Basic Practical Journalism (Joint Honours)

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module


LT231, LT232

Key module for

BA P590 Journalism and Modern Languages,
BA P550 Journalism and Criminology,
BA P551 Journalism and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA P552 Journalism and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA P540 Journalism and Sociology,
BA P541 Journalism and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA P542 Journalism and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA P520 Journalism with Business Management,
BA P510 Journalism and English Language,
BA P511 Journalism and English Language (Including Placement Year),
BA P512 Journalism and English Language (Including Year Abroad),
BA P530 Journalism and Literature,
BA P531 Journalism and Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA P532 Journalism and Literature (Including Year Abroad),
BA P570 Journalism with Human Rights,
BA P571 Journalism with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA P572 Journalism with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA P580 Journalism and Politics,
BA P581 Journalism and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA P582 Journalism and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA P525 Journalism and Liberal Arts,
BA P526 Journalism and Liberal Arts (Including Placement Year),
BA P527 Journalism and Liberal Arts (Including Year Abroad),
BA P515 Journalism and Philosophy,
BA P516 Journalism and Philosophy (Including Placement Year),
BA P517 Journalism and Philosophy (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module, the joint honours equivalent of LT131 Practical Journalism but without compulsory work experience, introduces you to the basics of news and of storytelling, core skills for all jobs in journalism. You’ll discuss the nature of news and how to identify a story. You’ll learn how to look for and uncover the information that will make a story; and study the different ways in which that information can be presented.

You will develop skills in absorbing a lot of information quickly, reducing it to its essentials, and producing an accurate and engaging narrative, often against a deadline. You will understand the overriding importance of accuracy in reporting, and the need to check and verify everything that you write. You will learn about elements of style and presentation, the importance of choosing the right word, how to develop your own writing persona and how to edit the work of others.

You will learn the basics of multimedia production, create your own website and start producing content for a variety of print, online, radio and television outlets – the latter including the use of mobile journalism techniques. You will be introduced to digital audio and video editing tools. Your practical reporting assignments will be given to you from an early stage.

In addition, through the contemporary history series of lectures, you’ll learn about how events of recent years provide perspective and context to today’s news stories. Work experience is not compulsory for this module but is encouraged.

Module aims

1. to provide you with a solid basis on which to build your career as a journalist
2. to help you master the fundamental skills of story finding, story telling, story editing and story presentation.
3. to understand the core skills of good grammar, accuracy and precision, and of reducing a mass of information to its essentials
4. to give you a grounding in the different character and requirements of different media platforms
5. to give you an understanding of how to create content for each of those platforms, including mobile journalism
6. to give you a working knowledge of the tools used in online production and to introduce you to those used in broadcasting
7. to give you a working knowledge of the history of the last 50 years, which will inform and deepen your understanding of current events

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

1. demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the different forms of news reporting
2. know how to look for and gather information, and to present it effectively for a variety of media platforms
3. demonstrate a commitment to good writing and to accuracy, both in terms of grammar and spelling, and in terms of reporting faithfully what you have been told
4. do reporting of your own, both within the course environment and in the real world, through work experience with local media organisations
5. edit the work of others for a variety of media platforms
6. use online production tools to a basic standard
7. set today’s news in its historical context

Module information

General Reading:

Smith, Jon (2007) Essential Reporting: the NCTJ Guide for Trainee Journalists, London: Sage
Randall, David (2016) The Universal Journalist, London: Pluto
Sissons, Helen (2006) Practical Journalism - How to Write News, London: Sage
Hicks, Wynford (2013), English for Journalists, London: Routledge
Hicks, Wynford (2016), Writing for Journalists, London: Routledge
The Economist (2018) Style Guide, London: Economist
Hargreaves, Ian (2014) Journalism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Robinson, Nick (2013) Live from Downing Street, London, Bantam
Marr, Andrew (2005) My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism, London: Pan
Calvacoresi, Peter (2008) World Politics Since 1945, London: Routledge
Clarke, Peter (2004) Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-2000, London: Penguin

