Course Title: Refine writing and editing techniques - Journalism

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: COMM5408

Course Title: Refine writing and editing techniques - Journalism

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5181 - Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing

Course Contact : Professional Writing and Editing Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4368

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


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

This course is taught by a number of specialist teachers and coordinated by Penny Johnson.    

Coordinator: Penny Johnson
Phone: 9925 4383
Email: penny.johnson@rmit.edu.au

Nominal Hours: 85

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 Refine Writing and Editing – Journalism is delivered and assessed along with the following competencies.

  • CUVCOR04A - Originate concept for own work and conduct critical discourse
  • CUVCOR13A - Research and critically analyse history and theory to inform artistic practice
  • CUECOR01B - Manage own work and learning
  • CUSADM03A - Manage a project
  • CUVDES05A - Interpret and respond to a brief
  • CUSRAD02A - Conduct Research

Through the development of these competencies, you gain the skills needed to manage your work and learning while responding to a range of project briefs. You research the work of other writers and publishers and apply your findings to your own writing through the development of a concept into a written work or a publishing project.

Course Description

This unit covers the knowledge and skills required to research and experiment with writing and editing techniques and media to generate writings. It focuses on a number of distinct writing areas including travel writing, literary non-fiction, feature writing, online writing and writing for radio. It also provides insights and practical skills applicable to the writing life of the freelancer 


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP553 Refine writing and editing techniques - Journalism

Element:

1. Inform work through experimentation with writing techniques and media   

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The potential for new approaches to writing based on the capabilities of techniques already used are evaluated
1.2 New techniques are selected, adapted and introduced for the achievement of different effects
1.3 The capabilities of writing techniques are extended through experimentation to inform practice
1.4 Relevant ideas and approaches from other practitioners are researched, adapted and used with consideration of intellectual property, moral rights and copyright requirements

Element:

2. Develop and refine conceptual vision for writings

Performance Criteria:

2.1 A conceptual vision for writings are developed based on a knowledge and understanding of different writing techniques
2.2 The criteria for selecting techniques are considered based on results of experimentation
2.3 The criteria which are most likely to facilitate the achievement of the conceptual vision are established
2.4 The approach to work which meets established criteria is selected
2.5 The conceptual vision is refined based on on-going experimentation and analysis of writing techniques

Element:

3. Determine and organise resource requirements for work

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The specific resource requirements which arise from the use of techniques and experimental approaches are assessed
3.2 Potential sources of supply of writing resources are researched and accessed
3.3 Constraints that may impact on the development of work are evaluated

Element:

4. Plan the writing

Performance Criteria:

4.1 The writing task is planned to reflect the media, scope, structure and content of the work and to meet agreed timelines
4.2 Ideas are organised and developed into an ordered sequence of scenes
4.3 All resources required to deliver the writing task are organised
4.4 A timeline for the completion of the writing task that reflects the critical milestones is determined

Element:

5. Realise writings                              

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Writings are realised using techniques and media selected from research and experimentation to meet the conceptual vision
5.2 The potential for changes in the use of techniques are evaluated and responded to
5.3 The conceptual vision is refined based on on-going experiences with the production of writings
5.4 Issues of design and presentation of writings are considered and appropriate actions taken


Learning Outcomes


On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to write for a range of publications and media.


Details of Learning Activities

In this course you learn through-

1. 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
 
2. Out-of-class activities:
• independent project based work
• writing and reading assignments
• online and other research
• independent study


Teaching Schedule

 Date        Class Content                                                                                                
Assessment    Due                                  
Competency and Elements                                                                    
Semester 1   
Wk1

Introduction to the course
Explanation of the year’s work and assessment

Digital journalism
Reading online: what, how, why

  VBP553 - 3
CUVDES05A - 1
CUVCOR 13A - 1
CUVCOR04A - 1
CUSRAD02A - 1
CUSADM03A - 1
CUECOR01B - 1
Wk 2Digital journalism
Writing for online: basics
  
Wk 3Digital journalism
Blogs and blogging
  
Wk 4Digital journalism
Social media and more ...
  
