NEW/BDJ 530: Political Reporting
This is a hands-on reporting course open to graduate and undergraduate students in print, broadcast and online journalism. In fall semesters, it typically focuses on election coverage, with students reporting on local or national elections. In spring semesters, it typically focuses on political-issues reporting and accountability reporting on elected officials. In presidential election cycles, Prof. Grimes continues a Newhouse-School tradition of taking the political reporting class to New Hampshire for a week to cover the primary. Students in that special class report for news organizations who’ve agreed to publish or broadcast the students’ stories. Their work also appears on Democracywise, the news outlet for the political reporting class and a voter resource.
- BDJ-NEW530 Political Reporting syllabus Spring2014
- Basic Story Structure (Chicken Little diagram)
A whimsical way to look at the basic story structure
- Grimes’ Second Law: The News Formula
- Some of Prof. Grimes’ Pet Peeves
- Lessons Learned (examples from former students)
- Ledes & Nut Grafs Tips
- Tips for Organizing Info (No Cheshire Cats!)
- Some Hints for Story Structure
- Story-Chunking by Word Count
- Essential Background & Context for Political Stories
Those details you need include in almost every story.
- AP Style Basics
These are common style usages that are in many stories.
- AP’s Election Glossary
A glossary of political terms from The Associated Press.
Great site for learning and practicing basics of good writing
- Typical Stories / Common Elements / Engaging Techniques
- Top Ten Interview Hints
Some tips on how to get the most out of interviews
- Elements of Good Political Reporting
This is what we’re supposed to be doing
- Scenesetter Story Tips
- Top Ten Hints for Covering Government
- Top Ten Hints for Fact-Checking
- More Fact-Checking Tips
- Choosing Good Quotes-Soundbites
- The Art and Craft of Setting Up Quotes/Soundbites
- Elements of Profiles
- Political Profile Tips
Combine this with “Elements of Profiles” to get a fuller portrait
- Elements of “Money in Politics” Stories
Some basics for reporting on the money
- The Elements of an Issues (Community Concern) Story
- Tips for Localizing a National Issue
- Beauties of the Bullet List
- More Tips for the Bullet List
- Elements of Election Day Stories
Some tips on good reporting to cover Election Day
- Government-Civics-Politics 101
A round-up of basic information, with a special focus on New York and Onondaga County.
- Open Government New York
A great resource for researching all sorts of state government actions.
- Voting Rights Resources
A compilation of links related to voting rights resources compiled by David Shedden, library director for The Poynter Institute.
- Diversity Checklist: Top Ten Hints for Getting the — Other Voices — into Political Stories
- Top 10 Hints for Reporting on Political Polls
- How to Read Political Polls Like a Pro
- Hints for Better Stories: A summary of Tips
- Journalist’s Toolbox
A great roundup of links and resources.
- Resources for Covering Communities
A collection of tips and resources from the Knight Chair in Community Journalism
- OpenBookNY government spending database
A great database of spending by local and state levels of government in New York
- Federal spending database
A searchable database of federal spending: a way to track where your tax dollars go.
- Audacity_Guide for Audio Editing by Mindy McAdams
Simple step-by-step instructions for using the free Audacity audio-editing software.
Track bills, representatives, funding and votes in Congress.
- The Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker
See how foreign interests influence U.S. policies.
Look up connections between money and poltics.
- Washington Post political glossary
A glossary of political terms from The Washington Post.
- Journalists’ Resources from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center
A broad-ranging collection of tip sheets and background info
- Places Journalists Should Go for Politics (Al Tompkins of Poynter)
A great collection of tips from Al Tompkins of The Poynter Institute
COM 337 Real News, Fake News: Literacy for the Information Age
This course is designed to empower students with even stronger critical-thinking skills to cope with today’s tsunami of information; to make key distinctions among news, entertainment, opinion, propaganda, publicity, advertisement and raw information; to become credible self-publishers in the Digital Era; to understand and appreciate the First Amendment’s protections for free speech and a free press; and to understand the roles and mission of the press in American democracy; to judge the reliability of the news media and other information sources; and to engage in democracy through reliable, impartial and independent news. It is open to non-journalism students across the university.