Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Reporting

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Media and Communications

DESCRIPTION How can one come up with headlines that sell? What’s a gripping lead? And how does one go about writing them? How does one bridge the headline with the lead to achieve a good flow in coming up with tight hard news stories? Who’s behind the news? What’s their agenda? Should we bite the hand that feeds us?

Who are the main players that are continually trying to make us think about the themes that will propagate their ideas and line their pockets? Work done at home will encourage students to keep tab of current affairs, keep their nose to the ground to sniff the patterns behind the news and look for possible follow-ups. Who’s behind the news items? Who’s pulling the strings? Who are the owners of the medium presenting the news? Where’s the bias? Various writing genres will be introduced to the students who will carry out exercises to enrich their writing skills. Weekly take-home exercises will involve the writing in a shortened form of extracts from books by international authors as well as historic events that will add to the students’ general knowledge.

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to help students get the grips with what goes into coming up with vibrant leading news stories that increase their market share and be the preferred source of news for their intended audience.

Students will hone their writing skills, become wordsmiths who can 'paint' pictures with words. Learn how the right words put together can create 'music' which means tight, gripping stories. The ability to write under pressure without being verbose and be able to analyse political and economic situations in such a way as to ferret out stories and answer questions their audience is asking.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Become smart and savvy news hound able to get stories from the air so to speak;
- Sniff out stories even when the world around them is trying to smother those stories;
- Demonstrate the ability to 'comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable'.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Decide what makes a sexy headline, what to leave out of all the details he/she has about a particular story and how to plan follow-up stories;
- Demonstrate knowledge on how to put personal biases aside and stick to facts he/she has sourced and, where needs be, double source them;
- Demonstrate that as reporters are not there to pontificate but to be the voice of the public.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Missouri Group (2016) News Reporting and Writing. Bedford/St Martins: Boston and New York. Twelfth edition.
- Hargreaves, I. (2005). Journalism: A Very Short Introduction. UK: Oxford University Press.

Supplementary Readings:

- Truss, L. (2005). Eats, Shoots and Leaves. London: Profile Books.
- Johnson, S. (1999). Who Moved my Cheese? An amazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life. London: Vermilion.
- Leonard, E. (2000) Pagan Babies. London: Penguin Books.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Project SEM1 Yes 15%
Classwork SEM1 No 15%
Case Study (Take Home) SEM1 Yes 25%
Examination (1 Hour and 30 Minutes) SEM1 Yes 45%

LECTURER/S George Cini

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.