Week 1: Intro to Writing

The staff of The Breeze student newspaper, 1963. Photo: JMU Libraries/CC/flickr

BY MARK GATELY

Welcome to Writing

Writing is a simple word that encompasses many meanings, even when restricted to the world of journalism, and, when it’s done right, is both a craft AND an art.

The aim of this class is to make you a better writer and, in doing so, give you the tools to make a success of whatever career you are planning to pursue.

But it’s not all serious. Here’s a humorous look at how journalism is displayed on the big screen.

Course outline

As journalism no longer lives in its traditional newspaper/radio/TV silos we will be looking at the various types of writing including:

  • Hard news writing
  • Radio and TV reporting
  • Satire
  • Feature story writing
  • Even poetry!

Then putting that theory into practice via:

  • Weekly writing tasks
  • A portfolio of assessment tasks

This is where most of the action will take place:

Introductions

But, because a journalist always gathers information before they start writing, we’ll find out some basic information about each other through a couple of (hopefully) fun activities.

The interview: Get to know your teacher Q&A.

Your host Mark Gately takes questions from the floor.

TASK

Explore the write way to introduce yourself.

Write a six-paragraph story outlining who you are, what you’ve been up to, what your goals are and why you’re doing this course. Can be either first person or written in the form of a news story.

Group discussion:

How do you get your news (newspaper, radio, TV, internet or other) – and how often (multiple times a day, daily, etc)? Do you have a favourite reporter or presenter.

Influences: The content you consume outside of a straight news environment is equally important to your development as a writer and journalist.

TASK

Recommend your favourite book, TV show, movie, music, podcast.

Can be in point form or with an additional short explanation for each. 

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