Postgraduate

modules

Modules

MCH8069 : Multi-Media Journalism: Principles and Practice

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module allows students:

To develop an understanding of the conventions and practices of telling stories through a variety of media in use within the mass communication industries.

To develop skills in clear, concise writing, reporting and editing and in telling stories using the printed word, photographs and audio and video media.

To consider and assess the ethics of writing, the aims and objectives of writing for the mass media, and to consider the engagement and interaction which takes place between the journalist and the audience.

To practise, produce, and assess/edit one's own writing and reports produced using audio recordings and still and moving images.

To comment critically on the work of others in the same field.

To assess the role and significance of multi-platform story-telling in contemporary mass media.

To work in pairs to put together a portfolio of evidence which can support employment, career or postgraduate education aims.


Some call it multi-media, some call it convergence – but whatever you call it, the message is clear: journalists and other professional communicators can no longer rely on a single set of skills in print, photography, TV or radio to put their stories in front of their readers. Today’s journalists, and PR people, need to be able to tell their stories in many ways, using different media technologies, and engage with many different audiences. No longer are readers, viewers or listeners content to simply accept what is put in front of them; they want to help shape the story by supplying additional facts, context, opinions, still and moving images and sound clips. The audiences are also part of the new distribution network for stories and reports.

Millions of printed newspapers are still being sold every day and the fundamental principles of journalism, be it in print, TV or radio (gathering important, interesting, valuable information and passing it on accurately, engagingly and quickly), are still in high demand.

This practical, hands-on module will introduce you to those key skills of newsgathering, interviewing, writing and editing. You will learn to tell stories using a combination of text, still and moving pictures and sound recordings, and how best to tell a particular story and identify and engage with a particular audience.

You will be encouraged to think about the ethics of writing, about how the demands of a media industry can often conflict with the writer’s ethical and political positions, and how to address these issues.

You will be introduced to genres, conventions and standards in news practices in various broadcast and print media, and will be encouraged to critically evaluate these practices.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will usually be delivered in parallel to two groups with not more than 30
in each group

Week
1 Seminar 2 hours Introduction, news and the intro par
2 Workshop 1 hour The web
3 Seminar 2 hours Interviewing – starting the Profile for assessment
4 Workshop 1 hour Photography and setting up slide shows
5 Seminar 2 hours Writing news reports
6 Workshop 1 hour Audio recording and editing
7 Seminar 2 hours Writing for radio, TV and the web
8 Workshop 1 hour Video
9 Seminar 2 hours Writing for radio, TV and the web
10 Workshop 1 hour Video editing (Profile and news reports hand-in)
11 Workshop 1 hour Feature writing
12 No timetabled session
13 Workshop 1 hour Ethical issues and the law
14 No timetabled session
15 Workshop 1 hour multimedia feature project workshop
16 No timetabled session
17 Workshop 1 hour multimedia feature project workshop
18 No timetabled session
19 Workshop 1 hour multimedia feature project workshop
20 Work to be handed in

1/ This module is aimed at students who are new to the field of writing for the media and communications industries. The module will encourage students to report for a range of audiences in the print media.

2/ The module will encourage students critically to consider, discuss and analyse journalism in a variety of media in relation to genre, convention, audience, and ethics.
3/ The module will be structured around practical assignments and project work which reflects working models adopted by media industries.
1. News reports: Working from information provided, students will produce three news reports on the same event: one of 600 words written for an evening newspaper, one of 30 seconds (90 words) for a national radio bulletin and one of 200 words for an internet news site. (15% of the total assessment for this module)
2.Profile: You will interview a subject (a fellow student) at length and write a profile of him / her from the information you have gathered. This will be of 750 words, it will be written for a specific audience and will be accompanied by an audio-visual slide show made up of still photographs accompanied by an edited audio track of your subject speaking about an interesting area of their life. (20% of the total assessment for this module )
3. Speech: For this assignment you will view a recording of an important speech which raises key social / political / ethical issues and of several responses to the speech from key players involved in the issues it raises. You will then report it as a straightforward, balanced news story which gives in just 500 words a full and clear account of the issues on all sides of the argument. You will then set up a blog in which you will be sable to add an additional layer of comment and context and open the discussion on this issue to your audience. (15% of the total assessment for this module).

4 Multi-media feature package: You will develop a news/feature package on a topic or issue from a theme specified by the tutor and you will work in groups to produce a multi-media package – a series of reports using text, still photographs, video and audio designed to be mounted on a website – on the issue or topic of your choice. (50% of the total assessment for this module).

