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Degree Programmes

Newspaper Journalism is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists

Newspaper - Details

The course begins in late September and features an attachment in April with local/national newspapers for typically three weeks.

Practical Journalism

You will spend an intense nine months learning the fundamentals of the business - how to write, report and interview for newspapers and online channels, 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.

Masters students will progress after 9 months to the dissertation stage.

Learning Outcomes

Reporting Skills

  • Confidence and ease in dealing with people
  • An interest in everything going on around you
  • Reporting the spoken word: value of shorthand and the need to listen and be interested in what you are being told
  • Interviewing: telephone interviewing, face-to-face interviewing
  • Contacts: how to nurse a district beat, the place to visit, the people to know
  • How to address different people
  • Use of reference books and where to look for information in preparation for the interview (seminars conducted by library staff)
  • Vital knowledge of current affairs

Writing Skills

  • Basics: grammar, accuracy, clarity of thought and precision of meaning
  • Need to interest reader
  • Presentation: intro writing, logical story development, objectivity and balance
  • Observation of copy style, writing to length, checking completed story
  • Reporting: direct quotes and reporting speech
  • Rewriting handouts to avoid bureaucratise, jargon and worn out clich├ęs
  • Wide and critical study of contemporary journalism, with regular reviews of the Sunday papers, the national dailies, provincial dailies, weeklies and magazines
  • Encouragement of personal writing styles as well as house styles

Shorthand and typing

We want all students to achieve a minimum of 100 words a minute. Shorthand is taught from September to March, and by Easter we expect students to be writing at 100 wpm. The majority pass NCTJ 100 wpm tests. Most editors require this speed of trainee applicants. Students offered places are expected to have mastered the theory before the course starts. Online packages will be sent to those who have been offered a place.

Practical Coverage

  • Nursing a district
  • Council and committee meetings
  • Courts: Crown and magistrates
  • Inquests
  • Industrial tribunals
  • Public inquiries
  • Sport
  • Press conferences
  • Speech reports
  • Industry, business, trade unions
  • Politics
  • Elections (local and parliamentary)
  • Criticism: reviews of plays, concerts, films, books
  • Vox pop surveys, opinion polls
  • Gossip
  • Diary columns
  • Leader writing
  • Trenchant personal column comment [Soapbox]
  • Race, minorities
  • Features: methods of research, specialist knowledge
  • Research via the net
  • Multi media

All these areas of practical journalism are brought together during the bi-weekly Production Days, which are followed by one-hour group tutorials to analyse news values and story writing.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching is through a programme of lectures and exercises. Assessment of course work is by written examination and continuous assessment.


Shorthand is a compulsory element of the Newspaper course and is made available at no extra cost.