COM2068 : Journalism Practice

  • Module Leader(s): Mr Murray Dick
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Building upon the aims and learning/skills outcomes of COM1030, this module will allow you to further develop key writing, reading and editing skills commonly practiced in many media and communications industries.

More particularly, this module allows students:

• To consolidate understanding of the conventions and practices of writing for the mass media.
• To consolidate practical knowledge of the key elements of clear, concise writing, reporting and editing.
• To consider and assess the ethics of writing, the aims and objectives of writing for the mass media, and the role of the audience.
• To improve self-assessment in own writing.
• To improve critical evaluation of others’ writing.
• To assess the role and significance of writing in contemporary mass media.
• To compile a portfolio of evidence which can be used in relation to employment, career or postgraduate education aims.

The module will help you identify, outline, and develop the key elements of clear, concise writing, reporting and editing, while encouraging you to think about the ethics and purpose of writing, and about audiences who read or listen to your material.

You will be introduced to genres, conventions and standards in news practices in various media professions and practices and will be encouraged to critically evaluate these aspects. You will consider approaches to combining visual and graphic elements with the written word in order to present information effectively.

Outline Of Syllabus

Building upon the aims and learning/skills outcomes in COM1030, this module will allow students to continue to develop their newswriting skills for print, online and broadcast. Students will also be introduced to blogging, feature writing, interviewing, and the art of travel writing, while developing skills in journalism production

Lectures will encourage students to critically consider media writing in relation to genre, convention, audience, grammar and form, and ethics. The assessment procedures outlined below mean that students will work to frequent deadlines and engage in practical, journalistic activities on a weekly basis whilst critically reflecting on topics covered throughout the course. Students will be responsible for managing their own workload, and their journalistic outputs, which may be used to establish a portfolio of journalistic work

The topics covered in this module may include:
•       Blogging
•       Writing professionally for the web
•       Critical evaluation of ‘news values’
•       Pitching and commissioning (a print or multimedia feature)
•       News production (for print)
•       News production (for broadcast)
•       Writing specialist and general features
•       Interview features and the practice of depth interviewing
•       Travel writing
•       Sports journalism
•       Applied ethics in professional journalism

Not all of these topics will necessarily be taught every year; and indeed the syllabus may shift in emphasis according to media climate and culture at the time of teaching.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading124:0024:00Students undertaking specific research or reading on their own as directed by academic staff.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching23:006:00Copy Clinics will allow students to receive individual feedback on coursework.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops102:0020:00Focusing on the practical elements of news writing.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The assessment methods relate closely to key elements in the module’s outline of work (above). The assessments are designed in order to allow students to sense the importance of deadlines, accuracy, detail, drafting, etc. Summative assessment rationale and relationship:
Knowledge for this module relates closely to practice and product as well as theory and analysis. It is useful for students to have the opportunity to comment on drafts as well as on existing work or work by established writers/publications. The web diary blog will ensusre students, engage, research, read and reflect on course material, maintaining journalistic and academic commentaries of weekly topics. Prior to the second assessment, the blog will partly contribute to students developing disciplined writing skills in terms of tight deadlines and word counts. The second assessment then allows students to choose an approach from the module which they wish to expand on: The two news stores (1000 words each) will require students to cover two news genres and produce stories of a local or national interest with evidence of independent research. The extended feature will allow students to research a topic and write an extended article exploiting the range of skills they have acquired in the module (maximum 2000 words). The critical essay will require students to apply academic theory to practical elements covered in the module and/or a case study of a current issue in journalism. These methods of assessment require students to think independently, openly and creatively in terms of their decision making and specific choices for each assessment.

Formative assessment rationale and relationship:
The formative assessment for this module will comprise two homework exercise, undertaken to schedule during semester. It is intended that this approach will allow students to develop their editorial ‘voice’, having already developed a clear grasp of the technical elements of newswriting (in COM1030).
Homework assessments will be submitted via email to the tutor to a fixed deadline.
Though not assessed, these outputs will nevertheless form the basis of two key elements of learning on this module.

Firstly, students will have two opportunities each term to receive direct one-to-one feedback on this work. In weeks 4 and 8, ‘Copy Clinics’ will be run, where students may receive 10 minutes of direct editorial feedback on one of these pieces of homework.
Secondly, students will be asked to submit a selection of these pieces of work (along with the formal editorial work completed during this module) as part of their portfolio of work, to be submitted along with their choice of submission for their second assessment (ie either two news stories; OR one extended feature OR a critical essay (2000 words). Any second assessment submitted without an accompanying portfolio of editorial work on this module, will not receive a pass mark.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M50Web diary blog
Essay1M50Two news stories OR One extended feature OR critical essay (2000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M2 homework tasks in weeks 3 and 7
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment methods relate closely to key elements in the module’s outline of work (above). The assessments are designed in order to allow students to sense the importance of deadlines, accuracy, detail, drafting, etc. Knowledge for this module relates closely to practice and product as well as theory and analysis. It is useful for students to have the opportunity to comment on drafts as well as on existing work or work by established writers/publications. The web diary blog will ensusre students, engage, research, read and reflect on course material, maintaining journalistic and academic commentaries of weekly topics. Prior to the second assessment, the blog will partly contribute to students developing disciplined writing skills in terms of tight deadlines and word counts. The second assessment then allows students to choose an approach from the module which they wish to expand on: The two news stores (1000 words each) will require students to cover two news genres and produce stories of a local or national interest with evidence of independent research. The extended feature will allow students to research a topic and write an extended article exploiting the range of skills they have acquired in the module (maximum 2000 words). The critical essay will require students to apply academic theory to practical elements covered in the module and/or a case study of a current issue in journalism. These methods of assessment require students to think independently, openly and creatively in terms of their decision making and specific choices for each assessment.

Reading Lists

Timetable

Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.