PubPol 367S: News Writing and Reporting

Reader requirements: Professional journalism experience: reporters, editors, etc.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information:

Instructor: Prof. Kenneth Rogerson

Students will learn about reporting, writing and editing stories for print and online media primarily by doing actual news assignments each week and discussing them in class. Students will learn how to gather information, analyze it, and present it fairly and accurately in clear and compelling new stories. Focus on interviewing techniques, use of public records, hard news and feature writing styles, journalism ethics and the role of text-based media in public policy.

Student Writing Assignment:

What are students writing? News articles: an Enterprise Story and an Economic/Business Story

For whom? Readers of news, either online or in print.

Where would such writing typically be found? New York Times, Durham Herald and/or other types of online news sites.

Why would someone usually read it? To learn about latest news on issues relating to a local or national policy.


The are the course deadlines, as they pertain to the Duke Reader Project:

-Update for Spring 2018 calendar dates once I receive from professor-

Introductory Meeting:

  • Contact Reader within two days to set up time for meeting, if possible, meet before you send Enterprise story
  • Be sure to talk about (1) below–the news gathering process, since there won’t be much more time for this after you see a first draft.

Enterprise Campus Story; find a story about anything on campus. It cannot be another lecture, but could be about the person, research or controversy surrounding the event. Write it as if you were submitting it for an online publication. Include links and a visual element (graphic, photo, video)

  • Feb 8 – 14th: Student sends rough but coherent draft of Enterprise Story to reader; reader sends written feedback. (Due to Duke Reader anytime during the week, negotiate this with your Duke Reader)
  • By Feb 18th (ideally): Students and readers to meet in real time (in person or via webcam, skype, phone…) to discuss.
  • Feb 21th: Revised draft of Enterprise Story due to professor.

Write a story on an economics-related topic (not simply a business profile) and write it as if you were submitting it for an online publication. Include links and a visual element (graphic, photo, video).

  • By March 22nd: Student sends rough but coherent draft of Economic/Business Story to reader; reader sends written feedback.
  • By April 1st (ideally): Students and readers to meet in real time (in person or via webcam, skype, phone…) to discuss.
  • April 4th at 3 p.m: Revised draft of Economics/Business Story due to professor. Include the Duke Reader comments.

Link to Course Syllabus: update if I receive a 2018 sylabus

Syllabus_PUBPOL496S_Fall 2017

Giving Feedback (general information that will apply to most courses):

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s suggestions:

Readers will work with students on two articles; for both, they would appreciate guidance on the following:

(1) The news gathering process: help with thinking through matters such as what sources to use, preparing for interviews, what background research to do, choosing an angle, hook, etc.

(2) The story nuts and bolts: clarity, conciseness, word use, structure, etc.