- Students will understand the major news issues on the China beat, including how these issues are covering by major local and overseas news outlets. Students will learn to judge the “news value” of information concerning events and issues in China for the reading, viewing, and listening public.
- Students will obtain practical experience in multimedia reporting on China by contributing regularly to a student-produced Web site.
- Students will gain familiarity with the reporting environment in China, including matters of media regulation, censorship and the protection of sources.
- Students will learn how to obtain information from within China’s controlled media environment.
- Students will develop their feature writing skills by undertaking an in-depth reporting project on a China-related news issue of their choice.
Class Format: A mix of lectures, guest speakers and workshop sessions.
Requirements and Grading:
Attendance and preparation (25%): We will meet once a week for sessions that will require your participation, so attendance at each class is crucial. In addition to required readings listed for each class session, you should be following closely the news coming out of China from various sources (especially mainstream and media from China, Hong Kong and overseas, blogs, Twitter and Chinese microblogs).
You will be required to keep a weekly media diary outlining which China stories you consider to be the most compelling for that week and describing why. You should pay special attention to stories that relate to that week’s topic of discussion. Please come prepared to discuss your work and engage with your classmates during the workshop portion of the class.
We will also have regular guest lectures by leading journalists and editors on the China beat, for which you will be assigned relevant readings or other materials that highlight the speaker’s work, so you should also come prepared with questions for our guests.
Reporting and editing (35%):
Each student will be responsible for preparing three pieces for the course Web site during the course of the semester (approximately one article per month). Articles may take the form of original reporting, analysis and commentary on timely news issues, or in-depth book and film reviews. Posts may also be related to your final projects. Multimedia posts utilizing video, slideshows, podcasts and other interactive or creative features are also encouraged.
In addition, students will rotate through carrying out the editorial duties for the Web site. It is expected that each student will work on the site for one full week during the semester. Duties will include editing and posting the pieces prepared by your classmates, as well as aggregating notable China stories from the Web, writing short updates on breaking news and posting to the class Twitter account, @Covering_China.
Part of each class will be devoted to “editorial meeting” workshops in which students will discuss their ideas for the Web site for the upcoming week.
Sign-up sheets for writing and editorial duties will be circulated during the first class.
Final project (40%): A feature story of 1500-2000 words on a China topic of your choice. You will prepare an initial story proposal of no more than 400 words and a first draft of the story that will receive feedback from classmates and teachers during the workshop sessions. Students are encouraged to integrate multimedia elements into their final projects.