This second term module is designed for students who have an interest in the theory and practice of political reporting. Increasingly, journalists need a critical understanding of the underlying concepts for political acting such as liberty, justice, rights, law, and how they are realised in our contemporary democracies. Students will engage with global politics in a connected world as well as notions of crisis in modern democracy and the concept of post-democracy. It will also reflect on the role played by the media in contemporary societies.
1. Global politics in a connected world. This part of the module builds on ethical and legal considerations explored in the Professional Practice module, examining how reporting in diverse parts of the world connects to events and activities around the globe.
2. The module explores essential concepts of political theory such as liberty, justice, rights, and law as well as participation and representation. It discusses how these concepts are reflected in a democratic political system, as well as the rise of factors such as populism as a symptom of democratic crisis.
3. The module explores the most common models of political storytelling such as personalisation, breaking news, live blogs, analysis, comment, political features. It will further present examples for new political storytelling in digital media such as BuzzFeed or FiveThirtyEight, and look at how innovations such as social media have shaped political stories.
This module runs in the first term and focuses on core journalistic writing skills that integrate with the Professional Practice module offered at the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Teaching is delivered at Lincoln, and the schedule works across three blocks, each of which comprises three weeks of teaching on a specific aspect of journalism.
1. Newswriting Essentials. This introduces students to the fundamentals of reporting in terms of storytelling, interviewing and introductory legal and ethical elements.
2. What is the News? This block focuses on determining what constitutes news, with sessions dealing with news values, making editorial judgement and finding angles for stories.
3. News Features. The module concludes with the elements that contribute to news feature writing, including colour pieces and long-form journalism.
This module runs throughout the year, drawing upon the skills learned in the other three related modules and provides the opportunity to put these into practice through workshops and news days. It will comprise a series of blocks, each of which runs for approximately three weeks. Subjects dealt with on the module include:
1. Core Digital Skills. This is the foundation for many of the other kit-based skills, in terms of working towards digital output as core to student activity. In this section, students will build upon key attributes of running and maintaining content management systems, the initial stages of building digital content and formulating a digital strategy via social media and other platforms, and begin their training using the Lynda.com suite of programmes that the University subscribes to.
2. Visuals and Data. This block comprises two interrelated components: visual design (including use of images/photography) and data visualisation. This will build on skills learned in the first block to explore effective techniques for conveying information to readers.
3. Digital Storytelling. This brings together the first sets of key skills built up in the first semester to create packages for international stories.
4. Audio and Podcasting. Following on from the Mobile Journalism module in Professional Practice, these sessions will build up students’ skills in audio techniques and reporting.
5. Digital Video Skills. This block will continue the skills building from the previous one, with a focus on video editing.
6. News Days and Storytelling. While News Days will comprise aspects of the programme throughout the year, this is a final opportunity to put writing, contextual and professional skills into practice alongside production skills.
The module builds on the skills developed in earlier modules, and consists of independent research, writing and supervision for the production of a final project. Students create a journalistic portfolio comprising stories in a relevant format (written, video, audio, interactive) on topics relevant to international journalism. The student independently implements research strategies and selected approaches, with the supervisor’s advice, to achieve the final project to Master’s standard.
All work produced for this module must be original and not work that was previously submitted as part of the course, whether at Lincoln or the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Work may be submitted that is produced outside of previous modules and which has been published by other organisations (for example news stories submitted to journalism outlets).
The Professional Practice module is provided by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, with training primarily in London (with some delivery in Lincoln) and is designed to enable students to experience the conditions of working with an international news agency. These sessions typically take the form of intensive, three-day workshops with sessions in the first part on:
1. The Reuters Way. This series of workshops introduces students to the processes and workflows of Reuters, with explanations of how the bureaus work and the expected attitudes and approaches for agency reporters.
2. Newsgathering for Agencies. Students will be provided with intensive training for collecting information and understanding how to apply news values and editorial judgement.
The Professional Practice module is provided by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, with training primarily in London (with some delivery in Lincoln) and is designed to enable students to experience the conditions of working with an international news agency. These sessions typically take the form of intensive, three-day workshops with sessions in the second part on:
3. Mobile Journalism. Students will engage with ways of getting closer to the story, as well as tools for editing packages on the go and in the newsroom.
4. Reporting International Affairs. In these workshops, students will explore the issues involved in dealing with current affairs reporting in areas such as international politics, conflict, disasters and migration.
5. Reporting Human Rights. Again, this will explore issues in reporting in areas such as LGBT+, human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and land rights.