A tentative syllabus for teaching today’s journalism

Creating a curriculum for undergraduate journalism courses has never been that easy. Journalism is itself elusive as the industry that sustains it. Is it a technique or an ethic code? Commercial or non-profit? Does it represent the mainstream or the disadvantaged? Or both? Does it have to be entertaining? Or affective? To what extent should blogging be taught at classrooms? Is there any point in being a journalist with no contacts? In a digital era, are there real perspectives for becoming a professional journalist at all?

I did not intend to answer all these questions when I wrote the schedule below. But It thought of a course that could work for both foundational level students, as it could be adjusted for an advanced cohort as well.

This course discusses the journalism’s foundations as part of another age of information and power, with limitations and opportunities thereof, but trying to overlay the need of it in politically turbulent times. I propose an overview of 12 weeks about different types of “classic” journalism (magazine, TV, sports), which students might want to practice and learn about. It also addresses the format issue. It is about magazine journalism as it is about podcasting. It involves social media, but also long-form reportages.

Faced with the ubiquity of blogging and online content sharing, it is not possible to skip social publishing from professional journalism. Instead, any journalism course committed to the contemporaneity has to leverage all efforts in creating narratives or propagating them. This course vows to excite undergraduates, but also graduates with an eager sense to interpret the world. In both cohorts, the idea is to convey journalism as an everlasting attempt to engage with the present’s social order, not forgetting its increasingly confessional tone, to which I dedicate one lecture.

I have not included assessment criteria because I believe it depends on each lecturer/course/department.

If you are going to use it, please cite this blog as the source 🙂

Week Topics & Readings
1   Elements of journalism: Theory & Practice

Reading:

Kovach, B; Rosenstiel, T. (2014) The Elements of Journalism. New York, Three Rivers Press.
Schudson, M. (1989). The Sociology of News Production. Media, Culture & Society, 11(3), 263-282.
Deuze, M. (2005). What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered. Journalism, 6(4), 442-464.

Lecture:

What is Journalism for?
Brief history of Journalism
The notion of style, audience in modern journalism
Current journalism conventions and the ways to innovation
2   Content, news and verification in the age of the Internet

Reading:

Graves, L., Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2016). Understanding innovations in journalistic practice: A field experiment examining motivations for fact-checking. Journal of Communication, 66(1), 102-138.
McNair, B. (1998) The Sociology of Journalism. Bloomsbury.
Ireton, C. & Posetti, J (2018) Journalism, Fake News, and Desinformation: Handbook for Journalism Education and Training. Paris: Unesco (Module 3).UK Government. UK Defamation Act (2013). Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/26/contents/enacted
Howard, A. B. (2014). The art and science of data-driven journalism. Available at https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8Q531V1

Lecture:

Who defines what is true or not
Finding sources, collaborators, and quotes
Data-driven Journalism
Authoring, reproducing, and the evil of plagiarism
Frames, facts, alternative facts, and lies
Ethical and legal considerations
3   The life and death of the interview

Reading:

Adams, S. (2001) Interviewing for Journalists. Psychology Press.
Schudson, M. (1989). The sociology of news production. Media, Culture & Society11(3), 263-282.
Malcolm, J. (2011) The Journalist and the Murderer. Knopf Doubleday. Chapter 1 and 2.

Lecture:

The art of interviewing
The importance of first-hand account
Most-used techniques and their importance
4   Journalism styles, Part I: Magazine, newspaper, broadcast, podcast and micro-cast

Reading:

Keeble, R; Reeves, I. (2005) The Newspapers Handbook. Routledge.
McKay, J. (2013) The Magazines Handbook. Routledge.
Papper, R. A. (2017) Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook. Taylor & Francis. Section 16.
Morreale, J. (2014). From homemade to store bought: Annoying Orange and the professionalization of YouTube. Journal of consumer culture14(1), 113-128.

