Week 15 Crime and Breaking News/Final Exam

Week 12 Nov. 10

Covering Crime

SFPD CrimeMaps

SFPD News Releases

How to obtain a police report from SFPD

Oakland Crime Map

Oakland PD News Releases

Covering Courts

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 have the 75-minute final exam.


Week 14 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks/Preparing for Final Exam

Nov. 29
Today we’ll discuss “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

Interview with Rebecca Skloot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsDkAwjiT1Q

Rebecca Skloot on writing and structuring the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXRhoA46-eA#t=39

Review for final exam
The final exam will be held during regular class time on Dec. 6 Please bring your Associated Press stylebook. You will have 75 minutes to complete the test.

Reporting Jeopardy

Your final project, blog and all rewrites are due in class Dec. 13.

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
  • Lie/lay

AP Style Quiz

AP Style Review

On Dec. 13  we’ll talk about getting ready for a career in journalism — networking, internships, scholarships, etc.  and have a party. I’ll provide the pizza; please bring drinks and snacks to share.


Week 12 11/15

Today you’ll be pitching your final project ideas and getting feedback on them. We’ll also have training in the ePortfolio system you will be using throughout your time at SFSU.

The Journalism Department is using ePortfolio as a way to assess student work. An Assessment Committee consisting of faculty members and outside professionals will review and compare coursework of a cohort of students using the university’s eportfolio site.

You will create an ePortfolio in this class and then post key assignments from certain classes to the site. In this class session you will set up your portfolio and post a Welcome Page.

At the end of the semester you will add your final project to the site. Later in your time at SFSU you will post these assignments to your ePortfolio:

  • Jour 226
    • Final video project
  • Jour 335
    • Photo story
  • Jour 609 Publication Lab
    • Examples of best work

      Write a 100- to 200-word bio in third person (example: Rachele Kanigel is a journalism professor at San Francisco State University.). It should include:

  • Name
  • Major
  • Hometown
  • Journalism work experience (positions on student newspapers, internships, freelance work, etc.)
  • Interests, hobbies, accomplishments, awards, passions
  • Optional: career goals, other work experience, life philosophy or mission

Examples of neighborhood issue stories:

Backlash by the Bay: Tech Riches Alter a City
The New York Times

SF Fighting Illegal Dumpers in Bayview
San Francisco Chronicle

Once-glamorous S.F. theater now neighborhood eyesore
San Francisco Chronicle


Week 10 11/1

We’ve gotten a little behind in our schedule so we’re going to use today to catch up.

Agenda for the day:

News quiz

Identifying trends, finding news features


Twitter Helps Revive a Seedy San Francisco Neighborhood, The New York Times

A San Francisco Street Transformed by Food, The New York Times

As Wealth Changes the Tenderloin, a Move to Preserve Artistic ‘Gems,’ The New York Times


Update on map assignment — This assignment is no longer required. It is now an optional blog post.

Resources for creating a map:

AP style review

Coming up:

Discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will be rescheduled for Nov. 29, the Tuesday after fall break.

Next week: Election coverage, pitch meeting for final project.

Week 8 10/18 Profiles and Holiday Event coverage

Week 8, Oct. 20
Today we’ll talk about profiles and discuss how to cover events.

We’ll start with a news quiz.

Read these profiles:
Frank Giorgio

Yuan Yuan Tan

Cecil Williams

Your professor will be in Atlanta at the College Media Association Fall Convention the week of Oct. 24-28 so we will not have class on Oct. 25.

Week 7 10/11 Library Resources/Public Records

Here’s the agenda for today:

Guest Speaker: Nicole Allensworth SFSU  librarian


(415) 338-6138

Research Assistance Desk:

JOUR 300 Research Guide

Public Records:

Pre-election story id due next week, 10/18.
Public records assignment is due in two weeks, 10/25.


Week 6 10/4 Elections

Today we’ll talk about the upcoming election and how journalists cover elections.

