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MCH3079 : Social Media Data Journalism

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • 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


This module aims:
- To introduce key theoretical concepts in the study of modern journalism and social media, and to test these theories in practice.
- 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 part-theory-part-practice module will introduce students to those key skills in the identification, publication, distribution, maintenance and curation of multimedia news.

You will be introduced to key theoretical considerations in the intersection of journalism and social media, and you will learn how to apply these theories and concepts to your praxis.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is aimed at students who wish to explore the nexus between journalism and the theoretical and practical contexts of social media.

The lecture topics covered may therefore include, but are not limited to:

Theories of the Information Society
Social media, participation and convergence
Social media and the law
Sociologies of online news
Political economy of social media
Fake news and information disorder
Social media, privacy and surveillance
The digital public sphere
Social media effects and audiences
The future of social media
Essay-writing, and key concepts round-up

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion310:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching141:0014:00Eleven editorial meetings to discuss progress on practical work, three small group workshops for seminar readings of key texts, for reflexive essays.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities127:0027:00Preparatory reading for seminar exercises.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00Computer-based group workshops.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity150:0050:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

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

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

Small group teaching, in the form of 11 editorial meetings to discuss progress on practical work, and 3 workshops for seminar readings of key texts, will encourage students to iteratively improve their practical work, while reflecting in some depth upon the field's theoretical bounds, integrating theory into their practice, while maintaining a critical awareness of their own progress.

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.

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) with link to practical work, and assessment diary.
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 relevant domains. This assessment will help students to reflect upon their own praxis and develop as reflexive practitioners.

Reading Lists