8cp; availability: not offered to exchange and study abroad students


Requisite(s): 57011 Research and Reporting for Journalism
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.
Graduate subject – Journalism – 400 level

This subject develops an understanding of the professional skills required for political reporting and a critical understanding of the coverage of politics. Students examine the use of sources in political journalism, the structure, functions and practice of parliamentary press galleries, policy makers, parliamentary and ministerial advisors and the relationship of public relations to journalism in the context of the coverage of politics. Through specialist lectures, students are able to maximise contact with political journalists, advisors and politicians. As well as a broad understanding of political reporting, students examine high profile political stories and engage in debate on current political issues. Students also develop an understanding of key legal and ethical issues in political reporting.

Typical availability

Spring semester, City campus
Detailed subject description.

Handbook description

This subject develops an understanding of the professional skills required for political reporting and a critical understanding of the coverage of politics. Students examine the use of sources in political journalism, the structure, functions and practice of parliamentary press galleries, policy makers, parliamentary and ministerial advisors and the relationship of public relations to journalism in the context of the coverage of politics. Through specialist lectures, students are able to maximise contact with political journalists, advisors and politicians. As well as a broad understanding of political reporting, students examine high profile political stories and engage in debate on current political issues. Students also develop an understanding of key legal and ethical issues in political reporting.

 

Subject objectives/outcomes

After completion of this subject students are expected to be able to:

  1. demonstrate an ability to research and write a political news story, editorial, Op-Ed piece, feature story. Students will also show an ability to create a political blog or political documentary
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the contemporary debate on political reporting and its function in a democracy
  3. engage in critical analysis of this debate
  4. demonstrate an awareness of Australian and international political issues and media issues relating specifically to political news
  5. demonstrate an ability to recognise and apply basic industry standards in relation to studies and practical work
  6. demonstrate professional skills gained during the course by producing high quality journalism and learn how to evaluate your own learning and professional practice.

 

Contribution to course aims and graduate attributes

Students who complete this subject will:

  • have strong research and reporting skills and be able to effectively retrieve and analyse information from a range of sources
  • have a knowledge and critical understanding of the media
  • have a knowledge of the historical, philosophical, ethical and cultural foundations underpinning journalism and strive to promote the important role of professional and ethical journalism in the service of the public
  • have an understanding of the role of the media in local, regional, national and global contexts
  • develop the ability to be self-reliant and pro-active, flexible and innovative
  • have an understanding and commitment to ethical journalism professional practice.

 

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is delivered with a series of introductory weekly lectures and discussions covering a range of topics related to journalism and political reporting. Students should read the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian and other relevant magazines, websites, blogs and television shows to stay current, as daily political news and its coverage will provide the basis for much of the class discussion. Additional readings will also be supplied. The subject will also include a class held in parliament in Canberra.

Students will also participate in discussion and review of subject content through UTSOnline and during the semester between the blocks stories will be posted on UTSOnline and communication with the lecturers and other students will also be online. Students will also have access to individual consultations.

 

Content

The subject will examine aspects of the media coverage of the political process and the professional practice of political reporting in various media – print, radio, television, online and film/video documentary. It will examine the journalists’ role in mediating information between governments and the public and in informing the public more generally about policy and process. Under this general rubric, the subject will explore a number of topics. They include the ‘watchdog’ role of the media toward governments and whether this adequately accounts for contemporary political journalism; the purpose and limitations of press galleries as institutions to fulfil this role; the increasing sophistication of ‘news management’ techniques as they affect political reporting; problems with the way in which political news is conveyed by journalists.

 

Assessment

Assessment Item 1: Political Blog and class presentation

Objective(s): a, b, c, d, e, f
Weighting: 25%
Criteria:
  • Choice of sources for entries (blog) interviews and quotes (documentary)
  • Integration of background information
  • Use of appropriate news writing style
  • Accuracy in reporting facts
  • Clear writing and correct English expression.

Assessment Item 2: Political News Story

Objective(s): a, b, c, d, e, f
Weighting: 25%
Length: 600 words
Criteria:
  • Appropriate news style
  • Skill in construction of story
  • Use of multiple human sources (at least 3)
  • Skill in selecting appropriate quotes from interviewees
  • Breadth and relevance of information gathered
  • Clear writing and appropriate use of English.

Assessment Item 3: A political feature story concerning any aspect of State government

Objective(s): a, b, c, d, e and f
Weighting: 25%
Length: 1,000 words
Criteria:
  • Appropriate feature style
  • Skill in construction of story
  • Use of multiple human sources (at least 4)
  • Skill in selecting appropriate quotes from interviewees
  • Breadth and relevance of information gathered
  • Clear writing and appropriate use of English.

Assessment Item 4: News Story – A story concerning an aspect of Federal government. The type of story and potential topics will be dictated by news events

Objective(s): a, b, c, d, e and f
Weighting: 25%
Length: 700 words
Criteria:
  • Appropriate news style
  • Skill in construction of story
  • Use of multiple human 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 texts

smh.com.au

abc.net.au/news

news.com.au

www.huffingtonpost.com

 

Recommended texts

Shitstorm: Inside Labor’s Darkest Days by Lenore Taylor and David Uren

The Tribal Mind by David Dale (smh.com.au)

 

References

Websites of interest
Parliament House www.aph.gov.au
Parliament, an overview www.aph.gov.au/parl.htm
Sitting dates of parliament www.aph.gov.au/house/info/sittings/rsp03tab.htm
The week in parliament www.aph.gov.au/thisweek
Search for parliamentary information http://parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au/piweb
Search parliament, new clippings etc. wipi.aph.gov.au/search/parlinfo.asp?
Parliamentary Handbook www.aph.gov.au/library/handbook
Hansard www.aph.gov.au/hansard

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