Teaching Journalism Workshop to Black Women Writers at Spelman College

(Edward Crawford throws back a tear gas container after tactical officers worked to break up a group of bystanders on Chambers Road and West Florissant on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 in St. Louis. Nights of unrest have vied with calls for calm in a St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teenager was killed by police, while the community is still pressing for answers about the weekend shooting. [Photo: AP Photo, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen])

(Edward Crawford throws back a tear gas container after tactical officers worked to break up a group of bystanders on Chambers Road and West Florissant on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 in St. Louis. Nights of unrest have vied with calls for calm in a St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teenager was killed by police, while the community is still pressing for answers about the weekend shooting. [Photo: AP Photo, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen])

Spring 2017 presents my third semester teaching journalism workshop at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to my first semester teaching the workshop course Fall 2015, it hadn’t been taught at the school in some ten years. Spelman students, many of whom took other writing workshops with me, completed journalism courses at Clark Atlanta University.

In resurrecting the course at Spelman (and I take only partial credit in this endeavor, as I have a team of mentors on campus who help me make my visions reality for our students), I accepted the task of writing a new syllabus for journalism workshop that would both expose our students to journalism as a tradition and speak to their work as potential Black women journalists.

As I prepare for a new semester, I return to the journalism workshop syllabus I wrote and I honestly wish I could “take the course” myself after reading the description and course goals. Please see such materials below and note that any unauthorized copying of class materials is a violation of federal law and may result in legal actions.

ENG 381

Journalism Workshop I

Instructor: Dr. Calaya Michelle Stallworth

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course takes student writers through the process of conceptualizing, researching/investigating, writing and editing quality journalistic pieces for various media outlets. Students also study standards and practices of traditional journalism. Finally, this course investigates the necessary role of the black journalist in covering all news, particularly news of the diaspora that is rarely (or falsely) covered in mainstream media, from a black perspective speaking to both a broad world audience and those in the underserved diaspora.

COURSE GOALS: At the end of the semester, a student who has successfully completed this course will be able to:

  • Engage journalistic works critically and be able to identify key elements of style and structure, as a means of further refining her own writing.
  • Understand the importance of journalistic integrity, and due diligence in research and investigation
  • Develop and revise her own work
  • Identify key terms associated with journalism
  • Identify key journalists and journalistic styles
  • Demonstrate an awareness of audience and purpose, with an eye to the particular demands of the industry
  • Demonstrate an understanding of writing as both a process and a product, one which requires drafting, revising, and editing
  • Discuss her writing in critical ways
  • Engage in intellectual critique with clearly articulated respect
  • Identify her strengths as a critical reader, writer, and thinker and develop strategies for improvement in areas which need further refinement

Also included in the syllabus are a note to my students and a part of the mission statement of Freedom’s Journal, the first Black newspaper. See below:

A note from the instructor: Things I want you to do this semester (this list will only get longer): BE CURIOUS, inquire, stop judging, let your stories tell themselves, learn new words, fall in love with words, become an anthropologist, get angry about how you’ve been taught to see the world, discover two journalists you love–one dead, one alive, discover and fall in love with a serious journalistic publication; discover and fall in love with an introspective and intellectual journalistic podcast, discover and fall in love with a free and unsold radio program on public radio…(more to come—What would you add?)

Freedom’s Journal, 1827

“We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentation of things which concern us dearly. It shall ever be our daily duty to vindicate our brethren, when oppressed, and to lay the cause before the public… From the press and the pulpit we have suffered much by being incorrectly represented. Men… have not hesitated to represent us disadvantageously, without becoming personally acquainted with the true state of things. ”

 

1 Comment on Teaching Journalism Workshop to Black Women Writers at Spelman College

  1. When I see, and hear people who were once respected bastions of our Cottnusional form of government now PUBLICALLY state their TOTAL SUPPORT for the CRIMINAL SLIME that now occupies OUR WH I have a compulsion to PUKE. I have a sick feeling,and I am afraid that the CAUSE of my sick feeling is about to be vomited up,and I didn’t even support,or vote for them. But I did vote for the opposing scum. Hopefully once they have been ejected,I will do a better job of selecting the people who I support.

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