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Journalism BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time P500 2017
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017
Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes

Why choose this course?

Kingston University has the top-ranked journalism department in London and one of the best in the country, with 93% of students reporting overall satisfaction, according to the 2016 National Student Survey.

An impressive 100% of Kingston journalism students are satisfied with the teaching and say staff make the subject interesting. 100% of students also say they receive sufficient advice and support in their studies. Students rate staff feedback highly: 98% say feedback helped them to clarify things they didn't understand, while 93% say feedback is prompt.

We are also ranked among the best in the country for graduate employment, with half of students getting jobs in the intensely competitive media industry and related businesses, with first job salaries starting around £20,000 – our graduate starting salary average is the best in the UK for journalism graduates.

Find out more on the Unistats website, where you can compare results with other London journalism courses to see how we stand out.

This course will equip you to practise and understand the role of multimedia journalism in the contemporary world. It will develop your writing skills and nose for news, enable you to become an effective journalist across a range of platforms, and provide a forum for analysing and debating modern media issues. You can study journalism as single or joint honours.

You can also choose to study this course as a joint honours degree alongside another subject. See the course combinations section for more information.

What you will study

Year 1 introduces the skills necessary to become an effective multimedia journalist. Core modules cover journalistic writing and research, how to identify a news story in a mass of information, and what makes a good feature. You will also explore the broader context of journalism and the critical issues facing journalists today.

Year 2 builds on and expands your portfolio of skills and knowledge, introducing further elements such as layout, online writing and shorthand, while increasing the proportion of work drawing on the real world. You will also analyse print and online media, and will have the opportunity to pursue a research project. During Year 2, you have the chance to spend time abroad at one of our partner universities, such as Carlos III in Madrid, Spain, or California State University in the United States.

Year 3 includes core modules that enable you to put your learning into practice through work placements in the industry, as well as the opportunity to produce the campus newspaper, The River. Other modules aim to deepen your understanding of the role and responsibilities of the contemporary journalist, further preparing you for the workplace.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This two semester-long module introduces students to the background of the ‘online revolution' and its implications for the role of the journalist and the future of the industry. Through lectures and practical workshops students will gain understanding of the impact of the internet including social media on reporting and writing and an introduction to multimedia reporting including video. Assessment for this module takes the form of a portfolio (100%) of multimedia content including video, some of which is researched and created in students' own time.

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  • A key part of a journalist's role is to inform readers what is going on in the world. To do this well, journalists have to understand how the world works and why. This module aims to build on existing understanding to provide students with the necessary political, economic, historical social and cultural context to underpin their development as journalists. Areas for exploration and discussion will include Britain's role in the world; the UK's relationship with Europe, the US and the developing world; British institutions and their role and influence (including the monarchy, parliament, the judiciary, Whitehall, religious bodies, universities, local government, banks and finance houses) and the history and emergence of competing ideologies such as capitalism, socialism and liberalism. The module will explore emerging social and cultural trends and the way these are covered in the media. Underpinning the module will be the key questions of "Where does power lie?" "Who has control?" "Who is responsible?" "Who really runs things?"

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  • Writing is a key communication tool of journalism. This module introduces students to the language, practical conventions, contexts and functions of written journalism in the multimedia environment. Through studying and critically analysing the structure, style and content of articles published on websites, in newspapers and magazines students will begin to develop an understanding of how copy is gathered, put together and directed at specific readerships.

    Through lectures and through practice in workshops students will learn to identify a story from raw, diffuse or incomplete information by the application of news values, to write it in appropriate style, to add headlines and online "furniture" and to upload it to a content management system.

    Writing clear, accurate and engaging text relies on understanding and applying the rules of grammar, using the right words and constructing coherent prose. This module also helps students to boost their grammar and punctuation skills, choose and use appropriate words and craft effective sentences and paragraphs. Students will discover the underlying rules and principles, consider the impact of their writing decisions and develop their own writing and editing skills.

    Also, by examining and practising skills needed to develop and write pieces such as: originating ideas, researching, assessing the reliability of sources, interviewing, organising material and adhering to house style, students will aim to produce journalistic news pieces and feature articles that are suitable for publication.

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  • This is a core module for full and half-field Journalism students. It offers a critical introduction to the discipline of journalism in all its forms, with particular emphasis on news. At its heart is a question central to studying journalism: why do journalists approach their trade in the way(s) they do, and what are the values, norms and assumptions underpinning their professional practice? The module commences with an examination of news values - the (often unspoken) 'rules of thumb' that determine the subjects/stories journalists report and the angles they pursue. It adopts a critical approach to examining reporting practice - introducing academic concepts like framing, agenda-setting and active audience theory to consider not only how journalists select and/or construct their narratives but also the increasing contribution of audiences themselves to the shaping of news discourse. 

    The module examines two other issues central to the role of the journalist: objectivity and public interest. Students are encouraged to critique the question of objectivity, with reference to real-world examples that both uphold and challenge this idea, including the practice of openly partisan/campaigning journalism. Public interest is examined in light of recent controversies that have exposed legal and ethical issues with contemporary journalism - including the 'phone-hacking' scandal and ensuing Leveson Inquiry and criminal prosecutions.

