Writing for Communication Career Syllabus

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Write effectively for audiences using journalistic, public relations and business styles, including email, social media and blogging.
  2. Demonstrate clear, concise, thoughtful and specific writing using accurate research and reporting.
  3. Demonstrate competency in grammar, spelling and style, based on Associated Press style and standard composition standards.
  4. Apply writing skills to varied, new technologies in communicating with diverse audiences.
  5. Increase awareness of current events.

Required Materials

  1. "Writing to Serve," by Lane Williams. The full text is available through the BYU-Idaho Library. Links to specific chapters will be available in the lesson materials as needed.
  2. "Reaching Audiences: A Guide to Media Writing," (6th Ed.) by Jan Yopp and Katherine McAdams (available on Amazon.com, Redshelf, or the University Store).
  3. The latest edition of The Associated Press Stylebook is available free through a link that will be available in the class for the digital version. It is optional to purchase a print copy (available on Amazon.com, APStylebook.com, or the University Store).
  4. A subscription to The Wall Street Journal. You can access  The Wall Street Journal subscription for free through the BYU-Idaho Library.
  5. Access to the New York Times. You can access this through the BYU-Idaho library.


No official prerequisites. This class is meant for freshman-level students. COMM 100 should be concurrently enrolled, at least. To be successful, you will need basic English grammar, knowledge of how to use a dictionary and keyboarding skills.



Grading is largely subjective, especially on your writing assignments. However, here is the general criteria that will be used to evaluate your work:

  1. Is your lede appropriate?
  2. Does the story develop logically? Interestingly? Does it follow the prescribed structure?
  3. Have you attributed information to sources correctly?
  4. Is your information accurate and ethically constructed?
  5. Have you been balanced in your approach? Were you fair and objective?
  6. Does the story meet its audience?
  7. Have you corrected spelling, grammar and punctuation errors? Is it in AP style?
  8. Have you corrected the spelling of all proper names?
  9. Is the story clear and concise? Is it in news style when appropriate?
  10. Does it have correct news sense?

Grading Categories

AP Quizzes: 18%
Writing Skill Assignments: 10%
Weekly Topic Quizzes: 6%
Blogging/Marketing Assignment: 12%
Inverted Pyramid Stories: 18%
Final Project: 10%
Current Events Quizzes: 4%
Weekly Writing Assignments: 10%
Participation in all Discussions: 9%

Current Events Assignments

Each week will include a discussion on current events you have read over the previous week.

Writing Skill Quizzes

Throughout the semester we will discuss different techniques to improve your writing. You will be quizzed on each technique in the week in which you learn it.

Weekly Topic Quizzes

Each week will include a quiz on the material covered in readings and videos.

Blogging/Marketing Assignment

The Blogging/Marketing assignments contain various assignments related to blogging, social media and marketing. Together, they are worth 12% of your final grade.

AP Style Quizzes

Each week you will be quizzed on the material learned in the AP Stylebook, and you may take those quizzes as many times as you wish.

AP Style Final Exam

This is completed at the end of the semester. This exam is closed book. It will behoove you greatly to be studious in your AP section exams throughout the semester.

Inverted Pyramid Story Assignments

Throughout this semester, you will be responsible for contacting the appropriate sources to find and write three inverted pyramid stories. These stories must have several news values present and should be good enough quality to be published.

Final Project

For your final project, you will write a 1,500-word feature story in the top approach. You must include five sources, two of which must be from a live interview - one narrative and one expert interview. More details will be given in the course materials.

We are currently in Week 01, which means the next assignment due for the final project is Topic Selection in Week 07.

Course Policies

Accommodation for Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the Disabilities Services, (208) 496-9210. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by this office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures.


There is nothing wrong with discussing, tutoring and helping each other to better understand course material. However, once you sit down to complete quizzes and weekly assignments, these should represent what you have studied and know at that time; they are not intended to be collective works. Inappropriate collaboration is cheating and will receive zero points.

Late Work

Late work will not be accepted — welcome to the world of deadlines. Please allow enough time for malfunctioning or backed-up computers if you choose to finish your work at the last minute.