Writing Journalism

Subject MECM30010 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On Campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3
Total Time Commitment: 102


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Introduction to Media Writing
Non Allowed Subjects: 670-302 Writing Journalism
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Carolyne Lee, Prof Sean Cubitt


Carolyne Lee carolyne@unimelb.edu.au
Subject Overview:

This subject teaches the craft of writing hard and soft news stories for newspapers and newspaper supplements and magazines. With an emphasis on news writing, students learn what news is and how (and why) news priorities and story treatment may differ between print, broadcast and online. The subject also looks at how traditional news writing differs from other forms of journalistic writing such as blogs or opinion/comment pieces. Students learn how accuracy, as well as clear and concise language, is vital to all kinds of journalistic writing as well as the critical differences between creative writing, public relations writing (PR) and journalistic writing. The subject introduces the core skill of interviewing with students provided with ample opportunity to put into practice what is covered in both lectures and classes. The subject also looks at professional codes of ethics and editorial policies. On completion of this subject students should have a strong grasp of current journalistic practices and required skills.


Students who complete this subject will:

  • understand and work to professional codes of ethics;
  • have a strong grasp of current journalistic practices and required skills;
  • understand the nature of editorial policies;
  • how a fundamental understanding of current media law and how it directly impacts on journalists.
Assessment: Two news stories of 300-400 words each, 30% (first one due in week four of semester, second one due in week seven), a short feature story of 800-1000 words 20% (due in week 11), a long feature story of 1500 - 1700 words 30% (due during the examination period), report of 500 words 10% (due in the examination period) and class participation including tutorial exercises and quizzes 10%. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials are required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • understand the imperatives of contemporary journalism;
  • be able to demonstrate competence in writing for the media, including optimum communication techniques and methodology;
  • be able to make editorial assessments of how effectively a story has communicated facts and concepts.
Notes: This subject is available to students enrolled in the BA (Media and Communications), BA (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Commerce, and BA (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Laws. Students who have completed 100-105/100-205 Writing Journalism are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Media and Communications
Media and Communications

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