Journalism and Storytelling

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module



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 is about the theory and practice of narrative. Students will consider the origins and enduring power of dramatic form. Through the comparative analysis of key examples, they will develop an understanding of the core principles of storytelling. They will address this primarily in the context of journalism both as a technique legitimately employed to relay ‘news’ and as a means of distorting the reality of events by interested parties.

We will consider the ethical issues presented both for journalists and those employed in the public relations industry. We will consider the way storytelling techniques transcend specific media and have continued through the digital communications revolution of the past twenty five years. We will look at how some of the best journalistic storytellers have transferred those skills to longer-form writing and to fiction. In practical workshops, we will aim to develop students’ practical storytelling skills.

The module builds on the writing classes offered at levels 4 and 5 of the various Journalism degrees but is self-contained and suitable for any level 6 student with appropriate interests.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To explore the theory of storytelling and how it relates to concepts such as rhetoric and metaphor
2. To link classic examples of journalistic practice with techniques used in the most fundamental forms of communication
3. To explore the use of storytelling techniques to distort public discourse
4. To investigate the ethical dilemmas presented by use of storytelling techniques
5. To consider the relationship between factual and fictional storytelling

Module learning outcomes

Students studying this course will:

1. Develop an understanding of the various theories of storytelling
2. Demonstrate a high standard of critical thinking, particularly in regard to storytelling techniques applied both by journalists and those seeking to influence journalists
3. Become conversant with the use of storytelling techniques in key news stories of the modern era
4. Develop the ability to structure their own stories to maximum legitimate effect
5. Develop the ability to recognise and counter the use of storytelling technique by interested parties
6. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the line between acceptable and unacceptable artifice in journalism and non-fiction writing
7. Develop an understanding of the application of storytelling techniques across media and into the era of interactive communications

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Anticipated teaching delivery for 2020-21: There will be nine two-hour lectures and one two-hour workshop followed by short one-to-one feedback tutorials. In addition, as appropriate, there may be screenings and visits as possible and practicable.


  • Morley, David. (2007) The Cambridge introduction to creative writing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lynskey, Dorian. (2019) Ministry of Truth, London: Pan Macmillan.
  • Orwell, George; Hoggart, Richard; Davison, Peter. (2001) Road to Wigan Pier, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
  • Orwell, George. (2001) Down and Out in Paris and London, London: Penguin Books Ltd.
  • McKee, Robert. (1998) Story: substance, structure, style and the principles of screenwriting, London: Methuen.
  • Orwell, George. (2015) Homage to Catalonia, [United Kingdom]: Will Johnson & Dog's Tail Books.
  • King, Stephen. (2000) On writing: a memoir of the craft, London: New English Library.
  • Lopate, Phillip. (2013) To show and to tell: the craft of literary nonfiction, New York: Free Press.
  • Orwell, George. (©1984) Why I write, London: Penguin Books.
  • Gutkind, Lee. (©1997) The art of creative nonfiction: writing and selling the literature of reality, New York: Wiley.
  • (2001) Writing creative nonfiction: instruction and insights from the teachers of the Associated Writing Programs, Cincinnati, Ohio: Story.
  • Yorke, John. (©2013) Into the woods: how stories work and why we tell them, London: Penguin Books.
  • Kramer, Mark; Call, Wendy; Harvard University. Nieman Foundation for Journalism. (©2007) Telling true stories: a nonfiction writers' guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, New York: Plume.
  • Gutkind, Lee. (2012) You can't make this stuff up: the complete guide to writing creative nonfiction--from memoir to literary journalism and everything in between, Boston, MA: Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books.
  • Orwell, George. (2018) Politics and the English Language: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Jack, Ian. (©2006) The Granta book of reportage, London: Granta.
  • Orwell, George. (1949) Burmese Days: A Novel, London: Secker & Warburg.
  • (©1987) The Faber book of reportage, London: Faber.

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   Long-read feature (2,000-2,500 words)    100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Anthony Clavane, email:
Anthony Clavane
LiFTS General Office – email: Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Mr Richard Evans
City, University of London
Programme Director, UG Journalism
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 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.

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