Tentative Calendar, General Info


ObjectiveTo write a formatted, developed, organized, and researched 8 – 10-page formal report in response to the scenario herein.

ScenarioAs we know, Covid 19 has impacted all aspects of our lives. Select an industry or sector and research to the best of your ability Covid 19’s impact on that industry. Were there massive losses, layoffs, closings, bankruptcies, stock decreases or increases? Then, what is the industry doing in the pandemic to keep employees and constituents safe while trying to maintain profitability? Then, select one representative company to discuss in one case study (example). For example, groceries are an industry, and HEB is a major player in that sector. (If you work or have worked in one of these sectors, you could add valuable primary or first-hand information.) Other sectors are oil and gas, gym / fitness, restaurants / bars / food and beverage, warehouses, fashion, electronics, vehicle sales, banking, tax / accounting, etc. Conclude with an outlook for that industry as the pandemic continues. Your transmittal letter is from you at the UHCL address and to me, Janice Bethany, Writing Lecturer, University of Houston Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77058. (Use this UHCL address for both sender – you- and recipient – me.)

Tentative Calendar, General Info Ongoing. Close reading of Chapter 10 to model your report on the example in Fig 10.25 (p. 329 +). See also the partial example in Appendix B within these instructions.

Weeks 1 – 2. Introduce project. Submit Work Plan online as directed.

Weeks 3 -5. Draft due in Discussion Board; peer reviews. If you want instructor feedback, please post the draft on the Discussion Board with ample time for me to review it.

Week 6. Final draft due on Blackboard.

*Late work not accepted.

Weights and Grading CriteriaFormal Report = 25% of course grade

Work Plan = 2.5% of course grade

Full credit for each below item is given for strength and completeness of content; integration of research; audience appeal; format; organization; grammar, language; credible sources, cited both inside the paper and in ref. page.

Title page – 5 points

Letter – 15 points

Electronic Table of Contents / heading levels up to three – 10 points

Executive Summary – 10 points

Introduction – 10 points

Body / Company Discussion – 20 points

Relevant visuals (at least three) – 10 points

Conclusion – 10 points

Reference list / Works Cited – 10 points

No templates. Use of templates results in at least a 10-point deduction from score.

*Integrate a few (3 -6) visuals such as company logos and photos of the establishment as reflected in the Covid 19 pandemic. Most likely, these are royalty-free from Google Images and similar sites. In my class, these visuals do not have to be cited. (Check with each professor, however, if it comes up again.) Here is a link to a short tutorial on inserting, sizing and wrapping pictures. VISUALS MUST BE WRAPPED, NOT PLUNKED. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/insert-pictures-3c51edf4-22e1-460a-b372-9329a8724344?ui=en-us&rs=en-us&ad=us

**Reports that hastily copy-paste pictures or text from the web receive point deductions or further consequences.

Style, Format, and Research

Writing Style. The writing style is formal, but your voice should come through in statements like “Since I am a finance major, I am concerned about drastic changes in the banking industry.” Thus, use your student role to your advantage.

Format. Use single-spaced, block format, approximate 1-inch margins, with appropriate font size and style. (See Fig 10.25, pp. 329 – 339.) Though APA and MLA require double-spacing, business reports are typically single-spaced in block style. Works Cited or References should be the only double-spaced page.

Research and Bibliography. Limit direct quotations to 20% of total, e.g., 1000-word reports should not have more than 200 quoted words. Use MLA or APA style documentation. Properly integrate and cite research from at least 5 credible sources using both in-text and bibliographical citations (pages 316 – 319). I encourage simple, smooth internal citations such as “According to xx, this industry…” Primary research – interviews, emails to the company, personal experience, phone inquiries, observations, etc. – is encouraged. See MLA or APA for manuscript format.

Process1. Select an industry and a truly representative company as directed. Small businesses with just one location are probably not representative, so research with questions such as “What are the representative companies in xx the xx sector?” For example, “What are the major chains in Houston’s grocery industry?” Kroger and HEB are the two top grocers in Houston, according to Houston Business Journal.

