Journalism

Journalism - BA (Hons)

UCAS code P500:K

2018

Journalism is fascinating, rewarding and influential. In a world hungry for news about issues ranging from climate change to fashion and from armed conflict to football, the ultra-competitive modern media market needs versatile, multimedia journalists with cutting-edge academic and vocational skills and a highly developed awareness of ethics.

Overview

In this prestigious, professionally accredited programme, you study for an honours degree that includes history, politics and law while completing the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ (NCTJ) Diploma in Journalism [*see Fees and funding section for additional costs].

Tutors include working reporters and columnists, former editors of national newspapers, radio and television programmes and magazines, network broadcasters and web publishers. Their professional expertise is reinforced by excellent academic teaching by leading historians, political scientists and lawyers.

The course is based in state-of-the-art newsrooms complete with dedicated radio and television studios, editing and production facilities. From the outset, you learn to write and report in text, on air and for the internet. Students have regular access to work placements with the KM Group and other news organisations. The Centre for Journalism has its own dedicated website, www.centreforjournalism.co.uk.

About the Centre for Journalism

The Centre for Journalism is leading the development of journalism as an academic discipline rooted in professional newsroom practice. It was established in 2008 to achieve top standards in teaching and research.

A lively and welcoming community spirit exists within the Centre. There are regular social events, seminars and masterclasses. Recent visitors have included: 

  • Allan Little - BBC correspondent
  • Sarah Ivens - founding Editor-in-Chief of OK! Magazine USA
  • Gavin Esler - former presenter of Newsnight
  • Jon Snow - presenter of Channel 4 News
  • Mark Thompson - former Director General of the BBC
  • Alex Crawford - three times RTS TV journalist of the year
  • Stephanie Flanders - former Economics Editor, BBC 
  • Stuart Ramsay -Sky News Chief Correspondent
  • John Humphrys - presenter BBC Radio 4's Today programme
  •  Faisal Islam, Political Editor, Sky News. 

Independent rankings

The BA in Journalism is ranked second in the UK and Ireland for the number of students achieving Gold Standard passes in the National Council for the Training of Journalists' Diploma, the primary measure of professional success for student journalists.

In the National Student Survey 2016, Journalism at Kent was ranked 6th for the quality of its teaching and 9th for overall satisfaction.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include Credits

How and why were newspapers first printed. Whose interests are served by the publication of news. How government has sought to control and censor journalism. The roles of polemicists, coffee house news writers and pamphleteers and the emergence of the professional reporter. The forces propelling the growth of newspapers in 19c. The era of the Press Barons. The birth of radio and television. The era of the internet.

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What is news? Which sources are trustworthy? Writing news reports and the inverted pyramid. Reporting court cases and council meetings. Working off-diary. Distinction between comment, conjecture and fact. Public interest.

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The design and operation of Britain's key political institutions. How do citizens make their demands known to policy makers? To what extent are British political parties responsive bodies? Has devolution of power improved British democracy? Structure and operation of local government. Structure and financing of public services.Role of the Treasury and Bank of England and mechanics of the Budget.

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British journalism, its history and development. Magazine and online production development. Use of microphones, audio and video recording equipment and studio production. Setting up and conducting of interviews. Use of digital audio editing systems to compile news packages and features. Team working in radio production. Sound and video on the internet.

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include Credits

How Britons accessed news and information in 1945, the importance of national, regional and local newspapers and the role of radio.

Impact of TV on news consumption and the importance of ITN.

Relationship between journalism and political power.

24 rolling news on radio and TV - its emergence, growth and impact on political process.

Online reporting, blogging and citizen journalism.

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Culture of British television journalism, its history and development.

Use of cameras, editing equipment and television studio production facilities.

Team working in television production.

Advanced use of print design software, image manipulation software and print production facilities.

Advanced techniques in radio news programme production.

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Difference between a feature and news story. Structuring lengthy pieces and writing reviews and opinion columns. Investigative reporting. Rewriting news story for another medium, adding sound, pictures, links and interactive comments. Following coverage of crime story/court trial through press, online and TV. Turning contents of official reports into news and feature articles. Textual analysis of writing styles of groundbreaking journalists. Study of common journalism transgressions.

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Basic introduction to the English legal system

Introduction to the law relating to Freedom of Expression

Defamation

Breach of Confidence and Privacy

Contempt of Court

Reporting - courts and current events

Protection of journalists and their sources

Censorship - obscenity/racial and religious hatred

Copyright

Freedom of Information and Data Protection

Official Secrets

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include Credits

Development of techniques in long-form journalism.

