Throughout the semester...

Each class will begin with a news budget discussion in which we review current wire suggestions and prioritize the stories according to changing criteria. After the first few weeks, extra credit may be earned by leading a budget session.

AP style quizzes (includes grammar, punctuation, spelling, lack of clarity, inaccuracies, etc.). There will be seven with the content divided as follows: AB | CD | EFG | HIJKL | MNOP | QRST | UVWXYZ

Word-use practice (homonyms, oddities, spelling, grammar, etc.). There will be 10 of these; the material to be studied will be distributed a week before the quiz.

Editing workthroughs: We will regularly work through stories in class to become familiar with editing strategies, alternative approaches, common errors and appropriate fixes. At all times we will nurture creativity, precision, clarity and talent when we see it.

Backstory presentations: These are short research and teaching projects. You are to choose a current news topic, explore its context, and prepare a 5- to 10-minute report for the class. These presentations will be given throughout the semester. A signup sheet will be provided. You may earn extra credit by doing an extra one of these.

Geography practice: In-class reviews of news-related countries and regions.

Layout and news judgment discussions: Many of these will involve www.newseum.org .

Headlines: You’ll write lots of headlines. Toward the end of the semester, there will be a competition called Hedapalooza. Prizes will be given.

Rimrats blog: You are responsible for a minimum of 10 blog responses over the semester. Each Thursday, a new discussion topic will be posted. The assignment must be completed and posted by the time the new question goes up. Additional, spontaneous and informal posts are welcome at any time.