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Journalism BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time P500 2015
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2015
Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes

See the Unistats data for this course

Why choose this course?

Kingston's journalism courses are the best in the country. In terms of student satisfaction, employment of graduates, starting salaries and making journalism the most interesting it can be, we can't be beaten.

In the latest independently researched statistics, Kingston comes out as one of the top-ranked courses in most of the key categories. Find out more on the Unistats website.

Kingston is also the top-ranked journalism college in London, with 92 per cent of our students satisfied overall (in contrast just 57 per cent of students at City are satisfied with their course):

  • 100 per cent rating on staff being good at explaining things and being enthusiastic about the course.
  • 85 per cent of students go on to work or further study within six months of the course  – with more than 50 per cent in the media or related businesses. That's one of the best employment rates in the country.
  • Average pay for our graduates in their first job is £19,000 – that's in the top 10 average starting salaries in the country for journalism courses.

This course will equip you to be a journalist and understand the role of multimedia journalism in the contemporary world. It will develop your writing skills and nose for news, and provides a forum for analysis and debate of all issues in the modern media. It will enable you to become an effective journalist across a range of platforms. You can study journalism as a 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.

Watch these videos to find out why you should study journalism at Kingston University:

What will you 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 your second year, you have the opportunity of spending 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.

     
  • 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?"

     
  • 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.

     
  • 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.

     

Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This module is a core module taken by both full field and half field journalism students. It aims to build on the basic writing and journalism skills acquired in Practical Journalism 1 and to develop and hone those skills.  The module will be delivered though weekly workshops and lectures.

     
  • This module aims to set the processes and outputs of journalism within their legal and ethical contexts. Students will acquire a working knowledge of libel, contempt and privacy law and an understanding of the requirements of court reporting,  but this will be underpinned by critical engagement with debates  about such issues as the challenges of applying established laws to new media and the impact of commercial pressures on ethical responsibility in the newsroom.

    Students will have the opportunity to  explore fundamental issues such as public interest, the freedom of the press and the extent to which press freedom needs to be balanced with individuals’ rights to privacy and fair treatment in the media. They will consider questions of motivation and consequence and relate the ideas of the major ethicists to ethical decisions and dilemmas in the modern newsroom . Other topics for discussion will include the future of press regulation following reports into the ethics and culture of the press and the future shape of laws of libel and contempt.

     
  • 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.

     
     
  • 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.

     
  • This is a practical immersive module which presents students with a journalistic and creative challenge and encourages self-directed learning to meet it. Working in groups, students must conduct a piece of ambitious in-depth reporting on a single issue and create a standalone product to present the story or produce a product for a community of interest. The product is up to the group and can be an interactive website, a web app, a documentary or a magazine, or a combination of these. Students are encouraged to push their knowledge and abilities and challenge themselves to learn new skills as appropriate to their project. Students will be allocated job roles within the project and each student will submit a reflective essay alongside their final project. 

     
  • A course in Teeline for aspiring journalists and anyone who needs to take and transcribe verbatim notes. The course aims to enable students to take verbatim shorthand notes at 100 wpm - which is regarded as the industry standard speed - and transcribe them accurately. This is a skills module and students must be prepared to work intensively if they are to acquire the skill successfully. This means committing to 100% attendance, as well as to additional daily practice of teeline skills as part of the self-directed learning. The module is assessed by a class test.

     

Year 3 (Level 6)

  • 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.

     
  • No journalist can function properly without a grasp of why he or she does the job, what it contributes to society and what its possibilities, responsibilities and limitations are. Knowledge of skills is not enough. In taking day-to-day decisions about what to report, how to report them, and which sources to draw information and opinions from, journalists play a key role in shaping society’s image of itself.

    This module completes a series in which students develop their critical understanding of the function of journalism, its place in society and its ethical, legal, technological and commercial framework. It builds on 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.

    Students will examine the impact of social, technological and commercial changes on the practice and business of journalism. They will look at how blogging, Twitter, Facebook, online forums, collaborative investigative sites and other channels for citizen journalism are democratising media ‘output’ by enabling ‘audiences’ to contribute to and/or contest the narratives constructed by professional reporters and elites. Students will also learn about the changing economies of the journalism industry, as it is buffeted by commercial pressures 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.  

    At the same time, students will also continue to examine the ‘constants’ of journalism: the unchanging elements of what journalists do. Students will confront and debate many of the challenges with which society presents working journalists - including issues of fairness and taste, attribution and accuracy, and how to distinguish between (objective) news and (subjective) spin, public relations, marketing and opinion.

     
  • 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.

     
  • 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. 

     
  • In this course students will read closely five 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 theretical 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.

     
  • The Truth-Seekers module focuses on the nature and purpose of investigative journalism. It will seek to discriminate between the various types of investigative reporting – from the forensic document-trawling of Woodward and Bernstein, Seymour Hersch and Greg Palast to the undercover antics of Gunter Wallraff, Mazher Mahmood (the News of the World's ‘Fake Sheikh’) and Donal Macintyre; from the risky reportage of foreign correspondents working in the world’s warzones to the no less courageous 'crusading journalism' of John Pilger or the late Anna Politkovskaya.

    As this is a Special Study, formal teaching will be kept to a minimum. Early sessions will focus on exploring the history and principles of investigative journalism and looking reflectively at the work of practitioners past and present. Seminars will initially be used to engage students with critical debates about the ethical, legal, public interest and health and safety issues arising from investigative practice, while later sessions will be used to facilitate students' own journalistic and academic work in progress through informal presentations, Q&As and peer-assisted learning.

     
  • 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.

     
  • 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 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.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's study abroad programme or Erasmus programme.

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