JOU 6309
in Journalism as Literature
1090 Weimer Hall
Tuesday 4:05 – 7:05 p.m.

Dr. Ronald R. Rodgers
3058 Weimer 
Phone: 352–392–8847

I am available to you this semester – and beyond – to talk about this class, to talk about journalism and communications, to talk about your career, or to just talk. My office hours are listed on my schedule:
  • Link to my schedule
  • Or just stop by – my door is pretty much always open, and if I am in and I am free, we can talk.
E-Mail Policy
To deal with the chaos of life, the many messages I get every day, the expectation that I will respond within minutes even if the e-mail is sent at 3 in the morning, and to promote a sense of professionalism, I have established an e-mail policy. It is thus:

  • First, use the e-learning e-mail system only - and later the Sakai system when the class is migrated over.
  • You should note  that  I check my e-mail  once in the morning and once in the evening  Monday  through Friday.
  • The subject line should include your full name.
  • Your e-mail should open with a salutation (Professor Rodgers, Dr. Rodgers).
  • The e-mail should be as specific as possible about your concerns or questions. For example, if you are asking about an assignment, clearly identify which assignment or whatever you are talking about.
  • Your message should be written and edited flawlessly and should contain no chatspeak truncations or contortions.
  • Your e-mail should close with your full name, student ID number, and class name and section
  • An e-mail that does not comport with these instructions has a good chance of either falling into my spam folder or of being deleted before being read.
    o   The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell
    o   Dispatches by Michael Herr
    o   Hells Angels by Hunter S. Thompson
    o   Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
    o   The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
    o   The Right Stuff  by Tom Wolfe
    o   The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer
    o   Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee
    o   Picture  by Lillian Ross
    o   Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (Excerpt & interview)
    • Other selected readings, to be handed out in class or by Web links.
    • Also, familiarize yourself with the Nieman Narrative Digest, which contains good examples of contemporary literary journalism and some excellent essays on the craft, and – a curated collection of great longform pieces formatted for single-click saving into Instapaper (but you can read on browser).
    • Finally, log in to the e-Learning Support Services web site at If you use bookmarks in your browser, this is the page to bookmark. You must have a valid GatorLink ID (username and password) to log in to e-Learning. We will be working on most assignments in and out of class through e-Learning. Keep in mind I will be putting deadline times on submissions and at a certain point the system will mark your work late or will not even accept it.
    This course will be conducted as a reading seminar, one of many you will encounter as a graduate student. So you must first be here and then also be prepared to participate in the class discussion. Lack of preparation is reflected in your participation, and in my book, lack of preparation is nearly the same as being absent from class and will be graded in the same way. By the end of 15 weeks, I will have a pretty good handle on  who participates and who does not. It is essential that you complete all the assigned readings for each class meeting. We may not discuss every reading in class, but you will be responsible for all the readings.
    WRITTEN WORK (Assignments with due dates in e–Learning)

    NOTE: I may cancel class a time or two and hold small-group meetings to discuss and hone your papers. I will announce when.

    You are expected to participate in this class. That means you bring in your questions each week, offer your ideas about the subject, allow other people to express their views, respect others' opinions and exchange ideas that will make us better readers and writers. Seminar discussions require a fine balance. On the one hand, you do not want to to take over the conversation. On the other hand, you do not want to let others do all the talking. If you go on and on (and I am often guilty of this, too, as my passion for a subject will over–ride my self–editor), I will politely cut you off.
    • 40% Final Research Paper. This includes your grades on the first  three stages of  this paper and your paper presentation.
    • 25% Blog Assignments.
    • 25% Final Non–Fiction Story.
    • 10% Attendance / Participation / Classroom Demeanor / Discussion / Other Writing  Assignments / the Quality of Your Cookies.
    Grade Scale
    (See Grades and Grading Policies re UF's new policy on minus grades)

    A = 100 to 93 B+ = 89–87 C+ = 79–77 D+ = 69–67 E = 59–0
    A– = 92–90 B = 86–83 C = 76–73 D = 66–63

    B– = 82–80 C– = 72–70 D– = 62–60
    If you fail to meet deadlines for turning in work, the penalty is severe. A zero on blog assignments and an automatic deduction of one letter grade for each day late on the three writing stages, and the final paper and story.
    Class attendance is required. More than one unexcused absence will result in a minimum deduction of one letter–grade from your attendance and participation grade. More than two will result in the same deduction from your overall grade.  Hey, this class only meets once a week. Arriving or leaving early will be considered an absence. Excused absences include documented medical excuses and religious observances (with advanced notice). Please contact me before class.  University–approved absences must be documented (in advance, if for an approved university activity) according to official university policy. Obtaining written verification for an excused absence is your responsibility, as is arranging to complete any missed work.

    Please let me know immediately if you have any kind of problem or disability that would hinder your work in this course. I will do my best to help you. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office, which will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.
    See links on front page of my website.
    Commit yourself to honesty and integrity if you haven’t already. If you engage in any form of academic misconduct, including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, and aiding and abetting, the penalties could be severe, including dismissal from this class.

    Everything you turn in should be your own work and not that of others. Remember, I have access to the Internet, too. Sources need to be cited. All interpretations, unless cited, should also be your own. If I find that anything you submit was done by someone else, or you use exact words without setting them off with quotation marks, or you imply that an interpretation from a source is your own without crediting the source, you  have committed plagiarism and will, at the minimum,  fail this course. You are required  to read Academic Honesty. I will work under the assumption that you have done so. For a more official elaboration of ethical conduct, see the Honor Code. For your edification, go to  and read the discussion on plagiarism. This is requred reading, and I will work on the assumption that you have done so and understand the content there.
    Sometimes a class such as this will deal with controversial topics, so be warned that words that may be considered offensive or ideological may be spoken in the context of the subjects we are discussing. As a teacher, I have no political or social agenda, so do not try to answer in a way you believe might comport with what I want to hear or read. Feel free to advocate any position as long as you remain respectful of others' opinions, and always be able to defend your point of view.

    Turn them off.