This course provides a survey of mass communication media formats and writing techniques from news for print and broadcast, to advertising and public relations. The course is designed to enhance the appreciation of the mass communication professional as well as provide an understanding of the basic techniques used by the professional to inform and/or persuade audiences. Students will write news stories, produce copy for broadcast news, create an advertising package, and develop a public service announcement. (Formerly COMS 220)
Understanding how a media message is communicated, whether through a news story, blog, press release or advertisement, and then being able to formulate your own message in that fashion is foundational and pertinent to a broad variety of marketplaces. Presenting that information from a foundation of Biblical, Christ-centered principles and values is a necessity to ensuring ethical and moral adherence once the student is faced with a real-time contradiction. Although mass communication is in a constantly changing motion, the principles learned in this class for mass communication writing will remain the same no matter what technological changes occur in the marketplace in the future.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Use the Associated Press Stylebook rules in the editing process for print, web, and public relations.
- Compare and contrast the commonalities and differences of print, broadcast, interactive media, advertising, and public relations.
- Create pieces for mediated channels of communication using professional writing techniques.
- Capture new techniques of emerging technologies in news, information, and entertainment.
- Apply biblical and professional guidelines to conceptual real-world work scenarios that involve ethical/moral situations.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussion: Class Video Introductions
The student will record a short video of introduction to classmates and upload it to the Discussion. Then, the student will submit written responses of at least 150 words each to at least two classmates’ video introductions.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will post a thread of at least 250 words to each Discussion. Discussions will be based on presentations and reading material. The student must reply to 1 classmate’s thread in at least 150 words.
The student will interview a friend or family member on his/her 9/11 experiences using 10 prepared and researched questions. After the interview, the student will write a 250-word feature story using the information. The student will learn to gather information and develop research skills through the interview process and then take that information to compose a story. After the interview is complete, the student will turn in the 10 questions, the notes taken during the interview, and the written story. The assignment must be 3–4 pages and typed in a word document.
News Story Assignment
Student will write a 300-word news story using the Inverted Pyramid from a provided fact sheet. Students will also create a hashtag and Twitter post to promote the story.
Video Package Assignment
Student will create a 30–45 second video package that includes a lead in, sound bite and voice-over. This can be created using a smart phone with a simple (free) editing software such as KineMaster.
News Release Assignment
Using the scenario that the student is working in the Public Relations department for a company, he/she will write a news release for the company website that must include: headline, contact information, release time, a body consisting of 275 words (with direct and indirect quotes), word count, and the use of current AP style and grammar rules throughout.
Final Project Assignment
For the final project, the student will prepare an online portfolio to submit for a Communication Specialist position. The portfolio will include:
- Cover Letter
- Video package from this course (does not need to be revised)
- News Story with Social Media Post (from this course, revised)
- News Release for Web (from this course, revised)
There are six quizzes throughout the course. All quizzes will be open-book/open-notes and contain both multiple choice and true/false format. The quizzes will cover material from the course textbook.