Course Details

Course Number
MCOM 4183
Section Number
MCOM 4183
Spring 2017
Fain Fine Arts Center
Classroom Number
Days & Times

M 6-8:50 p.m.

Dr. Jim Sernoe (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Course Objectives

Course Objectives/Description

·         Students will obtain practical experience in a professional setting.

·         Students will understand expectations in a professional setting.

·         Students will receive on-site feedback, critique and guidance from a qualified supervisor.

·         Students will be able to apply skills learned in the classroom and through extracurricular activities at MSU.


Grading Standards


·         Completion of MCOM 1243 – Newswriting I

·         Completion of MCOM 3133 – Electronic News Gathering

·         Junior standing

·         Consent of instructor





I have decided not to use a formal textbook for this course this semester. However, required reading will consist of numerous handouts over the course of the semester and will be supplemented by considerable outside assignments/research.



Meetings and Deadlines

All internship students are required to attend an orientation meeting on Monday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. Additional meetings will be scheduled to discuss portfolios and mock interviews, detailed below. Failure to attend these meetings will result in the cancelation of your internship.


All arrangements for the internship, including scheduling, duties and other considerations, must be in place by Friday, Jan. 20. In addition, a signed internship contract must also be completed and submitted to the professor by Friday, Jan. 20. Failure to meet this deadline will result in the cancelation of your internship.




An internship is not like other courses in which there are set meeting times. The Mass Communication Department considers the internship a form of employment, and as such, students are expected to conduct themselves as employees with little faculty oversight. This means it is up to you to attend regularly, arrive on time, dress appropriately, conduct yourself professionally (this means, among other expectations, that you will not send and receive personal calls, text messages or e-mails while officially on duty), meet deadlines, and participate as a team member, among other responsibilities.

As I will not be there day to day to make sure these responsibilities are

met – as I would be in a traditional course – I rely on students to behave as adults. I also rely on reports from your supervisor.


You are expected to communicate with me and/or your supervisor about any problems that occur during the internship.


Your contract has further details about grades. As stated in the contract, internships must be served in a face-to-face environment (not through cyberspace) with a qualified supervisor who has experience in the area and gives substantive feedback. As stated in the contract, grades are based on timely submission of weekly logs, a final paper, a letter from your supervisor and a thank-you note to your supervisor. As stated in the contract, the due date for completion of hours, final paper, your supervisor’s letter and your thank-you note will be Monday, May 1, 2017.


Logs – 30 percent: Logs are to be kept and submitted weekly. Grades will be based on timely submission as well as quality. Do not submit several weeks’ worth of logs at the end of the internship. Logs must be written using standard grammar, spelling and punctuation (in other words, don’t send logs written as if u r sending a txt-msg  L ). Handwritten logs will not be accepted. If your logs fail to follow these guidelines, you will be asked to revise and resubmit.


Example of Weekly Log


Tuesday, January 22, 2017      4 hours


I arrived at 9 a.m. and met with Sally, the news director, to discuss assignments for the day. I attended the news budget meeting at 9:30 a.m. and observed how reporters pitch their story ideas. I left with Brandon at 10 a.m. to work on a story about the storms the night before. When we got back to the station at around 1 p.m.,

I helped write and edit the story. I was happy that Brandon listened to my suggestions. We then met with Susan, the assignments editor, for a first read-through. I don’t think I’d like her job because she has to constantly tell reporters things they don’t want to hear.


Total hours this week:  12

Hours to reach 120:     100



Examples of past students’ logs will be available at the first meeting.


You may submit your logs via e-mail, fax (397-4909) or mail; or you may put them in my mailbox in the front office. I will verify that I have received your logs.


You are expected to accumulate 120 hours. This can be done in any combination as agreed to by you and the supervisor (e.g., 10 weeks for

12 hours per week; 6 weeks for 20 hours per week; etc.), as long as you reach 120 before the final due date, Monday, May 1, 2017. While I strongly believe interns should be paid for their efforts, the reality is that most are not.

This aspect of the internship is strictly between the student and the employing organization.


Final Essay – 15 percent: The final essay, due on Monday, May 1, 2017, should address the following topics:

  • Duties
  • What you learned
  • What you enjoyed/did not enjoy
  • Your strengths/weaknesses during the internship
  • How your experiences in the Mass Communication Department did or did not prepare you for this internship
  • How you will or will not conduct yourself any differently as you finish your college days at MSU
  • How this experience will or will not have an impact on your career/career choices
  • Whether you received proper guidance/critique from your supervisor, and how it did or did not affect you
  • Whether you would recommend this organization/internship for a future student from MSU.


Final essays must be printed and submitted to the professor. E-mailed submissions will not be accepted.

Supervisor’s Letter – 20 percent: The supervisor’s letter will address not only your achievements in terms of work quality, but also your ability to conduct yourself professionally (see below). It is your responsibility to make sure the letter from your supervisor arrives on time – it is due on

Monday, May 1, 2017. A copy of this syllabus will be provided to your supervisor.


Thank-You Letter – 10 percent: You are required to write a thank-you letter to your supervisor and/or the organization at the end of your internship.

This letter must be submitted to the professor in an unsealed, addressed, stamped envelope on or before Monday, May 1, 2017. DO NOT SEND THIS LETTER ON YOUR OWN. I will check all letters for quality in the writing before approving them. If you have errors, you will be asked to revise and resubmit.


If you produce any materials for the organization (e.g., articles, press releases, tapes), samples must be submitted before final deadline.


Around the time you achieve approximately 60 hours, I will contact your supervisor for a midterm report on your progress.


