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Journalism PgDip/MA

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2016
Part time 2 years September 2016

Choose Kingston's Journalism MA

Accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), these courses will equip you for a career in journalism by offering the industry's most sought-after qualification alongside your PgDip or masters degree. They combine professional training and academic study with the skills you will need to succeed in this intensely competitive industry.

Find out more about this course:

Key features

  • You will take the NCTJ's exams as part of your course, providing you with a qualification considered to be a passport to a wide range of journalism jobs.
  • As well as providing practical skills, this course will engage you in discussion and debate about the state and future of the industry, and the legal, political and ethical context in which journalists operate.
  • You will be taught by practising journalists with a range of experience and contacts in newspapers, magazines and online, and will have access to our newsroom, equipped with telephones, professional newswires, 24-hour news channels, industry-standard software, and a content management system (CMS) for uploading web copy.

What will you study?

You will develop a range of professional and practical skills and knowledge that will equip you for a job in journalism, including news and feature writing, public affairs, online journalism, media law and shorthand. In addition, you will have the opportunity to write for and edit an online edition of our newspaper, The River, and will undertake at least one industry work placement.

Once you have achieved the PgDip, which runs over two semesters, from September to May, you can continue on to the MA degree by researching and writing a dissertation or carrying out an equivalent work-based practical project. This will develop your critical thinking and analytical skills, and give you the chance to carry out independent academic research.

Assessment

Coursework, NCTJ examinations and coursework portfolio, and 12,000-15,000-word dissertation or practical project (MA only).

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This is a not-for-credit module which is compulsory for students taking the MA Journalism course and will also be of interest as an option to MA Magazine students and other MA Journalism and Publishing Department pathways. It is a required module for the NCTJ Diploma. The course aims to provide a practical understanding of the working structure of the UK court system, culminating in the taking of the NCTJ Court Reporting exam and allow students a practical opportunity to report from a variety of courts, including magistrates and crown courts, county courts and inquests.

     
  • This module aims to provide students with the practical skills necessary to function as successful journalists, underpinned by an understanding of the constraints and tensions inherent in modern newsrooms, magazine offices and online news operations functioning in a changing industry.

    Students will have the opportunity to acquire the core skills of researching stories, interviewing and writing for both print and online platforms. They will be equipped with multimedia reporting, production and design skills increasingly in demand in the journalism industry and will be confident about telling stories through video and audio as well as the written word.

    The module offers valuable opportunities for students to work together to produce and run their own group website, print news section or magazine, developing their teamwork skills and experiencing the reality of different job roles in a media operation. This classroom experience will provide a valuable introduction to the two-week work placement all students will be required to undertake as part of the module
     
  • This module will explore the origins, purpose and present-day structure/composition of local and central government in Britain and its devolved nations – and the news media’s role as a ‘fourth estate’ with a public duty to hold the political establishment and its institutions/agencies to account and expose abuses of power and privilege.

    At its core will be an examination of the UK’s constitutional framework; its global position in relation to pan-national organisations like the European Union, Nato, United Nations and G8/G20; and the shifting balance of power (and responsibility) between state and individual in Britain today. Key themes to be explored include the relationship between elected politicians, voters and sectional interest groups/lobbyists - and the tension between ‘big-state’ solutions to managing/delivering public services and the more ‘consumer-driven’ models favoured by advocates of privatisation, voluntarism, and ‘Big Society’ localism.

    Underpinning the factual content will be a focus on relevant theoretical paradigms – including the principles of liberal pluralism and representative democracy; role and importance of journalists/journalism in civil society; and impact of recent trends in the public sphere on the evolving UK/global political economy. More practical aspects will explore how journalists can hold the system to account – e.g. by reporting on parliamentary debates, poring over council papers, circumventing spin, and lodging Freedom of Information Act requests. Workshops will equip students with the research and writing skills necessary to apply their background knowledge to producing publishable features.

    The module encompasses the syllabus leading to the NCTJ’s Essential Public Affairs exam.

     
  • This core year-long module aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the changing journalism industry, the legal and regulatory structure within which journalists now operate and the new post-Leveson ethical landscape. As tried and tested print journalism businesses struggle to compete against the internet and public confidence in journalists plummets to new lows following exposure of tabloid excesses at the Leveson enquiry, students will be invited to examine and debate the direction and future of journalism, using this context to underpin their professional development as journalists and prepare them for jobs in the industry.  The module will make extensive use of up-to-date examples and the emphasis will be on practical application of legal knowledge and ethical responsibility in the newsroom. This will be informed by exploration and understanding of a developing body of academic work in journalism studies.