Learning and teaching methods

The module will run throughout Year 1. Teaching will be based on the morning meetings and two two-hour practical classroom sessions each week, exploring the skills and knowledge involved in writing and editing for publication, through exercises, lectures, practical demonstration and discussion, and learning how to use production tools for print and online. All classroom work is interactive, encouraging the greatest possible degree of engagement and active learning. You will explore all of these areas issues with regular written exercises, producing scripts for the same story in different media and being given detailed feedback and advice on style and editorial content. The exercises will test your ability to spot a story, prioritise facts and present a clear, accurate and engaging narrative suitable for the medium in which you are working. The production exercises will test your ability to present stories using the standard production tools for print and online. You will also be sent out to find your own stories and write them up. Part of this practical work will involve attending magistrates' courts and crown courts as reporters well as coroners' inquests to help broaden your knowledge of these institutions and how they operate. (These visits will assist in the portfolio you will be producing for the Media Law module). Visiting practitioners – reporters, correspondents, producers, news editors, editors – will lead similar sessions to enable you to see the job from a wide range of perspectives.


  • Wynford Hicks; Sally Adams; Harriett Gilbert; Tim Holmes; Jane Bentley. (©2016) Writing for journalists, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Smith, Jon; National Council for the Training of Journalists (Great Britain). (2007) Essential reporting: the NCTJ guide for trainee journalists, Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
  • Anna McKane. (2014) News writing, London: SAGE.
  • Reynolds, David. (c2000) One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945, New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Kershaw, Ian. (2018) Roller-coaster : Europe, 1950-2017, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
  • McMahon, Robert J. (©2003) The Cold War: a very short introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press. vol. 87
  • Tim Holmes; Wynford Hicks. (©2016) Subediting and production for journalists: print, digital, social, London: Routledge.
  • Lee-Potter, Emma. (©2017) Interviewing for journalists, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Brogan, Hugh. (©1985, 1999) The Penguin history of the United States of America, London: Penguin Books.
  • Steger, Manfred B. (©2017) Globalization: a very short introduction, Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. vol. 86
  • Calvocoressi, Peter. (2008) World Politics since 1945, London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
  • Roberts, J. M. (2000) The Penguin history of the twentieth century : the history of the world, 1901 to the present, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
  • Mitter, Rana. (2016) Modern China: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Randall, David. (©2016) The Universal Journalist, London: Pluto Press.
  • Kershaw, Ian. (2015) To hell and back : Europe, 1914-1949, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
  • Jackson, Ashley. (2013) The British Empire: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Clarke, Peter. (2004) Hope and Glory : Britain, 1900-2000, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
  • Allen, Robert C. (2011) Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hobsbawm, Eric. (1995) Age of extremes : the short twentieth century, 1914-1991, London: Little, Brown Book Group.
  • Wynford Hicks. (©2013) English for Journalists, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Service, Robert. (©2015) The Penguin history of modern Russia: from Tsarism to the twenty-first century, [London], UK: Penguin Books.
  • Bunton, Martin. (2013) The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Weekly: Story Reflection Do not publish     5% 
Coursework   (Week 17) 1. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 18) 2. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 19) 3. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 20) 4. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 21) 5. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 22) 6. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 23) 7. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 24) 8. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 25) 9. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 26) 10. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 31) 11. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 32) 12. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 33) 13. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   (Week 34) 14. Weekly Work or Story Reflection     
Coursework   Portfolio 1    20% 
Coursework   Contemporary History Essay (1,000 words)    10% 
Coursework   Portfolio 2     35% 
Practical   In-class subbing test    30% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Tim Fenton, email:
Tim Fenton, Anthony Clavane, Paul Anderson, Dr Fatima el Issawi
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Mr Richard Evans
City, University of London
Programme Director, UG Journalism
Available via Moodle
Of 314 hours, 143 (45.5%) hours available to students:
171 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.