MP4002 - Practices of Journalism

What will I learn on this module?

This module examines the historical evolution of journalism, examines its contemporary structures and cultures, and identifies the main issues confronting its future development. It integrates academic and journalistic perspectives to provide a wide-ranging introduction to the critical study of those policies and practices which determine journalistic production and consumption; and it equips those students contemplating a career in journalism with a comprehensive knowledge of its salient characteristics. The second half of the module looks at the role of the media and journalists in the democratic process. It looks at politics, elections and public administration at local, regional, national and European levels. You will learn how to cover political events and have an understanding of concepts of bias, objectivity, fairness and balance in political reporting. It will also look at rules of election reporting. You are also given a basic grounding in media law and the legal structures and environments in which journalists operate as well as newspaper and broadcast regulation.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn via a variety of mechanisms. These include lectures, seminars, online activities (where appropriate) and independent learning. Lectures will provide the contextual and theoretical information you need to understand the module’s themes and approaches. The lecturer will provide examples that will demonstrate how to apply relevant critical techniques, and to stimulate your engagement with the course material (by, for example, presenting various challenges and conflicts raised in the field). Seminars will provide space for you to interrogate and discuss the ideas raised in the lectures, both with your peers and with the tutor. Seminars are oriented around discussion questions and activities to stimulate your engagement. Students will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs across a broad range of topics via traditional and print media and all seminars will also include a current affairs quiz which constitutes part of the module’s final assessment. Outside of the taught sessions, you will be expected to engage with module-relevant reading in preparation for the sessions. An electronic reading list is supplied via the e-Learning Portal, which will guide you towards appropriate resources, although you are encouraged to explore the wider library catalogue to engage with additional sources too. During your independent working time, it is also expected that you will apply the ideas raised in the reading and the taught content to contemporary media examples beyond those cited in the lectures. Where appropriate, additional materials will be supplied on the eLearning Portal and/oryou will be directed towards additional materials. These independent activities will facilitate your development as you progress through the module, laying a foundation for your assessed work.. You will be expected to proactively contribute to each week’s discussion through presenting the fruits of your research task. In addition, each seminar will include a current affairs quiz which contributes to the module’s final mark.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module lead; they will introduce the module at the start of the semester and offer advice and guidance throughout. Your learning is mapped out via documentation on Blackboard Ultra, the Northumbria University online electronic learning portal; this is accessible online on and off campus. The e-Learning Portal will include guidance notes and key dates to help you organise and plan your time. It will also include teaching materials, announcements and updates, and detailed information on assessment. You will have a university email that we contact you through.

We support your learning by providing on-going feedback (Formative and Summative) through the range of teaching and learning approaches offered. We ask you to submit your work electronically, and we will supply feedback via Turnitin. You will be able to compare your feedback across modules so that you can assess your development as you progress through the programme.

Formative assessment is offered throughout the module, and summative assignments will receive written feedback within 20 working days of assignment submission. Every tutor has set weekly feedback and tutorial drop in hours, wherein you can seek advice on your academic progress.

Where appropriate you may also be directed to engage with our Skills Plus or other resources offered through the University Student Support Services such as Dyslexia Support. Guidance tutorials also provide opportunities for students to discuss, in confidence, their academic progress on the programme.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

1.Demonstrate an understanding of the significance of a wide variety of journalistic operations and outputs
2.Employ a wide range of theoretical perspectives in the analysis of the journalistic profession
3.Recognise and understand the constraints, and their consequences, within which news is produced and consumed
4.Relate the role of the journalist to that of other key informants and entertainers in contemporary societies
5.Demonstrate understanding of the legal framework in which journalists operate in Britain
Knowledge & Understanding:
• L 1-5

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• L 2,4,5

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• L 2,3

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment consists of three components.
Current affairs quizzes (30% of final mark) run in each seminar session. LO 1
Two 1,000-word essays (each 35% of final mark). LO 1-5

You will receive formative feedback from your peers and the module tutor during the seminars throughout the course, allowing you to apprehend how your critical skills are developing. You will receive a detailed commentary and a summative mark on your written work in accordance with the assessment criteria (supplied on the eLP). Under normal circumstances, you will receive written feedback on your summative submissions within 20 working days. The feedback will normally be supplied electronically as part of the ESAF process. This feedback will provide a detailed account of your skills, critical engagement and communicative ability, as well as supporting future learning by indicating areas for development. You can also request additional verbal feedback on your submissions by arranging a meeting with the module tutor.





Module abstract

Practices of Journalism gives you a valuable grounding in how journalists go about their day to day jobs in 21st Century Britain, and an understanding of what pressures reporters are placed under in terms of time, technology and media ownership. The module introduces you to both the theories of how journalists should operate in a modern, democratic society – the concept of the Fourth Estate – and how they operate in practice. You will also be taught the different local and national governmental structures and how journalists interact with them and the legal framework of this country. You will learn about the regulatory bodies which administer both print and broadcast media in the UK and how journalists cover local and national elections across a range of media. With the advent of the internet the prevalence of alternative journalism is increasing and students consider how this affects traditional media practices You will research topics for discussion in seminar groups and take part in regular current affairs quizzes which, along with two essays, form the overall assessment for the module. The foundations laid with this module are a vital component for your future employment prospects.

Course info

UCAS Code PP35

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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