Week 16 A Career in Journalism

Dec. 15 Class Party

Optional but strongly recommended assignment for the winter break: Create a professional website, join LinkedIn and make business cards.

Some examples of websites of SFSU journalism graduates:

Here are some places to design and purchase business cards:

Job/Internships Websites


Week 14 Preparing for Final Exam

The final exam will be held during regular class time on Dec. 8 Please bring a green Zeus sheet, two number 2 pencils and your Associated Press stylebook. You will have most of the class period to complete the test although it probably won’t take you nearly that long.

Reporting Jeopardy

Your final project, blog and all rewrites are due in class Dec. 15.

Review for Final Exam:

Review the Associated Press Stylebook

You should be familiar with newsmakers from the past few months. To review you can look over:

You should know how to:

  • Punctuate quotes
  • Write numbers (ages, addresses, millions, thousands, percentages, dimensions like height)
  • When to use a hyphen
  • When to use singulars and plurals
  • Possessives/plurals (its/it’s, their/they’re, your/you’re)
  • How to write names of states, street names, titles
  • You should know that businesses, agencies, boards take a singular pronoun (Chevron opened ITS new headquarters; the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will hold ITS meeting)
  • Which/that
  • Affect/effect

AP Style Quiz

AP Style Review

On Dec. 15  we’ll talk about getting read for a career in journalism — networking, internships, scholarships, etc.  Let’s talk about food (pizza? potluck?).


Week 12 Aggregation and Curation/Preparing Your Final Project

Today we’ll talk more about your final projects. Here’s the agenda for the day:

News quiz

Crafting a news feature

Developing a reporting plan

Content Aggregation and Curation

Aggregation and curation in journalism, Mindy McAdams

Aggregation guidelines: Link, attribute, add value, Steve Buttry

Examples of Aggregation:

Shock, Confusion After Tragic Death Of SF Zoo’s Youngest Gorilla

Aggregation and curation exercise:

Take this press release from the San Francisco Police Department and write a story in 15 minutes. Use other sources but be sure to use the most credible sources available and to link, attribute and add value. Include hyperlinks in your story.

Week 11 Covering Courts Part II, The News Feature

Here’s the agenda for today:

News Quiz

Writing the court story

Here are some examples of trial stories with the San Francisco Chronicle’s coverage of the Yusef Bey IV trial:

Opening statements: Prosecutor: Evidence links bakery, Bailey killing

Eyewitness testimony: Chauncey Bailey killing described by witnesses

Devaughndre Broussard testimony:
Chauncey Bailey killer takes stand in murder trial

Chauncey Bailey shooter laughed at killings

Antoine Mackey testimony: Chauncey Bailey murder defendant testifies

Closing arguments: Bakery defense calls star witness a murdering liar

Conviction: Your Black Muslim Bakery leader guilty of murder

Tips for covering a trial:

  1. Write a lede that sums up the highlight(s) of the day in court (often a news lede, occasionally a feature lede)
  2. Look for moments of drama, surprise, emotion
  3. Translate jargon
  4. Include both (or all) sides
  5. Get direct quotes
  6. Use proper attribution
  7. Include background information about the crime:
  • Name of victim(s)
  • Name of defendant(s)
  • Date and location of crime
  • Charges
  • Name of court (San Francisco Superior Court, Alameda County Superior Court, etc.)
  • Possible sentence
  • What is the question in this case?

Final Project Checklist:

  • Main story
  • Sidebar, infographic, infobox, slideshow, video or map

What your final story should include:

  • Strong lede that captures the essence of the story and makes readers want to read more — may be news lede but probably a feature lede
  • Nut graph (may be 2-3 paragraphs) that explains what the story is about and why readers should care
  • Statistics (when possible) — how big, how many, how much?
  • Financials — how much does this cost?
  • History, background, context
  • Multiple points of view — at least 6 sources, including officials, experts, regular people with varying perspectives
  • Strong quotes that capture opinion and context
  • Description of the scene, the place, the person
  • Characters — look for a main character who will help you tell the story

Week 9 Covering Courts

Week 9, Oct. 20
Today you’ll pitch your final project ideas and we’ll discuss how to cover a trial or court proceeding.

