module specification

SJ6034 - Creating Packages (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Creating Packages
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
 
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 10%   Two articles (1,400 words) for first edition of magazine
Coursework 25%   2,100 word portfolio: comprising different sorts of features for second edition of magazine
Coursework 10%   350-word log detailing contribution to group work, via journal, with submission of second laid-out magazine in printed
Coursework 25%   Online magazine:completely new content for online magazine, upto 2,000 words with specified multimedia content, 5 articl
Coursework 10%   350-word log detailing contribution to group work, via journal, with submission of website
Coursework 20%   An individual article (1,000-1,200 words) showcasing use of multimedia skills.
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

Creating Packages develops the advanced professional skills taught at level 5: identifying subject matter and potential readerships, research, interviewing and editing techniques, on-the-spot reportage, and finding original angles and relevant sources for stories, to a stage where students originate and source the elements for their own journalism packages, based on a subject area of their own choice, rather than as directed by tutors.

Each package will have three instances, in print and online (or vice versa), to reflect the multimedia nature of such products in contemporary journalism. News days will reinforce a professional sense of urgency and the need to meet deadlines.

The module allows students to enhance their skills in writing  news features arising from topical issues, using data for feature articles, developing more in-depth interviews and/or feature stories based on interviews and research. Students will be directed towards identifying subject matter and potential readerships, on-the-spot reportage skills, and finding original angles and relevant sources for their stories.

Assessment will be of three portfolios of work, adapted for printed text and for online; two critical, self-reflective commentaries; and contribution to class, self-assessed through journals where students will self-assess their own work, their editorial roles and their participation in group contributions to class, including group and individual oral presentations (where attendance is mandatory). This will be moderated by tutor.

Module aims

The main aims of this module are:

  • To enable students to work in groups to originate self-directed journalism projects;
  • To develop the writing of news and feature content arising from topical issues and on-the-spot reportage, and adapt such content for use in different platforms and iterations;
  • To develop the use of in-depth research methods, and use these selectively and meaningfully in their stories;
  • To compose in-depth interviews and/or feature stories, by conducting interviews with individuals or sources within relevant organisations;
  • To develop students’ critical understanding of their own practice.

Syllabus

The main focus of this module is on advanced professional writing skills, and the development of journalistic content. Working in groups, students will explore a subject-specific project of their own choice, in depth. This subject, to be agreed with tutors, must allow the students to conduct and write in-depth interviews, on-the-sport reportage, and data-based features, which they learn to order and re-order for the different requirements of printed text and online.
A variety of approaches and writing styles will be explored, including news and report writing for newspapers and magazines, and students will be encouraged to explore how unique voices are created. Groups will develop how different styles are used or adapted online as in the written word, as well as incorporating images, audio and video.
Students will develop skills in identifying subject matter and potential readerships, research, the use of different datasets, interviewing and editing techniques, on-the-spot reportage, and finding original angles and relevant sources for stories.
They will source and develop the printing of their magazines.
They will sharpen writing and presentation skills through reflecting on feedback from staff and other students. News days will be used to focus on team work and deadlines.
Such written work will help demonstrate employability for the PDP.

Learning and teaching

 The module will be taught on an interactive, workshop-based model.

At the start, the module will focus on the development of news and feature writing in different iterations. Detailed in–class exercises on how to mine data and research methods, and an out-of-class on-the-spot reportage assignment, will familiarise students with professional skills.

Students will be expected to write in class and to discuss their work, as well as participate in class discussions. Students will work in groups, and together with the tutor develop a magazine project, taking account of the “pillars” of journalism – audience, style and vision.

Groups will then work together on developing journalistic packages. Each student must produce a portfolio of five features for print iterations of their project:

• A news feature
• A reporting story on a live event
• A profile interview with head or senior representative of an organisation
• A data-based feature
• A general feature story

These ideas must be developed within the group, to produce a varied package.  Students must also produce five pieces of related material for the online iteration of their project, using images, audio and video where appropriate. This will be published via a WordPress blog (online skills learned during Levels 4 and 5 will be refreshed).

