In April 2007, Cindy Rodriguez, a Denver Post metro columnist known for prose that tended toward metaphysical dopiness or the painfully obvious, announced that she was leaving her high-profile gig for a reporting position at the Detroit News -- good timing on her part, since cost-cutting soon led to the ouster of her columnist colleague, Jim Spencer, who came to the paper about the same time she did. For whatever reason, though, she didn't stick around the Motor City for long. She's currently listed as a faculty member at New York University, located in her de facto hometown -- and a syllabus for Journalistic Inquiry, a class she taught in the spring of 2008, announces her mission for students: "To turn you into a reporter."
Here's a look at the opening section of the document, so you can get a sense of what you missed:
Journalistic Inquiry Spring 2008 V54.0101.002 Professor Cindy Rodríguez Mondays & Wednesdays, 6:20 to 8:10 p.m. Room 657, 20 Cooper Square Mission: To turn you into a reporter.
At the end of this 14-week course you will have a more refined understanding of what constitutes news. You’ll know how to research information from various sources, prepare for interviews, learn interviewing techniques, how to take notes, and then distill all that information into compelling news stories that are thoroughly written, yet concise.
You will learn how to construct hard news stories, how to craft solid nut grafs, and write on deadline. You will also learn how to write news features: profiles, trends, and issues stories. It’s a multimedia world, which means you will also learn how to write stories for on-line radio broadcasts and for the web. You will create a blog and post your stories on them.
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Think of our classroom as a newsroom, the place where you will get assignments, work with colleagues, under the guidance of your editor (me). Along the way, you’ll meet some dynamic journalists who will come in as guest speakers. And you’ll learn more about New York City, her issues, and develop a keen sense of news judgment.
When you’ve completed the course you will be ready to delve into advanced reporting...
Yes, it's true. Cindy Rodriguez is training the next generation of reporters at one of the most widely respected journalism schools in the country. And you thought there was reason to worry about the future of the profession before. -- Michael Roberts