Wk 5
Advanced feature articles
Come to class with three story ideas and a few possible target mags for these stories – a profile? an essay? a how-to? a humour piece? We’ll work both ideas into pitches, focusing on what makes ideas stronger, better suited to the reader/editor.
Assessment 1
Digital journalism assignment due
VBP553 - 1/2
CUVDES05A - 1/2
CUVCOR 13A - 1
CUVCOR04A - 1/2
CUSADM03A - 1/2
CUECOR01B - 1
Wk 6Advanced feature articles
Researching the successful story idea. Where to start? What to add? What to omit? Which speakers to include?
Lining up interviews
Brainstorming and resource pooling
 VBP553 - 1/2
CUVCOR 13A - 1
CUVCOR04A - 2/3
CUSRAD02A - 1/2
CUSADM03A - 2/3
CUECOR01B -  2
Wk 7
Advanced feature articles
Dealing with transcripts, dovetailing data into storytelling, going that extra mile to distinguish your work.
 
  VBP553 - 4/5
CUVCOR 13A - 1/2
CUVCOR04A - 3
CUSRAD02A - 4
CUSADM03A - 3
CUECOR01B -  3
 Wk 8
 Advanced feature articles
Creating a master sheet and copy plan. Structure? Sidebars? Best ways to start and end a feature. Engaging the readers, and holding their attention. The main idea and the best angles.
  VBP553 - 4/5
CUVCOR 13A - 3
CUSRAD02A - 4
CUSADM03A - 3
CUECOR01B -  3
 Mid-semester break
Thursday 5 April - Wednesday 11 April
  
Wk 9

Advanced feature articles
First draft, with workshops and support reading
How to enliven and improve the copy
Dealing with problem areas
Micro and macro changes
Style

 VBP553 - 5
CUVCOR 13A - 1/2
CUVCOR04A - 3
 Wk 10

Advanced feature articles
Spit, polish, and voila: your feature, ready for the world
Celebration of features in general – the best of here and OS
Market opportunities

Assessment 2
Feature article due
VBP553 - 5
CUSADM03A - 4
 Wk 11
Writing for radio/advanced interviewing
Why we listen to radio/podcasts/audio streaming
Different script formats required for different types of programs/interviews
Finding good ‘talent’
Workshop ideas for interviews
  CUVDES05A - 1
CUVCOR 13A - 1-3
CUSRAD02A - 1
CUSADM03A - 1
 Wk 12
 

Writing for radio/advanced interviewing
How to script for radio/podcasts, e.g. forward announce,back announce, questions etc.
What are teh different roles/jobs in radio (producer, presenter etc.)
Different styles of interviews required for different styles of program
Targetting your audience

  VBP553 - 1
CUVDES05A - 1
CUVCOR 13A - 1
CUVCOR04A - 1
 Wk 13

Writing for radio/advanced interviewing
Structuring interviews
Writing promos, forward and back announces
Examining scripts from actual radio programs

 VBP553 - 2
CUVCOR 13A - 1
CUVCOR05A - 3
CUVCOR04A - 1
CUECOR01B - 3
 Wk 14
 Writing for radio/advanced interviewing
Writing voice-pieces, complex radio packages
 VBP553 - 3/4
CUSRAD02A - 2
CUVCOR 13A - 1/2
CUSADM03A - 3
 Wk 15
 Writing for radio/advanced interviewing:
Scripting Q/A’s, radio reviews
  VBP553 - 3/4
CUECOR01B - 1
CUSADM03A - 3
 Wk 16

Writing for radio/advanced interviewing
Hand in Assignment.
Listening back to interviews – feedback session – IN CLASS ASSESSMENT.
Assessment 3
Writing for Radio assignment due
 VBP553 - 2
CUSADM03A -2
CUECOR01B - 1
Wk 17Assessment Week - no classes  
 

Semester break
11 June - 29 June

  
Semester 2   
Wk 1
Introduction to immersion writing
Setting up for final assignment
 
CUVDES05A - 1
CUVCOR 13A - 1
CUVCOR04A - 1
CUSRAD02A - 1/2
CUSADM03A - 1
CUECOR01B -1
Wk 2
 Writer and research
Researching techniques
Workshopping ideas
  CUSRAD02A - 1-4
Wk 3Literary journalism
Introduction to Literary journalism
Writing exercise
 
