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Instructor: Seth Prince
Class: 10:30-12:20 Monday, Wednesday in Gaylord 1030 unless otherwise specified
Office hours: By appointment, Copeland 168A (inside The OU Daily)
Contact: sethprince@ou.edu | @seth_prince | 405.325.6334


COURSE SCHEDULE

WEEK 1: BASICS

Monday, Aug 21: Intro, syllabus, jumping off: What’s the most important element of a good story?

Wednesday, Aug. 23: Overview of story forms we’ll cover. Discussion of writing/editing process. Discussion of universal themes. Introduction of working in on our class platforms — Google Drive, Slack and WordPress. Set Story Behind the Story groups.


WEEK 2: ESSAY, TRANSFORMATIONAL MOMENTS

Monday, Aug. 28: Launch essay assignment. Discussion of transformational moments. Be familiar with essay reading list selections.

Wednesday, Aug. 30: Individual story conferences by appointment in my office. Meetings available during/after class as needed since our size limits how long we can meet individually within our allotted time. Sign up: Doodle poll, Essay writing conference. Meeting times available in 15-minute increments between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 


WEEK 3: ESSAY

Monday, Sept. 4: Labor Day, no class.

Wednesday, Sept. 6: Peer review. Full draft of essay shared by start of class with class on Google Drive or letter-grade deduction. Small-group constructive comments and suggestions provided on Google docs during class. Note, part of your participation grade will account for how engaged you are in providing genuine feedback to help your peers succeed.


WEEK 4: ESSAY, STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Monday, Sept. 11: Story behind the story, round 1. First group of students will be responsible for having contacted and interviewed an author of one of their favorite feature pieces of any sort we complete throughout the semester. What’s due, by 5 p.m. the day before is a WordPress post directing us to the piece, and highlights of your conversation, including the writer’s path to his or her current job, the backstory to the piece, how and why she elected to write it the way she did and any other key takeaways that could apply to our work in this course. In class you will lead an approximately 15-minute discussion on your piece.

Wednesday, Sept. 13: No class. Final version of essay posted to WordPress by noon or letter-grade deduction.


WEEK 5: PROFILE

Monday, Sept. 18: Launch profile assignment. Discussion on where great stories come from. Strong angles, focused ideas, originality. How to choose. Be familiar with the profile reading list selections.

Wednesday, Sept. 20: Individual profile story conferences (1 of 2) by appointment in my office. Meetings available during/after class as needed since our size limits how long we can meet individually within our allotted time. Sign up: Doodle poll, Profile writing conference 1. Meeting times available in 15-minute increments between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 


WEEK 6: PROFILE, Q&A

Monday, Sept. 25: Launch Q&A assignment. Be familiar with Q&A reading list selections. Discussion on interviewing preparation, execution, adaptation. Classmate interview Part I.

Wednesday, Sept. 27: Discussion on what makes a well-balanced profile. Classmate interview Part II.


WEEK 7: PROFILE, Q&A

Monday, Oct. 2: Final draft of Q&A due (no peer revision) posted on WordPress by start of class or letter-grade deduction. Peer review on profile. Full draft of profile shared by start of class with class on Google Drive or letter-grade deduction. Small-group constructive comments and suggestions provided on Google docs during class. Note, part of your participation grade will account for how engaged you are in providing genuine feedback to help your peers succeed.

Wednesday, Oct. 4: Individual profile story conferences (2 of 2) by appointment in my office. Meetings available during/after class as needed since our size limits how long we can meet individually within our allotted time. Sign up: Doodle poll, Profile writing conference 2. Meeting times available in 15-minute increments between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 


WEEK 8: PROFILE, STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Monday, Oct 9: Story behind the story, round 2. Second group of students will be responsible for having contacted and interviewed an author of one of their favorite feature pieces of any sort we complete throughout the semester. Due, by 5 p.m. the day before is a WordPress post directing us to the piece, and highlights of your conversation, including the writer’s path to his or her current job, the backstory to the piece, how and why she elected to write it the way she did and any other key takeaways that could apply to our work in this course. In class you will lead an approximately 15-minute discussion on your piece.

Wednesday, Oct. 11: No class. Final version of profile posted to WordPress by noon or letter-grade deduction.


WEEK 9: HUMAN INTEREST

Monday, Oct. 16: Launch human interest assignment. Discussion on the power of anecdotes. Be familiar with the human interest reading list selections.

Wednesday, Oct. 18: Individual human interest story conferences (1 of 2) by appointment in my office. Meetings available during/after class as needed since our size limits how long we can meet individually within our allotted time. Sign up: Doodle poll, Human interest writing conference 1. Meeting times available in 15-minute increments between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 


WEEK 10: HUMAN INTEREST, PITCHES/RÉSUMÉ

Monday, Oct. 23: Launch pitch letter/résumé. How different digital platforms affect messages, audiences. Discussion on the necessity of the new forms storytelling, and the necessity to utilize them? Data, video, sound in addition to photo. Discussion on reader engagement and what success looks like in a metrics sense with feature stories.

Wednesday, Oct. 25: The collaborative editing process. How new eyes can help, and how a story can be made better without being taken over or squelching voice. (Guest speakers via Google Hangout.)


WEEK 11: HUMAN INTEREST

Monday, Oct. 30: Peer review. Full draft of human interest shared by start of class with class on Google Drive or letter-grade deduction. Small-group constructive comments and suggestions provided on Google docs during class. Note, part of your participation grade will account for how engaged you are in providing genuine feedback to help your peers succeed.

Wednesday, Nov. 1: Individual human interest story conferences (2 of 2) by appointment in my office. Meetings available during/after class as needed since our size limits how long we can meet individually within our allotted time. Sign up: Doodle poll, Human interest writing conference 2. Meeting times available in 15-minute increments between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


WEEK 12: HUMAN INTEREST, STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Monday, Nov. 6: Story behind the story, round 3. Third group of students will be responsible for having contacted and interviewed an author of one of their favorite feature pieces of any sort we complete throughout the semester. Due, by 5 p.m. the day before is WordPress post directing us to the piece, and highlights of your conversation, including the writer’s path to his or her current job, the backstory to the piece, how and why she elected to write it the way she did and any other key takeaways that could apply to our work in this course. In class you will lead an approximately 15-minute discussion on your piece.

Wednesday, Nov. 8: No class. Final version of human interest posted to WordPress by noon or letter-grade deduction.


WEEK 13: TREND, PITCHES/RÉSUMÉ

Monday, Nov. 13: Launch trend assignment. Draft of pitch letter/résumé via email. Discussion on how, where and when to pitch your work to get a foothold. How much persistence is too much? How not to oversell? Payment? Pitch vs. whole story? When to give up? Discussion on handling trend, issues and controversies. Be familiar with the trend reading list selections.

Wednesday, Nov. 15: Individual trend story conferences (1 of 2) by appointment in my office. Meetings available during/after class as needed since our size limits how long we can meet individually within our allotted time. Sign up: Doodle poll, Trend writing conference 1. Meeting times available in 15-minute increments between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


WEEK 14: TREND, PITCHES/RÉSUMÉ

Monday, Nov. 20: Pitch letter/résumés due via email. No class meeting. Trend work day.

Wednesday, Nov. 22: No class, Thanksgiving break


WEEK 15: TREND

Monday, Nov. 27: Peer review. Full draft of trend shared by start of class with class on Google Drive or letter-grade deduction. Small-group constructive comments and suggestions provided on Google docs during class. Note, part of your participation grade will account for how engaged you are in providing genuine feedback to help your peers succeed.

Wednesday, Nov. 29: Individual trend story conferences (2 of 2) by appointment in my office. Meetings available during/after class as needed since our size limits how long we can meet individually within our allotted time. Sign up: Doodle poll, Trend writing conference 2. Meeting times available in 15-minute increments between 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


WEEK 16: TREND, STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Monday, Dec. 4: Story behind the story, round 4. Fourth group of students will be responsible for having contacted and interviewed an author of one of their favorite feature pieces of any sort we complete throughout the semester. Due, by 5 p.m. the day before is a WordPress post directing us to the piece, and highlights of your conversation, including the writer’s path to his or her current job, the backstory to the piece, how and why she elected to write it the way she did and any other key takeaways that could apply to our work in this course. In class you will lead an approximately 15-minute discussion on your piece.

Wednesday, Dec. 6: No class meeting. Trend work day. Final story conferences, if needed, by appointment.


WEEK 17: FINALS WEEK (NO FINAL)

Monday, Dec. 11: No class. Final draft of trend posted to WordPress by noon or letter-grade deduction.

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