Attendance :
Attendance in lecture is expected and highly recommended. Discussion section attendance is mandatory. Any absence should be approved by your TA prior to the discussion meeting time, except in the case of emergency. TAs may request appropriate documentation of absences (e.g., a doctor’s note).

Laptops : 
Laptops, ipads, and other screens are not permitted in lecture except in the first two rows of the lecture hall. Lecture outlines will be made available on the course website. These outlines will contain the structure of the lecture, but they will not contain the details of the content. Students need to attend lecture and take notes, and talk to a peer about missed lectures. Laptops are also not permitted in discussion sections.

Readings : 
The readings in the course are varied and diverse. They will include chapters of books, academic articles, news articles, blog posts, transcripts of lectures, examples of journalism, critiques of journalism, ethics handbooks, and advertising videos. In short, they will constitute a selection of the information environment we deal with every day.

The course’s one required book is-- Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel (Bloomsbury).

Lists of required and suggested readings for the course can be found in the schedule below. Those listed under the general “Readings” heading are required, and may appear on an exam, in an assignment, or on a quiz the week for which they appear, or a following week. Those listed under the “Further reading” heading are suggested; they will not appear on an exam or quiz, but may be helpful in a writing assignment or exam essay. Required readings are available in a course pack at Student Print (333 East Campus Mall). Both required and suggested readings are available in an online archive at https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/cfwells/web/ (UW login required).

Guest lectures : 
Throughout the semester, we will have several guest lectures. Given by professors in the J School and other experts, the lectures are scheduled to be directly relevant to course content, and their material will appear on quizzes and exams. The lectures are outstanding opportunities to learn what the foremost experts in mass communications are learning in their research. Students are expected to attend, be attentive, take notes, and ask good questions.

Deadlines :
Are real. Meet them. Late work will be accepted, but will receive a 20% grade reduction for each day after the deadline.

The Writing Center :  
The Writing Center (http://writing.wisc.edu/) is an incredible resource provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students can visit the Center for help with writing at all levels, for all kinds of assignments and get feedback and advice about their work.

Essays for J201 must be turned in with proper grammar, punctuation and citation (see course website for full assignment details): TAs will not correct grammar and punctuation, but will lower grades on essays with significant problems. If you have any difficulty with these or other elements of writing, the Writing Center is the place to go.

Grade grievance process : 
If you are concerned about a grade, begin by emailing your TA a clear and dispassionate explanation of why you think the grade was mistaken. Your TA will follow up with you about next courses of action. Clear mistakes or errors in grading as a result of computation of scores (i.e. mathematical errors) will be quickly amended. However, be aware that any grade grievance based on substantive answers will entail a re-grade of the assignment–meaning that there is a risk that points will actually be lost through the regrade.

Course communication : 
Assignment guidelines, specific assignments, announcements, extra credit opportunities, course syllabus, due dates, grades, etc.; everything that is important will be communicated through the course webpage: http://j201.blogspot.com/ Be sure to check it regularly.

E-mail : 
The TAs and Professor Wells are committed to responding to weekday emails within 24 business hours. Weekend emails will generally be replied to by Monday evening. This means that you should not count on being able to get a response the night before a deadline—so plan ahead. You are also more likely to get a pleasant, and helpful, response if you are respectful in your email and use complete sentences and good punctuation. We consider class emails professional communications and expect that you will communicate with us as you would with your colleague or boss.

Academic Honesty : 
Academic honesty requires that the course work a student presents to an instructor represents the student's own academic efforts. If you are unsure about what qualifies as academic dishonesty, consult the Academic Misconduct Guide for Students. While we encourage J201 students to study for exams together, remember that the essays and posts you write for class must be your own. If, for example, a student were to turn in an assignment or write an exam essay that was verbatim or near-verbatim from the social networking web site Study Blue, that would be a clear case of academic misconduct. Copying or paraphrasing text, including from fellow students, without proper quotation and citation is plagiarism. This includes “patchwriting,” the piecing together of different sources into a paper, often with minimal editing.  Plagiarism may be sufficient grounds for failing a student in the entire course.

Turnitin.com : 
Unfortunately, despite special efforts on the part of faculty at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, a small but persistent portion of students continues to engage in unethical academic practices (i.e., cheating). After many discussions, the faculty of the School has decided to experiment this semester with using turnitin.com, a service that accepts uploaded papers and automatically evaluates them for plagiarism. Students in J201 will be required to upload their papers to turnitin.com in addition to turning in hard copies. More information on the use of turnitin.com will be available as the first writing assignments approach.

Special Needs : 
To request academic accommodations please register with the McBurney Disability Resource Center and contact your TA.


There are 100 points possible in the class. Students may also earn up to 2.5 points of extra credit, accrued in .5-unit increments. Assignments are described in detail on the course website: http://j201.blogspot.com/

Speeches, discussion and research report (20 points possible)
1 Prepared speech (5)
1 Impromptu speech (5)
1 Discussion leadership (5)
1 Research report (5)

Media analysis essays (30 points possible)
3 essays (10 points each)

Exams (35 points possible)
3 exams: two midterms worth 10 points each, and one final worth 15 points

Participation (15 points possible)
5 Quizzes (5)
5 Online assignments (5)
Attendance and participation (5)

Grading scale
92-100: A
88-91.99: AB
81-87.99: B
76-80.99: BC
70-75.99: C
60-69.99: D
59.99 and lower: F

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