What is investigative journalism

WEEK 1
TOPIC: Course introduction and the history of journalism:

This lecture will give you an opportunity to meet the teaching team for Writing Journalism, all media practitioners and to ask any questions you may have about the subject. Time permitting we will also discuss the dissemination of ‘news’ from its earliest incarnations as cuneiform on clay, then papyrus and parchment, block print on wood pulp, through to handwritten newsletters, then mass-produced printed newspapers, to online news sites, and blogs, with a focus on Australian media.

WEEK 2
TOPIC: What is news, and why/how can people be sources of news

This lecture interrogates the notion of ‘news’ and reviews some of the definitions, as well as the concept of ‘news values’, examining actual examples from contemporary media. Also covered is the enormously varied use of people as sources of both hard and soft news.

KEY POINTS

• Defining ‘news’
• Six function of journalism (reflecting society, informing, etc)
• The big News Values (news has to include significance, proximity, conflict, human interest, novelty and prominence)
• What is reactive and proactive news
• Distinguish between news, comment and opinion

WEEK 3
TOPIC: Online news journalism and research

This lecture examines online news reporting – who is it for and how effective is it? We will also look at the practical skills a journalist needs in order to succeed in a multimedia environment. How does writing news for online presentation differ from writing for other media? What are the challenges and what is the impact on journalists working in multimedia newsrooms?

KEY POINTS
• The changing media landscape (from print to digital)
• How to write online news
• Important of ‘hyperlinking’ (article to be many layered)

WEEK 4
TOPIC: Broadcast journalism

This lecture will examine the skills, writing styles and structures used in preparing broadcast news. We will also look at the impact of changing technologies on traditional forms of broadcast media – television and radio – and compare this with the way news is available via the internet, web and mobile phones.

KEY POINTS
• The importance of voice in tv and radio news (clear natural voice, not too quick, etc)
• Practical things on writing radio and TV news
WEEK 5
TOPIC: News classifications of ‘tabloid’ and ‘broadsheet’, and news genres especially investigative journalism

After reviewing the origins and meanings of the newspaper terms ‘tabloid’ and ‘broadsheet’, in this lecture I cover the more recent interweaving of these aspects in most forms of journalism. The relationship between journalism and democracy is also examined, and the role that investigative journalism plays in this relationship, noting that the standards and the openness of journalism produced in any one country is always relative.

KEY POINTS
• What is investigative journalism
• Investigative journalism helps right wrongs, expose cover-ups and rip-offs, shine spotlights liar and cheats, warn communities when official systems accountability fails.
• Tips on how to investigate cases
• Freedom of Information in Australia (problems of lodging freedom of information in Australia)
• Issues that work against investigations, factors that inhibit most investigative journalists (lawyers and legal threats, misguided supports of accusing individuals, corporate and government spin-doctors, personal threats against journalists, egotistical and corrupt officials, obsessive sources)
• Qualities of investigative journalists (good investigative journalists need specialist skills, understanding of government functions, capacity to read documents, a lively imagination, understanding of the topic investigated like drugs deal, financial report, etc)
WEEK 6
TOPIC: Global and national news agencies, news and PR

Following the late 19th century demand for ‘foreign’ news in many countries, ‘wholesale’ news agencies were founded to cater to this demand. Which of these agencies now dominate, and to what extent do they identically reproduce the dominant global power structures? And which agencies are almost invisible outside their national boundaries despite the globalised flow of communication? Despite these vital questions, very little attention has been paid to the links between journalism and globalization. Crucial issues include the increasing spread of public relations material appearing as journalism in both individual news products as well as emanating from global and national news agencies, and the blurring of the writing style of journalism and PR.
WEEK 7

TOPIC: Stories and feature writing for the main media platforms

This lecture will take an in-depth look at what constitutes a news feature. What are the skills needed to be a good feature writer? What is the difference between straight news and feature writing and where does ‘literary journalism’ fit? We will examine different categories of features and the structures used to write them.

KEY POINTS
• Feature news is a softer news, not really formal, informing people (stories about one’s achievement, stories on how to lose weights, etc)
• Different types of feature articles
o News feature : different angles of news story. Like the news on Malaysian airline MH370, news feature will be about how the family feels about the lost ones.
o Issue based feature : deal with trends, broad problems, social cultural isues (topic includes public, environment, health and medicine, natural disaster management)
o Profile : Focus on individuals stories
o Lifestyle and indulgence : Deal with relationship, foods and wines, homes and gardens, etc
• Feature introductions and intros
• Structuring a feature
WEEK 8
TOPIC: The profession of journalism

This lecture will examine the workings of newsrooms and the roles played by Key staff within the newsroom hierarchy What is expected of a new journalist?
KEY POINTS
o What is news room
o The chain of command
o Editor-in-chief, directors of news and editorial manager
o General editor, executive producer of news and section editors
o Chief-of-staff and news producers
o Photographic editor and chief photographer
o Sub-editors
o Video-editors and video camera operators
o Newsroom presentation and etiquette
o Tips for finding stories
o Reporting on protests and riots
o Reporting on death and tragedy
o Acknowledging your own feelings
o Making mistakes
WEEK 9
TOPIC: Media ownership and media diversity—does it matter?

This lecture will examine the owners of Australia’s media organisations and the relationship between them, their staff and the public. What is the extent and limits of their power and just how much control do they exercise over the content?

Readings IMPORTANT (just read through and find key points):

https://app.lms.unimelb.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-4235619-dt-content-rid-13407856_2/courses/MECM30010_2014_SM1/SimonsContentMakersCh13.pdf

Username: htania
Password: Rock93^&*

WEEK 10
TOPIC: Code of ethics as Journalist

I attach the readings on this topic, as the reading is important and useful.
WEEK 11
TOPIC: Defamation for journalists

KEY POINTS
o Journalist needs to have knowledge of defamation law to keep themselves out of trouble
o Defining defamation (saying, writing, or other ways depicting something that damages one’s reputation)
o Defamatory imputation (statement, visual representation or meaning that makes other think less of the person the offending words or images referred to
o Who can sue?
o Online defamation
o How to minimize defamation risks

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