Identifying the story and research methods.

Identification of most suitable platform(s) to tell a specific story.

Developing key sources and newsgathering techniques.

Formulating a narrative structure.

Documentary sequences in audio and video.

Multimedia presentaiton techniques.

Honing writing styles.

Editing techniques and styles in audio, video and multimedia.

Delivery methods for journalism in the digital world.

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The culture of British radio, television, newspaper and online journalism, its history and development.

Advanced use of cameras, audio recorders, editing equipment and radio and television studio production facilities.

Advanced techniques in television news programme production.

Advanced use of print design software, image manipulation software and print production facilities.

Advanced techniques in radio news programme production.

Advanced techniques in multimedia journalism production.

How social media and reader interactivity is changing journalism and the legal, ethical, technical and editorial implications.

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Linear and non-linear narrative structures.

The use of online and open-source tool research to create journalism projects.

The power of interactivity. Putting the user in control of the story.

Visualisation of data.

Borrowing from Hollywood: quick cuts, split screens and non-traditional video packages.

Using crowd sourced material to develop and augment core reporting.

Techniques for adapting and creating journalism for mobile media.

How social media and reader interactivity is changing journalism and the legal, ethical, technical and editorial implications.

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Changing patterns of foreign news coverage in post war period with particular reference to developing world (colonial, cold war and 1990s).

Case studies of foreign disasters and media interpretations; Biafra, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Asian Tsunami.

Role of citizen journalism in coverage of faraway disasters.

Media understanding of types of disaster and complex emergencies with reference to aid efforts and humanitarian intervention.

Growth and emergence of NGOs and their use of marketing and communication techniques.

Role of the media in raising awareness fo charitable fundraising.

24 hour news and the CNN effect.

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How conflict reporting has developed from the 1930s to the digital multimedia reporting of the 21st century.

Journalism, patriotism and propaganda: war as a severe test of journalistic integrity and independence.

Embeds, independents and reporters’ security.

Reporting terrorism.

The political impact of war reporting.

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Writing match reports, analysis and commentary for print and online to tight deadlines.

Using online tools, including social media, to produce minute-by-minute coverage of live events and increase audience.

Understand the impact of new media on sports journalism.

The social, historical and cultural context of sports journalism.

Running too close to the circus - "fans with typewriters" and sports journalism's relationship with the PR industry.

The impact of commercialisation fo sport on sports journalism.

Holding sports bodies to account - the structure of governing bodies and government departments.

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The module examines the reporting practices of political journalists, the institutional contexts of political journalism, and the interactions between journalists and sources across different forms of political reportage. It assesses the power of governmental communication, and the changing nature of contemporary political journalism. Forms of political reportage that will be investigated include: parliamentary reporting, political commentary, interviews and press conferences, and the role of social media in political reportage

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The module examines the role of propaganda as a means of communication and persuasion and deals with the definitions, content, intent and methods of propaganda. It involves study and critical assessment of the role of propaganda in the two world wars, the Cold War, apartheid South Africa, Rwanda and contemporary conflicts and politics.

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The module will introduce students to some of the key issues and debates surrounding travel and tourism. Principally:

• how might we differentiate between travel and tourism?

• how does our cultural experience shape our expectations of travel and tourism?

• as travellers and tourists how do we engage with different cultures?

• how does the media influence how we experience and practice travel and tourism?

These issues will be explored in relation to a range of media forms such as newspapers, magazines, television and radio programmes, blogs and social media.

Read more

Teaching and assessment

Each day in the Centre for Journalism begins with an editorial conference. Students and staff gather in the newsrooms to discuss the top stories on the local, national and international news agendas and to consider how they have been reported in newspapers, by broadcasters and online.

Teaching is by a variety of methods including masterclasses, lectures, seminars, films and small group discussions. Professional skills are taught in a live newsroom environment, which replicates the atmosphere of a working multimedia newsroom. You participate in regular Live News Days, during which you work to deadline to produce live radio and television bulletins and newspaper pages, and to update websites. There are frequent guest lectures and masterclasses by working journalists and editors, including network broadcasters and editors of national and regional newspapers and magazines.

Assessment includes coursework (such as academic essays, television, radio and online news reports and newspaper articles) and examinations. Students compile portfolios of reports. In your final year, you complete an extended project in journalism, which may take the form of a television or radio documentary, an extended newspaper or magazine article, or a web report.

