Module Catalogue 2019/20

MCH2068 : Journalism Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Bethany Usher
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
MCH1030Introduction to Journalism Practice
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Journalism Practice is a student-led exercise of professional practice, digital creativity and critical evaluation. Through two projects – a news-based personalised website or blog and a portfolio of features - students develop their writing, editing and digital communication capabilities.

Students use visual, written and audio techniques appropriate to the story or content at hand, experimenting with storytelling techniques. The creative journalism projects offer opportunities to critically analyse the field and their practice to embed expertise in audience engagement, social media optimisation, brand identity, user experience and design, news and feature writing.

Building upon the aims and learning/skills outcomes of MCH1030, this module further develops key journalistic writing, acquisition and editing skills More particularly, this module:
Consolidates and extends understanding of the conventions and practices of writing for the mass media;
Consolidates and extends practical knowledge of the key elements of clear, concise writing, reporting and editing;
Considers the ethics of writing, the aims and objectives of writing for the mass media, and the role of
the audience;

Assesses the role and significance of writing in contemporary mass media;

Compiles a portfolio of evidence which can be used in relation to employment, career or postgraduate education aims;

Develops production and writing of different genres for print and digital platforms.

Outline Of Syllabus

Building upon the aims and learning/skills outcomes in MCH1030, this module allows students to develop newsgathering and writing skills for print, online and broadcast. Students are introduced to blogging, feature writing, interviewing and develop skills in journalism production for online platforms.

Lectures encourage students to critically consider media writing in relation to genre, convention, audience, grammar and form, ethics and the building of journalism brands in digital spaces The assessment procedures mean that students work to frequent deadlines and engage in practical, journalistic activities on a weekly basis. Students are responsible for managing their own workload, and journalistic outputs used to establish a publicly facing portfolio of journalistic work.

The topics covered in this module may include:

News Features for online and offline platforms;
Critical evaluation of ‘news values’;
Pitching and commissioning (a print or multimedia feature);
News production in text, video and audio form;
Writing specialist and general features for a range of topics, which may include crime, travel, sport, lifestyle or health;
Interview features and the practice of depth interviewing
Applied ethics in professional journalism.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

This module will allow students to:

K1: Develop and in-depth understanding of writing for on and online platforms and for a range genres;

K2: Develop skills in the appropriate use of multimedia technology for the task at hand;

K3: Develop skills in informative, persuasive and entertaining writing;

K4: Understand the differences between news, features and opinion pieces.

Intended Skill Outcomes

S1: Adapt performance in journalistic situations of varying complexity and predictability, with limited supervision’;

S2: Produce publishable journalistic content that engages with audiences across a variety of platforms;

S3: Demonstrate a growing ability to identify story ideas in a variety of real-world situations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00N/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
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.

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.

Through launching their own publicly facing blog, students, engage, research, read and reflect on course material, maintaining journalistic professional skills. Prior to the second assessment, the blog will contribute to students developing self-generated content.

The second assessment allows students to choose an approach from the module which they wish to expand on: The two news features (1000 words each) require students to cover two news genres and produce stories of a local or national interest with evidence of independent research.

The extended feature allows 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.

Learning and teaching supports students through iterative and informed assessment which guides the learning experience. While there are no formal ‘formative assessments’, student-led journalistic work guides the module with feedback and feed-forward through copy clinics and through sharing of content with readers, key to the learning experience.

Students have two opportunities each term to receive direct one-to-one feedback on this work. In 'Copy Clinics’ students receive feedback on their journalistic work and these are held twice in the module.

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 proj1M50Newsbeat blog:With no fewer than 4 pieces of editorial multimedia generated from a topical journalistic beat(Equivalent to1600words)
Written exercise1M50Two news features 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

There are two elements of assessment:

Assessment One

A “Personalised Website or “Blog” (50%) comprising of two elements (K1; K2; K3; S1; S2; S3)

1)A link to a personalised website with no fewer than four pieces of journalism amounting to the equivalent of 1600 words;
2)A screen-grab of the statistic page of the website immediately prior submission.

The assessment criteria for assessment one are as follows:

1) Production of a range of digital content for a specific audience using visual, audio, written and interactive technologies as appropriate and with accuracy;
2)Demonstrate the ability to use digital and social media to produce and disseminate content effectively in order to build an audience;
3)Demonstrate the ability to build brand in digital space;
4)Demonstrate the ability to effectively news gather using interview skills from a geographical or topical ‘patch’.

Assessment Two:

Option One: 2 x 1,000 word news features:

The assessment criteria are as follows:

1)Selection and expansion of a topic news topic with evidence of new lines, gathering and appropriate use of sources;
2)Production of a well-written and informative feature with relevant fact-files and image selection;
3)Accurate, informative and engaging text, appropriate for the selected audience.

Option Two: 1 x 2,000 word topical feature

The assessment criteria are as follows:

1)Appropriate tone, information and balance for the selected subject or topic;
2)Production of a well-written and informative feature with relevant fact files and image selection;
3)Accurate, informative and engaging text, appropriate for the selected audience.

Option Three: a 2,000 word critical essay with portfolio of work

The assessment criteria are as follows:

1)A critical and analytical definition and discussion of the topic drawing on a range of secondary and primary sources related to the selected topic;
2)Application of examples to own journalistic practice during the module as provided in appendixes;
3)The coherence and written structure of the research essay, including appropriate display of examples and research.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 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 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.