R. Scott Mackey, M.A.
California State University
, Sacramento
Communication Studies Department

Fall 2006



Bio and c.v.

Published Work

CommS 122
Reading List

Communication/Journalism 122

Text assignment - example

Following is an example of how to format your text assignment along with more information about writing expectations. This is example is shorter than the 1500 words or so you are to write, but should give you an example of how to present your work.


Use a cover sheet with your name, course name, instructor's name and the title of your paper.

The next sheet should be the Audience Analysis.

Audience Analysis (example)

The subject matter discussed in this article is intended for an audience that fits the following profile:

Age - use these categories as subheading and then provide the information hanging indent paragraph form like this. Be sure to double space.

Gender - or you can provide the information, still using the category (in this case "Gender") as a subhead, but block the text as in this example, bolding the category to make it stand out from the blocked text.

Interest in your subject - the less interested they are in your subject the more you are going to have to demonstrate WIIFM (What's in it for me?)

Awareness of your subject - How deep or broad is their knowledge

Level of technical expertise about your subject -

Reading ability (reading level, English as primary language) - Remember most people prefer to read down (i.e., at a reading level below their education) because it is easier

Education - Formal education as well as special training, experience or knowledge about your subject

Information they specifically want to know about your subject - Think about the who, what, when, where, why and how of your subject and what would be most meaningful to your audience.

Things they already know and wouldn't want to read again -
If you are writing for experts or people with some knowledge of your subject you don't want to waste their time with basic information.

On a new page start your actual paper:


Written text goes here. You should use proper paragraphing to introduce your subject and the major sections. This introductory sections should be no more than 1-3 well-crafted paragraphs. Be sure to double-space. This component of your Notebook Assignment will be evaluated on the use of good writing principles.

Note that you should indent the first word of your paragraph. I'm not doing it here because I can't do it with my rudimentary HTML skills.

Good writing principles

All papers are expected to adhere to proper rules of grammar and punctuation. In addition, I will be looking for your understanding of the five keys to effective writing presented in this class. These include:

1. Put the readers first
2. Use simple words and short sentences
3. Avoid jargon except when necessary
4. Write with verbs and nouns
5. Format to improve readability

This last principle-formatting-will be particularly critical in this class and deserves further clarification.

Strong formatting

While I don't want to see everything presented in a bulleted list, do remember to break up large chunks of text. Use bullets, numbered lists, tables, charts, bolds, italics, indents, sidebars and other formatting devices to break up the information so that the reader can easily scan it. Do not overuse these devices for their own sake. Rather, try to organize your information so that they naturally lend themselves to easy organization.

Even when your text may not suitable for breaking into lists and charts, you can use "signpost words" that help the reader understand where he or she is in your narrative. For example, if you stated that you want to list five things that you like about jazz, it would make sense to introduce each point by saying, "The first thing I like about jazz is X . . . The second thing I like about jazz is Y . . . etc." Signpost words can also be used to make transitions or deviations clear. Some signpost words might be:

    • Furthermore
    • Therefore
    • As a result
    • Similarly
    • In contrast to
    • On the other hand
    • More importantly.

There are too many signpost words to list here, but the idea is to make sure your text flow from idea to idea and that the reader understands this flow.


Be sure to include an conclusion that summarizes or restates your article and the various sections that comprise it.



Send comments or suggestions to: smackey17@yahoo.com

Updated: Sept. 3, 2006