JOUR401-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018

Media Literacies: Principles and Practice

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2018
End Date: Sunday, 24 June 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 2 March 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 18 May 2018


This course provides intensive training in the foundational skills and knowledge required for communicating news and information to various publics. Students will learn how to conduct effective research and develop writing and multimedia skills to produce engaging digital content. Students also gain knowledge of their ethical responsibilities, and learn to critically reflect on their news and media practice. The course combines analytical skills with practical experience, including fieldwork opportunities and a final work placement, to help consolidate the links between theory and practice, and develop independence in professional work.

This course is a core paper in the Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism. It aims at preparing graduates for significant careers in the media through intensive training in newsgathering and writing, research and analysis, and multimedia skills. We aim to produce highly competent and multi-skilled professionals who think critically about standards and, each year, most, if not all, of our graduates win jobs in top newsrooms and in social and online media roles with various government and corporate organisations.

JOUR401 has a strong emphasis on practical work and we maintain a close relationship with the profession through our many guest lecturers. You will report for local newsrooms and contribute to a range of media, including radio station RDU 98.5 and our own digital news outlet, The Record. In addition, you may be sent on work placement in the June break (see below).

Learning Outcomes

  • The successful completion of this course enables you to develop the critical insight, writing, reporting and multimedia skills, and flexibility needed to excel in a rapidly changing media world. By the end of this course, you are expected to be able to gather news and information expertly using a range of tools, including social media, to report news and information with speed and accuracy across different media platforms, including the web and radio, and to critically reflect on your own practice.  

    You are expected to demonstrate:

    Personal Attributes
  • a high standard of communication skills
  • independent judgment
  • organisation and time management skills, including an ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • computer technology skills, including an ability to use and critically evaluate new media and digital tools
  • a critical knowledge of news and current affairs
  • an ability to locate, critically evaluate and use information in a range of contexts
  • self-reflection and critical evaluation of your own practice

    Interactive Attributes
  • an ability to work effectively and collaboratively with others to plan and produce news
  • an ability to relate to and communicate with people from a range of backgrounds, including journalism professionals

    Specific Programme Attributes
  • an ability to independently and effectively gather and research news
  • an ability to write and edit journalism across a range of styles and platforms to recognised industry standards
  • strong research and investigative skills, including the retrieval and critical analysis of information from a range of sources using a range of tools
  • an ability to conduct interviews to a recognised industry standard
  • effective use of digital, audio and visual technologies
  • an ability to reflect critically on journalism practice
  • a critical understanding of journalism within its social, cultural and international contexts


Subject to approval of the PGDipJ coordinator

Course Coordinator

Tara Ross

Course links

JOUR401 Learn page


Course structure
Please see the lecture outline on Learn for the detailed class schedule. Note, you are also required to attend one-on-one tutorial sessions with our writing coaches each Wednesday. There will also be times where you are required to work a full day, such as when you produce on-air news for RDU in Term 2, when you intern in the June break and when you attend the COMS postgraduate marae trip to Tuahiwi on April 26.

Work placements
You will be assigned an internship at a South Island newsroom or communications organization in the mid-year break, June 4-15. When assigning internships, we take into account your professionalism, progress and the work environment. The decision on where to send you is ours – and we reserve the right to decline a placement if we believe you are not yet competent to carry out an internship.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $2,194.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Limited Entry Course

Maximum enrolment is 25

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All JOUR401 Occurrences

  • JOUR401-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018