We’ll start with a news quiz.

Then you’ll pitch your project ideas.

Next we’ll cover the basics of how the U.S. criminal justice system works:

Diagram of How a Case Moves Through the Courts, American Bar Association

Then we’ll review these resources:

Access to Courts: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

And we’ll look at examples of court coverage:

Trayvon Martin trial


Defendant: George Zimmerman

Victim: Trayvon Martin

Witnesses: Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother
Jahvaris Fulton, Martin’s brother

Defense attorney:  Mark O’Mara

Prosecutor: Bernie de la Rionda

Optional News U Course: On the Beat: Covering the Courts

Next week: No class but I recommend you attend

CIIJ Presents Michael Schiller & Ariane Wu, Animation Producers At the Center for Investigative Reporting

Monday, October 27, 2014
The Box Flier
They will talk about producing the animated investigative story, “The Box,” which examines the impact of solitary confinement on teens in U.S. jails around the country.
Burk Hall 28

Week 8 Covering Crime

This week we’ll talk about how to report on and write about crime. We’ll start by following a major Bay Area news story from last year and see how the news unfolded, how different news organizations covered the story and some reporting and ethical challenges the story presented for journalists.

Monday, Nov. 4
5:20 p.m. Teen set on fire while riding AC Transit bus home from school; taken to burn unit
First news stories appears on TV and online that evening

Tuesday, Nov. 5
Suspect arrested but not named

Mother gives first interview to print reporter with Bay Area News Group

Wednesday, Nov. 6
Donation site collects more than $20,000 in 24 hours

Thursday, Nov. 7
Suspect charged as an adult with hate crime; suspect’s family members give first television interview.

Debbie Crandall and Karl Fleischman give first television interview.

Friday, Nov. 8
Students organize “Skirts for Sasha” event at victim’s school; community organizes rainbow ribbon display along the bus line where the attack occurred.

Two more television crews interview Debbie and Karl


Karl Fleischman Facebook page
Fundly site: Help Sasha Have a Speedy Recovery
Richard Thomas Press Release
Richard Thomas complaint


  1. How should you approach victims of tragic/traumatic events and their family members?
  2. What information should you be looking for?
  3. How do you ask questions?
  4. Is it fair to use pictures and comments from victim’s and family members’ Facebook pages and other forms of social media?
  5. Should news media name the suspect, who is a minor, if they can find the name? Should they name the suspect if the District Attorney’s office releases it?
  6. If Sasha Fleischman prefers to be referred to by the pronoun they, rather than he or she, should reporters respect that?

San Francisco Police Department

SFPD CrimeMaps

Oakland Police Department

Oakland Crime Map

SFPD News Releases

Police reports:

Anchorage Police Report

Miami Beach Arrest Report

For next week: Bring proposals for two story ideas for your final project, a news feature story about an issue in your neighborhood. Each proposal should include a few sentences about why the story is newsworthy and how you plan to approach the story. You should include a list of 5 possible sources for each idea.

Find a story for your CRIME assignment (due 11/10). To find a story ideas

  • attend the monthly community meeting for your police district (click on your district to find out when your district’s meeting happens)
  • follow up on a recent SFPD press release or Oakland PD press release
  •  go down to the district station serving your neighborhood and ask about recent crimes or crime trends
  • follow up on a recent news story like this or this
  • find a crime or a series of crimes by studying CrimeMaps for your neighborhood
  • Ask local merchants or community activists about recent crimes in your neighborhood.

Week 7 Elections

10/6 This week we’ll talk about how to cover elections and different types of election-oriented stories.

The horse race

The issues

The money

Ballot initiatives

Election events — candidates’ debates

In-class assignment: Read documents related to this Harvard Poll about young voters. THen go out and do brief interviews with 8 students.

