ENWR 371   The University of Virginia

"No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft."     H.G. Wells

Course Description

This course aims to prepare you to write with the particular style of news magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report. Writing for such magazines requires concision, a strong "voice," a lively style, and the ability to present a "take" on an issue. We'll study simple, clear writing, and the joys of rewriting. We will focus on writing about people and trends. Other course topics will include interviewing and on-line journals.

Required Texts and Materials

1. You will be expected to read at least one weekly newsmagazine each week. The magazines will be discussed in class.

2. On Writing Well by William Zinsser. 6th Edition. New York: HarperPerennial, and The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Guide.

3. Occasional hand-outs and on-line reading assignments located on the ENWR 371 Web site.

I also recommend that you own a good dictionary, such as the Webster's New Collegiate or the American Heritage. Save all work and handouts for this class in a folder. You must save all your work on computer disk and must bring a disk to each Thursday class in the Bryan 203 computer classroom. It is your responsibility to make sure that the computer work you generate outside of the classroom is compatible with the software in Bryan 203.

Assignments and Grades

There will be a number of small writing assignments and a major cover story that will be rewritten twice. Your cover story will be "workshopped," or discussed in class. There may be a few unannounced quizzes to make sure you understand concepts. There will be no midterm or final examinations.

All work must be pledged according to the university's Honor Code.

All assignments will be in professional style and format, produced on a word processor, double-spaced, titled, and free of spelling and other mechanical errors. All revisions should be a substantial reworking of the draft. In most cases, a revision which includes only minor editing changes will not be accepted.

Papers are due at the beginning of class. Don't wait until the hour before class to make copies for your classmates--that's inevitably the time when the copying machine breaks down.

Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Six small assignments @4% each = 24%
First draft cover story = 20%
Second draft cover story = 20%
Final polished cover story = 20%
Class participation and stylebook notes= 16%


Come to class and participate. Regular attendance is vital to a workshop class. Give your attention and comments to your fellow classmates in support of their work. We will all act as coaches, helping to create the best final products possible. Your class participation grade will reflect the quality and quantity of your response to the work of other writers in the class. You will be allowed two absences during the semester without having your grade affected. Each additional absence will lower your grade by two-thirds of a letter grade. As an example, if your final grade were A-, it would be reduced to a B if you were absent a third time.


I will schedule individual conferences early in the semester to discuss your writing goals. My regular office hours are: Tuesday, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. in 422A Bryan Hall and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in 260 Monroe Hall. Feel free to set up other appointment times. I can best be reached by email: lae9e@forbes2.comm.virginia.edu You can leave notes for me in the main English Dept. office: 219 Bryan Hall. My office phones are 924-6484 or 924-6625.

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