There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.
Graduate subject – Journalism – 400 level 

This subject aims to develop sound basic practices in professional journalism. It focuses on news and current affairs research and reporting, the role of journalism in liberal democracies, and journalistic techniques, ethics and standards. Students develop a series of stories in a chosen round. Through group discussion and a close analysis of news and current affairs, students develop an understanding of, and ability to contribute to, contemporary debates in journalism. Students also work to deadlines researching and reporting news stories for journalism publications. 

Typical availability

Autumn semester, City campus
Spring semester, City campus 
Detailed subject description. 

Subject objectives/outcomes

On completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an ability to identify and research a story
  2. demonstrate an ability to write in a clear, concise, factual way and conduct interviews
  3. apply basic industry standards
  4. identify key ethical and legal obligations associated with reporting
  5. undertake individual and group work
  6. demonstrate an ability to set and meet deadlines
  7. demonstrate an awareness of local, national and international people and events, current issues and media issues
  8. demonstrate an ability to write under pressure
  9. demonstrate an ability to identify particular issues relevant to journalism, review, reflect and discuss.


Contribution to course aims and graduate attributes

This subject provides students with:

  • strong research and reporting skills and be able to effectively retrieve and analyse information from a range of sources
  • a knowledge and critical understanding of the media
  • the necessary skills to either enter professional practice in the media or continue with additional skills and intellectual depth
  • an understanding of the relationship between media theory and practice
  • a critical understanding of issues of gender, race, ethnicity, disability and class and the way these are linked to issues of media representation, production and reception
  • the ability to be self-reliant and pro-active, flexible and innovative
  • an understanding and commitment to ethical journalism practice.


Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is offered in weekly mode, including 13 classes during the semester. The subject activities will include practical journalistic assignments in researching and reporting news, lectures and discussions, in-class exercises and quizzes.  

The assessment tasks are linked and designed to provide students with cumulative research and professional practice learning activities. Students are individually assessed.  

All assignments and written exercises must be completed and delivered on deadline and in the manner specified by the lecturer. Failure to meet deadlines will result in loss of marks.  


The key activity in this course involves students researching and reporting news stories, developing skills in interviewing, selection of sources, assessing evidence for accuracy; as well as familiarising students with news style. It will also introduce them to digital research skills. These skills are set on strong ethical foundations, introduced through readings and case studies.  

Contact book:
Journalists are expected to initiate and maintain a contact book/file.  


Assessment Item 1: Preliminary Research Story/Local News Story 1

Objective(s): a,b,c,f
Weighting: 25% (Preliminary Research Story 10%; News Story 15%)
  • Coverage of essential primary and secondary sources
  • Quality of intro and its ability to interest readers;
  • Choice of sources for interviews and use of quotes;
  • Integration of background information;
  • Use of appropriate news writing style;
  • Accuracy in reporting facts;
  • Clear writing and correct English expression.

Assessment Item 2: Local News Story 2

Objective(s): a,b,c,f
Weighting: 25%
  • Coverage of essential primary and secondary sources
  • Quality of intro and its ability to interest readers;
  • Choice of sources for interviews and use of quotes;
  • Integration of background information;
  • Use of appropriate news writing style;
  • Accuracy in reporting;
  • Clear writing.

Assessment Item 3: Media seminar

Objective(s): d,g,i
Weighting: 20%
  • Evidence of wide reading and background research;
  • Evidence of independent research;
  • Demonstrated awareness of news and current affairs;
  • Ability to work in a team.

Assessment Item 4: News Story 3

Objective(s): a,b,c
Weighting: 30%
  • Quality of intro and its ability to interest readers;
  • Demonstrated narrative skills
  • Skill in construction of story;
  • Use of multiple sources;
  • Skill in selecting appropriate quotes from interviewees;
  • Breadth and relevance of information gathered;
  • Clear writing and appropriate use of English.

Minimum requirements

Students are expected to read the subject outline to ensure they are familiar with the subject requirements. Since class discussion and participation in activities form an integral part of this subject, you are expected to attend, arrive punctually and actively participate in classes. If you experience difficulties meeting this requirement, please contact your lecturer. Students who have a reason for extended absence (e.g. illness) may be required to complete additional work to ensure they achieve the subject objectives.  

Required text(s)

Course readings can be accessed through e-Readings UTS library.  

Additional readings will be distributed through UTS Online.  

