MDIA 2334 - Writing for News Media

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of writing for news media, through lectures and practical workshops. Students will be introduced to key principles of news writing, and to the specific requirements of writing for print, broadcast and online media. Course content will incorporate news values, news language and news story structure as a foundation for the practical application of this knowledge through class exercises and assignments. Students will have the opportunity to work with a range of types of source material in developing and writing news stories, and will explore the basics of ?soft news? writing and the broader context in which journalism operates.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MDIA 2334
    Course Writing for News Media
    Coordinating Unit Media
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of level 1 undergraduate study
    Restrictions Available to BMedia students only
    Quota 120
    Course Description This course introduces students to the fundamentals of writing for news media, through lectures and practical workshops. Students will be introduced to key principles of news writing, and to the specific requirements of writing for print, broadcast and online media. Course content will incorporate news values, news language and news story structure as a foundation for the practical application of this knowledge through class exercises and assignments. Students will have the opportunity to work with a range of types of source material in developing and writing news stories, and will explore the basics of ?soft news? writing and the broader context in which journalism operates.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Kathryn Bowd

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Understand and be able to apply the principles of news language and news story structure
    2 Understand news values and concepts of newsworthiness and be able to apply these
    3 Develop an understanding of writing and news story structure that is sufficient to write for news media
    4 Apply news writing and news story structure concepts and skills to writing for print, broadcast and online news media
    5 Be aware of some common sources of news and how these can be incorporated in news writing
    6 Be able to use quotes and ‘grabs’ effectively in writing news stories
    7 Understand key differences between hard news, soft news and long-form journalism
    8 Be aware of influences on news writing such as audience
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Grundy, B., Hirst, M., Little, J., Hayes, M., & Treadwell, G. (2012) So You Want to Be a Journalist? Unplugged (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
    Recommended Resources
    A number of texts focusing on key journalism concepts and skills, such as news writing, can be found in the Barr Smith Library. These texts are recommended additional reading rather than essential resources. They include:

    Whitaker, W., Ramsey, J., & Smith, R. (2012). Media Writing: Print, Broadcast and Public Relations (4th ed). New York: Routledge.

    Lamble, S. (2011). News As It Happens. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

    Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., & Tynan, L. (2011). Media & Journalism (2nd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

    Alysen, B., Oakham, M., Patching, R., & Sedorkin, G. (2011). Reporting In a Multimedia World (2nd ed.).
    Allen & Unwin: Crows Nest.

    Online Learning
    This course makes extensive use of MyUni and some external websites. It includes elements of blended learning. All assignments are to be submitted through MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Most lectures for this course will be delivered face-to-face, and will also be recorded using the MyMedia system. Lecture recordings will be automatically loaded to MyMedia after delivery.

    Some lecture material will be provided online through MyUni. These topics will be noted in the course timetable. In these weeks, students will be required to access the material through MyUni, and must complete an online quiz or quizzes that will count towards the grade for Participation.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A guide to workload for this course is:

    • Lecture attendance: 1 hour per week (or equivalent if lecture material scheduled to be provided through MyUni)
    • Workshop attendance: 2 hours per week
    • Workshop preparation: 3 hours per week (including ongoing engagement with current news)
    • Assignment preparation: 3 hours per week
    This is an approximation of the likely time required in an average week to complete all elements of the course. Actual workload is likely to vary depending on assignment deadlines.

    Students are expected to attend workshops having completed the set reading for that week and any preparatory exercises (completion of these will count towards the grade for Participation).

    As this is an applied Journalism course, students are expected to engage in watching, reading and listening to news on a regular basis throughout the semester. This engagement with news will form part of the basis for discussions and activities in workshops.

    Learning Activities Summary
    A detailed schedule of course learning activities will be posted on MyUni.

    Each week's class preparation activities will include a combination of readings from the textbook (Grundy et al), engagement with news, online reading, workshop preparation exercises and online exercises/quizzes.

    Students are expected to complete the class preparation work before either the workshop or the lecture (see MyUni for details).

    Course schedule:

    Schedule
    Week 1 Introduction
    News language
    Week 2
    News values
    Writing the lead
    Week 3 Fundamentals of news writing
    The inverted pyramid
    Week 4 Writing for print media (SGDE)
    Week 5 Writing for broadcast media
    Week 6 Telling the story online
    Week 7 Using quotes and grabs
    Week 8 Social media storytelling (SGDE)
    Week 9 News sources – media releases and meetings
    Week 10 News sources – numbers and statistics (data journalism)
    Week 11 Beyond the pyramid – human interest and other story types
    Week 12 Long-form journalism
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Small Group Discovery Experience activities will be conducted in Weeks 4 and 8 where students will work closely with the Course Coordinator. 
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    This course has five assessment items: three completed primarily out of class, one completed to deadline during class time; and a participation grade recorded through continuous assessment of class work and engagement (including completion of online quizzes and workshop preparation exercises).
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students MUST make themselves available to complete Assignment 4 (in-class writing to deadline) during the Week 11 workshops. Any student who - for documented reasons such as illness - is unable to attend their regular workshop may be able to negotiate to attend another workshop during that week.
    Assessment Detail
    More information about assignments will be provided through MyUni and in lectures and workshops.

    Assignment 1: News analysis presentation

    Assignment 2: Print and broadcast news stories

    Assignment 3: Sourced news story + reflection

    Assignment 4: In-class news writing to deadline for print and broadcast

    Participation and engagement (including news and online quizzes)

    Submission
    All assignments must be submitted electronically through MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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