     
  • Teeline shorthand is taught as part of the MA journalism courses. The training is carried out using official Teeline textbooks and a teacher of longstanding experience. There are two courses – one in each semester. The semester one course, which runs from October-December, is for beginners and takes students to 60-80wpm. The semester two course builds on this knowledge and takes students who can already transcribe a shorthand note at 60wpm to speeds of 100-120wpm.

    Teeline is a shorthand system which depends on a combination of written outlines that are derived mainly from consonants. It is a useful skill in all areas of journalistic practice because it: aids accuracy; builds confidence in students' own professionalism; generates trust with interviewees and increases the speed and efficiency of  reporting. It also widens students' career opportunities.

     
  • This module is designed to allow students to undertake a substantial piece of academic work, giving them the opportunity to frame questions in an area of study which interests them, then devise and carry out appropriate primary and secondary research to enable them to explore these questions.

     
  • This module is designed for students to carry out research whilst undertaking an internship within a media organisation or whilst carrying out journalistic activities such as pitching and writing freelance articles. It offers the opportunity to produce material for a portfolio related to this work. Students will work independently to conceive, plan and implement a work-related project achievable within a set timeframe. They will be given support to identify a suitable project and to decide on methods of analysis, research and production. The curriculum will be devoted to
    the students’ own subject area and research into their chosen area of study. It will examine how engagement with leading-edge theory can be translated into best practice in the workplace.

     

Optional modules

  • Whatever the type of magazine – from quality Sunday paper supplements to women’s lifestyle monthlies – features dominate content. Though they take many forms – from the in-depth news backgrounder on the political issue of the day to the picture-led lifestyle piece – features demand similar core journalistic skills as well as a great deal of creativity and flair. 

    This module encourages students to look critically at feature writing in all its forms and to analyse exactly what makes a great feature. By reading and analysing features, the aspiring journalist can appreciate the characteristics of a good feature and learn what works and what doesn’t. The module will introduce students to the core skills all good feature writers need and help them develop and hone those skills. Students will learn how to generate winning ideas and research those ideas cleverly and exhaustively. They will learn how to identify key interviewees and interview with purpose and intelligence to produce strong quotes while keeping their peg and angle in mind. They will also study how successful feature writers manage to file sparkling and arresting copy rather than dull, run-of-the-mill prose and learn how to hone their own writing skills, edit and polish to a deadline and develop their own style.

     Students will analyse the characteristics of the various features genres and then write within those genres producing, for example, their own reviews, interviews and backgrounders. Students will be asked to consider the audience and its influence on what and how they write. They will be shown how to successfully pitch ideas to publications and encouraged to pitch for real during the course, aiming for wider publication of the work they produce in class and in their own study time.

     
  • This highly practical module will allow students to explore in depth and actively engage with the world of business journalism. This course will encourage students to develop their researching, writing and reporting skills to allow them to write professional news, interviews and features for the specialist and national press.

    Students will learn how to read balance sheets to take the financial health of companies and institutions. They will learn how to use databases and statistics, to find stories about the health of the economy, and assess the role of big business in the economic and political spheres.

    Students will come to understand important economic and financial terms and trends (for example GDP, balance of payments, stockmarket indices, house price indices, retail price indices) and use these to put business stories in context.

    Students will use their new found skills in analysing data to dig behind the statistics and find real stories about corporate activity or wrong-doing, and analyse the use and misuse of private and public funds.

    Students will demonstrate their skills in a second semester original, independent business journalism project.

    At the heart of the course, students will engage with on-going ethical debates about relationships between business and financial journalists and their sources, and the boundaries such journalists need to observe under the Press Complaints Commission and other professional codes of practice.

     
  • This module offers an introduction to and broad experience of sports journalism. It is a practical course aimed at helping students to develop their writing and reporting skills to produce professional sports copy, including deadline-driven match reports, running copy, interviews, sports news stories, profiles, factboxes, comment, analysis and newspaper/multi-media sports packages. It also aims to help students understand the context and pressures under which sports journalism is produced in the modern media.
    Workshops, alongside live reporting assignments, will be used to explain concepts and develop skills. During project work in the second half of the module, students will produce a publishable sports package. Guidance will be offered though seminars and tutorials.

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

For further information

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 2361
Email us

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

For further information

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 2361
Email us

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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Accreditation

NCTJ logoBoth the MA and the Postgraduate Diploma are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).
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Work placements

As as student of this course, you will do at least one industry work placement.
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Kingston Writing School

As a student on this course you will be part of the Kingston Writing School, a vibrant community of outstanding writers, journalists and publishers.

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