Specialized Topics in Journalism: Investigative Journalism
Prerequisite: satisfaction of the upper division composition requirement. This course does NOT satisfy the upper division composition requirement.
- SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENTS:
Developing ideas for meaningful investigative stories in the public interest. Analyzing audiences and markets. Practicing investigative research methods, such as doing background research, securing and conducting interviews, and using public records, which may include the California Public Records Act, court reports, and the federal Freedom of Information Act. Understanding elements of style and tone, such as active prose, levels of formality, and objective v. subjective points of view. Developing narrative techniques, including finding the story within the facts, control of dramatic structure, and the effective use of character, dialogue, and summary. Learning about legal and ethical considerations relative to sources (rights and responsibilities) and learning about accuracy in structure, scene, quotation, and attribution.
- ILLUSTRATIVE READING:
Readings will vary according to the instructor but will reflect the best investigative and multi-part project reporting, as well as offer advice from leading editors and journalists. The readings may include "The Investigative Reporter's Handbook," 4th Edition by Brant Houston, Len Bruzzese, and Steve Weinberg; "Public Records Online," by Michael L. Sankey and Peter J. Weber; and "The Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism: Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer's Guide." Readings will focus on a range of elements related to narrative prose in an investigative context in such essays as Nora Ephron's "What Narrative Writers Can Learn from Screenwriters," Malcolm Gladwell's "Limits of Profiles," Alma Guillermoprieto's "Telling the Story and Telling the Truth," and other essays, including the works of Adam Hochschild, Gay Talese, and Tom Wolfe.
- FINAL EXAMINATION REQUIREMENT: Yes
- JUSTIFICATION OF UNITS:
UWP 111B is a four-unit course. Three hours per week is lecture/discussion. Six hours of outside prep time are required for the three hours of lecture/discussion. As with all upper-division writing courses, the additional unit of credit is justified by the significant amount of work (additional three hours per week) that students must do outside of class time to plan, draft, and revise two major stories: a four-to-eight page in-depth investigation and an eight-to-twelve page multi-part project investigation. In addition to this substantial written requirement, students will meet individually with the instructor for discussion and evaluation of their work. The estimated time of preparation of the writing assignments (research, consultation, drafting, revision) is thirty hours, an amount consistent with the Carnegie Rule guidelines.
- POTENTIAL COURSE OVERLAP:
UWP 111B does not overlap with any other courses. UWP 111B is distinguished from other advanced writing courses, particularly 104C (Writing in the Professions: Journalism) by its specific focus on investigative journalism and on more advanced aspects of narrative style and structure.
- GENERAL EDUCATION JUSTIFICATION:
Writing experience: Grades will be based on the students' performance on in- and out-of-class writing assignments and on a final project. The number of assignments and weight of each assignment may vary according to the instructor. Typically, however, students will investigate and write two major stories: a four-to-eight page in-depth investigation and an eight-to-twelve page multi-part project investigation. The instructor will thoroughly introduce each assignment using models of successful work as appropriate. Students will receive frequent feedback on drafts of assignments through instructor commentary, conferences, and peer response. Students will have frequent opportunities to revise drafts. All assignments will be graded on content and style.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS: