Office: NSC 256
Office Hours: T/R: 11:00-1:30 p.m. & W: 2:30-3:30 p.m
Class Hours: M: 1:00-2:50 p.m. & F: 9:00-2:50
Class Location: NSC 140/160
Course Credits: 4 hrs.
The mission of Knightly News is to provide news and information of interest to the university community, both present and future, and to uphold the highest standards of journalism excellence.
Journalists are not stenographers. Journalists should not just report what officials say, they should critically analyze and evaluate statements and put them in the context of a broader story. When statements are false, journalists should say so.
-author David Gutman, 2014
Welcome to Knightly News. This course represents the capstone course in the broadcast journalism sequence. The “course” is really a term-long experience where you’ll immerse yourselves in a practicing news environment pursuant to a career in one or another aspects of electronic newsgathering or related field. As such, there are attendant expectations. You are expected to conduct yourselves professionally whenever you represent the Knightly News department. That includes not only dress and behavior, but also the way you relate to your fellow working journalists–your classmates–the studio crew, and the inevitable problems and challenges that will arise throughout the term. The hours listed above are contact hours related to class, i.e. times you must be here with me and the rest of our news class, however, as you are all aware you are required to put in much more time and have much availability than that. The end result of all this, if you apply yourselves correctly, will be your ability to enter a working, professional newsroom as a contributing journalist upon graduation.
KNIGHTLY NEWS PROGRAM
Each week, beginning with our first Friday, we will produce a 30-minute news program designed after an evening television newscast. That program will air live on campus cable channel 21. Since this is a live show, there will be one shot at doing it each week; no stops and starts or do-overs. If we screw up, it goes on air. Conversely, when we do a great job, so does that.
In addition, we will update our website, (Knightlynews.ucf.edu) and social media on a daily basis. That will include video updates (webcasts) as well as ongoing coverage and updates of stories. You should expect to constantly look for new information about your stories. Updates are expected every day; there should be at least three new stories on the website each day. You’ll want to consult the style manual and news management for suggestions on story content.
We will also be updating our website with material for Knightly Latino, our Hispanic Media effort. You will see various people coming in to help with that product. The web editor and the Knightly Latino producer will work together to make sure the content matches the style and standards of Knightly News.
Since this is a working newsroom, you’ll use your cellphones a lot. You’ll likely need these in class if you’re waiting on a call for an interview, for instance. Thus, there’s some flexibility here, however, any use of cellphones in class must be expressly for purposes of our show. No personal calls will be tolerated. Problems in this area will affect your Class Presence score (below). Additionally, all cellphones must be on vibrate mode in the newsroom, and when the director calls for it on Friday’s, turned off completely.
RTV 3304, status as RTV major
- Kalbfeld, Brad. (2001). Associated Press Broadcast News Handbook: A Manual of Techniques & Practices. NY: McGraw-Hill.
- News apps for your phone (local and national papers and TV)
- Membership to UCF’s RTNDA student chapter ($10 – more information in class), and a press pass (more on this in class);WordPress app for your smart phone (available from App Store and Google Play)
- Portable firewire hard drive to keep your raw footage and packages for demo reels and archiving
- Your own personal IFB (pricey at around $60, but a very helpful and hygienic item)
- A good GPS app for your phone
ATTENDANCE AND PREPARATION
Since this class is essentially a news department with all its attendant responsibilities, the same expectations regarding deadlines, enterprise and self-responsibility that prevail in legitimate TV newsrooms will likewise prevail in our class this term. Thus attendance at all story conferences and each Friday production is mandatory. Problems in this area will severely affect the student’s final grade. The same holds true for problems meeting deadlines.
One critically important point to consider in terms of preparation: you should be a news junkie, that is, you should regularly (at least daily) consume local, regional and national news. This is the best way to generate your own news stories for our show and to be informed for story content, story conferences, and interviews.
- You are expected to wear professional clothing whenever you are in the field for Knightly News. Keep the necklines and waistlines moderate, and closed toe shoes. A pair of comfortable, sturdy business shoes would be a good investment. Your instructors reserve the right to ask you to change your clothes if they feel you are inappropriately dressed for the task at hand. Hats are not permitted.
- The demands of newsphotography differ from reporting. As a news photographer, you will be engaged in some physical exertion to get the best footage for the story whenever you are in the field for Knightly News. As such, it is permissible to wear jeans, tennis shoes, and a collared shirt (such as a polo shirt). In some cases, nice shorts may be allowed, though this would need to be cleared with me first. One thing to keep in mind: it’s possible to be casual and still look professional. Hats are not permitted.
