Magazine - Details
The course lasts 30 weeks between late September and June plus work experience attachments with magazines in April.
You will spend an intense nine months learning the fundamentals of the business - how to write news reports, interviews and features for magazines, the technical and production skills you will need to project your stories effectively and, importantly, the attitudes, news sense, judgement and discipline the profession demands.
After a few weeks you will be learning most of this, not in a classroom, but by fulfilling realistic briefs which require you to find, research and write a variety of stories. Students are expected to find stories on their own initiative from contacts they develop during the course. Practical work includes the coverage of press conferences, public meetings, sport and entertainment. There are also plentiful opportunities to develop the skills need to produce magazines in print and online forms.
Graduating students will have demonstrated achievement of the following outcomes:
Knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course a student should be able to:
- Describe the principles, theory, philosophy, ethics, law and practice of journalism, especially magazine journalism.
- Have developed an effective professional news sense and the ability to use it to create effective pieces of magazine journalism.
- Adapt this news sense to the needs of differing audiences and editorial objectives.
- Have developed an understanding and awareness of the historical, social and cultural roots of this professional skill.
- Display competence in the use of relevant software and hardware.
- Display an awareness and understanding of critical issues current in the industry.
On completion of the course a student should be able to:
- Be sensitive to the debates within the industry and society about the importance, functions and future possibilities of print and online magazine journalism in a 21st century democracy.
- Have an awareness of the role of the magazine journalist across the full range of magazines, print and online, from the smallest not-for-profit magazine operation to the major national and international magazine publishing houses.
- Critically analyse current published material against the above criteria.
- Communicate information clearly, effectively and appropriately for a range of magazine readerships.
- Communicate complex stories effectively from a range of primary and secondary sources and background knowledge, using appropriate techniques.
- Demonstrate the ability to develop a feature idea, or a complete print or online magazine, intellectualise its rationale, envisage the final product it and communicate this insight effectively to a team of journalists.
- Understand the managerial, administrative and editorial skills and techniques needed to realise the idea in both print and online forms.
The Magazine Office
- Magazine computer systems.
- News values, objectivity and impartiality, bias, ethics, codes of conduct.
- Contacts books, note books, news diaries, paperwork.
- Roles in the production team, teamwork.
- The editorial conference, ideas and how to sell them.
- Resources and budgets.
- Flat planning, commercial aspects of magazine making.
News-writing, reporting and interviewing
- The audience, news sense, writing for a specific context, accuracy, balance, the importance of the intro, signposting, clarity and directness.
- Immediacy, keeping up-to-date, projecting.
- Sources of news, the role of the reporter, contacts, courts, councils, working a patch.
- Types of interview, interview techniques, use of the phone, phone manner.
- Handling tape or Minidisk recorders, archiving notes
- Shorthand skills for those who opt to take shorthand classes (highly recommended)
- The many formats of features, finding the right format for a story, finding the right format for a platform
- Follow-ups, how-tos, travel and action pieces
- Being sensitive to social issues, knowing your rights for investigative features
- Finding the right tone, developing a repertoire of styles
- Pulling a piece together with pictures, graphics and layout
- Bi-platform skills using Apple Macs and PCs.
- Software packages, learning QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver.
- Pursuing accuracy, fact checking, sub-editing.
- Page production and proofing.
- Developing visual awareness for print and online publications.
- Learning to craft effective page furniture, headlines, captions.
- Laying out extended features.
- Finding the right format for print and online versions of a feature.
- Creation, development and production of a new magazine.
- Working in teams towards a common goal.
- Leading a team.
An opportunity to analyse and discuss a range of magazines both local and national and to assess the effectiveness of differing techniques, structures or editorial objectives.
Methods of Teaching and Learning
Magazine journalism skills are acquired through a series of lectures, demonstrations, practical exercises and feedback sessions of increasing complexity and realism - from 'paper exercises' in the early days to complex features that report on real events. These sessions are supplemented by seminars, group discussions and industry guests.
Basic writing, reporting and technical skills are taught in the first semester against a background of group analysis of good current professional practice. The second semester adds editorial and production skills. We use the device of twice weekly production days to integrate planning and production skills with the team working and editorial/resource management skills needed to produce a real magazine to a fortnightly deadline.
During the Easter break students test their skills against the real world in a work placement (or placements) of a minimum three weeks duration at a magazine of their choice. Tutors will advise on choice of placements.
Finally individual writing, reporting and story telling skills are tested in a portfolio of work and the final practical examinations.
Students are taught to initiate and produce, individually and as part of a team, a wide variety of news, review and feature material for magazines.
- To develop and maintain relevant contacts.
- To appreciate the importance of understanding the needs of target audiences.
- To write material for the various sections of a magazine, and for various types of magazine, exercising editorial judgement and maintaining professional journalistic standards.
- To undertake interviewing and reporting assignments.
- To locate and develop news, including sub-editing news copy and deploying the necessary resources.
- To generate magazine feature packages (copy and images).
- To originate and develop ideas for new magazines.
- To provide briefings for reporters, production journalists and contributors.
- To understand and use magazine hardware and software to a professional standard: portable recording equipment, digital cameras, publishing software for print and digital platforms.
- At all times to carry out assignments in accordance with relevant Health and Safety guidelines.
Shorthand is not a compulsory element of the Magazine course but it is made available at no extra cost and all students are encouraged to take it as an option.