module specification

SJ5035S - Advanced Reporting: part 2 (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Advanced Reporting: part 2
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
 
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Portfolio of three stories (features) showing evidence of reporting skills attained in this module: 1500 words
Coursework 45%   2500-word piece of long-form journalism showcasing reporting skills learned in the module
Coursework 25%   Engagement with class, assessed by self-assessed grid and moderated by tutor
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

Students in Advanced Reporting will develop the skills and techniques necessary to succeed in more advanced forms of reporting, including investigative journalism, features, and in-depth interviews and profiles.
Through a combination of workshops, masterclasses and site visits, students learn to identify subject matter and potential readerships; master interviewing and editing techniques; learn how to find original angles; undertake focused, widely sourced research on individuals and issues; and conduct on-the-spot reportage.  They analyse statistics and develop stories based on them.
Newsdays will be used to teach teamwork and emphasise deadlines.
Learning how to report in difficult circumstances – natural disasters, traumatic accidents, war zones – will be a highlight of the course, taught by specialists. Risk evaluation and wider ethical concerns will be addressed throughout the module.
The module will be assessed by a portfolio showing evidence of professional writing and newsgathering skills learnt in this module, a piece of long-form journalism (2,500 words) showcasing reporting, and a self-assessed grid reflecting on class contribution, moderated by tutors at the end of the year.

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • Introduce and consider the value of a broad range of advanced reporting, interviewing and research techniques;
  • Perfect the task of finding original angles and relevant sources for stories;
  • Examine the different types of reporting required for different journalistic disciplines, such as investigative journalism, features, profiles, on-the-spot reportage and in-depth interviews;
  • Identify the personal and professional skills required to report a variety of situations, from celebrity interviews to natural disasters;
  • Establish an ethical and practical code of practice and form of reference to develop self-reflection when reporting, no matter what the circumstance or expected outcome.

Syllabus

This module focuses on originating stories and developing writing skills for different journalistic audiences and formats.
Students learn to identify subject matter for potential readerships; develop research, interviewing and editing techniques; practise on-the-spot reportage; and find original angles and relevant sources for their stories.  They will be encouraged to seek professional publication for good stories, which will also be published on the course website.
They learn how to write in different formats, from in-depth profiles to on-the-spot crisis reporting or well-researched investigations.
They practice the professional writing disciplines required by the different approaches and styles of the industry, including news and report writing for newspapers, magazines and websites. Writing to precise word-length and deadline will be important, as will original research.
Through discussion and presentation, risk evaluation and ethical concerns arising from collaboration and commissioning practice will be explored.
Constant coaching and feedback from staff and other students will quickly foster students’ development as journalists, publishing work on the course website and outside the university, particularly on newsdays.
Through screenings, visits and guest speakers, students gain personal experience which will deepen their understandings of how journalists work.
Assessment through portfolios of articles, an in-depth final piece and self-assessed class contribution grid (moderated by tutor) is aimed at developing well-grounded self-confidence in professional skills.

Learning and teaching

The module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions, comprising a three-hour block for each of the 15 weeks in which it runs. Learning and teaching strategy will be based on an interactive model.
Sessions will mix tutor instruction with blended learning, in-class writing workshops, discussions and debate, site visits and guest lectures, with students required to do weekly reporting and writing exercises out of class as well as during sessions, where coaching will supplement group work.
In enhancement weeks, newsdays will incorporate coaching sessions. Feedback will be given one-to-one, in class and electronically.
Electronic resources, including the university’s virtual environment, will be used by students and staff.
Working in small teams will develop social as well as academic skills.
The module will be supported by a VLE site containing notes, readings and extended bibliographies, and weblinks.
Independent, reflective study, including reading, individual reporting exercises and writing, will form the backbone of every session.
Full support will be given for developing pdp.

Learning outcomes

If students read all the required texts, participate in all the class activities and complete the required assessments and assignments, they should be able to:

  • Report from and about a wide range of situations;
  • Find and use appropriate sources for stories and develop original angles;
  • Identify and use the main characteristics of different journalistic forms and disciplines, adapting their writing skills to varied journalistic formats;
  • Interview sources effectively;
  • Display the personal and professional skills needed to report a variety of situations;
  • Discuss, codify and evaluate ethical concerns which may arise from collaborative working or risky situations.

Assessment strategy

  • Formative assessment will comprise weekly reporting and writing assignments, which will demonstrate the students’ understanding of the material and flag up what they still need to learn.  Oral feedback will be given in class, on a coaching model, especially on newsdays.
  • Oral contribution in class, active participation in workshops/site visits and attendance in guest lectures will be self-assessed as well as tutor-assessed.
  • Summative assessment will consist of portfolios of work as well as a piece of long-form journalism demonstrating reporting skills, and a self-assessed class contribution grid, moderated by tutor.

Bibliography

  • Adams, Sally (2009). Interviewing for Journalists, Routledge
  • Bagnall, Nicholas (1993) Newspaper Language, Focal Press
  • Dick, Jill (2003) Freelance Writing for Newspapers, A & C Black
  • Frost, Chris (2001 and subsequent editions) Reporting for Journalists, Routledge
  • Harris, Geoffrey and Spark, David (2010) Practical Newspaper Reporting,  Focal Press,
  • Hicks, Wynford (2006) English for Journalists, Routledge
  • Hennessy, Brian F (2006) Writing Feature Articles, Focal Press
  • Keeble,  Richard (2006) The Newspapers Handbook,  Routledge
  • Mencher,  Melvin (2007) News Reporting and Writing, McGraw Hill
  • Rich, Carole (2010) Writing and Reporting News - a Coaching Method,   Wadsworth Publishing
  • Smith, Jon (2007) Essential Reporting: the NCTJ Guide for Trainee Journalists, Sage
  • Wheeler, Sharon (2009) Feature Writing for Journalists, Routledge