You are required to remember that you are representing the department and the university during your internship. As such, you are expected to conduct yourself in ways that will not bring embarrassment to the department or university. It is on you to meet responsibilities in such a way that a supervisor does not say, “We will never have an intern from MSU again.”


If you cannot make it a priority to behave responsibly and professionally, please drop now. If you cannot make it a priority to represent the department and the university in ways that will keep our reputation intact, please drop now.


Portfolio and Interview Simulation – 25 percent: As part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio and participate in an interview simulation before completing this course. This requirement is

non-negotiable. Students are required to demonstrate competence with the written word, the spoken word and visual communication, as well as critical thinking skills. For this course, the required portfolio will include two examples each of competency with the written word and visual communication; spoken communication skills and critical thinking skills will be assessed during the interview simulation later in the semester. You will receive further information about each of these components as the semester progresses.


Please note that once final portfolios are submitted, they remain on file with the department and university for assessment and accreditation purposes. Students who want copies for themselves or for potential employers will need to make copies on their own before submitting the final version to the professor.


Here is the tentative schedule:

Monday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m. – group meeting

        Topic: internship procedures/orientation

Monday, Jan. 30, 6 p.m. – group meeting

        Topic: overview of portfolio requirements

Monday, Feb. 6, 6 p.m. – group meeting

        Topics: resumes, cover letters

Monday, Feb. 13, noon – drafts of resumes and cover letters due

Monday, Feb. 27, noon – final resumes and cover letters due

Monday, March 6, 6 p.m. – group meeting

        Topic: job searches

        Also: drafts of portfolios due

Monday, April 3, 6 p.m. – group meeting

        Topic: interviews

        Also: final portfolios due

Monday, April 10, 6 p.m. – group meeting

        Topic: interviews

Tuesday, April 11, and Wednesday, April 12 – interviews

Monday, April 17, 6 p.m. – group meeting

        Topics: interviews, wrap-up

Monday, May 8, 8-10 p.m. – final exam session



By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course,

you are indicating that you understand my expectations regarding attitude and professionalism, as well as the grading policies.


A final note on grading: Critics from both within and outside of higher education have accused faculty of engaging in “grade inflation,” the idea that grades don’t truly reflect quality and instead have been devalued to the point that an A means very good, a B means average, and anything less than a B is failing.

I’m not sure whether those people would include me in their criticisms, but I do know I try my best to adhere to the system as I understand it: an A means outstanding, a B means above average, and a C means average. Please remember these interpretations as the semester progresses.




The MSU Student Honor Creed, written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate, covers expectations related to cheating and other forms of


academic dishonesty. The main statement from this document is:


 “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.”


All students in my courses are expected to abide by this student-produced document, as well as all other related university policies. I will provide copies of the MSU Student Honor Creed to any student who requests one. It is also on page 8 of the 2016-2017 MSU Student Handbook (the handbook is also available online at


In addition, the university requires faculty to provide this statement to all students:


By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course. The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and educational purposes.


By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course,

you are indicating that you understand the statement provided above and agree to comply with it.


I require COMPLETE honesty in producing your work. Working professionals are often encouraged to confer with their colleagues on strategies and wordings, but there is a difference between advice and blatant plagiarism.


Past students will tell you I take this issue very seriously and have not hesitated to confront them. A slightly higher grade is not worth the extremely unpleasant experience of taking an accusation of academic dishonesty through the university hierarchy. Please don’t force me to do it.


I reserve the right to drop any student with an F if he/she engages in any form of academic dishonesty. I further reserve the right to recommend other sanctions as may be appropriate. Students are also encouraged to consult the following sources for additional discussion of students’ rights and responsibilities regarding cheating, attendance and general conduct:

·         The MSU Student Honor Creed

·         The 2016-2018 MSU Undergraduate Catalog, available online at

·         The 2016-2017 MSU Student Handbook (the handbook is also available online at


By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course,

you are indicating that you understand the seriousness of academic dishonesty and realize I will impose the harshest sanctions possible

if I can prove you have engaged in academic dishonesty. You are also indicating that you understand what constitutes academic dishonesty;

I will not tolerate the excuse that the student did not know he/she was engaging in academic dishonesty.




Federal privacy law prohibits me from releasing information about students to certain parties outside of the university without the signed consent of the student. Thus, in almost all cases I will not discuss your academic progress or other matters with your parents. Please do not have them call me. Regardless of these important legal considerations, it is my general policy to communicate with the students, not their parents. College students are adults and are expected to behave accordingly.



Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective Aug. 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at


Please be advised that any violations of the law will be reported immediately.



Special Accommodations

Students with disabilities or who are in need of special arrangements should see me as early as possible in the semester. I will do what I can within reason to accommodate your needs. Please note that in order to qualify for consideration of special accommodations, you must be registered with the MSU Office of Disability Support Services, and I must have a memo on file from that office, along with the Special Accommodations Request form. If necessary,

you and/or I will contact your internship supervisor.


If you have specific medical information that needs sharing or you need specific accommodations in case of emergencies or emergency evacuations, please see me as soon as possible. If necessary, you and/or I will contact your internship supervisor.



Further Information Regarding The Senior Portfolio Requirement

Please note that all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio during the Internship course (please note that Internship is a prerequisite to Senior Production). This requirement is a part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is non-negotiable. Students are required to demonstrate communication competence through the written word and visual communication; two examples of each competency are required for the portfolio.


As you go through this and other classes, you are responsible for saving course work that could be included in your portfolio.


Please see me, your adviser or any mass communication faculty member for handouts with more information ("Mass Communication Portfolio Competencies" and "Mass Communication Portfolio FAQ"). These handouts are also available at:


Final Exam

05/08/2017 8 p.m.

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at