Where to get information:

San Francisco Department of Elections

Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Campaign Finance


Background info


Ten tips for reporters covering elections worldwide

In-class exercise: Choose a race or ballot measure you want to cover. Start doing research and find an angle for a story. You could write an explanatory piece about a local or statewide ballot initiative or a local race or focus on campaign finance in a particular race or issue. You could also localize an issue to your neighborhood, like how people who work in local medical marijuana dispensaries feel about the state Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative or how new voters in your neighborhood feel about the election. Or you could take poll results and then flesh them out by talking to people. You could also cover an election-related event. See:

San Francisco League of Women Voters
Board of Supervisors, District 7 Candidates’ Debate, Thursday, Oct. 6, 6:30 p.m. UCSF-Parnassus Campus
Board of Supervisors, District 1 Candidates’ Debate, Thursday, Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m., University of San Francisco

SF Republican Party Town Hall Meeting – District 10
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Bayview Public Library: 5075 3rd Street, San Francisco

League of Women Voters of Oakland
See long list of possible events at http://www.lwvoakland.org/calendar.html

The Election Sessions – Prop Party San Francisco
Wednesday, Oct. 19 (deadline will be extended if you want to cover this)
6:30 -8 p.m.
Impact Hub San Francisco
901 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA

Ballots and Brews
Join KQED and Brigade for Ballots and Brews, a fun and informative voter party that will help unravel the state’s 17 propositions and other mysteries about voting. There will be an election pub quiz, prizes, refreshments and, most importantly, lively conversations about politics and the issues of our times.
Tuesday, October 11 6:30 p.m.  to 8:30 p.m.
524 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA 94107

We’ll also discuss the profile assignment and how to write a good pitch.







Week 5 Field Trip to City Hall

On Sept. 27 we will meet at 2 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place. We’ll meet at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors chambers, Room 250, on the second floor. Here is a map and directions: http://sfgsa.org/index.aspx?page=1175.
Please try to get there on time so you’ll get to see the whole meeting.
From SFSU, the best way to get to City Hall is to take the M-Oceanside inbound/downtown to the Civic Center station and then walk west on Grove and north on Polk Street. You can’t miss City Hall, it’s the grand building with the dome.
If you plan to drive, metered parking is available on Van Ness, McAllister, Grove, and Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place. A CityPark underground parking lot is located on McAllister, between Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place and Larkin. For driving directions, please see the directions here, or visit Google Maps.

The agenda is available online. Please review it before coming to the meeting.

You are expected to write a 350- to 500-word news story about one item on the board’s agenda and post it to iLearn by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Remember to include your source list (with names and contact info for all your sources) at the end of the assignment.



Week 4 Covering Local Government — Meetings and Elections

The agenda for today:

— News Quiz
— Video: Framing a Story: What it’s Really About
— Third places blog post

Discussion of how local government works and how to cover government meetings.

Oakland City Council

SF Board of Supervisors

SF Supervisorial Districts by Neighborhood

Board committees

San Francisco Government TV

The lingo

  • Ordinance — legislation which amends municipal codes and makes laws; must be approved by 6 of the 11 supervisors. Ordinances require consideration at two separate meetings with at least five days intervening, a first reading and a final passage.
  • Resolution — a policy statement to express approval or disapproval; must be approved by 6 of the 11 supervisors.
  • Motion — a formal proposal for action
  • Environmental Impact Report — a report that provides the public and the decision-makers with detailed information about a project’s environmental effects, ways to minimize the project’s significant environmental effects, and reasonable alternatives to the project
  • Ralph M. Brown Act: “All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.”

Brown Act Primer: Access to Meetings, First Amendment Coalition

Pocket Guide to the Brown Act
A guide to the Ralph M. Brown Act

California Sunshine Ordinance: San Francisco
California Sunshine Ordinance: Oakland

How legislation is introduced, reviewed and adopted

Next week we will take a field trip to San Francisco City Hall. Meet in the Board of Supervisors Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102.  If you are traveling from SFSU take the M Oceanside line toward downtown and get off at Civic Center.  Walk north on Larkin or Polk Street and make a left on Grove. Directions to City Hall.

Please download and study the agenda, which will be available online on Thursday or Friday.

Sample Board of Supervisors agenda

Sample news stories about a board meeting:

Week 3 Community Journalism Forum

This week we’ll start class with a community journalism forum featuring:

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 discuss:

Need help with your writing? Visit the Learning Assistance Center!