Broadcast Journalism Course at sa Writers' College

By: Sa Writers' College  11-11-2011
Keywords: Writing, Internet Access, journalism

This course introduces the student to the wonderful and challenging world of journalism, from radio and television to broadcast media, . A career in journalism is an adventure even though it can have its hazards.We will help you understand how to write for the different media, how to research and interview and how to package your stories. All with expert guidance from our award winning tutor Noel Cisneros.

Course Details:

  • Modules: 10 Modules
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace: within five months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round via our website

Student must complete:

  • Ten writing assignments for assessment and feedback
  • Short features, two full news reports and scripts

Admission Requirements:

  • Basic English writing skills are essential
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • No previous tertiary qualification required

Tutor for this course :

Course Curriculum

Module 1 - Introduction

  • Background and rapid development of radio and TV
  • The life, work and necessities of a journalist
  • Five W’s and an H plus George Orwell’s advice
  • A look at local TV stations
  • What a radio reporter needs plus introduction to TV reporting
  • Two assignments – compile a current Who’s Who on the major players in your local broadcast industry; read and summarise some recent newspaper stories.

Module 2 - Introduction to Radio

  • Radio history and how it works as a news medium
  • What a radio reporter does
  • Working in a community radio station
  • How the TV reporter’s day differs from the radio job
  • Some terms used - learning camera language
  • Two assignments for learner reporters – find useful contacts and seek stories in the newspapers. Stretch your new muscles.

Module 3 - Topics that Sell

  • TV – the value of pictures - shooting a TV news story on location
  • The reporter’s task – fitting the words to the pix (pictures)
  • Working with the crew
  • After the shoot
  • list of local TV stations and times of news bulletins
  • Assignment: Match the TV reporter’s news script with the visual images

Module 4 - Newsgathering - or getting the story

  • News sources, establish contacts, collect phone numbers
  • Essential ingredients of news
  • The role of the news agencies
  • The “first rough draft of history” – a reporter’s opportunity
  • A nose for news and the sceptical approach
  • Assignment: Doing it – contacting local police, hospitals, schools etc. Dig up stories on which to report for broadcast

Module 5 - Writing for Broadcast

  • Writing news for a short attention span
  • The basic structure of writing – brief, accurate and clear
  • Read while you type – writing for the ear
  • Use the Active verb rather than the Passive
  • Beware of libel, slander, plagiarism and bad language
  • Assignment: Editorial comparison. Listen to a news bulletin on each of two different radio or TV stations. Write a brief description of each. If there is a noticeable difference between the two bulletins, note why you think that was the case.

Module 6 - Body-building Part I

  • The interview, one of the most important aspects of a reporter’s work. Appropriate skill is to elicit information, try to get interviewee to make statements that are important for telling your story.
  • Effective steps to get interviewee at ease, responsive
  • How to handle interviewee accused of wrongdoing?
  • Why don’t you write down the questions?
  • Listen carefully to professional interviewers at work
  • Assessment: Record two interviews on leading TV shows, and make comparisons

Module 7 & 8 - Radio Journalism 2 & 3

  • These modules continue and expand ideas expressed in the introduction given in Module Two. What is a package?
  • Advice from E.B.White – caution against using “stylish” language
  • Never express your own opinions, either on air or in script
  • Reading your script on air – voice-work; vox pops
  • A few useful but - sometimes amusing - voice exercises
  • Assessment: Find a suitable story for a radio current affairs feature: research, arrange and do interviews or vox pops, record background sounds, edit, cue and script and record package.

Module 9 - Television Journalism 2

  • Words, their meaning and structure in a TV script
  • The visual side of the report & its impact on the written word
  • Reporting serious violence – the tasteful, sensitive report
  • Privacy – how much may you intrude?
  • Vox pops – what are they?
  • Assessment: Find a story of public interest (or argument or controversy), plan, research, find location, shoot film with vox pops, edit, script and record final cut suitable for broadcast.

Module 10 - The Professional Broadcast Journalist

  • How can I give up my job and still make a living?
  • Who do I approach for work and build up a reputation?
  • How do I go about making good contacts?
  • What would be my hours if I went freelance?
  • More slang – what are pegs, hooks, strings etc.?
  • Find story, plan, research, organise a radio package, record interview(s), edit, script, record and package.

How does the course work?

Detailed class notes covering the content of each module are e-mailed to students.

At the end of each module, students will be required to complete one or two writing exercises. In total, the course includes twelve assignments, all of which count towards the final result of the student.

Once the  assignments have been completed, and e-mailed to the lecturer, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the module will be considered complete. Students can also participate in ongoing online discussions by posting comments about the materials covered in the course or other issues pertaining to writing in the college blog.

Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive an SA Writers' College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all 12 assignments
  • The course must have been completed within five months of registration.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:

  • Reading time: 15 hours
  • Writing time: up to 25 hours
  • Research time: 10 - 25 hours, depending on the complexity of the selected topics for writing.

Keywords: Internet Access, journalism, Writing, Writing Assignments, Writing Skills,

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