JOUR 590 — Fall 2013
3 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Wednesdays, Room 206 Stauffer-Flint  

Instructor: Malcolm Gibson, 305 Stauffer-Flint
Journalism, African and African-American Studies, East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, and Global Studies.
Contacts: E-mail: mgibson@ku.edu and/or jayhawkprof@yahoo.com.
  Phones: Office — 864-7667;   Home — 843-8276*;  Cell — 766-8605*
(*for emergencies only)
Office hours:

8 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays, and by appointment. We will have two mandatory one-on-one meetings during the semester, but you are welcome to meet with me as often as needed. Simply come to office hours or make an appointment by email.

Class web site: http://international.journalism.ku.edu/

     Required “texts”: “Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens,” by Lawrence Pintak. It is the subject of much discussion and the mid-term exam. The issues raised go to the core of this class. Written by a veteran and well-respected journalist, the book was inspired by the events of 9/11, when, as he says, “there was widespread sympathy for the U.S. across the Muslim world.” He then explores this important question: “What went wrong?” Important hint: The sooner you read “Reflections,” the better. Again, the issues raised go to the heart of this class, and those issues will figure strongly in virtually all our discussions.
     In addition, you are required to stay up on current events by reading The New York Times daily (Monday through Friday) and Sunday, especially the weekly Review section. You have access the daily national edition (Monday-Friday) through the campus Readership Program. You should have to access the Sunday edition (which receives my strongest recommendation) through the Web. (Check it out at www.nytimes.com/collegerate). Or better — and recommended — get a tangible, versus digital, copy by bulk delivery specifically for this class. (I'll find out for how much per week. Stay tuned. I'll announce it in the first class.)

     Required reading (in addition to “required 'text'”):  For other reading requirements, most weeks, material will be on reserve in the Journalism Resource Center (2nd floor reading room in Stauffer-Flint) or available on the Web. Readings will be made available well in advance (or, at least, as quickly as I get them). The readings will deal directly with the topic for a particular week's class.
     Moreover, to help ensure that you acquire a better knowledge of the world around you — important to any journalist and consumer of information — you will be required to keep up with current events. 
     You are required to read every edition of The University Daily Kansan (also available at kansan.com), paying special attention to any locally produced stories that touch or address international issues.  
     I also strongly recommend, in addition to The New York Times, that you read the Lawrence Journal-World and other newspapers, such as The Kansas City Star and The Wall Street Journal (all of which are available free through the campus Readership Program). Magazines, such as Time and Newsweek, as well as reputable broadcast outlets, such as NPR and the BBC, are also recommended, as are the on-line editions of international media.

     “Compare and contrasts” and journal:  Each of you will produce a journal, which will contain contributions most weeks. The specific requirements will be outlined in class.
      The journal will contain your regular “compare and contrast” assessments, which are one-page analyses focusing on that week's topic. (See below for guidelines on requirements and procedures. I will discuss in detail during the first class.)
      Guidelines for compare and contrasts: At the top, put your name and due date. (That's all I need at the top, please.) For the body, single space using a standard serif typeface (such as Times or Times Roman) in 12 pt. with normal margins AND no more than one page in length). It will consist of three paragraphs:

  • The first paragraph will summarize that week's readings. Let me know you've read what you're supposed to read.
  • The second paragraph will summarize the article that you researched that related directly to that week's topic.
  • The third paragraph will summarize an article that relates to your specific research.

    Note: At end, include sources for paragraphs #2 and #3.