Lecture:

Formats and definitionsBrief summary of UK media market
The crisis of famous publications
The changing authority of the print press and new digital ventures
The new nature of broadcast journalism: The age of format  
5   Journalism styles  – Part II: The literary, cultural, photo, and “high-brow” press

Reading:

Kirstensen, N. N (ed) (2018) Cultural Journalism and Cultural Critique in the Media. Routledge. Chapter 2 and 3.
Harries, G., & Wahl-Jorgensen, K. (2007). The culture of arts journalists: Elitists, saviors or manic depressives?. Journalism8(6), 619-639.Malcolm, J. (2011) The Journalist and the Murderer. Knopf Doubleday. Chapter 1 and 2.
Derakhsan, H. (2018). “The News is Dying but Journalism is not” Available at http://www.niemanlab.org/2018/12/the-news-is-dying-but-journalism-will-not-and-should-not/

Lecture:

Defining what is “cultural”
Cultural journalism vs literature
The photojournalism legacy
The New Journalism legacy
A study of the New Yorker magazine: The 1920s and today  
6     Journalism styles  – Part III: Sports, features, tabloid and other specialisms

Reading:

Rowe, D. (2016) Feature Writing for Journalists and Media Students. Oxford University Press.Leccese, M; Lanson, J. (2015) The Elements of Blogging: Expanding the Conversation of Journalism. CRC Press.
Stofer, K;
Schaffer, J; Rosenthal, B.A (2009) Sports Journalism: An Introduction to Reporting and Writing. Rowman & Littlefield.
George, D.; Eberle, J. (2017) How to Be A Travel Writer. Lonely Planet.

Lecture:

The emergence of specialised journalism in the 20th century
The different characteristics, tastes, and publics
Blogging: The “I” in journalism
Commercialism and individualisation  
7   Funding journalists

Reading:

Krug, L. (2015) Innovators in Digital News. London: I.B. Tauris.Kovach, B; Rosenstiel, T. (2014) The Elements of Journalism. New York, Three Rivers Press.
Kaye, J.; Quinn, S. (2010) Funding Journalism in the Digital Age: Business Models, Strategies, Issues and Trends. Peter Lang. (Introduction)
Athey, S (2016) Is Google Hurting Journalism? Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSKbcczR4Ho

Lecture:

Funds for journalism in crisis
Crowdfunding and micro-payments
The advent of paywall
Philantropy and sponsorship
Promise and frustration: The main available paths  
8     Alternative journalism, community media, and promoting ‘voices’

Reading:

Harcup, T. (2013) Alternative Journalism, Alternative Voices. Routledge.
Levy, H., & Sarmento, C. (2018). Watching the 2016 Olympics on Brazil’s alternative media: From platform hijack to discourse autonomy. Journalism.
Deuze, M. (2005). What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered. Journalism6(4), 442-464.

Lecture:

Understanding the notion of “alternative”Activist media and challenging  the news
Protests, media coverage, and publicity
Journalism impartiality or journalism transparency: The case of Glenn Greenwald.
9   The modern reporter

Reading: Chesshyre, R. (1987). The return of a native reporter. Viking Pr Cozma, R., & Chen, K. J. (2013). What’s in a tweet? Foreign correspondents’ use of social media. Journalism Practice7(1), 33-46.Randall, D. The Universal Journalist. London: Pluto Press, 2011.Howard, R. (2013) Speaking personally: The rise of subjective and confessional journalism. London: Macmillan Education. Lecture: The transformation of reporting after the 2000sThe social networks and the advent of micro-reportingRadio shows, podcasts, and ‘confessional’ journalismThe changing world of foreign correspondentsBeing a reporter and preparing your pitch Seminar: Case studiesGuest interview- Press conference  
10   The advent of social media: The end of Journalism?

Reading:

Burgess, J., & Green, J. (2018). YouTube: Online video and participatory culture. John Wiley & Sons.
Carroll, B. (2017) Writing and Editing for Digital Media. Routledge.
Leccese, M; Lanson, J. (2015) The Elements of Blogging: Expanding the Conversation of Journalism. CRC Press.
Dempsey, J. (2017) Is social media replacing journalism? Available at https://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/68139

Lecture:

Social media and the crisis of journalism
The world of twitterati: Politicians and mainstream journalists
Viral media vs “serious” journalism
Pluralism, hierarchy, and commitment  
 
11       The big reportage: When journalism thrives

Reading:

Thomson Foundation – Quiet reportage, documenting the migrant experience –  Available at http://www.thomsonfoundation.org/latest/quiet-reportage-documenting-the-migrant-experience/
Weinstein Accusers Tell Their Stories https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories
Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelationshttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

Lecture:

How to convey urgency and priority for the public?
How do stories target the powerful?
Are investigative stories more relevant than other content? Why?Review of key moments of the course.
In the face of constraints and challenges, How will the journalism of the future look like?  
12   Journalism and Journalisms

Reading:

Round-up of literature:

Boczkowski, P. J.; Anderson, C. W. (2017) Remaking the News: Essays on the Future of Journalism Scholarship in the Digital Age

Lecture:

Enterpreneurial journalism Journalism as knowledge
Re-discovering communities