COM2068 : Journalism Practice

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Darren Kelsey
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Lectures combined with practical, small group teaching and peer contact
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 teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The range of material covered in the module will provide students with the opportunity to establish some familiarity with a range of print-media practices and settings. Classes will mix formal instruction experiences with informal advice sessions. Writing practice will be emphasised both inside and outside the taught sessions. Students will develop independent study skills as well as the ability to work in a group environment, assisting peers and working to tight deadlines. They will make independent decisions and demonstrate the ability to use their own initiative in journalistic contexts. Their practical skills will be developed along with an ability to theoretically analyse, critique and evaluate journalistic practices for academic writing.

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)
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


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.