Module title: Public Affairs for Journalists

SCQF level: 08:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: JAC08112
Module leader: Simon Pia
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Media and Screen


2019/0, Trimester 1, Face-to-Face,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Eamonn O'Neill
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Learning & teaching methods including their alignment to LOs
This weekly class will combine 1 hour of lectures with one hour of tutorials and workshops (covering LO 1-5). This module will engage students in reporting activities (LO 1-5). Students will analyse a range of topics relevant to a wide audience and will gain experience in political and public affair reporting (LO 1-5). As a practice based module the main learning method is experiential learning.

Embedding of employability/ PDP/ scholarship skills
This module is vocational and analytical in nature and will be delivered by experienced practitioners. Activities on this module (investigative work, working in groups to deadlines, interaction with the public/ officials and multitasking) will develop essential employability skills. Assessments and exercises are designed to provide students with employability skills relevant for working in today’s industry.

Formative Assessment:
Assessment (formative and summative)
Students will undertake both formative and summative assessments. Formative assessment will be provided in class through feedback from the tutor and regular peer review. This formative feedback will inform the first summative assessment of two detailed articles which demonstrate policy and political newsgathering and knowledge (LO1-5). The second summative assessment, an essay totalling 1500 words will allow students to demonstrate a critical understanding of the issues surrounding public affairs for journalists. (LO1-5)

Summative Assessment:

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 12
Face To Face Tutorial 12
Independent Learning Groupwork (Independent Study) 176
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Project - Written 60 1-5 10 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1500
Essay 40 1-5 13 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1500
Component 1 subtotal: 60
Component 2 subtotal: 40
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

This module will cover the reporting requirements in the UK of covering elections, political events and meetings, sourcing stories and quotes from government departments and non-governmental organisations such as charities and lobby groups. A journalist’s view of the political process, tiers of government and devolved governments will be covered in the module. It will set out the social, economic and political factors which both create news and frame the news. Newsgathering for issue-based social policy and human rights stories will be studied as well as the challenges of working on an international story. The role of the journalist in the parliamentary lobbying system will be looked at. Examples of best practice in campaigning and investigative journalism will be deconstructed to understand the construction of the story. The interplay of the roles of the reporter as messenger, informant, interpreter, gatekeeper, investigator and campaigner will be looked at in each aspect of public affairs. A visit to the Scottish parliament will help to scope the journalism practices of reporting social, economic and political stories and identify key journalists and reporting trends in each of these areas.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: Develop insight into application of policy knowledge to source original and newsworthy ideas
LO2: Summarise journalistic constraints during an election.
LO3: Describe social, economic and political newsgathering
LO4: Explore the political process and tiers of government in the UK
LO5: Examine examples of best practice in campaigning journalism.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

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