News and Information Gathering - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3
  • Availability for 2017: SP1 , SP3
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - News Story (20%) , Assignment 2 - Court Report (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

News and Information Gathering is a practical examination of the realities of news research and news gathering in the key rounds, or specialist reporting areas that exist in real newsrooms around the world. These include reporting tasks such asmedia conferences and  reproting court and council. The key journalistic rounds of crime and courts, politics and parliaments, councils, health and education, social issues, sport and leisure, economics and finance, science and specialties and consumer affairs will be covered.

Working with an experienced teacher you will complete practical news gathering and writing tasks. You will meet deadlines, reflect on ethical issues, apply your understanding of media law and gather news across a range of fields. The online forum component of the subject encourages you to relate your practical work to the relevant literature in the area and discuss your views with your peers. Delve into the challenges and constraints of journalistic research. In this unit you will explore difficult and complex decisions within the professional environment. You will also be presented with opportunities to work through practical problems.

The unit encourages you to develop a systematic approach to information gathering that reflects your own style and interests. While producing a range of news writing assignments, you must meet tight deadlines, confront ethical uncertainties and work across a range of fields. While studying this unit you will develop your ability to locate, evaluate and use information in a range of contexts and to display a nose for news and a professional demeanour.

On the completion of this unit, students should be able to display the following skills:

  1. define researchable questions in the story area;
  2. apply knowledge of journalistic research methods;
  3. quickly and confidently gather the key information needed to compile a journalistic news story on deadline;
  4. evaluate and use journalistic information in a range of contexts;
  5. understand the key journalistic rounds (such as crime, police and the like);
  6. appreciate the importance of social issues and   inclusion regarding marginalised groups such as women, Indigenous Australians, migrants, asylum seekers, same sex attracted people and people with a physical or mental disability;
  7. knowledge of news valued to hone newsworthy story angles based on the information gathered;
  8. ability to display sensitivity to a news audience in a way that stories are organised and written; and
  9. ability to consider yourselves as capable and autonomous practitioners of journalism.
  • Assignment 1 — News Story (20%)
  • Assignment 2 — Court Report (20%)
  • Assignment 3 — Business Story (20%)
  • Assignment 4 — Major Investigation (40%)

Mandatory prerequisites

You must have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit:

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

Not suitable for incarcerated students.

  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1What is news gathering?
2Key new rounds
3How to research
4Law and ethics
5Investigative traditions
6Turning information into news
7The life of a news story
8Advanced news writing
9The role of journalism in a Westminster democracy
10The future of journalism

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission

Online materials

  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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