    The module also acts as a more general introduction to the academic strand of the BA Journalism degree - introducing students to Kingston's personal tutor system and the conventions of essay-writing, Harvard referencing and exam technique.

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Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This is a core module taken by both all second year journalism students. It aims to expand, develop and hone the print and online skills acquired in Practical Journalism 1. The module will also explore how journalism is shaped by the legal and regulatory context in which it is practised. Students will focus on story development, writing and editing in print and online, layout and page design, and video story-telling. They will also learn Teeline shorthand, aiming to reach a speed of 60-100 wpm. They will acquire a working knowledge of libel, contempt and privacy law as well as court reporting skills. 

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  • In this module, students will build an understanding of the role and context of data journalism in the light of developments in online ‘data dumping' by ‘hacktivists' and accompanying changes to the role of the professional journalist as the traditional ‘gatekeeper' to news and information. Students will gain practical skills in searching for and developing original investigative stories from online datasets, as well as learning how to make use of basic digital tools to visualise their findings in dynamic graphic formats.

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  • This module aims to set the processes and outputs of UK journalism within their historical and literary context. Students will develop an understanding of how journalism developed as a commercial activity and a recognisable profession in the nineteenth century and how these beginnings influenced the shape of journalism throughout the twentieth century, with the growth of the tabloid press, the battles of the press barons, the rise and fall of the power of the print unions and the growth of consumer and lifestyle journalism. Students will discuss and debate key issues such as the growth of campaigning and investigative journalism and the freedom of the press in a democratic society.

    Students will be introduced to the journalism of such writers as Defoe, Swift, Steele, Dickens, as well as more modern literary journalists such as George Orwell. They will develop an understanding of how these writers helped shape the course of journalism. They will also have the opportunity of studying two key texts in depth, chosen as examples of literary journalism, and examining them in their historical, cultural and theoretical contexts. 

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  • This module offers students a chance to carry out an in-depth piece of research into an aspect of journalism which interests them and to work independently under the guidance of a tutor. Students will be able to choose their own topic, frame it in the way they want and select the most appropriate primary and secondary sources. Students can use their research not only to gain insight into a chosen topic but also to contact and question journalists working in the industry to find out what is really going on and to start networking. This module provides an excellent foundation for independent empirical research focused within the main course discipline. It will be especially relevant for students planning to do a dissertation or special study in their final year.

     

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  • In this module students will work in teams to produce
    a new online journalistic publication for a defined audience across multiple
    platforms from social media to desktop website. They will learn how to generate
    creative ideas, develop original concepts, build an online audience and use
    market research and case studies to shape their brand and content. Students
    will be encouraged to learn new technical skills including coding and
    multimedia production and experiment with different ways of presenting
    journalistic content online. They will learn how to work as part of a
    contemporary digital journalism team and develop initiative and leadership.

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  • The UK magazine industry has never been more exciting and challenging. Despite digital and economic changes modern magazines devoted to trends and interests endure. This module looks at how these contemporary publications are positioned and how they co-operate to weave together strands of information. In this module students learn about the contexts within which contemporary magazines operate. They look at the current state of the periodicals sector and reflect on trends and future developments by researching, originating and developing a magazine concept for a specified readership. They build up effective editorial, team-working skills and adapt these to the needs of differing audiences and objectives through the origination and production of their own magazine. They will apply journalistic skills to create a portfolio of articles and will utilise design and layout skills to produce a dummy magazine.

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Year 3 (Level 6)

  • This module aims to build on students' critical understanding of the function of journalism, its place in society and its ethical, legal, technological and commercial framework. It develops material on the nature, history and purpose of journalism covered in earlier modules to critically examine how the UK media has risen to the challenge of reflecting and representing the ever more socially and culturally diverse Britain of today – as well as its duty to accurately and impartially report on foreign affairs and conflicts.

    By considering concepts such as truth, objectivity, accountability, a free press, freedom of information and public interest in relation to journalism, students will develop an awareness of the tensions between journalists, readers, sources and proprietors in a changing media landscape and what it means to be an ethically responsible journalist.

    Students will also examine the impact of social, technological and commercial changes on the practice and business of journalism, including the decline of conventional advertising, the increasing plurality of media forms, changing audience demands and expectations, and the rise of news aggregating websites and cheap ‘content' over costly original reporting.  

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  • The module incorporates involvement in the production of the campus newspaper, The River, and its web-based version, River Online as well as undertaking a period of at least two weeks work experience within a media organisation working in a professional environment producing and practising journalism.
    Each student will take on an editorial role on The River as well as contributing news and feature articles. Roles may vary, but will allow students to observe and participate in essential activities which contribute to producing real journalism. Teaching takes place in our dedicated newsroom, equipped with live news feeds, online content management system, and industry-standard software packages including Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.
    The placement will typically be for two weeks, although students who show initiative in negotiating more substantial work experience may be allowed to extend this period.

