Assignments can  be found here.

Assignment #1

alexander_woollcottThe following passage is from a book published quite some time ago. Your task is to identify the book, the people mentioned and to describe the milieu discussed. As journalists, you must keep track of every step you take, every website you visit, every person you talk to:

Because Ross, with his sleuth-hound nose for facts, and… [Aleck], with his airy insensibility to such minor consideration, [meant] friction was bound to arise. One page article brought eighteen factual queries from the editor, many of which the author could not satisfy without further research, which he was loath to incur. There was constant complaint of the lack of body which the writer had striven to cover by virtuosity of treatment. “W. cuts easy,” noted Wolcott Gibbs, after operating on one of the pieces with a blue pencil. His salient defects of the… matter reached their zenith in an article on Jack Humphrey and the Seeing Eye, a charity dear to… [Aleck’s] heart. Deputed to edit the copy, St. Clair McKelway of the staff reported that it could not be brought up to standard by any means within his command. Mrs. White concurred:

… This is ghastly. We can’t use it. Full of cliches, gags, sob stories, little hints to contribute to the cause, and in the end tells you absolutely┬ánothing┬áabout the man. It means the end of the Shots and Murmurs dept. if we reject, but… [Aleck] in the piece talks about signs from heaven. Maybe this is one to show us the radio has ruined him and that he’ll not write anything good again.

The office staff got to work upon the article (and upon the author) and whipped the piece into readable shape without bloodshed.

When you are done, store all of your work in your portfolio. Then start shaping your notes into an article of about 1000 words related to what the selection describes. There are many approaches you can take, concentrating on the people, the process, the milieu, or something else.

When you are done, ask a classmate to edit your work. Both the rough and edited versions should be placed in your portfolio, along with the work of other students that you have edited.

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