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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Journalism Practice: Writing & Reporting
Module Code CM5969
School School of Communications
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: David Robbins
Semester 2: David Robbins
Autumn: David Robbins
Module TeachersDavid Robbins
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 15
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module is an intensive, practice-based course which brings together various writing skills, approaches, and genres necessary for the practice of written journalism on both digital and legacy platforms. Students will receive guidance on hard news writing, reporting techniques for various kinds of assignments, and the writing of different kinds of feature articles. This module includes Masterclass elements – fluid, adaptable sessions in which current or emerging issues or practices in journalism are discussed by guest speakers and DCU experts. The module also includes Newsdays – newsroom simulations led by the Journalist in Residence at the School of Communications.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe, analyse, and practice different kinds of news reporting approaches and techniques;
2. Describe, analyse, and practice different kinds of longer-form journalism approaches and techniques;
3. Identify and critique typologies of news and features content
4. Demonstrate the ability to report on court cases, council meetings, press conferences and other news events

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture108This module is an intensive, practice-based course running three days per week in three-hour sessions.
Professional Practice50Reporting assignments off-campus
Independent Study217No Description
Total Workload: 375

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Week 1 - news writing
How to write a hard news intro; different kinds of intros; the Inverted Pyramid approach; origins and critiques of the Inverted Pyramid; how to order and prioritise information in news writing

Weeks 2-4 News Reporting
How to cover court cases; how to report on local authority meetings; reporting on public events (speeches, protests, press conferences, etc.), descriptive reporting, interviewing.

Weeks 6-9 Feature writing
Different kinds of features (news, trend, lifestyle, reviews, interviews, profiles); how to carry out research for feature articles; how to structure a feature article; the "nut graph" and how to use it; the spine of the feature (opening, nut graph, and ending).

Week 10 - Masterclass
Guest lectures and workshops by working journalists on a range of topics, including but not limited to: podcasting, writing briefs for radio presenters, sub-editing text and headline writing, editing for digital platforms (hyperlinking and search-engine optimisation).

Weeks 11-12 - Newsdays
Newsroom simulation exercises in which the class produces a news product (website, TV news programme, radio programme) which covers the news of the day.

Roles of Journalism
Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel. The elements of journalism, revised and updated 4th edition: What newspeople should know and the public should expect. Crown, 2021.

Randall, David. The universal journalist. Pluto Press, 2016

Investigative reporting
Brown, Julie K. Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story. HarperCollins, 2021.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ParticipationThe student's attendance, participation, and engagement with class resources will be evaluated in this assessment.5%Week 12
In Class TestStudents will undertake a written in-class test to evaluate their skills in writing hard news stories.15%Week 5
In Class TestThe student's ability to identify and critically asses different forms of feature journalism (news feature, review, interview, trend feature, opinion journalism, personal essay) will be assessed in this in-class written test.15%Week 9
Digital ProjectStudents will be required to submit a substantial piece of original journalism which includes the techniques examined during the course of this module: reporting, descriptive writing, interviewing, intro-writing, structure, and sourcing practices among others.65%Week 12
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    Programme or List of Programmes
    MAJMA in Journalism

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