Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens

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Description

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: This is a course in basic journalism skills, designed for the many people who are now taking advantage of new media to publish news, views and information. For five hundred years, the privilege of being able to publish was enjoyed by very few people – those who had access to a printing press or a radio microphone or a television camera. Now, almost anyone can publish to the world within minutes of being able to do so. But is it journalism? How does a citizen journalist find things out, so they can report facts and news - moving beyond merely braying opinion? And what are the legal and ethical pitfalls to publishing facts that some people might prefer remain secret? Ov…

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Journalism, Digital Publishing & Editing, Publishing, Copy-editing, and English (FCE / CAE / CPE).

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: This is a course in basic journalism skills, designed for the many people who are now taking advantage of new media to publish news, views and information. For five hundred years, the privilege of being able to publish was enjoyed by very few people – those who had access to a printing press or a radio microphone or a television camera. Now, almost anyone can publish to the world within minutes of being able to do so. But is it journalism? How does a citizen journalist find things out, so they can report facts and news - moving beyond merely braying opinion? And what are the legal and ethical pitfalls to publishing facts that some people might prefer remain secret? Over six weeks, this course teaches the basics of news writing, how to interview people to gain crucial information, how to develop and manage your sources and how to use your legal rights to access public information - and stay on the right side of the law when you publish. We discuss the ethics behind journalism practice, and conduct a mock investigation into local government. This course aims to empower engaged citizens to better participate in the news ecology. View the MOOC promotional video here: http://tinyurl.com/jj46rxw

Who is this class for: No background is required other than an interest in journalism. Everyone is welcome!

Created by:  The University of Melbourne
  • Taught by:  Dr. Denis Muller, Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow

    Centre for Advancing Journalism
  • Taught by:  Dr. Margaret Simons, Associate Professor and Director

    Centre for Advancing Journalism
Level Beginner Commitment 6 weeks of study, 4-6 hours/week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.4 stars Average User Rating 4.4See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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The University of Melbourne The University of Melbourne is an internationally recognised research intensive University with a strong tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement. Established in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest University.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


What is a Journalist, and What is News?



This week we will discuss what journalism is, what journalists do, and how this has been affected over time by technology. We'll think about the exciting changes of our own time – the first in human history when the means of publication are in everyone's hands. We will then talk about the principles of news writing, and the nature of news. Finally, we will introduce Newstown, a fictitious place in Victoria, Australia. We also attend a news conference held in the Newstown Council Chambers. We will be using Newstown as the basis of our skills based exercises in this MOOC, so please take the time to become familiar with the town and its issues by following the link to Newstown in the course resources.


7 videos, 3 readings, 2 practice quizzes expand


  1. Video: Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens - overview
  2. Video: Course introduction
  3. Reading: Welcome to Journalism Skills for Engaged Citizens
  4. Reading: Week 1 outline
  5. Reading: Start of course survey
  6. Video: 1.1 What is a journalist? Part A
  7. Discussion Prompt: Are the following people journalists?
  8. Video: 1.2 What is a journalist? Part B
  9. Video: 1.3 Principles of good news writing
  10. Video: 1.4 What is news?
  11. Video: 1.5 Newstown media conference
  12. Discussion Prompt: What questions would you ask?
  13. Discussion Prompt: What questions did not get answered?
  14. Practice Quiz: Week 1 Newstown quiz - This is a practice quiz and does not contribute to your final grade
  15. Practice Quiz: Active or passive sentences quiz - This is a practice quiz and does not contribute to your final grade
  16. Peer Review: Practice exercise – News lead writing - This is a practice assignment and does not contribute to your final grade


WEEK 2


Attribution, Verification and the Structure of News Writing



This week we discuss some more core skills of journalism, particularly the very important concepts of attribution of information, and verification. We explore the structure of news writing in some more detail. Finally, make sure you take a close look at the Newstown site, and keep looking at it from now on as the course develops. Some new information has been posted that you will need to use in this week's first assessable news writing exercise.


