Writing Journalism

Module summary

Module code: JOUR1016
Level: 5
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Simon Hardeman



This course is an introduction to the study and practice of journalism for students who are either interested in pursuing a career in journalism, or in adding a working knowledge of journalism to their skill-base. It gives students a grounding in the practice and theory of, primarily, text-based journalism in the context of media convergence. It aims to introduce students to important contemporary debates and developments including the relationship between new media platforms and journalistic content, and key and contemporary legal and ethical issues. (It is normally an essential precursor to Digital Journalism in Practice, at Level 6, which deals more specifically with multi-media and production journalism, as well as further developing writing skills).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
1 Understand what makes a saleable, readable, news story and feature
2 Demonstrate an awareness of the difference between types of journalism, and types of medium, (eg tabloid, broadsheet, blog)
3 Pitch, research and write news stories, features and blogs within the appropriate conventions
4 Work independently and to deadlines
5 Understand the production process and the role of production journalists
6 Understand law and ethics

Indicative content

• Reader and publication analysis
• The theory and practice of writing news and features today
• Online journalism: theory and practice (including search engine optimisation and media convergence)
• Interviewing
• Journalistic language and style
• Balance, objectivity, comment and opinion.
• Basic legal considerations including defamation and its defences
• Journalistic ethics
• Specialist journalism

Teaching and learning activity

• Lectures
• Workshops
• Formative assessment
• Tutorials
• External visits
• Guest speakers

In four blocks:

• A critical approach to the marketplace
• The Theory and Practice of News Writing
• The Theory and Practice of Feature Writing
• Ethics and law


News Portfolio - 40%
Learning outcomes 1- 6 & 8.
800 words.
Pass mark - 40%

Features Portfolio - 40%
Learning outcomes 1- 6 & 8.
2000 words.
Pass mark - 40%

Law / Ethics Test - 20%
Learning outcome 7.
500 words.
Pass mark - 40%

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Weekly tasks, seminar discussion, workshop, peer review, lecturer feedback.