 VBP553 - 2
CUVCOR 13A - 1
CUVCOR04A - 1/2
CUSRAD02A - 1-3
CUSADM03A - 1/2
CUECOR01B -  1-3
Wk 4Literary journalism
Building on the literary journalistic form: character and place  
 VBP553 - 2/3
CUVCOR 13A - 2/3
CUVCOR04A - 2/3
CUSADM03A - 3
Wk 5Literary journalism
Telling non-fiction stories
Writers as chroniclers/storytellers
The personal story: the universal message
Workshopping ideas
  VBP553 - 2/4
CUVCOR 13A - 2/3
CUVCOR04A - 3/4
CUSADM03A - 3
Wk 6Literary journalism
Ethical and legal issues
Brainstorming
Professional approach
Workshop story ideas
  VBP553 - 4/5
CUVCOR 13A - 2/3
CUVCOR04A - 3/4
CUSADM03A - 3
CUSRAD02A - 3-5
Wk 7Literary journalism
Greater texture – making your literary journalism sing
Workshopping as required
 
Assessment 4
Literary journalism piece due
VBP553 - 55CUECOR01B - 3
CUVCOR 13A - 2 CUSADM03A - 4
CUECOR01B -  3
Wk 8

Food and travel writing
Introduction to the course
Explanation of the semester’s work and assessment Brainstorming assessment ideas
Types of food and travel writing

 
CUECOR01B - 3
CUVCOR 13A - 2 CUSADM03A - 4
Wk 9

Food and travel writing
Angles and pitches
Writing a short feature
Worshopping assessment ideas

  CUECOR01B - 3
CUVCOR 13A - 2 CUSADM03A - 4
Wk 10

Food and travel writing
Restaurant reviews
Guidebook reviews
Workshopping assessment drafts
Writing exercise

 
 VBP553 - 1/2/4
CUVCOR13A - 1
CUVCOR04A - 1/2
CUVDES05A - 1
Wk 11Food and travel writing
Writing exercise
  VBP553 - 1/2/4
CUVCOR13A - 2
CUVCOR04A - 3
CUVDES05A - 2/3
Wk 12

Food and travel writing
Peer review
Course wrap-up

Assessment 5
Food and travel writing assignment due
 VBP553 - 1/5
CUVCOR13A - 3/4
CUVCOR04A - 4
CUECOR01B -  3
 Mid-semester break
24 September - 5 October
  
Wk 13

Immersion writing
Workshopping

 
CUVCOR 13A - 2/3
Wk 14
Immersion writing
Workshopping
 CUVCOR13A - 2/3
CUSADM03A - 3/4
Wk 15

Writing your passion

Marketing yourself as a freelance journalist
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Assessment 6
Immersion piece due
 CUVCOR 13A - 2/3
VBP553 - 5
CUSADM03A - 4
CUVDES05A - 2/3
Wk 16 Pitching to newspaper/magazine editor   VBP553 - 5 CUSADM03A - 4
Wk 17Assessment Week - no classes  


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Any prescribed reading material is provided in class


References

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.


Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding 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. For each assessment you will receive a handout outlining the requirements and the criteria by which you will be assessed. You will receive feedback on all assessment tasks. 

Semester 1

Assessment 1 Digital journalism assignment (10%)
Due 8 March

Assessment 2 Feature article (20%)
Due 19 April

Assessment 3 Writing for radio assignment (20%)
Due 31 May

Semester 2

Assignment 4 Literary journalism piece (20%)
Due 16 August

Assignment 5 Food and travel writing assignment (10%)
Due 20 September

Assignment 6 Immersion piece (20%)
Due 25 October

Grades used in this course are as follows:

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

For further details on these assessment tasks and the grading system and criteria used, 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.

Other Information

Submission of Assessment Tasks
You are required to submit all assessment tasks in hard copy with a completed School of Media and Communication cover sheet. You are expected to keep a copy of all assignments submitted.

Late Submissions
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension before that due date.
Please refer to the course blackboard site for information on late submissions and on applying for an extension.

Feedback
You will receive both spoken and written feedback on your work. Where appropriate, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Academic Integrity
Academic Integrity is about the honest presentation of your academic work. Presenting work that fails to acknowledge other people’s work within yours can compromise academic integrity. For further information on academic integrity and plagiarism, please refer to the following URL. http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=kkc202lwe1yv

Special Consideration Policy
Please refer to the following URL for information on applying for special consideration:
http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1

Course Overview: Access Course Overview