Unleashed Coordinator: Scott Klepach
Office phone: 509-759-7840
Cell: 509-833-0349 (you may call or text me)
Attendance/Participation (meetings twice a month): You will receive credit for each meeting you attend. You must make arrangements with the Unleashed coordinator to make up any meetings you expect to miss. There may be ways of making up for meetings (video/phone conferencing, one-on-one meetings, etc.). It is essential, however, that you attend meetings so you can keep up to speed on everything involved in the Unleashed program, maintain your grade in the program, gain knowledge from guest speakers and exercises, and to help your other team members make Unleashed the best youth section it can be.
Meetings will be held twice a month during the school year (with the possible exception of December), generally on the second and fourth Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Yakima Herald-Republic. If¬ students need to miss a meeting, there are possible makeups (phone conversation or extra one-on-one meetings at the office). Students cannot expect to miss many meetings even with the makeups, though, without having an effect on your grade.
Additional Meetings: In addition to attending two meetings a month, I will make myself available for one-on-one meetings with students in person and/or via telephone. Of course, we will communicate via email or text as well, but it’s always better to meet in person. Photographers will likely need to set up additional time to meet with the Photo Coordinator.
Participation/Teamwork/Citizenship: Credit will be given to contribution to discussions, attentive listening to guest speakers, being respectful to other students and staff and being open to working with others in a timely and professional manner. On the other hand, please refrain from text messaging, making phone calls, or playing games on your cell phones, iPads, or other devices. Follow the opposite of the famous Nike motto: Just don’t do it. You will receive a warning first, followed by possible dismissal from meetings (and thus loss of course points).
Stories, Photos, Video and Art: A minimum of published 12 assignments are required through the year for each student (roughly over a 9-month period, though there will be content published during the summer as well). However, we strongly encourage students to produce more than the minimum. Students will receive more “course points” for each additional assignment. While students are working for the Unleashed youth section, two goals are 1) to build a greater online presence by revamping and expanding the “Unleashed” website and 2) to have students’ work appear in other sections of the Yakima Herald-Republic.
Students might gravitate toward certain types of assignments throughout the year, which is fine – to an extent. For instance, someone may really enjoy writing movie reviews or columns. I want to foster students’ interests, but I also want to make sure students get the opportunity to expand their writing and journalistic experience. Therefore, I don’t want a student writing 5-10 reviews and nothing else. In short, we prefer features and news stories that require research and interviewing multiple sources.
Here’s how it will work:
12 publishable assignments: Choose an Emphasis (features/news stories, columns, photos/video, art):
• 7 assignments can be in that emphasis.
• 5 assignments may be outside that emphasis.
• If a student wants to continue working within a particular emphasis beyond the 12, this is certainly acceptable. For example, a columnist can write more than 7 columns once he/she reaches the 12-story mark.
• For an emphasis in photography or illustration, a minimum of 8 photograph assignments (single of multiple photos per assignment) or illustrations are required, and 4 assignments are required in reporting categories (features, columns, reviews, or group projects, for example).
Type of role: Emphasis | Other content
Reporter: 7+ features/news stories | 5 columns, reviews, photos, videos, illustrations
Photographer/Videographer: 8+ photo and/or video assignments | 4 stories, columns, reviews
Illustrator: 8+ illustration assignments | 4 stories, columns, reviews
• There is a grading rubric, even though the grading is rather holistic by nature. The “magic number” 12 means these 12 (or more) items are publishable, and not just story themes or rough drafts. Drafting is essential, of course, but since this is a class and a job, we’re looking for work that will eventually be printed and seen by the public.
• This “magic number” 12 may get you a B grade or A grade, depending on certain factors. Among them: quality of work; variety of work; attendance and participation. More weight is given to features, news stories, photo assignments and illustrations. Columns and reviews are desired, but they are not worth as many points. A strong newspaper requires the voices of columnists and reviewers, but it cannot only publish columns and reviews.
