Elon University School of Communications
xcellence is a requirement in the communications field; the product is expected to be seen and judged by the public, and it must be first-class. The leaders of most media organizations and professional communications offices demand the following skills from their staff members:

Solid writing: Good grammar and spelling; ability to organize information and write tightly in a logical, compelling sequence; ability to craft compelling headlines/leads/intros/teasers; use of strong verbs and active voice; knack for using quotes/sound bites, anecdotes and descriptive detail to tell a good story well.

Information-gathering ability: Talent for identifying and pursuing a good communication; determination, diligence and desire to dig up telling details, cultivate useful sources and follow all of the angles; devotion to accuracy. An understanding of which multimedia storytelling tools to use, and when and how to implement them for the optimal results, including audio and video recording, still photography and graphics and graphic visualizations, including the use of geographical data and databases and information mashups.

Efficient productivity: Ability to complete deadline and non-deadline assignments quickly and smoothly and make frequent substantive contributions to publications and productions; interest in and ability to assume more than the minimum requirements of the job.

Positive personal attributes: Ability to work well with others and accept constructive criticism; knack for anticipating and assuming the demands of the position without prompting; reliability; knowledge of and respect for community, nation, world; commitment to fairness and ethical conduct; ability to recognize and assess potential adverse consequences of actions.

It is up to you to get the most you can out of this course. I reserve the right to alter our schedule as the need arises.

E-mail is the best way to reach me fast. If you are unclear about an assignment or you have questions, please talk to me. I check e-mail several times daily, and I have voice-mail at my office and an answering machine at my home number. I always respond as quickly as possible. You are welcome to come to see me to discuss anything and everything. I am generally at my desk during office hours, although I occasionally duck out for a few minutes. If you come to see me and I am not there, try waiting for just a bit, I'll probably be back soon.

Students are expected to attend ALL classes.

If you have to miss class for a good reason, TELL ME IN ADVANCE, and I will see what I can do for you. If you are ill, please advise me PRIOR to the class you are missing by phone or by e-mail. Work that is due the day you miss is STILL DUE THAT DAY. Ask a friend to turn it in or e-mail it to me.

Following are the text currently used in my courses:

JCM 110 Textbooks:

1) Norm Goldstein, ed. "The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law" (most recent edition, Associated Press, New York).

2) Tim Harrower, "Inside Reporting" (most recent edition, McGraw Hill).

3) Brooks, Pinson, Wilson, "Working With Words" (most-recent edition, Bedford/St. Martin's)

JCM 310 Textbooks:

1) "The Investigative Reporter's Handbook," by Houston, Weinberg, Bruzzese (latest edition, Bedford-St. Martin's).

2) "Journalism 2.0," by Mark Briggs, available free online at http://www.kcnn.org/resources/journalism_20_pdfs/.

3) "Math Tools for Journalists," by Kathleen Woodruff Wickham (latest edition, Marion Street Press).

4) Norm Goldstein, ed. "The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law" (latest edition, Associated Press, New York).

JCM 450 Textbooks:

1) Norm Goldstein, ed. "The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law" (latest edition).

2) To be announced.