There is a minimum of 21 hours contact time per week in your first and second year, in addition to which all students receive guaranteed one-to-one feedback on their assignments and have regular meetings with their personal academic adviser. You should expect to do a minimum of 15 additional hours personal study per week.

Students undergo assessment for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism via examinations set by the NCTJ. There is a fee for each of these examinations, which students must pay in addition to their tuition fees. See the Journalism website for current NCTJ exam fees.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • produce graduates with a courageous and principled vision of the purpose of journalism, who have an informed, critical and creative approach to its role in contemporary society
  • enable students to acquire the skills and aptitudes to practise the convergent skills of print, broadcast and internet journalism in a supportive and responsive  environment
  • develop a detailed and systematic understanding of particular forms of journalism and their historic and contemporary role in the shaping of culture and society
  • encourage students to think critically about the ethics and responsibilities of journalism and to relate academic study of the subject to questions of public concern
  • describe and comment upon aspects of current research into the impact of new technologies on journalism
  • provide a curriculum supported by scholarship and a research culture that promotes breadth and depth of intellectual debate and enquiry.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key concepts, practices and methods used in the production of multimedia journalism
  • the economic forces which frame the news industry and the role it plays in specific areas of contemporary political and cultural life
  • the political, social and cultural histories from which modern journalism and its practices and structures emerged
  • the possible future development of journalism in a national and international context
  • the legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks which affect journalism
  • the ways in which specific technologies enable different kinds of journalism
  • the processes linking the production, circulation and consumption of news
  • how news operations operate and are managed.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the ability to gather, organise and deploy information, images and data from a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • the ability to engage critically with major practitioners, debates and paradigms within the subject area and put them to productive use
  • how to carry out various forms of research for essays, presentations, documentaries and dissertations involving sustained independent inquiry
  • the ability to reflect upon the relevance of your own cultural commitment and positioning to the practice of journalism.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the ability to:

  • understand the significance of journalism to political democracy, its powers, duties and responsibilities
  • analyse closely, interpret and show the exercise of critical judgment in the understanding and evaluation of various forms of journalism
  • consider and evaluate your own work with reference to professional issues, debates and conventions
  • describe, evaluate and apply different approaches to presenting and analysing factual information as news
  • produce work of publishable quality for regional, national and international newspapers, websites and broadcasters.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in how to:

  • gather, organise and deploy information in order to formulate arguments cogently and communicate them fluently in speech and writing
  • work to deadlines in flexible and innovative ways showing self-direction and self-discipline
  • work productively in a group or team showing the ability to contribute, lead and  collaborate with others in the pursuit of common goals
  • use information technology to perform a range of tasks ranging from basic word-processing to deployment of complex web-based multimedia technology
  • identify and define problems, assess possible solutions and discriminate between them
  • take accurate shorthand notes at a speed of at least 100 words per minute.

Careers

Possible careers include newspaper, broadcast and online reporting and other editorial roles in the news industry. Recent graduates work as journalists for employers including AOL, Associated Newspapers, BBC Radio, ITN Peston on SundayBedfordshire on Sunday, Cambridge News, KM Group, Kent on Sunday, Hinckley Times, Huffington Post, ITN, The Sun, Newsquest, Daily Star, Mail Online, Investment Week and Sky News. Other graduates secure positions in communications roles for charities, NGOs and campaign groups or political parties.

This degree prepares you to work across the broadcast, print and online media. The skills you acquire include working under pressure to strict deadlines, writing accurate, balanced reports and analysing complex material. You learn to communicate with non-specialised audiences and to present your opinion coherently and with passion. These skills are highly prized by employers in many fields.

Professional recognition

This degree is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and all students sit the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism exams.  This valuable professional qualification is recognised as a key entry requirement to careers in newspaper and broadcast journalism.

Graduate profile

Kent graduate Victoria Polley explains how her Journalism degree from the Centre for Journalism helped her to get her dream job as a radio sports journalist.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including at least two, preferably three, in traditional academic subjects such as English, Mathematics, History, Politics, Chemistry and modern languages plus admissions test and selective interview.

GCSE

Mathematics grade C

 

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL including Mathematics 4 at HL or SL plus admissions test and selective interview

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2018/19 entry tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £13810

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Additional costs

Students undergo assessment for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism via examinations set by the NCTJ. There is a fee for each of these examinations, which students must pay in addition to their tuition fees. See the Journalism website for current NCTJ exam fees.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.