Skip to main content


MCH2068 : Journalism Practice for Digital Audiences

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Esther Beadle
  • Lecturer: Mr Chris Stokel-Walker
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 72 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


Journalism Practice for Digital Audiences is a student-led exercise of professional practice, digital creativity and critical evaluation. Through a creative journalism project, students will produce digital journalism for a niche community, using their skills to find relevant stories, engage a real audience and experiment with different journalistic approaches.

This creative journalism project also offers opportunities to critically analyse the field and their practice, and to be introduced to audience engagement, search engine optimisation, personal brand, and digital news production.

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 audience engagement.

Lecture material introduces students to basic digital journalism skills, and encourages them to critically consider journalistic digital storytelling in relation to genre, convention, audience, grammar, form, ethics and the building of journalistic 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 content;
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 and experimenting with multimedia story-telling. 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, newsroom-style approach. Workshops will provide ample opportunity for editorial discussions to develop work, overseen by workshop leaders. 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1A75A personalised news website featuring a minimum of five pieces of multimedia journalism, inc one multimedia news feature, plus accompanying social media profile
Essay1A25A 1,000-word response to an essay question set in the module based on own practice
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Written exerciseMThis assessment (ethics form) is not graded and therefore does not contribute to the module mark but must be passed in order to pass the module.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

There are two weighted assessments.

The Creative Journalism Project 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.

SA1 Project (75%): A personalised news website comprising a minimum of five pieces of original journalism and one accompanying social media profile.
The personalised news website should feature at least one multimedia news report, one 800-word multimedia news feature (including at least one original 90-second video package and one 90-second original audio package) and three other ‘free choices’. (K1; K2; K3; K4; S1; S2; S3).

Using the submission template provided, students should submit:
1. A working link to their personalised news website home page
2. Working links to their best three pieces of multimedia journalism for marking (including one news report and one feature)
3. A legible screenshot of the statistics page of the website immediately prior to submission
4. Legible screenshot showing the entirety of the three chosen pieces of journalism just before submission

Additional task-specific criteria are as follows:
1. Production of a range of accurate and original multimedia journalism for a specific audience, including appropriate use of form
2. Effective and creative use of multimedia, best suited to the stories at hand, including effective and accurate use of original images, video and audio
3. Effective use of digital and social media to produce and disseminate content in order to build audience and journalistic brand over time
4. Independent and accurate newsgathering using interview skills from a geographical or topical ‘patch’

Note, as per industry, accuracy of written language including (but not limited to) spelling, grammar and punctuation will be considered.

SA2 Essay (25%): A 1,000-word response to an prompt released during 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
4. Honest and constructive reflection on own practice

Reading Lists