Writing News SOCIO5092

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course is one core option (the other option is Producing News) on the MSc Media, Communications and International Journalism. This course will develop students' practical news-gathering, reporting and writing skills, with particular emphasis on the production of news in online and print journalism. These include skills in identifying newsworthy stories, the selection and use of sources, sound and imagery, conducting effective interviews, differentiating between opinion and reporting and developing a knowledge of journalistic ethics. Students will also receive training in a range of technical and promotional skills such as basic web design, and creating a social media presence. They will also explore the market and organisational pressures within which modern journalists produce output, including those of traditional newsrooms and mobile journalism, and the way in which these affect editorial decision-making and journalistic independence. Applying the skills they have learned, students will work in groups to create and publish a news website which will feature news reporting, opinion pieces and current affairs and lifestyle features.


10 x 2 hour seminars during a 10 week semester, with flexibility in respect of attendance at additional practitioner seminars and workshops and group work.

Requirements of Entry

Students must be enrolled on the MSc Media, Communications and International Journalism.

Excluded Courses

The other core option on the programme - Producing News - cannot be taken in combination with this course as both cover some of the same content. Students must select one or the other.




There are two formally assessed assignments for this course. The first, which counts for 50%, involves the production in assigned groups of a news website to which each student must contribute two written articles (one long-from and one news report) and play a clearly defined role in the production process (eg web design, image selection, editor, etc). They will commission, research, write, design and edit the online news site with support from teaching staff including the newly appointed Media Technician. Assessment will be based on:

- the degree of initiative shown by the student, in gaining information independently and suggesting new ideas.

- the degree of skill in producing engaging and original journalism

- the effectiveness of the planning and of delegation of tasks.

- the technical skill of the student in carrying out delegated tasks.

- the success of the student in fulfilling the purpose of the project.


The second formal assessment, which counts for 50%, is an individual 2000-word outline and reflection upon the news website group exercise discussing the challenges of online publishing, newsgathering techniques and use of sources, audience profile and social media strategy.

Course Aims

The aims of the course are:

To enable students to develop practical journalism skills, including writing in different styles, newsgathering techniques, identifying and using sources, and use of appropriate sound and imagery.

To explore the market and organisational structures within which modern journalists produce output, and the way in which these affect editorial decision-making.

To develop an understanding of the process of collaborative media work and creative thinking.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Research and write short and long-form journalistic articles to a professional standard.

Identify and evaluate the production processes journalists are subject to in their daily work.

Evaluate and apply a range of journalism research techniques.

Select and apply practical journalism skills demonstrating knowledge of engaging audiences and market pressures.

Work effectively in groups to deadline and appreciate the value of delegation and collaborative thinking.

Integrate information and material from a variety of different sources.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.