Writing News SOCIO5092

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course is one core option (the other option is Producing News) on the MSc Media, Communications and International Journalism. The course will develop students' practical newsgathering, reporting and writing skills, with particular emphasis on news production and skills that are transferable to online platforms. These skills include in identifying newsworthy stories, the selection and use of sources and imagery, conducting effective interviews, differentiating between opinion and reporting, developing a knowledge of journalistic ethics, editing and design. They will also receive training in basic design tools as well as a range of technical and promotional skills such as creating an effective social media presence.  Students 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 design, research, write, edit and layout a newspaper which will feature news reporting, opinion pieces and current affairs 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%, is the production in assigned groups of a newspaper to which each student must contribute two written articles (one long-form and one news report) and play a clearly defined role in the production process (eg design and layout, image selection, editor, etc). They will commission, research, write, design and edit the final piece with support from teaching staff. 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 newspaper group exercise discussing the challenges of newspaper production, 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, use of appropriate imagery as well as editing and design.

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


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 into effective news design for print and online.

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.