Online News Bureau Syllabus
Overview Standards Routine Grading Readings
Standards & Expectations

You will be expected to follow the journalism standards for reporting and editing taught to you in earlier classes. Treating sources and stories with fairness and objectivity should be top concerns, as should getting the story, its headline and photo captions right.

Any mistakes of substance must be corrected immediately. Please call them to my attention, or, in my absence, to the attention of other bureau directors. We link to a corrections page from our home page.

In addition, any academic dishonesty--including fabrication of information or quotes, plagiarism of text or unauthorized use of copyrighted photos or graphics--will not be tolerated. Any abridgement of academic integrity standards will be referred directly to the campus judiciary. Confirmation of such incidents will result in the earning of an "XF" grade for the course and may result in more severe consequences, such as expulsion from the university. 

Sourcing: Sources should be named in stories in nearly every case. An unnamed source will be allowed ONLY if he or she is essential to your story, and you have exhausted every other potential source that may have spoken on the record. If you do use this unnamed source, you must find a second one who will independently verify the information. You must identify any unnamed source to your editor and be prepared to justify why you granted anonymity. In addition:

  • Occasionally, sources will ask to speak to you on background or off the record. If you agree to either of these conditions for your story, please discuss the ground rules with the source and honor them and talk to your editor afterward.
  • Make sure you and your source understand the terms the same way: "On background" means you will use the quotes or information in the story, but will not name the source. Typically, you will negotiate with the source an identifying title, such as a Democratic House staffer. "Off the record" means a source wants to give you some guidance for your story, but does not want the information to appear in your story. But often off-the-record comments will lead you to another source that will give you similar quotes or information on the record. 
Expectations: Although you will not be paid a salary for your work in the bureau, you will be earning college credits, and we expect you to treat your assignment as you would a professional job. Depending on the combination of credits you take, you will be working one to three days a week from the College Park new-media lab, Room 3117, unless otherwise assigned. Please treat the newsroom with respect. In the new-media lab, food is not allowed at your desk, but may be eaten at the rectangular table near the white board. 

You are expected to report to me at the bureau at 9 a.m., unless otherwise negotiated. Repeated lateness or unexcused absences will adversely affect your grade. If an emergency arises and you cannot get in on time, or if illness will prevent you from getting in at all, please call to alert me or one of the other bureau editors.

If you have a particularly late day because of a late-breaking story, I will try to arrange for you to come in late or leave early on another day.

Students can expect to face daily deadline pressure--either in editing or reporting or multimedia work. Good time management is a must. You will have numerous assignments--long-term and daily--to juggle. You should never be sitting idle.

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Copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, Chris Harvey.

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