Students on the MA in Internat

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00Tutorials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1136:00136:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge outcomes:
This module will allow students to gain introductory and critical knowledge of:
1 Key principles of ethical and professional practice in journalism.
(Ethical and professional practice are explored in the news reports to be produced for three media and the profile in which students will be interviewing a subject and addressing issues of intrusion, privacy and respect for their subject and the manner in which that subject is portrayed. These will be addressed furthermore in the speech rep[ort in which issues of accuracy and balance are paramount and the multi-media feature in which ethical practice and professional performance will be central to the research process and news and information gathering as well as the representation of sources and ‘actors’.)
2 The conventions of writing, editing, and reporting.
(Through presentation, discussion and critical analysis during several seminars and practical workshops.)
3 The role of informative, persuasive, instructive, and entertaining writing and reading.
(This will be the subject of a specific seminar and examples will be analysed critically throughout the module)
4 The advantages and disadvantages of different media as story-telling platforms.
(These will be interrogated when each new medium is introduced as students develop the technical skills necessary to produce material on the new platform and explore the professional skills necessary to use it as a story-telling tool.)
5 The inter-relationship between the reporter and her audience(s).
(This relationship is changing fast and students will be exploring the opportunities offered by the interactivity both encouraged and generated by the technologies and the changing dynamic between ‘news producer’ and ‘news consumer’.)


Skills outcomes:

1 Interviewing.
(This will be introduced and practiced in the third semester and students will develop the skill in a range of contexts as the module progresses with formative feedback being provided regularly.)
2 Writing, drafting and editing.
(Students will constantly be writing, drafting and editing their work and they will enjoy feedback at all stages from peers and from tutors)
3 Planning and organising a range of articles from short reports to packages using multiple media platforms.
(The module has 15 contact sessions, five of 2 hours and 10 of 1 hour duration and the students will have instruction and support in planning and organising their articles throughout both semesters from peers and tutors.)
4 Representing others’ views and opinions.
(All the assessment tasks are designed to give students the opportunity to learn how to represent others’ views and opinions accurately, clearly, engagingly and without undue bias or prejudice.)
5 Working to deadlines.
(Assignments will be due in periodically in order to emphasise the need to meet deadlines.)
6       Researching and reporting on a substantial topic or issue.
(The profile assignment allows students to research a topic, and to plan and prepare the organisation and presentation of that topic. The multimedia feature demands greater autonomy from the students in the planning process, the gathering of information and the presentation of what will be a substantial piece of journalism – but they also have to cooperate in producing this because they will be working in pairs.)
Furthermore:
1 The range of material covered in the module will provide students with the opportunity to establish a base from which to develop as professional journalists in a range of media settings.
2 Students have the opportunity to be taught by professionals in the field and to then identity their own skills in order to enhance them in the context of advanced professional study, employability, or career.
3 Classes will mix formal instruction experiences with informal advice and practice sessions.
4 Practice in generating media content will be to the fore both inside and outside the taught sessions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M153 News Reports, total of 980 words, to be submitted Week 10
Written exercise1M20Profile (700 words plus audio slide show) to be submitted Week 10
Written exercise2M15Speech (500 words plus blog element) to be submitted before Easter vacation
Design/Creative proj2A50Extended multi-media feature package (equivalent to 2000 word essay)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge outcomes:
This module will allow students to gain introductory and critical knowledge of:
6       Key principles of ethical and professional practice in journalism.
(Ethical and professional practice are explored in the news reports to be produced for three media and the profile in which students will be interviewing a subject and addressing issues of intrusion, privacy and respect for their subject and the manner in which that subject is portrayed. These will be addressed furthermore in the speech rep[ort in which issues of accuracy and balance are paramount and the multi-media feature in which ethical practice and professional performance will be central to the research process and news and information gathering as well as the representation of sources and ‘actors’.)
7       The conventions of writing, editing, and reporting.
(These are addressed in all four assignments.)
8       The role of informative, persuasive, instructive, and entertaining writing and reading.
(These areas of understanding are specifically addressed by the speech report, but are central themes in every assignment. )
9       The advantages and disadvantages of different media as story-telling platforms.
(These are interrogated by the speech report, which includes text and a blog, the profile, which includes text and audio photo slide show and by the multi-media feature in which students must decide for themselves which media to use to tell a specific part of the story.)
10       The inter-relationship between the reporter and her audience(s).
(This relationship is explored in all the multi-media elements of the assignments, but specifically in the blog elements of the speech report and the multi-media feature. Students will be expected to explore this aspect of their work at every stage of each assignment.)


Skills outcomes:
Students will gain skills in
13.       Interviewing.
(This skill is central to the profile assignment, but interviews will also be required to successfully complete the multi-media feature package.)
14.       Writing, drafting and editing.
(This is central to all the assignments)
15.       Planning and organising a range of articles from short reports to packages using multiple media platforms.
(The range of assessment strategies allows students to build and demonstrate the full range of skills required in multi-media production. The multi-media feature is also produced by students working in pairs, which demand greater attention to planning and organisation to share the work equitably and meet deadlines.)
16.       Representing others’ views and opinions.
(The profile, speech and feature packages address this issue in a range of real-world contexts.)
17.       Working to deadlines.
(All the assignments reinforce this element of journalistic practice.)

Reading Lists

Timetable