UWP 104C

Writing in the Professions: Journalism

  1. Catalog Description

    UWP 104C. Writing in the Professions: Journalism (4) Lecture/discussion-3 hours; extensive writing. Prerequisite: course 1 or English 3 or the equivalent and upper division standing. Non-fiction for magazines and newspapers, including problems of style and language. Emphasis on conducting research, interviewing, analyzing markets, and writing query letters. GE credit: Wrt (cannot be used to satisfy a college or university composition requirement and GE writing experience simultaneously). -I, II, III (I, II, III.)

  2. Course Goals
  • To teach students the principles of shaping their writing for various non-specialist audiences, including choosing angles and developing leads, organizing an article, and providing appropriate kinds of evidence
  • To give students practice in writing in a variety of genres of nonfiction appropriate for general interest publications
  • To guide students to explore ways in which a variety of research strategies (such as interviewing, library research, and first-hand observation) can inform nonfiction writing for general audiences
  • To further students' knowledge of the range of stylistic choices open to them, to teach them about the effects of different styles, and to provide them an opportunity to practice writing in a variety of styles
  • To introduce students to freelance writing as a profession
  • To provide students the opportunity to undertake professional activities associated with freelance writing, such as analyzing markets, writing query letters, and preparing manuscripts for publication
  • To teach students about important ethical issues concerning writing for publication, such as copyright infringements and use of sources
  1. Entry Level

    Students should have completed UWP 1 or ENL 3 or the equivalent and have upper division standing. Students should be familiar with the general principles of good writing, including organization, development, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation.

  2. Topical Outline
  • Freelance writing as a profession
  • Writing reviews
  • Writing short features
  • Writing interviews and profiles
    • Interviewing techniques
    • Shaping the interview or profile
    • The ethics and mechanics of using quotations
  • Writing features
    • Research techniques for the freelance writer
    • Developing effective angles and leads
    • Organizing the longer article
  • Style
    • High, middle, low, and mixed styles
    • Level of formality; voice and tone
    • Coordinate, subordinate, modified, and mixed sentence styles
    • Choosing effective details and achieving vividness
  • Professional concerns
    • Finding marketable ideas
    • Analyzing markets
    • Writing query and cover letters
    •     Preparing the manuscript
    • Working with editors
    • Legal issues such as copyright, contracts, and permissions
  1. Criteria for Grading
  1. The course will be graded by a letter grade.
  2. Grades will be based on the students' performance on in- and out-of-class writing assignments and on a final exam. Students will write a minimum of 6000 words; the number of assignments and the weight of each assignment will vary according to the instructor. All sections, however, will require students to write a 1000-1500 word profile of a person or organization and a feature article for a magazine such as American Heritage, Sierra, San Francisco Focus, or Smithsonian of 2000 + words and generally requiring extensive research. In addition, instructors will assign two or three shorter papers, selecting among the following or similar types of assignments: a review of a restaurant, movie, etc., an opinion piece or editorial, a short feature, a how-to piece, and a travel article or other writing about a place.
  1. Reading

    The suggested readings include a text on writing general interest articles, such as Hiley Ward, Magazine and Feature Writing or Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing ; a text on style, such as Scott Rice, Right Words, Right Places or William Zinnser, On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction (HarperCollins); and Writer's Market . Instructors will also prepare a reader of reviews, profiles, and feature articles by local and national authors, including articles published by former UWP 104C students (although some instructors may choose to assign a published collection such as The Best Essays of 200X ).

  2. Explanation of Potential Course Overlap

    UWP 104C does not overlap with any other course. UWP 104C is distinguished from UWP 101, Advanced Composition, by its focus on writing for general interest publications and on the professional concerns of freelance writers. It is distinguished from ENL 100NF, Creative Writing: Nonfiction, by its interdisciplinary nature (ENL 100NF is primarily for English Creative Writing majors while UWP 104C is open to all majors), and by its focus on a wider variety of genres of nonfiction than ENL 100NF.

  3. Justification of Units

    UWP 104C is a four-unit course. Three hours per week is lecture/discussion. An additional unit of credit is justified by the significant amount of work that students must do outside of class time to plan, draft, and revise the 6000 words of required writing. (The written amount is equivalent to a term paper.) In addition to this substantial written requirement, students will meet individually with the instructor for discussion and evaluation of their work.