Module title: Investigative Journalism

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: JAC09124
Module leader: Eamonn O'Neill
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Media and Screen
Prerequisites

Completed Year 2 of BA Journalism

2019/0, Trimester 2, Face-to-Face,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Partner:
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Eamonn O'Neill
Module Organiser:


Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Lectures will introduce you to the core principles and theories of investigative journalism, key landmarks in its history, and the principal practices involved in successful investigative work (LOs 3, 5, 6). Through group work, you will practice finding ‘off diary’ material on a daily/weekly basis and developing this into powerful projects (LOs 1-6). In individual work, you will build skills in original thinking and dynamic research approaches using in-depth interviews, FOIA requests and documentary analysis (LOs 2, 5, 6). You will produce fortnightly exercises throughout the module, designed to help you develop your skills and theoretical understanding towards the summative assessments. Your tutor will give you feedback on each of these formative exercises by individual email (LOs 1-6).

Embedding of employability/PDP/Scholarship Skills

The content and learning approach of this module is informed by industry and academic research carried out by the module leader, with LOs closely aligned to current industry best-practice and standards. You will gain professional skills through simulated industry-standard exercises, which will enhance your employability in all aspects of journalism and related areas. The ability to critically analyse and work collaboratively are key factors in successful employment in this sector of journalism, and these are encouraged in this module.

Formative Assessment:
You will undertake two summative assessments. The first will assess your theoretical understanding of this unique genre of journalism and its evolution into the current digital era. This will involve examining and critiquing several landmark cases in the genre (e.g. Watergate; The Arizona Project) where you will break down the target of the investigation and examine the steps the investigative reporters took to conduct their investigation successfully. You will evaluate how the practical realities of their investigations matched the theoretical aims and produce a blueprint that assists in future cases. Los 1,2,4,5 will be covered in this assessment.

The second assessment will be practically based and you will be expected to demonstrate your understanding of investigative journalism through current examples of potential stories in the contemporary world we live in, breaking down the practical evolution of the cases, alongside the theoretical goals they will have had in their sights. Los 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 will be covered in this assessment.

These will be divided equally 50% in the weighting of the assessments for this module.

Summative Assessment:
You will undertake two summative assessments. The first will assess your theoretical understanding of this unique genre of journalism and its evolution into the current digital era. This will involve examining and critiquing several landmark cases in the genre (e.g. Watergate; The Arizona Project) where you will break down the target of the investigation and examine the steps the investigative reporters took to conduct their investigation successfully. You will evaluate how the practical realities of their investigations matched the theoretical aims and produce a blueprint that assists in future cases. Los 1,2,4,5 will be covered in this assessment.

The second assessment will be practically based and you will be expected to demonstrate your understanding of investigative journalism through current examples of potential stories in the contemporary world we live in, breaking down the practical evolution of the cases, alongside the theoretical goals they will have had in their sights. Los 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 will be covered in this assessment.

These will be divided equally 50% in the weighting of the assessments for this module.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 12
Face To Face Tutorial 24
Independent Learning Guided independent study 164
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200


Assessment
Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 50 1,2,4,5 9 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2500
Report 50 1-6 13 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2500
Component 1 subtotal: 50
Component 2 subtotal: 50
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

Beginning with the theoretical context of investigative journalism, you will build an understanding of the importance of its existence in societies. You will work collaboratively to analyse key landmark cases in the genre, which have marked its evolution. A key turning point will be the Watergate case, for example, which marked the beginning of the modern age of investigative journalism. You will also examine more recent international cases, for example the role of the Guardian in the Edward Snowden NSA data leaks case. In individual and group practical work, you will learn about the evolution of the practices utilised in investigative journalism, including current digital approaches and the use of digital platforms to publish outcomes. You will also analyse the legal and ethical framework and constraints related to investigative journalism, both nationally and internationally.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1. Demonstrate expertise in a range of digital methodologies and approaches to sourcing information unique to the practice of investigative journalism
LO2: Evidence evaluative understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of investigative journalism as a unique genre.
LO3. Source original stories that could be developed in investigative projects.
LO4. Demonstrate a professional understanding of how investigative projects require unique approaches and can be enhanced with multiple digital platform publication opportunities, through working individually and as part of a team.
LO5. Develop a critical awareness of sources and an enhanced understanding of how varied research techniques (i.e. Freedom of Information research) can positively impact investigative projects.
LO6.Critically examine sources and documentary evidence within an ethical framework.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

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