News Writing 48J:071


Section 02:  12:30-1:45 p.m. T, Th, Lang 213

Instructor: Christopher Martin, Ph.D.   

Office:  340 Lang Hall            

Office Hours: 9-11:30 a.m. T, Th and by appt.

Tel:  (319) 273-7155   

Mailbox:  326 Lang Hall




Catalog Description

48J:071.  News Writing for Print Media -- 3 hrs. Principles and practice of writing, editing, and compiling news for the print media. Prerequisite(s): 48J:002; 48J:007. (Offered Fall and Spring)


•Required: Tim Harrower, Inside Reporting: A Practical Guide to the Craft of Journalism, 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2010. ISBN-10: 0-07-337891-7 ISBN-13: 978-0-07-337891-6 (Paperback)

•Required: Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, Completely Updated and Revised. Three Rivers Press; Rev Upd edition (April 24, 2007). ISBN-10: 0307346706 ISBN-13: 978-0307346704 (Paperback).

•Required: The Associated Press Stylebook (Basic Books, 2009) # ISBN-10: 0465012620
# ISBN-13: 978-0465012626 (paperback) [any recent edition of the AP Stylebook will be accepted]

•Required: Read the New York Times online ( daily, particularly the front page stories on the “Today’s Paper” button on the top menu.  The online Times is free, but you do need to register.

•Required:  Keep up with the stories in the mainstream national news media.  Read’s “Slatest” summary of how the major news organizations covered the biggest news ( At the Slate site, you can also choose to have “Slatest” delivered daily via email. The site is updated three times a day.

•There will be additional handouts and readings on the course UNI eLearning site (formerly known as WebCT). 

•Recommended:  At, there is Al’s Morning Meeting (Al Tompkins’s suggestions to the news media on how to cover stories) and at, there is Romenesko (Jim Romenesko’s column on the news media industry).

•Recommended Exercises:  If you want more outside-of-class practice, see the free online training modules for journalists at the Poynter Institute’s News U ( site.  A few of these exercises will be recommended during the term, although you are welcome to do as many other modules as you’d like.

Course Approach

This course covers both conceptual and professional elements of news writing for print media.  Part of writing, editing, and compiling news for the print media is understanding exactly what is news.  This course will investigate the meaning of news in U.S. culture, including the concept of objectivity and its uneasy relationship to journalistic storytelling, and the new media’s role in building and sustaining contemporary democracy. On the professional side, students will research, edit and write a number of different types of news stories for print media, and will keep apprised of the major national news stories.

Reporting requires that students do in-person interviewing. Students will be expected to go outside of their immediate circle of friends and families for story sources and subjects, and to not write in a first-person voice (from the “I” perspective), unless specifically approved for a story.  The course requires all original writing – no use of or rewriting press releases.

Syllabus (pdf)