply effective interviewing skills to gather information from primary sources
  • compose news stories for a variety of media
  • apply journalistic standards to attribute sources
  • compose advertising and public relations copy for a variety of approaches 
  • apply Associated Press Style Guide to write copy

Unit Outcomes for Criterion Based Evaluation:

The following outline defines the minimum core content not including the final examination period.  Instructors may add other material as time allows.

Unit 1:  The Basics

Outcomes:   Student will demonstrate a basic knowledge of the components of a news story.

  • Develop factually accurate stories.
  • Correctly and effectively use attribution in each media modality.
  • Develop newsworthy stories that are objective and balanced.
  • Demonstrate proper word choice and English language usage.

Unit 2:  Writing the Story

Outcomes:  Student will demonstrate a basic knowledge of how to write a news story.

  • Define what is news.
  • Write using the inverted pyramid style.
  • Develop leads/hooks that pull readers/viewer in.
  • Develop well-written news, opinion and features, using a narrative format.
  • Identify, locate and contact appropriate sources for each story.

Unit 3:  Reporting Principles

Outcomes:  Student will demonstrate the ability to dig for information, make sound observations, use background research, cultivate sources, and utilize pre-interviewing and interviewing principles.

  • Identify people and reliable sources available to the reporter
  • Utilize a variety of interview techniques depending on modality, content and approach.
  • Incorporate multiple sources into news stories to ensure balance and accuracy.
  • Write stories for:
    print and web that conform to Associated Press style
    broadcasts that conform to Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook
  • Write stories that reflect an understanding of rules for proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure
  • Write specifically for social media following a social media style guide

Unit 4:  Covering the Beat

Outcomes:  Student will demonstrate the ability to cover a variety of beats.

  • Write clear and accurate accident/disaster stories.
  • Write stories involving the police department.
  • Follow basic court reporting techniques.
  • Write about sports and how sports coverage can differ from regular news coverage.

Unit 5:  Ethics

Outcomes:  Student will demonstrate the ability to cover a variety of beats.

  • Identify differences between libel, defamation and slander.
  • Interpret the First Amendment to the Constitution and limits on a reporter’s First Amendment rights.
  • Identify the news reporter’s ideal function in a democratic society.
  • Identify prominent libel cases in which media have won and lost.

Projects Required:

As assigned by instructor


Contact the bookstore for current textbook.

Attendance Policy: 

Students should adhere to the attendance policy outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus.

Grading Policy:

The grading policy will be outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus.

Maximum class size:

Based on classroom occupancy

Course Time Frame:

The U.S. Department of Education, Higher Learning Commission and the Kansas Board of Regents define credit hour and have specific regulations that the college must follow when developing, teaching and assessing the educational aspects of the college. A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit or an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. The number of semester hours of credit allowed for each distance education or blended hybrid courses shall be assigned by the college based on the amount of time needed to achieve the same course outcomes in a purely face-to-face format.

Refer to the following policies:

402.00 Academic Code of Conduct

263.00 Student Appeal of Course Grades

403.00 Student Code of Conduct

Disability Services Program:

Cowley College, in recognition of state and federal laws, will accommodate a student with a documented disability. If a student has a disability which may impact work in this class which requires accommodations, contact the Disability Services Coordinator.