Course Title: Produce Writings - Journalism

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: COMM5400

Course Title: Produce Writings - Journalism

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4171 - Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing

Course Contact : Program Administration Brendan Lee

Course Contact Phone: Brendan Lee 9925 4368

Course Contact Email:Brendan.lee@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Ms Fiona Scott-Norman
 
Email: fiona.scott-norman@rmit.edu.au

 

Teacher: Mr Matt Holden

Email: matt.holden@rmit.edu.au

Nominal Hours: 105

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

At RMIT, the competency Produce Writings –Journalism is delivered and assessed alongside the following competencies:
CUVCOR03A: Develop, refine and communicate concept for own work
CUVCOR11A: Source information on history and theory and apply to own work
CUSRAD01A: collect and organise information

Course Description

This course looks at the skills and knowledge required for working as a freelance print journalist as you plan, draft, edit and pitch your written articles.
The course helps you to cultivate a critical awareness of appropriate language, style, and word length for a range of media publications. You discuss contemporary issues in the media and analyse a broad range of material from various publications


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP552 Produce Writings - Journalism

Element:

1. Analyse the purpose of the writing task

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The purpose of the work is confirmed with relevant parties
1.2 The form, media and technique most appropriate to the purpose of the writing task is selected
1.3 The stylistic and cultural context of the writing task is proposed to meet the writing objective
 

Element:

2. Investigate the scope of the writing task

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The level and scope of the writing task is analysed to determine the length and style of the work
2.2 The level of research required to fulfil the agreed outcome to the required style and standard is analysed
2.3 The resources necessary to retrieve or generate the relevant information is determined
2.4 The type and level of information required to suit the context of the writing task is planned
 

Element:

3. Plan the writing task

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The writing task is planned to reflect the media, scope, structure and content of the work
3.2 Ideas are organised and developed into an ordered sequence
3.3 All resources required to deliver the writing task are organised
3.4 A timeline for the completion of the writing task that reflects the critical milestones is determined
 

Element:

4. Create the writing task

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Components of the information required and the form in which the writing will be developed, constructed and presented is resolved
4.2 The intention of the writing task and the characteristics of the audience are reflected in the writing
4.3 Appropriate processes and research are utilised to retrieve the necessary information
4.4 The particular characteristics of the media are analysed to inform the writing in a way that is appropriate for the purpose of the writing
4.5 Relevant information sources are employed to generate and inform the writing task
4.5 Common literary devices and the metaphoric function of language are integrated into the writing task
4.6 Writing task is produced in accordance with writing goals
 

Element:

5. Realise the writing task

Performance Criteria:

5.1 The writing task is appropriate for the media, the context of the brief and the style of the subject matter
5.2 The language in which the writing task is written is suitable for the intended audience
5.3 The writing task is proofed and edited to the standard required for presentation
5.4 A draft is presented, if required, to the client to confirm that the work is acceptable
5.5 Work is adjusted as required and presented in the agreed manner and timeframe
 


Learning Outcomes


On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to plan, draft, edit and pitch articles for a range of publications.


    Details of Learning Activities

    In this course you learn through -

    In-class activities:
    • lectures
    • industry speakers
    • teacher directed group activities/projects
    • peer teaching and class presentations
    • group discussion
    • class exercises to review discussions/lectures
    • reading of excerpts of writings and set texts to provide examples of writing elements
    • workshopping of students’ own projects
    • analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice

    Out-of-class activities:
    • independent project based work
    • writing and reading assignments
    • online and other research
    • independent study


    Teaching Schedule

    Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.
     

    Week
    Class ContentAssignments dueCompetency & Elements

    Week 1


     

    Defining the relationship beteen nonfiction and journalism – .
    What do you read? What are your influences?
     VBP552 - Analyse purpose of writing task
    CUSRAD01A- Collect relevant information
    CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
    Week 2
     
    Literary nonfiction in the twentieth century - what is it’s place as as a form of journalism?  VBP552 - Investigate scope of writing task
    CUSRAD01A- Collect relevant information
    CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
    CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
     Week 3

     
     Contemporary nonfiction publishing: what’s out there? who’s publishing it?
     
      VBP552 –Investigate scope of writing task
    CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
    CUVCOR03A – Develop & communicate concept
    Week 4

     
     Choosing which voice: tone, style, language, impersonation
     
      VBP552 – Plan and create writing task
    CUSRAD01A- Collect information
    CUVCOR11A - Apply information on history and theory
     
    Week 5
     
     Were do ideas come from?Assessment 1 due  VBP552 -Realise writing task
    CUSRAD01A – Organise information
    CUVCOR011A – Apply information on history and theory
     
     Week 6

     
    Researching your ideas  VBP552 –Investigate the scope of writing task
    CUVCOR01A – Communicate and refine concept
    CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
     Week 7

     
    The history of the essay as a form of journalism 

    CUVCOR011A – Apply information on history and theory
    VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task

     Mid-semester break -  April 1 to April 4 (inclusive)  
     Week 8

     
    The personal essay
     
      VBP552 –Investigate the scope & plan writing task
    CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
    CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
     Week 9
     
    Other essay sub-genres: cultural criticism, essays about place, etc.
     