Other training/assignments: Over the course of the year, there may be a chance for students to receive training in Web publishing and video for the Web. The Unleashed website is continuing to be enhanced and expanded, and students will not only gain this training, but also have a chance to make their mark online. Extra points will be given to students who take this initiative. More information on these opportunities will be provided during the year.
Grading/Assessment: Students will receive grades for submitting publishable stories, photograph assignments and art, and points for attending and participating in meetings. There will be many opportunities for students to improve their grade, and I will also note how much progress each student makes by the end of the year. Expect a midterm progress report in January. The Unleashed coordinator will use grading rubrics to determine grades.
The grading system will be as follows:
Points Percentage Grade
921-1,000 92.1-100 A
900-920 90-92 A-
870-899 87-89.9 B+
821-869 82.1-86.9 B
800-820 80-82 B-
770-799 77-79.9 C+
730-769 73-76.9 C
700-729 70-72.9 C-
699-below 0-69.9 F
Course points per assignment:
Description: Possible points for each assignment
Features, news stories, profiles: 50
Photographs/Art: 50 (points per assignment)
Columns with research: 40
Columns without research: 25
Fresh Faces; Unleashed Around the World: 10
Publishable content (stories, photographs, video, art): You will need to submit at least 12 stories/photo/video/art assignments over the course of the year. These stories can include features, profiles, columns, reviews, and group projects. You will be required to create a balanced portfolio to avoid writing just one type of story. More weight – in terms of more points – will be given to features. If you prefer to write mostly features, this is fine; however, it can serve you well to write a column or review to give you experience with different types of stories that go into the newspaper.
The minimum of 12 publishable assignments will count for print and on the Web, but credit will not be given twice to the same story published in print and posted online. If your story only appears online and not in print, though, you will have the opportunity to receive the same amount of points (for example, up to 25 for a review).
Work Quality: In addition to being graded on the quantity of published work you produce, you also will be graded on the quality of that work. Each story will receive a point total based on the quality of work produced. Rough drafts are required for each story to help you shape your story and make it a better product before publication. Stories that are complete or require little additional reporting and re-writing will likely be graded higher than stories that lack essential information and require multiple rewrites or extensive editing. Grading rubrics are available for you to view upon request.
There will be many opportunities for you to receive extra credit to boost your grade. The more you write stories, take photos, shoot videos or submit art, and the more effort you put into your role as an Unleashed correspondent, the greater your success! I encourage you to go beyond the minimum number of 12 submissions for the year so you can not only have the potential of receiving a better grade, but more importantly, contribute to what will become a more robust journalism program.
Example of a reporter’s portfolio:
• 450 points for meetings (18 meetings at 25 points each)
• 350 points for 7 features, photos, or art (a possible 50 points each)
• 125 points for 5 columns/reviews (a possible 25 points per column/review)
• 10 points for 1 Unleashed Around the World (10 points each)
Subtotal: 935 points (A range, if all possible points are allotted)
Let’s say several of these stories were sort of weak, even if published. This student wants to play it safe in case he doesn’t earn the entire 935 points. What can he do? If he submits two more features, worth up to 50 points each, his grade could be boosted to a possible 1,035 points. Still not satisfied, the student submitted one more feature to increase the possible points to 1,085.
Keep in mind the totals in these examples are for stories that receive the full amount of points possible for qualitative purposes. Therefore, you are encouraged to submit more than 12 items.
Note: You have the opportunity to receive much more than 1,000 points this year¬¬!
This syllabus is tentative; additions or modifications may be made during the course of the year. Students will be notified of any changes made to the syllabus.
Tentative schedule for the 2012-2013 year (Wednesdays at 7 p.m.):
September 12 February 27
September 26 March 13
October 10 March 27
October 24 April 10
November 7 April 24
November 28 May 8
December 12 May 22
January 9 June 12
January 23 July 10
February 13 August (TBD)