COURSE WORK AND GRADING
Everyone will be given regular assignments consistent with newsroom operation, these will include, but aren’t limited to, reporting, producing, anchoring, photography, editing. You are expected to contribute a minimum of 15 stories during the term, six of which must be news packages approved for air or on the Knightly website; the others will be VO/SOTS or VO’s as assigned. (Note: producing a Knightly News show for air will count as a full package.) Theoretically, in terms of the quantitative portion of your final grade this will equal a “C” as this is indeed the minimum required to complete the course. Factors that will elevate your final grade beyond a “C” may come from:
- contributing more than the quantitative assignments listed above
- contibuting work to the above that represents an effort, diligence and skill beyond expectation
- somehow facilitating the journalistic effort for our shows (this could include such things as volunteerism to help shoot people’s standups, B-Roll or general show fill; also ambitious enterprising that produces not just your own stories, but stories for other use in the show as well
- class presence (this is, granted, a somewhat vague, but basically refers to such things as your conduct as part of the news team, your conduct as part of the news team, preparation for story conferences, other factors subject to instructor evaluation
Attendance/Punctuality: We depend on each other to get the job done each week. The show is the sum of its parts. Since each of you contributes a “part,” we can obviously not tolerate problems with attendance and punctuality. These will severly affect your final grade for the course.
Enterprising: All newsrooms value enterprising reporters. I am not going to regularly assign stories this term to you. It is your responsibility to discover stories for yourselves that will get aired. Remember, you have some minimum requirements for the number of stories your must get aired this term, and you’re competing with your fellow students to get that precious air time. This will be particularly acute with packages, since most story ideas are suggested as packages. You are expected to persuade the producer and your fellow journalists to aget your story idea into the rundown until the producer finally says it’s out. At that time, you move on to your next idea. Getting your story into the show rundown depends on several factors:
- audience attraction
- content importance
- coincidence with a given block’s or show’s structure/strategy
Working with production crew: The studio crew is the other half of our news effort this term. While they won’t actively gather news, they are our equals in every respect, and we will treat them respectfully.
Field Cameras: You will use the Panasonic DMC80 cameras this term, unless other arrangements need to be made. In cases of overnight checkout, you will use the 70 cameras.
Editing: All video editing will be conducted on Adobe Premiere Pro unless other arrangements have been made with me prior.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Students with disabilities who need accommodations in this course must contact the professor at the beginning of the semester to discuss needed accommodations. No accommodations will be provided until the student has met with the professor to request accommodations. Students who need accommodations must be registered with Student Disability Services, Student Resource Center Room 132, phone (407) 823-2371, TTY/TDD only phone (407) 823-2116, before requesting accommodations from the professor.
POLICY ON RECOMMENDATION LETTERS
While I’m happy to write recommendation letters for present or former students, I also reserve the right to deny such requests. My policy on these letters is that I have to know something about you which justifies such a letter. In other words, simply because you were in my class doesn’t justify a recommendation letter from me. Moreover, such a recommendation letter under these terms would be meaningless for you. Consequently, I may excuse myself from your request. Please don’t take offense at this; it’s just that I have simply not witnessed in a classroom or other setting enough of you to draft a meaningful recommendation letter.
RTV majors and prospective majors are encouraged to subscribe to the RTV ListServ. The listserv is the official email communication vehicle of the Radio-Television division. Announcements about class schedules, changes in classes, as well internship and job opportunities are made through “the list.” You may view the procedure for subscribing to the RTV ListServ at: RTV LISTSERV Instructions
COURSE POLICY ON ETHICAL BEHAVIOR
It is unethical to use someone else’s writing, notes, VIDEO/AUDIO or ideas as your own, or to allow someone else to use yours. This includes abstracting material from other sources like magazines, the Internet, newspapers or prerecorded material without proper attribution. To do so is cause for immediate failure and referral to the UCF Office of Student Conduct for appropriate disciplinary action. Don’t let yourself get caught in this scenario; always be prepared with your own original work or, if you wish to use outside content, clear it with me prior to your production execution.
Be assured, I’ll prosecute instances of cheating to the fullest extent possible as defined in the UCF GOLDEN RULE, which may include expulsion from this class or from the university. Additionally, the University of Central Florida Undergraduate Policy and Curriculum Committee of the Faculty Senate has approved the use of the Z designation policy. As a result of academic dishonesty in a course, an appropriate grade will be assigned to a student that is preceded by the letter Z. For more information on the Z grade, see http://z.ucf.edu/.
Understand, this syllabus can’t be completely comprehensive as this is a working environment subject to change. Therefore, changes to our structure may occur. When they do, I’ll properly inform you.