2. Develop Using Appendix A and the TENTATIVE OUTLINE below, create a Work Plan (see Appendix A) to organize the project and ensure that nothing gets left out. Post on BB as directed.

3. Conduct Research. Consider primary sources such as company chat, email, phone calls, and websites as well as interviews with company representatives. Secondary sources include published articles (no blogs or stray comments), websites, business publications, possibly textbooks. Tertiary sources are also acceptable for limited background information. Tertiary or “third-level” sources include Wikipedia and other reference works. Use at least one secondary source such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Wired, Fortune, etc.

7. Add headings and visuals. These can be black or in dark colors and do not have to follow APA or MLA rules. They must be used consistently, broken up in levels for the table of contents. Typically, a report uses 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level headings. See pages 325 – 328 for front and back matter.

Tentative Outline for App. A, Estimated Page Length, Heading LevelsTitle Page (front matter, not a heading) – 1 separate page, see p. 329.

Transmittal Letter (front matter, not a heading) – 1 separate page from you at the school address to Professor Janice Bethany also at the school address: Janice Bethany, Writing Lecturer, University of Houston Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77058. Use the greeting, “Dear Janice Bethany:”. See example on p. 330.

Table of Contents (front matter, not a heading) – 1 separate page. See p. 331 as well as this tutorial from MS Support. Note, tables of contents should be electronically, not manually, generated. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/video-introduction-to-tables-of-contents-tocs-0af555b1-fa51-4790-be03-53f022cc086a?ui=en-us&rs=en-us&ad=us

Executive Summary – 1 separate page (half or two-thirds of a page typically). 1st level (ES can include 2nd or 3rd level headings). See p. 333.

Section 1. Introduction – 1 page (half or two-thirds of a page typically). 1st level. See p. 333.

Background and Context – 2nd level heading. This “feeds back” the scenario, e.g., To stay afloat during the pandemic, the retail industry has changed in important ways.

Scope, Sources, Author – 2nd level. The scope shows how and why, briefly, you narrowed the topic to include this company. Who did you exclude generally and why? The sources for your findings include interviews, personal experience, websites, articles, textbooks, news reports, etc. See the resume and letter you completed earlier in the course to add a short bio paragraph about you such as your major, experience, and strong points.

Section 2. Discussion of Company – about 2 pages total, 1st level.

Briefly, respond to “Who is Company 1?” by providing its commonly known products or services; mission / core values; history; CEO; etc. – about 1-2 paragraphs, 2nd level

Coronavirus Economic Impact – Answer this question, How has Covid 19 impacted this company financially? Are impacts positive or negative and why? If company is publicly traded, cite stock gains or losses, using Google Finance or a similar program. Also, consider the company’s increased hiring OR layoffs (increased or decreased), profits, etc. Was the company struggling before the pandemic? Impacts could be discussed on local, regional, state, or national levels. Your industry could be realizing increased profits due to Covid 19 or the opposite. Investigate and discuss. Always add citations such as “According to the Houston Chronicle, the Pappa’s Corporation has closed xx restaurants permanently in Houston.” about 2-4 paragraphsCoronavirus Measures – Discuss a “what and why,” e.g., This company uses an ultraviolet robot to clean and sanitize locations. (Include at least 3 measures but no more than 6.) Introduce a bulleted or numbered list. about 2-4 paragraphs

Philanthropic and charitable contributions of Company 1 for Covid 19 (if possible) – 1 paragraph.

Section 3. Conclusion – about 1/3 to ½ half page, 1st level. Return to the purpose and sum up the findings, e.g., As this report has shown, restaurants have been negatively impacted by Covid 19 with many closing by the minute. The outlook for this industry, according to xx, is… about 1-2 paragraphsSection 4. References or Works Cited page – 1st level (back matter), 1 page (or as many as needed), separate page/s.

Submitting Reports for GradingUsing the assignment link in the Grading Submission Link, upload your final proposal.

Submit final draft to the link in the Grading Submissions tab. Only .doc or .docx files are acceptable (no zip or .pdf files). Late work is not accepted and will not be graded.

