Communication and Media Studies 304

COMS 304: Electronic News Gathering

Prerequisite: COMS 104, COMS 130, and COMS 230, or permission of instructor.

Credit Hours: (3)

Instruction and practice in news reporting for electronic media (for example, television, radio, cable, web). Introduction to various formats and professional standards. Includes news gathering from participants, experts, libraries and on-line sources. Emphasis placed on campus news and beat coverage. Discussion of national and international issues when reporting in the different media.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course focuses on reporting and news gathering techniques for electronic journalists in television, radio, cable, web, etc. Students will be required to cover news issues, acquire research skills, master interviewing techniques and write deadline and non-deadline stories for electronic media.

All journalists use similar reporting techniques. However, journalists in electronic media use different writing styles. Students will learn scriptwriting styles through a mix of in-class exercises, homework assignments, and actually reporting on news stories (e.g., beat coverage, news conference).

Students will have regular reading assignments. They also will learn how to analyze a news beat and how to produce stories and scripts on deadline. Ethics, morality, law and responsibility will be discussed in detail, along with an examination of international media issues.

In addition to regular reading assignments, students are instructed on types of news stories common to electronic media today. They also analyze the personal and professional qualities of news reporters, techniques of reporting, and reinforcement of writing skills, deadlines and other disciplines, skills and ethics of interviewing, First Amendment rights and responsibilities and other topics important to professional news gatherers, especially those with international implications.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

In addition to one large-group lecture class, students work as a team of reporters along with videographers and editors in another class.

Each reporter is required to produce several stories for television and radio. Work will be submitted for possible distribution (e.g., NRV NEWS). Students will work with students in COMS 346/COMS 347 who will serve as videographers and editors for the news stories.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Essential objectives are to assist the student in learning (1) the skills and techniques of news writing and gathering and (2) developing an understanding of the role of the contemporary professional news reporter and the application of standard practices in the news gathering process in the United States and some international media. These objectives will take into appropriate consideration concepts fairness, objectivity, accuracy, the role of the news media and the reporter in the life of both individuals and society in general.


Assessment Measures

Appropriate levels of skills and understanding will be measured through observation and grading during the daily and weekly process of news writing, news story development, professional discipline and the use of technology. Final and midterm exams may or may not be given depending on the instructor.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

October 2005 Approved Dr. Clayland Waite

May, 2011