Young adult voting: analysis of presidential elections

Week 6 Covering Local Government — Meetings and Elections

This week we’ll talk about government meetings and how to cover them.

Your assignment is to cover a meeting this week or next and write a news story about it (due 10/13).

Possible meetings:

SF Board of Supervisors
Most Tuesdays, 2 p.m. San Francisco City Hall Board of Supervisors Chambers

9/30 Agenda


You may also attend a board committee meeting. See schedule here.

Oakland City Council
City Council Chambers, 3rd Floor

10/7 Concurrent Meeting of the Oakland Redevelopment Successor Agency and the City Council
5:30 p.m. Oakland City Council Chambers, 3rd Floor

Alameda County Board of Supervisors
Tuesday, October 7 Regular Meeting

09:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: Administration Building, Board Chambers
1221 Oak Street
5th Floor Rm 512
Oakland , 94607 , Alameda County

We’ll also talk about the upcoming election and how to cover elections. Your election story is due 10/27.

San Francisco


San Francisco
League of Women Voters SF Calendar

State Assembly District 17 – Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

Hosted in partnership with University of California San Francisco- Moderated by Cheryl Jennings

Location:         University of California San Francisco – Mission Bay

600 16th Street, Genentech Hall

San Francisco, CA 94158

Board of Supervisors District 10 – Monday, October 6, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

Hosted in partnership with Bayview Multipurpose Senior Center

Location:         Alex Pitcher Jr. Community Room

Southeast Community Facility

1800 Oakdale Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94124


League of Women Voters Calendar of Events

Thursday, October 9, 2014
6-8 pm
Pro Arts
150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
Mayoral Forum.
Co-sponsored with Pro Arts, Youth Uprising, East Bay Housing Org., Satellite Affordable Housing Assoc., and Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
6:30-7:30 pm
University of California
International House
2299 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
Candidate Forum – California Secretary of State.
The two candidates will speak. Sponsored by the ACLU; co-sponsored by the LWV and others. John Myers of KQED will be moderator.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Allendale Recreation Center
3711 Suter Street
Oakland, CA 94619
Candidate Forum District 4.
City Council District 4
Co-sponsored with Laurel Village Association.
Friday, October 17, 2014
6-9 pm
Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

Council Chambers
Mayoral Forum.
Co-sponsored with Oakland African-American Chamber of Commerce, Oakland-Bay Area chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Assoc. of Minority Contractors, and Black Women Organized for Political Action.
Monday, October 20, 2014
7-9 pm
Hiller Highlands Club
110 Hiller Drive
Oakland, CA 94618
Mayoral Candidate Forum.
Co-sponsored by the North Hills Community Association and the League of Women Voters of Oakland

The Oakland Mayor’s Race: Making Sense of Instant Runoff Voting
Panel Discussion | October 2 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Moses Hall, IGS Library, Room 109

Week 5 Public Records


This week we’ll explore the world of public records — what’s available, how to access them, how to use them and how journalists use documents to report stories.

Your guide will be Nicole Allensworth, the librarian assigned to work with the Journalism Department.

Here is the webpage for the Reporting class. It includes links to many of the agencies you’ll need to access for your public records assignment, due next week.

You can find more information about accessing public records in California from the Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

We’ll also talk about your third places assignment and we’ll have a pitch meeting for your profile assignment.

For next week:

Find answers to the Public Records assignment that’s included in the Assignment Pack. It’s due 9/29.
Post something new to your blog.
Find an event to cover in your neighborhood and post a report on it by 10/6.

Week 4 Community Journalism Forum

This week we’ll start class in HUM 308 for a community journalism forum with:

The forum is open to all SFSU journalism students. We’ll explore the role of the community press and learn how you can intern or freelance work for these publications.

Later in the afternoon we’ll have a news quiz and talk about upcoming assignments:

  • Video about Third Places
  • Third places blog assignment
  • Profiles

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