4 videos, 1 reading, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: Week 2 outline
  2. Video: 2.1 Introduction and recap
  3. Video: 2.2 Verification
  4. Video: 2.3 Attribution
  5. Video: 2.4 News story structure
  6. Practice Quiz: Week 2 Newstown quiz - This is a practice quiz and does not contribute to your final grade

Graded: News lead writing - This assignment contributes 10% to your final grade

WEEK 3


Finding Things Out: Places, Paper and People



This week we discuss some more core skills of journalism, particularly the very important concepts of attribution of information, and verification. We explore the structure of news writing in some more detail. Finally, make sure you take a close look at the Newstown site, and keep looking at it from now on as the course develops. Some new information has been posted that you will need to use in this week's first assessable news writing exercise.


6 videos, 1 reading, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: Week 3 outline
  2. Video: 3.1 Finding things out
  3. Video: 3.2 Finding things out: about places and paper
  4. Video: 3.3 Freedom of Information
  5. Video: 3.4 Finding things out: People – interviews
  6. Video: 3.5 Deception and consent
  7. Video: 3.6 Summary and learning activity
  8. Practice Quiz: Week 3 ‘Finding things out’ quiz - This is a practice quiz and does not contribute to your final grade


WEEK 4


on Interviews
This week we delve further into the art of interviewing, and watch and discuss some good and bad examples involving the key characters in Newstown.


12 videos, 1 reading, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: Week 4 outline
  2. Video: 4.1 Finding things out: Interviews
  3. Video: 4.2 Dealing with traumatised people
  4. Video: 4.3 Interview with the Mayor – a bad example
  5. Video: 4.4 Interview with the Mayor – a good example
  6. Video: 4.5 Interview with the Developer – a bad example
  7. Video: 4.6 Interview with the Developer – a good example
  8. Video: 4.7 Interview with a Wildfire Victim – a bad example
  9. Video: 4.8 Interview with a Wildfire Victim – a good example
  10. Video: 4.9 Interview with a Conservationist – a bad example
  11. Video: 4.10 Interview with a Conservationist – a good example
  12. Video: 4.11 Telephone interview – a bad example
  13. Video: 4.12 Telephone interview – a good example
  14. Practice Quiz: Week 4 quiz - Open and closed questions - This is a practice quiz and does not contribute to your final grade

Graded: News story - This assignment contributes 30% to your final grade

WEEK 5


Contacts and Confidential Sources; Applying the Skills and Organising Your Material



This week we explore the complications of dealing with off the record sources and long term contacts. We watch an encounter with a Newstown 'Deep Throat' and discuss how to handle the encounter and the information offered. Remember to check out the Newstown website for more information becoming available. We begin to pull all the threads of the Newstown story together, and apply the skills we have learned in the earlier modules of this course. We talk about how to read and analyse the public documents on the Newstown site, how to organise material, what questions to ask based on this material, and how to pull it all together into a story for The Alternative. We also provide you with an exemplar news report to give you some guidance for the final news writing assessment and how it might be done.


4 videos, 1 reading, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: Week 5 Outline
  2. Video: 5.1 Sources and confidentiality
  3. Video: 5.2 Social media and interview with 'Deep Throat'
  4. Video: 6.1 Organising material
  5. Video: 6.2 The public interest
  6. Practice Quiz: Week 5 Newstown quiz - This is a practice quiz and does not contribute to your final grade

Graded: Investigative Report - This assignment contributes 60% to your final grade

WEEK 6


Media Law and Impartiality; Wrapping Up the Course



This week we concentrate on two aspects of media law – defamation and contempt, and we consider the meaning of journalistic impartiality. We wrap up the course by revisiting the key principles of journalism and what we have learned. We also have a few things to say about the public nature of journalism, and how bruising that can be.


5 videos, 2 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: Week 6 Outline
  2. Video: 7.1 Impartiality
  3. Video: 7.2 Defamation – Part A
  4. Video: 7.3 Defamation – Part B
  5. Video: 7.4 The law of contempt
  6. Practice Quiz: Week 6 quiz - Media law - This is a practice quiz and does not contribute to your final grade
  7. Video: 8.1 Closing remarks and wrap-up
  8. Discussion Prompt: What have you learned?
  9. Reading: End of course survey
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