COMS 104 News Writing Exams
The COMS 104 "final exam" is simply to write a news story from facts that are given to you, and to get it done within the two-hour exam period.
In past years, exams have been based on a speech text, a transcript of an interview, or a recording of a press conference. In each case, the story may require some online background research and use of the AP Stylebook to identify people or events, or to confirm facts and names of people or places. Here are two examples...
INTERVIEW: Lucy Nicholson, a Reuters photographer, took a week-long course on new multimedia storytelling techniques and produced a Web video story about "The Naked Cowboy" in Times Square. The class watched the story she produced, then read a two-page transcript of an interview with her. The "tricky part" was making your story about Lucy and what she learned, not retelling too much of the "One Man Brand: Naked Cowboy" video story that she reporter. The Q&A interview was actually done by Ken Kobre, a photojournalism professor.
SPEECH: Eric Newton of the Knight Foundation gave a speech about the future of the media to journalism students and their parents. I edited down a five-page single-spaced transcript of the speech (which was a half-hour long), but kept two main points that he made. "The test" in writing this story was to decide whether to combine both of his main themes in your lead, or to choose one or the other as the main focus of the story. Any of the three approaches could be an "A" story, depending on your skill at sharpening the focus and supporting it with facts and quotes.