     Obviously, you must be concise to get all that in one page. Remember, each compare and contrast will not be more than one page. (I will not read page two.)
     Note: Make sure you give proper references in each so I know what articles you're talking about or so I can look them up myself. If on the Web, include the URL. (Note: If you include a URL, please send a copy of that link to me by email indicating that it's for your Compare and Contrast.) You are encouraged to include copies or relevant portions of the article(s) you use. If they are rather long (more than three pages), just copy relevant parts relating to what you discuss in the compare and contrast. Also, please highlight relevant portions (sentences) of the text to make it easier for me to refer to. Those copies will be returned to you at the next class period.
      When your journal entries and supporting research are returned each week, they will be kept in your journal (3-ring notebook; there is a three-hole punch in the Journalism Resource Center). At the end of the semester, each weekly journal must have the required number of entries with the appropriate research article(s) for each, along with your graded mid-term exam and your final research paper. Your final research paper will be first in your journal (and please do NOT staple).
      Compare-and-contrasts grading: The scheduled entries will receive one of four grades: a check-plus (exemplary work, 3 points); a check (meets basic requirements, 2 points); a check-minus (fails to meet expectations and/or spelling and grammatical errors and/or other shortcomings, 1 point), or a zero (does not meet requirements, misses the point or is not turned in).
      Each compare and contrast is graded on content (double-weighted), research (quality of your supporting article or articles) and writing (grammar, spelling, etc.). Your final grade is determined as follows (using the scheduled 12 compare and contrasts as a guide. Obviously, these numbers would change appropriately if there are fewer or more compare and contrasts in the semester):
      To get an “A” for the compare-and-contrast portion of the class (15% of your total grade), you must average 2.6 for your compare and contrasts. And: A- (2.5), B+ (2.4 points), B (2.3), B- (2.2), C+ (2.1), C (2), C- (1.9), D (1.5-1.8 points), and F (below 1.5 points or more than one 0 [zero] on one or more C&Cs, not including the two “byes”**). Any late or missed journal entries, excluding the two byes, will likely receive a grade of zero (unless prior arrangements are made). Two or more zeros can and likely will result in a failing grade for this portion of the class. One “zero” will result in a deduction of 10 points from the final numeral grade (on scale of 100). (Also see note in “Grading” below.)
      **Note: There are 12 compare and contrasts scheduled. You will be graded on 10. You have two “byes” during the semester. You may skip two. If you do more than 10, I will eliminate your lowest score(s), except for any zeros. Any zero would stay as part of the 10 and will result in a grade, for this portion of the class, no higher than a “B” (85).
    Compare-and-contrast deadline: You will bring it to class each Wednesday (on weeks that compare and contrasts are due). You put it in your class folder along with your nameplate and leave it on the table at the end of class as you leave.

    Important note about compare and contrasts: Take them seriously because your third paragraphs can provide a good outline, as well as "meat," for your final research paper. In other words, the time and energy spent on compare and contrasts will translate into an easier — maybe even an easy — path for writing your final paper. I will explain during our first session.

     Topic report:  In preparation for your research paper on a topic of your choosing (with ultimately an OK from me), you will write a preliminary report (title/topic statement; half-page, single-spaced description with thesis statement and a preliminary bibliography that includes at least three entries). The final focus of your topic will be determined after consultation with me. This report will provide a“roadmap” for your final research paper and presentation. Some friendly sage advice: The sharper (narrower) the focus, the better — and it must contain a thesis statement. If you don't know what that is, ask. Deadline: Bring to the first one-on-one meeting.
     Note: I will provide details during first class meeting. If I don't provide enough detail, ask.
     Important note for those taking this class for NW (non-Western) credit: You must choose a topic that involves a non-Western topic. You must indicate that when you turn in your topic report.

     Past topics: Here's a link to some topics from previous semesters. You may select any topic that involves “message” — the movement of from one entity to another. You may examing the sender, the receiver and/or how that message moves and what the effects and implications are. I define media in its (their) broadest sense, something I will expand on and provide solid examples for in the first class session.

     Research paper: Your final research paper will be 10 pages (15 for graduate students), no more/no less, properly attributed, with a bibliography. (Page count is for main body only, not the bibliography.) Proper style for attribution and bibliography will be discussed in class (but it's the same as with the mid-term, so you'll have practice.). Note on bibliography: It will be in two sections — works cited and secondary sources. “Works cited” reflects the sources actually cited in the research paper; secondary sources, of which you should have many, are works used in developing your research paper but not directly cited in the final product. If you have any questions, please ask. And, yes, spelling and grammar count. Grading: The criteria is the same as with the compare and contrasts: content 50%; research (quality of sources) 25%; writing (grammar, syntax, etc.) 25%. That said, each affects the other. So, if your grade on research is relatively low, that brings down the content grade. Deadline: The completed research paper will be turned in as part of your journal (in a three-ringed binder, which will contain your research paper, your graded mid-term exam, your graded compare and contrasts, as well as any relevant examples of your research). The full journal is due in my office or at the front desk of the Journalism Resource Center no later than 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12  noon, Monday, Dec. 16. A missed deadline is a one-letter-grade deduction and one letter grade for each day thereafter. (Option: Noon, Friday, Dec. 13, on request. with appropriate and verifiable reason.)

     Past topics: Here's a link to some topics from previous semesters. You may select any topic that involves “message” — the movement of from one entity to another. You may examing the sender, the receiver and/or how that message moves and what the effects and implications are. I define media in its (their) broadest sense, something I will expand on and provide solid examples for in the first class session. (And, yes, I know I repeated this. Just want to put it in both spots for emphasis.)

