Module Catalogue 2023/24

MCH3079 : Social Media Data Journalism

MCH3079 : Social Media Data Journalism

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Murray Dick
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 60 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Code Title
MCH1037Introduction to Multimedia Journalism
MCH2060Multimedia Journalism I
Pre Requisite Comment

It is absolutely paramount that all students undertaking MCH3079 first study MCH1037 and then MCH2060 (in this order). Without the technical skills learned on these pre-requisites, MCH3079 would be an unrealistically challenging task for most students.


Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment

Module leader can waive pre-requisites based on other relevant experience.


This module aims:
• To instil an understanding of convention and best practice in the distribution of online journalism.
• To assist students in developing skills in audience engagement and to learn strategies in growing online audiences for their online journalism.
• To encourage students to consider the processes that take place within the journalist–medium–audience nexus, that inform the distribution of multimedia journalism.
• To install skills in the editing, publication and maintenance of journalistic standards in the coverage of live news events.

This practical, hands-on module will introduce students to those key skills in the publication, distribution, maintenance and curation of multimedia news.

You will learn methods for identifying and developing stories using (introductory) methods in data journalism and computer-assisted reporting.

You will learn how to tell stories as they break using a range of media.

You will be introduced to key theoretical considerations in the field of journalism studies and will learn how to apply these theories and concepts to your praxis.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is aimed at students who wish to further develop skills in the publication, distribution and maintenance (or curation) of online journalism.

The emphasis in this particular module is in the third stage of journalism production, namely its distribution.

The syllabus of this module will largely concern those processes and protocols involved in the publication and distribution of journalism. The topics covered may therefore include, but are not limited to:

• Journalism epistemologies (the beat, newsgathering, gatekeeping) (theory)
• Developing an online audience (audience engagement) (practice)
• Applied online metrics (practice/theory)
• Live reporting (practice)
• Pitching multimedia ideas (practice)
• Multimedia curation (and the online archive) (practice)
• Computer-Assisted Reporting (practice/theory)
• Data visualisation for news audiences (practice/theory)
• Jobs and careers in online journalism (and other forms of journalism, and related fields)
• Introductory web design for journalism (practice/theory)

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students successfully completing this module should have knowledge of:
1. Key concepts and theories that have arisen in order to explain 'good practice’ in the distribution of multimedia journalism.
2. The contexts (social, economic, technological, political) in which these concepts and theories arose, and their development through various iterations and normative accounts, from the emergence of the internet to the present day.
3. How to apply methods in academic argumentation and theory in order to explain multimedia journalism practice and its outputs.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students successfully completing the module should have skills in:
1. How to develop an online audience (audience engagement), and how to understand online metrics in terms of maintaining and growing an audience for multimedia journalism
2. Identifying optimal form, content and distribution for live reporting in mobile journalism.
3. Methods and techniques for identifying and developing stories in data journalism and computer-assisted reporting.
4. Editing methods for online materials.
5. Reflection upon the application and outputs of academic thought, towards informing performance in wider theoretical modules on the Journalism, Media and Culture programme.
6. Employability
7. Communication skills.
8. Independent study.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion310:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Editorial meetings to discuss progress on work.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities127:0027:00Preparatory reading for seminar exercises.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00Mix of workshops, lectures and seminars. On campus.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity150:0050:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials will allow students to explore the module’s key themes, while undertaking their own original research in various theoretical fields of online journalism studies (including, for example, interactivity, normative theories of data representation and histories of online journalism).

Scheduled lectures for the full cohort will provide an opportunity to embed the learning introduced in the online materials.

Small-group workshops will all help students to develop their critical thinking and skills and understanding in the field within a collaborative approach to learning.

Seminars will encourage students to familiarise themselves with the field's seminal literature, to develop a clear sense of critical engagement, and to integrate theory into their practice.

Guided Independent Study is a crucial component of this module; it is essential that students learn to critique 'best practice', from its origins at the dawn of the internet to the present day. Students will use this time to advance their skills and knowledge, develop as reflexive practitioners and prepare their assessments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1M25Liveblog (regularly updated multimedia liveblog of a 2-hour-long news event, reported in real-time)
Design/Creative proj1M25Beatblog project (regularly updated beatblog, developed over the course of 6 weeks)
Essay1A50Critical essay (2000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

These assessments allow students to develop a grounding in the theory and practice of multimedia journalism.

Assessment components one and two refer directly to key skills and practices in multimedia journalism: live reporting, professional mobile journalism, audience development and engagement in an online ‘beat’, and in niche areas such as data journalism.

Feedback to students during (formative) and on completion (summative) of each element will reinforce key learning outcomes.

Assessment three refers directly to the application of theory across a range of domains across (for example) histories of online journalism, interactivity and normative theories in data representation. This assessment will help students to reflect upon their own praxis and develop as reflexive practitioners.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

This is where you will be able to find all key information about modules on your programme of study. It will help you make an informed decision on the options available to you within your programme.

You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.