CMM2003 - Professional Writing

2022/3 Module description

Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

In this module, you will learn how to create compelling narratives across forms, from journalism to blogging, and then apply these techniques to contemporary communications challenges. You will learn how to adapt your tone of voice according to the audience you are writing for, and to present complex content effectively for a range of platforms, channels and publications.  This module will enable you to develop your professional skillset within a reflexive, theoretically informed communications framework.

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Explore recent trends in the production and consumption of different forms of journalism and other professional writing since the rise of digital outlets and social media platforms
  • Encourage students to be adaptable, creative and reflexive in producing content for specific audiences across a variety of digital outlets and social media platforms 
  • Develop writing skills that enhance the employability of graduates wishing to enter digital publishing, journalism, social media management, and/or other such areas of the cultural industries
  • Identify best practice within the field of professional writing, from journalism to brand narratives.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Deploy a diverse range of written skills in order to express ideas across multiple media outlets and digital platforms
  • 2. Evaluate the appropriateness of tone, register and voice for specific audiences

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate detailed knowledge about the functions of a range of digital outlets and social media platforms
  • 4. Explore theoretical concerns through practice, and vice versa, and synthesise findings in practical and written tasks.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Express and communicate creative ideas in constructive, adaptable and collaborative ways.
  • 6. Develop an understanding of how branding and social media can be developed and deployed to engage with audiences and communities online.

Syllabus plan

Key topics on this module may include:

Storytelling in a digital age

  • Content curation and creation
  • Tone of voice and writing for specific audiences
  • Digital engagement and persuasion

Legacy media in the digital age: newspapers and magazines

  • Interviews
  • Feature writing
  • Reviews

Social media platforms and user-generated content

  • Building a brand through content publishing
  • Generating sticky content
  • Connecting with communities online

Professional writing

  • Ethical considerations
  • Code of conduct
  • Fact checking and editing

Publishing in a changing marketplace

  • Online
  • Analogue
  • Alternative

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1-hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1-hour workshops
Guided independent study128Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio plan500 words2,3,5,6Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio (presented as a website showcasing a range of writing unified by a single theme and aimed at a particular audience).75Maximum total of 2500 words 1-3,5,6Mark and written feedback
Critical Reflection251000 words1-6Mark and written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Portfolio Portfolio 1-3, 5, 6Referral/Deferral period
Critical ReflectionCritical Reflection1-6Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Bradshaw, P. (2017). The Online Journalism Handbook: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age. London: Routledge.
  • Charles, A, ed. (2014). The End of Journalism Version 2.0: Industry Technology & Politics. Oxford: Peter Lang.
  • Charles, A. (2014). Interactivity 2: New Media, Politics and Society. Oxford: Peter Lang.
  • Evans, H.  (2000). Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers, London: Pimlico.
  • Franklin, B. et al. (2016). The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies. London: Routledge
  • Goldsmith, K. (2011). Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age. Columbia University Press.
  • Harcup, T. (2015). Journalism: Principles and Practice 3rd ed. London: SAGE.
  • Hennessy, B. (2013). Writing Feature Articles. Abingdon: Focal Press.
  • Hicks, W. (2013) Essential English for Journalists. London: Routledge.
  • Holmes, T (ed.) (2008), Mapping the Magazine: Comparative Studies in Magazine Journalism, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Jackson, et al. (2001), Making Sense of Men’s Magazines, Cambridge: Polity.
  • King, S. (2012). On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. London: Hodder.
  • Knight, Megan, and Cook, Clare (2013) Social Media for Journalists: Principles and Practice. London: Sage.
  • Lamott, A. (2020). Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life. London: Canongate.
  • Madison, E. (2017) Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World, London: Praeger
  • Malcolm. J. (2018). The Journalist and the Murderer. London: Granta.
  • Pape, S. and Featherstone, S. (2012). Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction. London: Sage.
  • Phillips, A. (2014) Journalism in Context: Practice and Theory for the Digital Age. London: Routledge
  • Rickerton, M. and Graham, C. (2017) Writing Feature Stories 2nd Ed. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.
  • Simmons, J. (2009). Twenty-six ways of looking at a blackberry: How to let writing release the creativity of your brand. London: A & C Black.
  • Stam, D. and Scott, A. (2014). Inside Magazine Publishing. London: Routledge.
  • Thomas, S. (2016). Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write – and Read – Better. London: Canongate.
  • York, J. (2014). Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them. London: Penguin

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Journalism, digital journalism, social media, platforms, blogs, feature writing, media

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