Wednesday , November 22 2023

Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Writing For The Media (CMS 104)

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: MAC 104                                         Unit(s): 2            Semester: Second

Course Title: Writing For The Media

Lecturer:                                                               Programme: B.Sc.


This course is designed to train students on how to write for the various media – newspapers, magazines, radio, television, online news platforms. It provides practical and informative knowledge on various forms of media writing – straight news report, features, editorial, opinion articles, etc. but focuses on developing the skills of students on how to write news from various key sources – personal, stored and observation sources. It further develops the skills of students on how to source for and write hard and soft news, headline and lead writing, including knowledge of elements of journalistic style. At end of the course students would have been exposed to basics on the practice of writing for the media with the major emphasis on development of effective styles in professional communications and proficiency in grammar and the use of language. They would have acquired the ability to analyze complex situations and translate them into clear, concise written texts. They would have learnt strong basic reporting and writing skills, including how to write a diverse set of stories. The course will also expose them to the freedom and responsibilities of web journalism, the basics of writing press releases and other journalistic and communication forms.


By the end of this course, students will have learned:

  1. Meaning of news, news values and elements
  2. Various forms of media writing
  3. Elements of journalistic style
  4. Key sources of news –personal, stored and observation source
  5. Understand and apply basic source attribution skills to avoid editorializing
  6. How to write stories from interviews and press release
  7. Proficiency in grammar and use of language
  8. Freedom and responsibilities of web journalism
  9. Develop news judgment
  10. Observe, interview, gather data for various forms of media writing
  11. Develop storytelling skills for mass media and strategic communication
  12. Write effective leads and logically organized stories
  13. Synthesize information from multiple sources
  14. Make pictures and words work together to tell a story
  15. Use correct grammar, punctuation and syntax.


  1. Lectures
  2. Quizzes
  3. Assignments
  4. Practical Classroom Sessions


1. Introduction

Definition of concepts (news, news writing, news reporting, mass media, and writing for the media)

Kinds of news

News values

News elements

Identifying elements in a news story

 2. Different Media You Write For

(Magazines, newspapers, radio, television, blogs, online news platforms, etc.

 3. Sources of News




4. Attributing Information to Sources

How to attribute

When to Attribute

Types of Attribution (On the record, off record, Background, On deep background)

5. Inverted Pyramid Style

What is inverted pyramid style of writing?

How to write a story using inverted pyramid style

6. Forms of Media Writing

Straight news report

Feature story


Opinion article

7. Headline Writing

Defining headline

Principles of headline writing for straight news reports

Writing the headline (practical exercise)

8. Writing the lead

What is lead?

Kinds of lead

How to write the lead

 9. Elements of Style in Media Writing

What is writing style?

Kinds of writing style

Factors that influence writing style

Difference between house style and personal style

11. Class Activities

(Writing headlines, the lead, body of story, writing for the web, etc.)


Scanlan, C. (2014). News Writing and Reporting: The Complete Guide for Today’s Journalist. Oxford: University Press.

Stovall, J. G. (2009). Writing for the Mass Media: 7th Edition. Boston: Pearson.

Nwabueze, C. (2015). Reporting: Principles, Approaches, Special Beats (2nd Edition). Owerri: Topshelve.

Norm Goldstein, ed., The Associated Press Stylebook


Click on the following links to read articles;

News Writing Fundamentals

How to write a news story

How to use attribution correctly as a reporter

How to write broadcast news stories


READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Intro to Communication I (CMS 101)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Introduction To Communication II (CMS 102)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: History of Nigerian Media (CMS 103)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Traditional African Communication Systems (CMS 105)

READ ALSO: Syllabus for Journalism & Media Studies Courses: Feature Writing (CMS 201)


About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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