Representative Company

Barnes & Noble


Look at the headings highlighted in gray above left and identify each one by level from 1 -3, with level one the biggest. (10 points)

Representative Company is a heading level number … [type the correct number]

Barnes & Noble is a heading level number … [type the correct number]

Summary is a heading level number … [type the correct number]

Watch this tutorial on the table of contents and explain this statement in your own words: The table of contents should be electronically, not manually, generated. (15 points)

Press the CONTROL key while clicking on this link OR open a new tab in your browser and copy-paste this link in your browser bar. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/video-introduction-to-tables-of-contents-tocs-0af555b1-fa51-4790-be03-53f022cc086a?ui=en-us&rs=en-us&ad=us

Headings and Subheadings Style Sheet

Considering the rationale from Question 6 on the Table of Contents, create a draft Style Sheet for the report. It may be changed as you go. The goal now is to get an idea for heading levels. Complete this, keeping in mind enhancements such as all capitals, colors, bold, font size, underline, italics, etc. Show contrast in heading levels! Headings link to the Table of Contents, which is required. (15 points)

The font for all body text (text that is not in headings) is … ____, fill in by preference, e.g. 11-point Calibri.

Heading 1 font style is… ____ Heading 1 is the largest, fill in by preference, e.g., 16-point Arial Black, bold, underlined.

Heading 2 is… ____ fill in by preference, e.g., 14-point Arial, bold.

Heading 3 is… ____ fill in by preference, e.g., 14-point Aldhabi, underline.

Appendix B: Partial Example

Table of Contents

TOC o “1-3” h z u Objective PAGEREF _Toc60935716 h 1Scenario PAGEREF _Toc60935717 h 1Tentative Calendar, General Info PAGEREF _Toc60935718 h 1Weights and Grading Criteria PAGEREF _Toc60935719 h 1Style, Format, and Research PAGEREF _Toc60935720 h 1Process PAGEREF _Toc60935721 h 2Tentative Outline for App. A, Estimated Page Length, Heading Levels PAGEREF _Toc60935722 h 2Submitting Reports for Grading PAGEREF _Toc60935723 h 3Partial Example INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc60935724 h 6Background and Context PAGEREF _Toc60935725 h 6Scope, Sources, Author PAGEREF _Toc60935726 h 7Scope PAGEREF _Toc60935727 h 7Sources PAGEREF _Toc60935728 h 7The Author PAGEREF _Toc60935729 h 7Representative Company PAGEREF _Toc60935730 h 7Barnes & Noble PAGEREF _Toc60935731 h 7Summary PAGEREF _Toc60935732 h 7Coronavirus Impact PAGEREF _Toc60935733 h 7Coronavirus Protective Measures PAGEREF _Toc60935734 h 7Charitable Efforts PAGEREF _Toc60935735 h 7Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc60935736 h 8


Background and Context

Writing 3312, Written Communications in Business, has requested a report on the economic impact of Covid 19 on an industry along with measures to protect both employees and constituents during the pandemic. As a college student, I realize my career path could be altered if certain sectors of the economy collapse during the pandemic. The past months have shown a restructuring … I selected the xx industry because … CONTINUE

Scope, Sources, AuthorScopeAfter reviewing multiple possibilities, I have limited this discussion to the xx corporation. I selected xx as a representative company because … Within this scope, I reported on the company’s general information, Covid-19 impacts, as well as the measures it has taken during the pandemic. CONTINUE


I used xx (how many?) sources from xx (where?) to report on this topic. Additionally, because I have experience in the xx industry, I have included primary research from my management team. CONTINUE

The AuthorCompleting this report for WRIT 3132, I developed, organized, and researched this report. I am a x major with experience in xx; CONTINUE

Representative Company

Barnes & Noble


According to its home page, Barnes & Noble “is the world’s largest bookseller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products” that offers digital books through its NOOK Store. Their mission is “to operate the best omni-channel specialty retail business in America,” while serving the communities through in-store readings, book fairs, and other activities (“About B &N”). Barnes & Noble is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker BKN.

