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MCH2068 : Journalism Practice for Digital Audiences

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Esther Beadle
  • Lecturer: Mr Chris Stokel-Walker
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Journalism Practice is a student-led exercise of professional practice, digital creativity and critical evaluation. Through their own personalised news website students develop their reporting, writing, editing and digital communication capabilities.

Students use their journalistic skills to find stories for a chosen community, then experiment with journalistic digital story-telling techniques appropriate to the story or content at hand. The creative journalism project offers opportunities to critically analyse the field and their practice, in order 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, MCH1037/MCH1031, this module further develops key journalistic writing, reporting 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 digital journalism product and process 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 reporting, newsgathering and writing skills for different media. Students focus on newsgathering, writing, interviewing and develop skills in journalism production for online platforms, including audiene engagement.

Lecture material encourages students to critically consider journalistic digital storytelling 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:

Digital journalistic production and the intercommunications between presentational and representational writing;
News features for online platforms;
Approaches to audience engagement;
Use of social media in journalism;
News production forms;
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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1120:00120:00Independent work contributing to final assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Weekly on-campus lecture. Can be replaced with online non-synchronous lecture material if necessary.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops102:0020:00On-campus workshops to develop skills. Can be delivered online if required.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery14:004:00Copy clinic/journalism surgery
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study145:0045:00Engaging with documentaries, journalism and readings related to module learning
Teaching 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.

By launching and maintaining their own publicly-facing personalised news websites, students engage, research, read and reflect on course material, developing and consolidating professional journalistic skills. By working on their personalised news website throughout the module, students get to use and develop their theoretical knowledge and understanding of journalistic brand, content development and audience engagement in a practical, industry-relevant fashion.

Learning and teaching supports students through an iterative approach which guides the learning experience. While there are no formal ‘formative assessments’, student-led journalistic work guides the learning on the module with feedback, and feed-forward, story-development and through sharing of content with a real audience, key to the learning experience and rationale for teaching.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1A75Personalised news website of a minimum of five pieces of multimedia journalism, inc one 1,200-word news feature.
Essay1A25A 1,000-word response to an essay question set in the module based on own practice
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

There are two assessments. The personalised news website relates closely to key elements in the module’s outline of work (above). The assessment is designed in order to allow students to sense the importance of deadlines, accuracy, detail, and drafting. The essay allows students to reflect on how their own practice engages with established journalistic methods and the wider media landscape.

Project: A personalised news website (100%) comprising a minimum of five pieces of original journalism. At least two of the five pieces should be original news reports. One of the five pieces should be a 1,200-word news feature (K1; K2; K3; K4; S1; S2; S3).

Students should submit:
1. A link to their personalised news website home page.
2. A link to each of the minimum five pieces of journalism.
3. A legible screengrab of the statistics page of the website immediately prior to submission.
4. Legible screengrabs of the minimum five pieces of journalism submitted (see point 2 above)

Additional task-specific criteria are as follows:
1. Production of a range of journalistic content for a specific audience, enhanced by inclusion of relevant and appropriate additional digital media.
2. Use of digital and social media to produce and disseminate content effectively in order to build an audience and brand over time.
3. Effective and independent newsgathering using interview skills from a geographical or topical ‘patch’.
4. Selection and expansion of a news topic into a feature with evidence of new lines, independent news-gathering and appropriate use of sources.

Essay: A 1,000-word response to an essay question set in the module, based on own practice.

Additional task-specific criteria are as follows:
1. Considered and original engagement with the question set
2. Effective structure and argument
3. Critical engagement with relevant sources, accuracy and use of Harvard referencing

Reading Lists