With the unbundling of Mass Communication programme in Nigeria, the face of communication education in the country has changed. The programme has transited into a full college/faculty while individual courses have adapted to the change. While several new courses now exist in the seven new departments, some of the courses you used to know before have also taken a new shape. We have done a thorough research on what these courses offer in universities across the world; and we have provided prototype syllabus for students to study ahead. This is also to assist lecturers who might be facing new challenges with several new courses to have an idea of what the syllabus of each course offers.
Faculty: Communication and Media Studies Department: Journalism & Media Studies
Course Code: JMS 201 Unit(s): 2 Semester: First
Course Title: News Writing and Reporting
Lecturer: Programme: B.Sc.
(A). BRIEF OVERVIEW OF COURSE
This course is designed to teach students the rudiments of news gathering and writing with details of how to convey facts in straight forward and understandable fashion. It is a practical course designed to enable students to become proficient in preparing a publishable copy under dead line. This is a skills-based immersion into journalism which exposes students to the foundations of journalism and the craft’s two main components – reporting and writing of the news. It will bring students up to speed with modern trends in news reporting in the digital era by exploring how news is delivered through mobile devices, TV, radio, Web and printed publications.
Students will learn the basic journalistic principles, and build fundamental reporting and writing skills. Practical exercises will be used to expose students to real life situations professional journalists face in the field. Students will be assigned to beats, primarily on campus, to develop stories for publication and encouraged to submit outstanding articles to the metropolitan news media. By the end of the course, students are expected to have a good grasp of the fundamental issues and methods of gathering news & writing news stories.
(B). COURSE OBJECTIVES/GOALS
By the end of this course, students will have learned:
Definition of basic concepts – news, news writing, reporting, news beats, deadline, etc.
How to write a publishable copy
News reporting in the digital era through mobile devices, and various news media
Basic journalistic principles, including fundamental reporting and writing skills
How to basic source attribution skills to avoid editorializing
How to write stories from interviews and press release
Practical exercises on real life situations professional journalists face in the field
News beats, kinds of beats and beat reporting techniques
Basics of citizen journalism and convergence
Elements of good writing
How to evaluate newsworthiness of information
How to create a story idea
Basic structure and format of a news story (lead, body, and conclusion)
Multimedia journalism and alternative story forms
(C). METHOD OF LECTURE DELIVERY
- Practical Classroom Sessions
(D). COURSE OUTLINE
Definition of basic concepts
What is the news?
News writing techniques – accuracy, fairness and objectivity
Meaning of news, news values and elements
2. Elements of Good Writing
3. Basic structure/format of a news story
4. News sources
5. Headline Writing
Principles of headline writing for straight news reports
Writing the headline (practical exercise)
6. Writing the lead
What is lead?
Kinds of lead
How to write the lead
7. Attributing Information to Sources
How to attribute
When to Attribute
Types of Attribution (On the record, off record, Background, On deep background)
8. Inverted Pyramid Style
What is inverted pyramid style of writing?
How to write a story using inverted pyramid style
9. Press Releases
What is press release?
Types of press releases
Writing news from a press release
10. Reporting Special Events
Coverage of speeches
11. Five Core Principles of Journalism
Fairness and Impartiality
12. Interviewing techniques in news reporting
What is interview?
Kinds of interview
Conducting an interview
Relevance of interview in news reporting
13. Beat Reporting
What is a news beat?
Kinds of news beats
Beat reporting skills
14. Multimedia journalism and alternative story forms
What is multi-media journalism?
Understanding the nature of online journalism
Elements of multimedia and online journalism
- Still photos
- Online gaming
Citizen journalism and convergence
Internet radio and television
Features of news websites: Multimedia, and interactive chats and blogs.
Social networks and news reporting
15. Class Activities
(E). RECOMMENDED TEXTS
Nwabueze, Chinenye (2015). Reporting: Principles, Approaches, Special Beats. Owerri:
Nwodu, L. C. (2006). Journalism Practice: News Aesthetics, Ethics and Law. Enugu: Rhyce Kerex.
Bender, J. R., Davenport, L. D., Drager, M. W., & Fedler, F. (2018). Writing and Reporting for the Media, Twelfth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Scanlan, C. & Craig, R. (2013). News Writing and Reporting: The Complete Guide for Today’s Journalist, Second Edition. London: Oxford University Press.
(F). IMPORTANT LINKS
The Elements of Journalism (by American Press Institute)