Indicative references

Recommended online sites, programs and texts
International Federation of Journalists www.ifj.org/en/splash
Project for Excellence in Journalism www.journalism.org/
Poynter Institute www.poynter.org/
Reporters Sans Frontieres www.rsf.org
Nieman Watchdog Project www.nieman.harvard.edu/watchdog/index.html
Columbia Journalism Review www.cjr.org/
Online Journalism Review www.ojr.org/
Media International Australia www.emsah.uq.edu.au/mia/
Australian Journalism Review www.jea.org.au/journal.htm
ABC TV Media Watch www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/
ABC Radio National: Specialist current affairs reports: Media Report; Law Report; Sports Factor; Religion Report http://www.abc.net.au/rn/
Background Briefing http://www.abc.net.au/rn/
ABCTV Lateline www.abc.net.au/lateline/
Australian Associated Press: http://www.aap.com.au/
ABC news online: www.abc.net.au/news/
Crikey.com: www.crikey.com.au/
Ethnic Media Newspapers www.crc.nsw.gov.au/ethnicmedia/index.htm
Fairfax Community Newspapers www.fcnonline.com.au/fcnnsw.asp?pcode=fcn
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Macquarie National News: www.2gb.com/
New Matilda: www.newmatilda.com/home/default.asp
News Interactive: www.news.com.au/
News Limited Community Newspapers http://www.community.newsmedianet.com.au/home/
Ninemsn: http://www.ninemsn.com.au/
Online Opinion: www.onlineopinion.com.au/
SBS News online: www.worldnewsaustralia.com.au/
SKY News online: www.skynews.com.au/index.asp
Ten News: http://www.ten.com.au/ten/tv_news.html
The Age: www.theage.com.au/
The Australian Financial Review: www.afr.com/home/
The Australian: www.theaustralian.news.com.au/
The Daily Telegraph: www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/
Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/
The Green Left Weekly: www.greenleft.org.au/
The National Indigenous Times: www.nit.com.au/
The Sunday Telegraph: www.news.com.au/sundaytelegraph/
The Sun-Herald: www.sunherald.com.au/
The Sydney Morning Herald: www.smh.com.au/
The Sydney Star Observer: www.ssonet.com.au/
The Wire www.thewire.org.au
Webdiary: http://webdiary.com.au/cms/
Yahoo!7 News: http://au.news.yahoo.com/
Antony Loewenstein’s blog: http://antonyloewenstein.com/blog/  

(links to blogs and sites in Media section)
Conley, David, Lamble, Stephen, 2006, The Daily Miracle, Third Edition, OUP
Alysen, Barbara, Sedorkin, Gail, Oakham, Mandy, Patching, Roger, 2003. Reporting in a Multimedia World, Allen & Unwin
Sheridan Burns, Lynette, 2002, Understanding Journalism, Sage
White, Sally, 1996, Reporting in Australia, 2nd edition, Macmillan
Fogg, Christine, 2005, Release the Hounds, Allen & Unwin
Richards, Ian, 2005, Quagmires and Quandaries – Exploring Journalism Ethics, UNSW Press
Eisenhuth, Susie & McDonald, Willa, 2007, The Writer’s Reader, Understanding journalism and non fiction, Cambridge University Press
Simons, Margaret, 2007, The Content Makers, Understanding the Media in Australia, Penguin
Simons, Margaret, 1999, Fit to Print, UNSW Press
Pilger, John (editor), 2004, Tell Me No Lies, Investigative Journalism and Its Triumphs, Jonathan Cape, London
Weatherburn, Don, 2005, Law and Order in Australia – Rhetoric and Reality, Federation Press
Ricketson, Matthew, 2004, Writing Feature Stories, Allen & Unwin
Zinsser, William, 1994, On Writing Well, Harper Collins
Leser, David, 1999, The Whites of Their Eyes: A Collection of Feature Stories from the Good Weekend, Allen & Unwin
Hutchison, E.R. 2008, The Art of Interviewing, The Art of Feature Writing, Oxford University Press
Wilson, Ruth, 2000, A Big Ask: Interviews with Interviewees, New Holland
Stauber, John and Rampton, Sheldon, 1995, Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies Damned Lies and the Public Relations Industry, Common Courage
Masters, Chris, 2002, Not for Publication, ABC Books.
Dempster, Quentin, 1997, Whistleblowers, ABC Books
Watson, Don, 2003, Death Sentence, Random House
Carey, James (ed.) 1986, The Faber Book of Reportage, Faber
Waugh, Evelyn, 1938, Scoop, A Novel About Journalists, Penguin  

Fee information

2010 contribution for commencing Commonwealth-supported students: $885
Note: Students who commenced prior to 1 January 2010 should consult the student contribution charges for Commonwealth-supported students
Not all students are eligible for Commonwealth-supported places. 

2010 amount for undergraduate domestic fee-paying students: $3334 

Note: Fees for postgraduate domestic fee-paying students and international students are charged according to the course they are enrolled in. Students should refer to the annual fees schedule

Subject EFTSL: 0.167

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.

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