Course Title: Understanding Journalism

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Understanding Journalism

Credit Points: 24.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 2 2023

Course Coordinator: Dr Josie Vine

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3596

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 9 Level 4

Course Coordinator Availability: Contact Course Coordinator

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course you will acquire and develop knowledge of the history and the role of journalism in democratic societies. You will also be introduced to practical journalistic activities, including news pitches, news gathering and writing. This course prepares you for more advanced journalism courses by exploring journalism’s basic functions, and best professional practices, and how they converge in the modern newsroom.



Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:

  • Discuss and analyse major evolving global and local news events.
  • Develop practical and technical skills to adapt quickly to changes in the journalism industry.
  • Apply a body of theoretical and practical knowledge and specific skills in media and communication, particularly in journalism, in which to base your professional practice or future study.
  • Demonstrate creativity, critical thinking and innovation when identifying and solving problems in diverse contexts within the discipline of journalism.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Investigate and examine the history and foundational theories underpinning journalism practice.
  2. Examine of the role of journalism and journalists in democratic societies.
  3. Apply news gathering skills including interviewing, document gathering and identifiying news sources.
  4. Apply foundational news writing skills to produce news stories for diverse print media.
  5. Reflect on and explain decisions made within a journalistic context.


Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of activities such as studios, project work, lectures, tutorials, class discussion, individual and group activities.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.

The University Library has extensive resources for Journalism students. The Library has produced a subject guide that includes quality online and print resources for your studies:

There are services and resources available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student website. 


Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include reports, reflective papers, creative projects and presentations, individually and in groups. Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: Assessment

Assessment Task 1:News Quizzes 10% Individual  Linked CLOs: 2,3     Assessment Task 2: Hard News Story #1 20% Individual Linked CLOs: 3,4    Assessment Task 3: Individual HARD NEWS STORY #2 and PARTNER COLOUR STORY 30% Linked CLOs: 3,4
Assessment Task 4: ePortfolio
Individual 40% Linked CLOs: 1,2,3,4,5