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MCH3036 : JesmondLocal: Advanced Newsroom Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Chris Stokel-Walker
  • Deputy Module Leader: Mr Ian Wylie
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 20 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


This module develops students’ critical and practical multimedia journalism skills and introduces them to relevant concepts concerning professional newsroom practices while giving them experience of operating in a digital, multi-platform environment.

This newsroom-intensive module takes the journalism skills developed in MCH1030, MCH1037 and MCH2068 and uses them as the basis of a fuller exploration of the construction and delivery of multi-platform news stories and feature packages.

Students will develop and refine their journalistic skills appropriate to the story or content at hand, experimenting with storytelling techniques, audience engagement, social media optimisation, brand identity, user experience and design, news and feature creation.

In particular, this module:

Consolidates and extends understanding of the conventions and practices of reporting and publishing multimedia news content for a local, target audience;
Consolidates and extends practical knowledge of the key elements of clear, concise writing, reporting and editing;
Considers the ethics of local reporting, the aims and objectives of producing news content for a local, target audience, and the relationship with that audience;
Assesses the role and significance of journalists in a local context;
Compiles a portfolio of evidence which can be used in relation to employment, career or postgraduate education aims;
Develops production of different genres of journalism for a local, digital platform.

Outline Of Syllabus

Working as members of a news team, allocated specific duties, students will generate material for weekly deadlines to refine and demonstrate their professional abilities in all aspects of practical news and feature production involving researching, writing, reporting, presentation, editing and publication on the University’s established JesmondLocal hyperlocal news hub and social media channels. This is an opportunity for students to apply practical mobile reporting skills in a real-world environment.

Students will attend planning meetings where they will set the agenda for their gathering activities. They will be expected to generate sufficient material to produce and present relevant, engaging, legal and ethical output to prescribed weekly deadlines, specific briefs and defined house-style.

This module involves extensive off-campus (sometimes weekend and evening) fieldwork with emphasis on students’ initiative and ability to work on their own between meetings, Students will have their own reporter "beats" eg. education, environment, sports, politics etc within the local community of Jesmond and experience the challenges and opportunities of making contacts, sourcing stories, dealing with local officials, canvassing neighbourhood opinion, and fulfilling journalists’ civic responsibility towards the community they serve.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion113:0013:00Preparation and submission of final portfolio of work and reflexive essay
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Weekly on-campus lecture. Can be delivered online if necessary.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice1110:00110:00Journalistic work to meet weekly deadlines and contribute to final portfolio assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00On-campus newsroom to discuss story ideas and get copy feedback - can be online if necessary
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion111:0011:00Participation in group online discussion forums
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery111:0011:00Ideas/copy/journalism clinic - held online
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study112:0022:00Engaging with readings, online videos and other materials that support module learning
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods for this module relate closely to industry practice as well and align with the intended learning outcomes and summative assessments. The small group teaching and learning methods allow for multiple weekly opportunities for students to check their learning and gain feedback on their evolving practice in terms of newsgathering, reporting, content creation and publication/distribution.

By working on a real-world, live local news website, students have an opportunity to apply and develop the theoretical knowledge gained in Stages 1 and 2, as well as the advanced practice knowledge and skills being taught on this module. By simulaying the demands of a newsroom with weekly deadlines, students learn the skills of time management and working at pace – a discipline that accelerates iterative learning.

While there are no formal ‘formative assessments’, the weekly practice of newsgathering, reporting and content creation ensures weekly opportunities for feedback, and feed-forward – not just from module leaders and peers, but also from the website's community of readers.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1A65Miminum of 4 pieces of multimedia journalism including 2x 400-word news reports, 1x feature (1,000 words) and 1x video (60 seconds)
Essay1A20Reflective 750-word essay providing evidence of how newsroom roles were fulfilled and professional practice developed
Report1A15Peer assessment of attendance at, and engagement in weekly newsroom meetings
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Research proposalMThis 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 three assessments:

1. A portfolio (65%) comprising a minimum of four pieces of original, multimedia journalism. Two of the four pieces must be original 400-word news reports. One of the four pieces must be a 1000-word news feature. And one of the four pieces must be a 60-second news video. (K1, K2, K3, K5, S1, S2, S3, S4, S5)

For this assessment, students will be asked to submit:
a) A link to each of the five pieces of journalism.
b) Legible screengrabs of the minimum five pieces of journalism submitted (see point 2 above)

Additional task-specific criteria will include:
• Evidence of effective and independent newsgathering and use of research, interview and reporting skills (
• Relevance of journalistic content for target audience, and inclusion of relevant and appropriate additional digital media.
• Selection and expansion of a news topic into a feature with evidence of new lines, independent news-gathering and appropriate use of sources.
• Selection of a news topic that can be told through video, with evidence of how storytelling is adapted to make use of format's strengths

2. A reflective 750-word essay (20%) in which students will be required to provide evidence of how they have fulfilled their designated roles and developed their professional practice. (K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6)

3. A peer assessment of the student’s attendance at, and engagement in weekly newsroom meetings (15%). (K4, S6)

4. There is an additional requirement to submit an ethics form at the start of the module. This is not graded and does not contribute to the module mark, but must be passed in order to pass the module.

Reading Lists