For each mode of output, students will write a critical commentary, analysing how their product might succeed and what its components are, examining how writing style changes for different outlets, drawing on reflections from class learning and reading and setting their work in the context of the publishing environment in the UK. This will be recorded through journals where students will self-assess their own work, their editorial roles and their participation in group contributions to class, including group and individual oral presentations (where attendance is mandatory). This will be moderated by tutor.

Students will then produce a showcase of their work: an individual online article, topic of their choice, with multimedia elements of 1,000 – 1,200 words, showing off the various multimedia skills they have acquired in the module.

In enhancement weeks, news days will allow a virtual professional environment to foster team-building and employability. 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.

Opportunities for pdp will be supported, particularly by publication on the course website.


 

Learning outcomes

If students read all the required texts, participate in all the class activities and complete the required assessments and assignments, they will develop professional skills. They should be able to:
• Work in groups to originate and source a self-directed journalism project;
• Successfully adapt professional skills, including writing news reportage and features arising from topical issues, to different formats, platforms and iterations;
• Write survey-based features, using facts in combination with interviews;
• Identify and interview appropriate sources within relevant organisations, to write in-depth interviews and feature stories;
• Create news and features from in-depth, independent research;
• Critically evaluate their own work and that of others, in class and in their own projects.   

Assessment strategy

Students will each have to produce five pieces of writing in printed text, comprising:
A news feature (750 words)
A reporting story on a live event (750 words)
A profile interview with head or senior representative of an organisation (750 words)
A data-based feature, including sidebar (750 words)
A general feature story (750 words).

These are to be split across the first and second editions of the printed magazines.

Working in groups, they will publish two editions of their print magazine, the second of which they will organise printing for.

They will also have to write new content for an online outlet (max 2,500 words if in text) and create a website for it, which can include links to video, podcasts etc.

They will write critical commentaries, analysing how writing styles adapt to the market, drawing on class learning and reading (350 x 2 words) and setting the work done in the context of UK journalism. This will be recorded through journals where students will self-assess their own work, their editorial roles and their participation in group contributions to class, including group and individual oral presentations (where attendance is mandatory). This will be moderated by tutor.

They will also write a long article of 1,000 – 1,200 words, complete with multimedia elements, outside the group, with the topic of their own choosing. This will be their final assessment for this module and will be used to showcase the multimedia, reporting and writing skills they acquired in the module.

Despite working in groups, all work will be marked individually.
Assessment 1 LO 1,2,3,4,5
Assessment 2 LO 1,2,3,4,5
Assessment 3 LO1,6
Assessment 4 LO 1,2,3,4,5
Assessment 5 LO 1,6
Assessment 6 LO 2,3,4,5

 

Bibliography

Amidor, A., 2006. Real Feature Writing: Story Shapes and Writing Strategies from the Real World Of Journalism. London: Routledge.
Garrison, Bruce, 2009. Professional Feature Writing. London: Routledge.
Hicks, Wynford, 1998. English for Journalists. London: Routledge.
Johnson, Carla, 2004. 21st-Century Feature Writing. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Lieb, Thom, 2009. All The News: Writing and Reporting for Convergent Media. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Miller, H, 2009. Feature Writing. London: Blackwell.
Rich, Carole, 2005. Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Summer D, Miller, H., 2009. Feature and Magazine Writing. Oxford: Blackwell.
Stott, Rebecca and Avery, Simon, 2001. Writing With Style. Harlow: Longman.
Tanner, Stephen, Blair, M, Richardson, N., 2009. Feature Writing, Telling the Story. OUP, USA.
Wheeler, Sharon, 2009. Feature Writing for Journalists. London: Routledge.
Wilkinson, Jeffrey S., 2009. Principles of Convergent Journalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.