Communication and Media Studies 326

COMS 326: Web Production

Prerequisites: COMS 130 and COMS 226 or ITEC 225, or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

Instruction and practice in designing interactive World Wide Web sites for the mass media. Course also introduces web aesthetics, digital imaging and other applications for the web.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Editing involves the preparation for publication in newspapers, newsmagazines or company publications of previously produced material. This material involves written non-fiction copy as well as art, photographs and other graphic work. Students are taught general copy editing skills such as spelling, punctuation, grammar and style as well as specific skills such as applying the Associated Press style rules or the guidelines relating to the printing of questionable material (e.g., material involving sexist or racist overtones).

Another type of copy editing skill involves writing headlines, which must not only be fit for the subject matter, but which must also fit on the page. Students in editing class also learn to deal with photographics, sizing them and providing instructions to the printer as well as writing cutlines (captions). In addition, students need to know how newsrooms are managed and how publications are produced. The flow of copy and the techniques of newsroom management are discussed. Editing also involves an introduction to the principles of publication design and to the computer programs which have become standard tools in modern publication design and layout.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

Students meet for two hours of lecture and two hours of computer laboratory work per week and have access to the computer laboratory after hours. Computers used in the lab are Apple G4s linked by a file server and a variety of software. Lecture sessions involve instruction in general grammar, spelling, punctuation and style considerations as well as media specific style and design considerations. Students also learn about basic design principles and the changing nature of media technology, as well as skills such as pre-press preparation of photographic materials and writing of headlines. Lectures also cover the considerations involved in catching serious problems with copy, especially libel and invasion of privacy.

Lab sessions allow students to put copy editing skills to work in practical examples with the computers. The course begins with simple problems and the simplest computer programs and increases in complexity as the semester proceeds.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The primary objective is to learn how to perform factual and interpretive level correction, in such areas as grammar, punctuation, spelling and Associated Press Style. Beyond the basics, good copy editors are capable of guiding other writers in appropriate style choices. Thus, a second goal is to learn basic elements of writing style. Copy editors must also be able to catch problems which may not be immediately apparent in written material but which could lead to suits over libel or invasion of privacy. Thus, a component of communications law is important in copy editing class. Third, copy editors are key players in the mechanics of physically producing non-fiction publications. As a result, students need to learn how to write clearly framed headlines and cutlines; how to size and dummy layouts; and how the publications process works.

Another important facet of publication production involves computer programs. Students learn word processing basics and how to perform complex editing, formatting and other word processing tasks. Layout with computer programs is introduced.


Assessment Measures

Students must submit acceptable corrected copy, written headlines and photo captions in in-class and take home assignments, students must also pass a mid term exam and a final exam. In addition, students submit several projects during the semester involving analysis of published headlines; analysis of a newspaper or magazine; and production of a brochure or publication.


Other Course Information




Joe Flickinger, Chair

May, 2011