     Final presentation: Students will make presentations to the class in the same manner that our many guests do (just a lot shorter). The format will be discussed in the first class and, again, shortly before the presentations begin toward the closing weeks of the semester. Likely, it will be done in teams, with other members of the team serving as “discussion leaders.” As of now, I envision each member making an individual presentation in the seven- to eight-minute range, the team then “comparing and contrasting” the various issues leading discussion with other class members for the remainder of the allotted time for a total of 12 minutes or so for each presentation. However, I'll firm up the details after the number of folks in the class is fixed.

     Discussion and participation: Discussion — quality, not quantity — is a vital element of this class. Your participation is required. You must be prepared to discuss relevant issues. A significant part of your grade depends on it. During the semester, I keep a scorecard on the number and, more importantly, the quality of questions, answers, issues raised and overall discussion. I then tally those numbers to determine an appropriate grade. Given the size of the class, I have devised a plan to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate. I'll detail that plan during the first class period.

     Mid-term (canceled): The mid-term exam will focusing on “Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens,” by Lawrence Pintak, and your research. The format is simple: You will select one of three questions to answer. You will answer the selected question in no more/no less than five pages (double-spaced, normal margins, 12 pt. Times or Times Roman). A sixth page will consist of your references/sources. You will address the selected question using issues raised in “Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens” as a central point, but weaving in elements learned to that point from your research. You won't be asked to just parrot facts — though you should leave a clear understanding that (a) you read the book and (b) understand the issues raised in the book. This is an expanded version of your “weekly journal” format. The questions, from which you will select one, will be sent by email. You're must review the mid-term guide and follow its guidelines closely. (Beware, there may be some changes by the time the mid-term rolls around, but I'll alert you to those if they occur.) The completed mid-term is due no later than noon, Monday, Oct. 21, in my office, 305 Stauffer-Flint, or at the desk in the Journalism Resource Center, where it will be time-stamped and put in my mailbox.That's plenty of time for a five-page, double-spaced, do-at-home essay.

Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman
Zits  © King Features

     Attendance:  Because this is a discussion class, a significant part of your grade is determined on your participation. It is impossible to participate if you are not in attendance. Therefore, attendance is mandatory. Also be sure to show up for the first class. If you do not, you will be dropped. As for punctuality, the rule is the same. Be on time. Being late is disrespectful to our guests and your colleagues. An unexcused absence will likely result in a one-letter-grade deduction from final overall class grade. Tardiness also can result in up to a one-letter-grade deduction from final overall class grade, depending on circumstances, disruption factors and/or frequency. Yes, I take attendance seriously because this is a professional school, and I firmly believe all students should act as professionals and be treated as such. (If you're absent or tardy, you'd better alert me ahead of time, and you should have a good reason, such as “Well, I had to make a stop at Krispy Kreme and traffic was hell, and I know you love doughtnuts,” along with an armload of doughnuts for all of us.) Note: Plan ahead and plan to be here for each class session. There is no final exam, so that shouldn't be a problem. But do not come to me during the semester to say that you can't attend a class (at any time, including the end of the semester, because “I have a [wedding, job interview, hair appointment] that day” or “I'm going on a cruise and my parents have already bought the tickets and...” Call your parents now to tell them not to do that. Be forewarned, my answer to all that is “Sorry, but no” (unless your parents include tickets for my wife and me, too, in a cabin with a balcony. Hey, I can grade papers on the high seas with a margarita close by. Might help you and me!) And a special note about fall break, which ends Tuesday, Oct. 15. We will have class on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and I expect you to be there. There will NOT be class on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving.

  100-94 = A
93-90 = A-
89-87 = B+
86-82 = B
81-80 = B-
79-77 = C+
76-72 = C
71-70 = C-
69-68 = D+
67-60 = D
59 and below = F

   Grade breakdown:
    Note: Because the mid-term was canceled, the percentages for the remaining three elements of the class were changed to the following.
Weekly journal. 
Mid-term. Canceled.
Research paper.

     Important note on grades: If you receive a C- or lower grade in any segment (weekly journal [compare and contrasts], mid-term exam, in-class participation and/or final research paper), that can be your semester grade at my sole discretion. This is to ensure that you put your full effort into each segment. If you don't understand what that means, please ask.

     Goals and objectives:  This is a seminar-style research class in the Socratic tradition, so it demands a good bit of discipline and initiative on your part. Therefore, your success in this class will be determined by how seriously you take on the assignments, how hard you work, and how well you “stay on task.” Its purpose is for you to develop an understanding of how “messages,” for any purpose, work and what the implications are. It is not a class to turn you into a foreign correspondent (there are fewer and fewer of those, an issue we may discuss). Nevertheless, it will help you to be more sensitive of your surroundings, no matter your involvement in a story, domestic or foreign, as a communicator and a consumer. So, in the end, I believe you will be a better communicator who'll serve your audience more effectively. You'll be a better consumer, too.