     
     VBP552 Create writing task
    CUVCOR03A – Communicate concept
     Week 10
     
     
    What editors want? (Guest lecturer)
     
    Assessment 2 due
     
     VBP552 - Create and realise writing task
    CUSRAD01A – Collect & organise information
    VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
     
     Week 11

     
    Ethics and legalities in nonfiction writing
     
     CUSRAD01A – Access and organise the information
    CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
    CUVCOR03A – Refine concept
     Week 12

     
    Interview techniques  VBP552 – Plan and create writing task
    CUVCOR11A – Source and collect information on history and theory
     Week 13

     
    What makes a good profile? Finding and choosing talent 
    CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
     Week 14

     
     Researching and conducting interviews VBP552 - Create & realise writing task
    CUSRAD03A – Communicate & refine concept
    VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task

     
     Week 15

     
     Writing up profiles

     
    Assessment 3 due VBP552 – nvestigate scope of writing task
    CUVCOR01A – Develop concept
    CUVCOR11A – Source and collect information on history and theory
     Week 16

     
    Guest lecturer  VBP552 – Plan writing task
     CUVCOR03A – Develop concept
     Semester Break - June 10 to July 6 (inclusive)  
      Semester 2  
     Week 1

     
    Freelance journalism – what can you sell, what editors look for; different types articles 
      VBP552 – nvestigate scope of writing task
    CUVCOR03A – Develop and communicate concept
     Week 2

     
     Finding your ‘angle’
    Understanding the function of precedes and headlines.

     
     VBP552 - Plan, create and realise  writing task
    CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
    CUSRAD01A - Collect, assess and organise information
    VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
     Week 3

     
     Essential information and ordering in news journalism  VBP552 - Plan & create writing task
    CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
     Week 4

     

     Writing personal/reflective articles.

    Making the personal relevant - it’s not all about you!
    Looking at purpose, audience, content and structure.
     

     CUVCOR11A – Source & collect information on history and theory
    CUSRAD01A - Communicate information
     Week 5

     Writing the regular personal column

    Discussion of assignment 2 specs.
    Getting the reader on side. Looking at personal columns and how writers build a readership.
     

     VBP552 –Plan  writing task
    CUVCOR03A – Refine and communicate concept
    VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
     Week 6 Looking at opinion pieces; Ethos, logos and pathos – examination of persuasive techniques, brainstorming arguments  
    CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory

     
     Week 7 Writing a book or film review: analysis of examples, discussion around style, length, function, markets and getting started  CUSRAD01A - Collect & assess information
    VBP552 - Investigate scope of writing task
     
    Week 8Workshopping pieces written for Assignment 2  Writing Seasonal/How-To/Formula informative articles  VBP552 - Analyse purpose of writing task
    VBP552 – Plan & create writing task
     Week 9 Looking at examples of pitches and commissions; write pitch for Assignment 2   VBP552 - Analyse purpose of writing task
    VBP552 – Plan & create writing task
     Week 10 Writing to be read aloud - opportunities, techniques and pitfalls  CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
     Week 11 Discussion of assignment 3 specs. Brainstorming ideas; refining ideas; how might they look on the page?  CUVCOR11A - Apply information on history and theory
     September 23 to July 4 (inclusive)  
     Week 12Finding, researching and focusing your story. Markets for publication.  
    CUVCOR03A – Communicate &refine concept
     Week 13

     Developing a beat

    Workshop feature article assignment
     

      CUSRAD01A - Organise & communicate information
    CUVCOR03A – Communicate concept
     
     Week 14 Questions, discussion and exercises around the application of media ethics.  
    CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
     Week 15 When writing the article is not quite enough  VBP552 – Create and realise the writing task
    CUVCOR03A – Communicate and refine concept
    VBP552 - Analyse the purpose of the writing task
     Week 16Review and discussion around future opportunities  CUVCOR11A - Collect information on history and theory
     


    Learning Resources

    Prescribed Texts

    Prescribed material will be provided by the teacher.


    References

    Hart, Jack, 2011 Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction, University of Chicago Press Mark Kramer and Wendy Call (eds), 2007, Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide, Plume (Penguin)
    Power Prose: Writing Skills for the Media Age. Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books, 2004.

    You are advised to look at the course blackboard site for ongoing updated information.


    Other Resources

    You require access to a computer and to the internet for this course.

    Newspapers, weekly supplements, literary journals and magazines in print and online


    Overview of Assessment

    Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your writing tasks.


    Assessment Tasks

    To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

    Semester 1
    Assessment 1: Nonfiction book research paper (20%)
    Choose and read a nonfiction book and write a report on it that examines intent, genre, antecedents, critical responses, market and audience.
    Word length: 1000 words
    Due: To be submitted in class on week beginning March 11


    Assessment 2: Personal essay (35%)
    Write a personal essay for a specific audience and market.
    Word length: 1200 words
    Due: To be submitted in class on week beginning April 22


    Assessment 3: Profile (45%)
    Write a profile for a specific audience and market.
    Word length: 1500 words
    Due: To be submitted in class on week beginning May 27


    Semester 2
    Assessment Task 1: 500 word news story (20%)

    Write a 500-word news story using the pyramid technique. Using the same technique, re-write the finished story in 150 words. Both stories to be submitted in class on week beginning July 29


    Assessment Task 2: 800 word article (35%)
    Choose one of the following and write an 800 word article using the requisite conventions. Article to be submitted in class on week beginning September 2.
    •Personal/reflective article
    •Review
    •Opinion piece


    Assessment Task 3: 1200 feature article(45%)
    Write a 1200 word feature informative article. Feature article to be submitted in class on week beginning October 28.


    Detailed briefs for each assignment will be provided to you in class and on blackboard, including industry-specific criteria such as: clarity and appropriateness of angle, clear audience targeting, etc. Your participation in the drafting and class workshopping process will be considered in assessment of assignments.



    Assessment tasks in this unit are graded.
    To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.


    80 – 100% HD High Distinction
    70 – 79% DI Distinction
    60 – 69% CR Credit
    50 – 59% PA Pass
    Under 50% NN Fail

    For further information on the criteria used for grading, please refer to the course blackboard site.


    Assessment Matrix

    The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant
    Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program
    administration

    Course Overview: Access Course Overview