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  • This module aims to encourage independent research and hone study and research skills developed earlier in the degree course. Students will be asked to formulate a specific hypothesis relating to journalism and then conduct a systematic and sustained inquiry focused on that hypothesis. Students will conduct secondary research but great value will also be placed on their own primary research efforts. At the end of this year-long module, students will be assessed on a 10,000 word piece of writing that is expected to demonstrate keen analytical skills and logical thinking and offer a cogent, coherent argument that complies with the dissertation model.

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  • The module aims to encourage students to analyse the content and production of foreign news and to critically assess the many factors that combine to create the foreign reports we currently consume. Students will study media ownership, so-called dominant world views and perceived unfairness in the current system related to what and who gets covered – and how. The changing face of foreign news will be critically assessed as the number of "traditional" foreign correspondents continues to fall and new forms of foreign news gathering evolve. Students will research the impact of economic, social and technological change on foreign news operations. Is the future of foreign news as bleak as some experts forecast or could the new emerging models outshine those they replace – and even be fairer? The issues may seem abstract but they will be explored through concrete foreign reporting from the most peaceful of news patches to war-ridden conflict zones. The countless ethical dilemmas that face individual foreign reporters and their foreign news desks will be examined along the way along with the practical challenges particular to foreign reporting e.g. the difficulties of providing context for complex stories from distant lands

    Through an independent piece of research and a related practical project, students will be given the opportunity to investigate in depth the realities of foreign reporting in the 21st century. 

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  • Few people deny that journalistic freedom is vital, but are there limits to that freedom? Should journalists be free to publish whatever they like, and if not, who should set the limits? And if journalists are to have ethical standards, how can they be upheld without unduly limiting freedom? These are some of the most pressing issues in modern British journalism, key elements of what might be called the Leveson debate. This module examines that debate.

    Students will develop their understanding of the history of rights as they relate to journalism, and of the role of journalism in democratic society. They will study the arguments for and against various limitations on free expression, such as contempt, libel, incitement to hatred and privacy law, and the demands of national security. They will also review the history of press regulation in the UK, including the 2011-2 Leveson Inquiry and its consequences, and they will discuss the limits of editorial and journalistic accountability in both the national context (with comparison to the regulation of broadcast news) and the international.

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  • In this course students will read closely four exceptional books of journalism dealing with war. In these books -- from George Orwell's account of the Spanish Civil War to Dexter Filkins's reporting on the American invasion of Iraq -- the writers are centre stage, exploring their own feelings and beliefs as they try to makes sense of the chaos of war. Through analysing the texts students will examine the historical, cultural and theoretical contexts of the conflicts themselves and and also how journalism deals with describing war. And through close attention to the style of these writers students become familiar with literary journalism and be given an opportunity to develop their own narrative writing.

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  • Students will undertake detailed and extensive
    study of innovative trends in digital multimedia storytelling in media
    organisations. They will be encouraged to identify and explore case studies of
    cutting-edge visual journalism on the web characterised by an immersive and
    interactive viewer experience. They will be expected to be able to study the
    context for these developments including the impact of new technologies on
    photojournalism and the translation of traditional journalistic storytelling
    into non-linear, viewer-led forms and how these relate to the challenges of the
    current media environment including attracting a digital audience. They will
    produce a sustained independent research paper comparable to a level 6
    dissertation and a supporting practical project - a multimedia story - using a
    range of skills and media platforms

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  • As well as exploding the myths surrounding showbiz reporting, this highly practical specialist module will encourage students to explore in depth and actively engage with at the wider arena of arts journalism. Students will try their hands at most or all of the following: interviews, profiles, obituaries, reviews, previews and listings. They will participate in in-class discussions and debates about the role of broadsheet arts sections and colour supplements and other 'serious' arts publications versus gossip websites, magazines and columns, celebrity-focused blog sites and news-feeds. Students will also be introduced to examples illustrative of the growth of publications focusing on particular areas, such as fine art, literature, film, and music; amateur fan-based magazines - particularly online; and publications focusing on even more specific niche genres, ranging from ballet to burlesque.

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  • 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.

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  • This highly practical module allows students to explore in depth and actively engage with the world of fashion journalism. Students will develop their researching, writing and reporting skills to allow them to write professional fashion news, catwalk and trend reports, interviews and features for specialist fashion and mainstream press and websites. They will also explore different fashion forums and build a range of digital skills such as blogging, vlogging and social media networking. They will learn about editorial styling – putting together shopping pages, makeovers and get-the-look pieces – and gain an understanding of main fashion and photoshoots. They will apply their newly-gained skills to the production of a portfolio of cutting-edge fashion journalism.

    The practices of fashion journalism will be placed in a context throughout the module. Through a series of lectures and in-class discussions students will gain insight into the fashion industry and how it works: the designers, brands, seasons and how clothes are made. They will acquire an appreciation of the fashion industry's relationship with the media, the role and function of fashion PR, and the historical, cultural and global economic issues which fashion journalists must understand.

    Students will demonstrate their skills and knowledge in an original, independent fashion journalism project.

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  • 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.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Study abroad as part if your degreeMost of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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