     In addition, the class is designed to: 

     • Develop a better understanding of the world and the issues affecting it.

     • To understand how diverse the world it, and to understand, appreciate and respect diversity in all its forms and at all levels.

     • Develop substantive and pragmatic ways to take what you've learned to practice your craft at a higher level.

     • Develop your critical-thinking skills (which the reading and research assignments, class discussions and mid-term are specifically are designed to enhance.) This is an essential part of your development into a successful communicator. 

     • Develop your vocabulary and reading skills (continuing my attempt to encourage everyone to become more literate, which is important to your success in the field.) I believe that you can write, edit or communicate only as well as you read.

     School policy on attendance, adding and dropping in the School of Journalism:
     “No student may add a journalism class after the 20th day of a semester.
     “Students must attend their classes and laboratory periods. Instructors may take attendance into account in assessing a student's performance and may require a certain level of attendance for passing a course. Instructors may choose to drop students from a course, based on attendance, without consent.
     “The School of Journalism reserves the right to cancel the enrollment of students who fail to attend the first class or laboratory meeting.
     “The KU Office of Student Financial Aid is required by federal law to determine whether students who receive aid are attending each class in which they are enrolled. Instructors are required to report to that office absences of students who have stopped attending and names of those who have enrolled but never have attended. Students who do not attend classes may be required to repay federal and/or state financial aid.
     “Students who receive any form of financial aid should learn all requirements including minimum hours of enrollment and grades to qualify for and retain that aid.”

     The code of Academic Misconduct detailed in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities is strictly followed. University policies covering academic misconduct are spelled out in the current Student Handbook, which is available free in Room 213 of Strong Hall.

    Policy on Plagiarism and Fabrication/Falsification: The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications does not tolerate plagiarism, fabrication of evidence and falsification of evidence.
    Penalties for plagiarism, fabrication or falsification will include a failing grade for this course and could result in expulsion from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
    If you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, please ask.

    The following definitions are from Article II, Section 6, of the University Senate Rules and Regulations, revised FY98.
Plagiarism: Knowingly presenting the work of another as one's own (i.e., without proper acknowledgement of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the information or ideas are common knowledge.
     Fabrication and Falsification: Unauthorized alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

      Inclement Weather and Special Needs:
      Weather: In the event of inclement weather, the decision to cancel classes is made by KU officials. To determine whether snow or icy conditions have canceled classes, call 864-7669 (864-SNOW).
     Special needs: The Office of Disability Resources, 22 Strong Hall, 785-864-2620, coordinates accommodations and services for KU students with disabilities. If you have a disability for which you may request accommodation in KU classes and have not contacted the Office of Disability Resources, please do so as soon as possible. Please also contact your instructor privately..

     Copying or Recording: Course materials prepared by the instructors, together with the content of all lectures and review sessions presented by the instructors are the property of the instructors. Video and audio recording of lectures and review sessions without the consent of the instructors is prohibited. On request, the instructors will usually grant permission for students to audio tape lectures, on the condition that these audio tapes are only used as a study aid by the individual making the recording. Unless explicit permission is obtained from the instructors, recordings of lectures and review sessions may not be modified and must not be transferred or transmitted to any other person, whether or not that individual is enrolled in the course.

     In-class use of digital devices (such as computers, tablets, ebooks [e.g., Nook, Kindle and similar devices], smart phones, etc.): In class, you are welcome to use digital devices as part of this class to take notes and to access reference materials, such as the text. An important proviso (read this!): If you use such a device, you are making a contract with me that it is being used for purposes ONLY and exclusively related to this class. If I find out otherwise, I will consider it academic misconduct (that will likely result, at the minimum, a failing grade for this class) because I will consider it disrespectful to me, your fellow classmates and our guests. I consider it the same as lying because you understand and accept, by attending this class and accepting the conditions set out in this syllabus, the rule under which the use of such devices is acceptable.

      Disclaimer:  The requirements for this course likely will be modified for unscheduled speakers or visitors, unanticipated developments, to provide an opportunity to reemphasize certain skills, spot news, or any other unforeseen circumstances. In other words, it can — and likely will — be modified to meet individual and collective needs. 
       Make sure you consult the class web site often for announcements and the “schedule of events” page for the class schedule and requirements. I will communicate extraordinary changes and announcements by e-mail.

     About your professor:  I came to the University of Kansas and full-time teaching in August 1996 after 34 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers and the Associated Press. That included stints overseas, particularly Africa. If you'd like to know more, click on the “Who's Prof. G?” link.

     Thank you. 


Updated Dec. 10, 2013