James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones bookstores in the U.K., was appointed CEO in 2019 after the company was acquired by Elliott Advisors in the United Kingdom. Barnes and Noble was founded in 1971 by bookseller Leonard Riggio when he acquired the Barnes & Noble trade name and bookstore on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Mr. Riggio was CEO and then Executive Chairman. (“About Barnes & Noble”).

Coronavirus Impact

50166637380600According to its website, Barnes & Noble closed all of its stores in all 50 states in response to Covid 19. A May 26, 2020 article in Publishers Weekly reports a 9% decrease in sales for the print industry as well as two Covid-related deaths of Barnes & Noble warehouse workers in New Jersey (Maher). The article also notes that all Barnes & Noble College employees were furloughed as a result of campuses closing along with a “select number” from all stores nationwide (Maher). Our team concludes that Covid 19 impacted this company negatively. THIS SECTION SHOULD INCLUDE ECONOMIC IMPACTS INCLUDING STOCK LOSSES / INCREASES; PROFITS; STAFFING CHANGES SUCH AS LAYOFFS OR INCREASED HIRING; ETC.

500717598280Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1 – Social Distancing at Barnes & Noble

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1 – Social Distancing at Barnes & Noble

Coronavirus Protective MeasuresAs the United States recently began reopening, the company is opening its stores as allowed by the state. Online orders and digital formats are not new to this established bookseller, so efforts to serve customers virtually remain in place. On a visit to the Barnes and Noble in Webster, near Houston, I observed that the reading areas with benches, chairs, and tables had been removed. Customers cannot sit to browse books as they used to do. Instead, they just shop and pay up front.

To protect their staff and customers, the bookseller requires social distancing of at least six feet, masks for all employees, and plexiglass shields at the registers. Here are additional measures from Barnes and Noble as listed on their website:

Reduced store hours

Temperature checks before each shift for all employees

Curbside delivery for pick-up of online and other orders

Shift of in-store events such as Storytime to virtual format

According to WebMD, the virus could live on paper for just a few minutes after contact but as long as five days. Therefore, Barnes & Noble requests that customers do not reshelf their books after browsing but set them aside for staff to sanitize first (Walker).


Charitable EffortsThough no information on the bookseller’s charitable efforts for Covid 19 was available, Barnes & Noble supports a number of literacy efforts in the schools. At the local level, the company sponsors fund raising efforts and donates to organizations that meet their criteria.

ConclusionAfter careful research, I have determined that the book publishing industry has been negatively impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic. Alexandra Alter of the New York Times claims that the book business “like others, is bracing for catastrophe.” Whereas people seem to be reading more due to staying home, the pandemic has caused mass cancellations and lost revenue in book fairs, guest authors, trade shows, and more. Not only this, but Publishers Weekly cites massive layoffs in the industry worldwide, thus creating a grim job outlook for recent college graduates preparing to enter the publishing field as authors, editors, and agents. At that, assistance exists with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and other fundraising efforts such as GoFundMe (Maher). CONTINUE

Works Cited

“About B & N.” Barnes & Noble Inc. www.barnesandnobleinc.com. Accessed 1 June 2020.

Alter, Alexandra. “The World of Books Braces for a Newly Ominous Future.” New York Times, 16 Mar. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/books/coronavirus-impact-publishing-industry-booksellers-authors.html. Accessed 31 May 2020.

“How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Surfaces?” WebMD, www.webmd.com/lung/how-long-covid-19-lives-on-surfaces#:~:text=The%20length%20of%20time%20varies,up%20to%205%20days. Accessed 1 June 2020.

Maher, John. “Covid-19 Impact Listing: Cancellations, Closings, Policy Changes, and More.” Publishers Weekly, 26 May 2020, www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/trade-shows-events/article/82672-covid-19-ongoing-list-of-cancellations.html. Accessed 26 May 2020.

Walker, Marjorie (store manager, Barnes and Noble, Webster, Texas), interview with author, 2 June 2020.



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