module specification

SJ6P35 - Journalism Project (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Journalism Project
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
17 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
283 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 10%   1,000-word project management schedule
Coursework 20%   1500-word review of literature and research
Coursework 20%   2,500 word critical essay touching on ethical, political and creative concerns
Coursework 40%   5-6,000 word longform journalism or 15-20 min audio or video documentary
Coursework 5%   First draft with two transcribed interviews
Coursework 5%   Second draft with contact list
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module allows students to explore in depth a topic of their own choice, arising out of previous study and subject to supervisor approval.  It must be a piece of longform journalism, aimed at a specified audience, not a study of journalism.

Independent but supported learning and sustained research and writing will provide a focus for refining and drawing together a wide range of transferable skills.

These must result in a high quality piece of journalistic writing with an academically rigorous critical and research underpinning.

A synopsis and project management schedule, demonstrating a research strategy submitted at week 12, will provide material for pdp and a signpost for further work.

Module aims

The main aims of this module are:

  • To provide the opportunity for students to pursue an individual piece of sustained journalistic work;
  • To develop student's ability to conceive, plan and undertake journalistic work involving empirical enquiry, theoretical perspective, critical analysis;
  • To get students to think in a focused way and develop style, presentation, critical annotation and further submission of their work;
  • To develop their profile of personal and professional attributes with regard to self-evaluation, awareness of appropriate stylistic and presentational aspects, appreciation of critical and ethical issues.


The project should show evidence of original research, theoretical and/or empirical, as well as critical reflection or analysis on the topic chosen and its avenues of expression. Its specific content is to be negotiated in advance between the student and the supervising tutor and a working title and specific audience agreed.
Students will plan, research and bring to completion a sustained piece of journalistic work. It should be of a standard that could be submitted for professional publication. It may have images and weblinks, as agreed.
They will also analyse the theoretical, critical or ethical issues such a work could arouse in the audience. 
An interim report on progress  (approx 1000 words) will be submitted for formative assessment before the end of the first semester.
Topics may be critically orientated, and based on media knowledge, developing ideas found in a comparative study of treatments of the same topic in media and printed texts. They will always need original research to develop the themes, however, and must be written for a journalistic audience. They should require empirical investigation involving interviews, questionnaires and examination of diverse sources, which must result in a readable and authoritative journalistic piece.
Thse sources must be properly evaluated in the literature review and in the account given of the research strategy. Students will also need to show evidence of reflective and/or evaluative awareness taking into account theoretical, critical or ethical issues concerning their chosen topic.

Learning and teaching

Initial classes will set out expectations and explain methodology, in 4 x 3 hour classes, spaced over first 10 weeks.
A refresher law session will be run in week 11.
Four 2 hour classes will run in the second semester, to help with structure and formatting of topics.
Students will then work with six hours of individual supervision, in sessions which will coach students into deeper research -- online, textual and primary -- better structured writing and a deeper understanding of the marketplace and audiences.
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:

  • Create a sustained piece of journalism;
  • Plan and sustain independent research;
  • Be aware of legal issues affecting all journslists;
  • Develop critical, problem-solving and information-handling skills;
  • Prepare work with appropriate attention to presentation and style;
  • Apply empirical, theoretical and critical knowledge and techniques within the framework of professional journalistic practice;
  • Develop a final profile of personal/professional attributes within the context of professional  and transferable skills, necessary for employment and further study or professional development, articulated through the personal development plan.

Assessment strategy

This module will be sumamtively assessed by an extended article of  5-6,000 words, which can be three short articles, or by a 15-20 minutes video, audio or mixed media piece. This must be based on original interviews and research and aimed at a journalistic audience. Also formatively and summatively assessed by a 1,500 word review of literature and research, by an extended, 2,500 word analysis of ethical and political issues surrounding possible publication, and by the project management schedule, which will be a schedule of tasks relating to the planning, organisation, execution and submission of the project, agreed with the tutor in advance. This will be handed in for formative and summative assessment.

All work will be marked individually.
Asessment 1 meets LO 2, 5
Asessment 2 meets LO 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Assessment 3 meets LO 2, 4, 5, 6
Asessments 4, 5, 6 meet all LOs


Banks, David and Hanna, Mark. 2009.McNae’s Essential Law For Journalists. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Belsey, Andrew (ed.)  1992. Ethical issues in journalism and the media. London : Routledge.
Bennett, W. Lance, 2001. News : the politics of illusion. New York : Addison Wesley Longman.
Campbell, Vincent. 2004. Information age journalism : journalism in an international context. London : Arnold.
Davis, Anthony. 1995 Magazine journalism today. Oxford : Focal Press.
Giles, Robert. 2001. What's next? : problems & prospects of journalism. New Brunswick, USA : Transaction Publishers.
Glasgow University Media Group. 1993. Getting the message : news, truth and power. London : Routledge.
Hicks, Wynford, English for journalists. 1998 London : Routledge.
Koch, Tom. 1991. Journalism in the 21st century : online information, electronic databases. Twickenham : Adamantine.
Palmer, Jerry. 2000. Spinning into control : news values and source strategies. London : Leicester University Press.
Sparks, Colin (ed.). 2000. Tabloid tales : global debates over media standards. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield.
Stott , Rebecca and Avery, Simon (eds). 2001. Writing with style. Harlow : Longman.