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Degree Programmes



Magazine Journalism is accredited by the Periodicals Training Council

Magazine - Details


There is a work experience bloc for attachments and internships with magazines in April/May. The daily timetable is full-on - there are weekly deadlines, constant contact with tutors and, every single year, a great group of coursemates to get to know and stay friends with throughout your career.

Hands-on, Practical Journalism

You will spend an intense nine months learning everything you need to get a job in magazine journalism. It will probably the most demanding course you will ever do but along the way there are some sublime rewards and at the end you will have mastered numerous arts and crafts including

  • how to write magazine features in many different styles and genres
  • how to find and secure news reports and interviews in many different formats
  • the technical and production skills you need to communicate your stories effectively in print and digital media
  • how to shoot, edit and incorporate video and audio multimedia
  • the attitudes, news sense, judgement, discipline, flexibility and creativity the magazine industry demands
  • exactly what goes into creating and developing a new magazine brand.

You will be learning most of this not in a classroom, but by fulfilling realistic briefs which require you to

  • find, research and write a variety of stories
  • express those stories in print and digital media
  • address those stories to specific readerships, audiences and communities

Masters students will progress after 9 months to the dissertation stage.

Learning Outcomes

Graduating students will have demonstrated achievement of the following outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding

At the end of the course a student should be able to:

  • Describe the principles, theory, philosophy, ethics, law and practice of journalism, especially magazine journalism.
  • Have developed an effective professional news sense and the ability to use it to create effective pieces of magazine journalism.
  • Adapt this news sense to the needs of differing audiences and editorial objectives.
  • Have developed an understanding and awareness of the historical, social and cultural roots of this professional skill.
  • Display competence in the use of relevant software and hardware.
  • Display an awareness and understanding of critical issues current in the industry.

Intellectual skills

On completion of the course a student should be able to:

  • Be sensitive to the debates within the industry and society about the importance, functions and future possibilities of print and online magazine journalism in a 21st century democracy.
  • Have an awareness of the role of the magazine journalist across the full range of magazines, print and online, from the smallest not-for-profit magazine operation to the major national and international magazine publishing houses.
  • Critically analyse current published material against the above criteria.
  • Communicate information clearly, effectively and appropriately for a range of magazine readerships.
  • Communicate complex stories effectively from a range of primary and secondary sources and background knowledge, using appropriate techniques.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a feature idea, or a complete print or online magazine, intellectualise its rationale, envisage the final product it and communicate this insight effectively to a team of journalists.
  • Understand the managerial, administrative and editorial skills and techniques needed to realise the idea in both print and online forms.

Practical skills

The Magazine Office

  • Magazine computer systems.
  • News values, objectivity and impartiality, bias, ethics, codes of conduct.
  • Contacts books, note books, news diaries, paperwork.
  • Roles in the production team, teamwork.
  • The editorial conference, ideas and how to sell them.
  • Resources and budgets.
  • Flat planning, commercial aspects of magazine making.

News-writing, reporting and interviewing

  • The audience, news sense, writing for a specific context, accuracy, balance, the importance of the intro, signposting, clarity and directness.
  • Immediacy, keeping up-to-date, projecting.
  • Sources of news, the role of the reporter, contacts, courts, councils, working a patch.
  • Types of interview, interview techniques, use of the phone, phone manner.
  • Handling audio recorders, archiving notes
  • Shorthand skills for those who opt to take shorthand classes (highly recommended)

Feature writing

  • The many formats of features, finding the right format for a story, finding the right format for a platform
  • Follow-ups, how-tos, travel and action pieces
  • Being sensitive to social issues, knowing your rights for investigative features
  • Finding the right tone, developing a repertoire of styles
  • Pulling a piece together with pictures, graphics and layout

Production

  • Bi-platform skills using Apple Macs and PCs.
  • Software packages, learning QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver.
  • Pursuing accuracy, fact checking, sub-editing.
  • Page production and proofing.
  • Developing visual awareness for print and online publications.
  • Learning to craft effective page furniture, headlines, captions.
  • Laying out extended features.
  • Finding the right format for print and online versions of a feature.
  • Creation, development and production of a new magazine.
  • Working in teams towards a common goal.
  • Leading a team.

Critical assessment

An opportunity to analyse and discuss a range of magazines both local and national, and to assess the effectiveness of differing techniques, structures or editorial objectives.

Methods of Teaching and Learning

Magazine journalism skills are acquired through a series of lectures, demonstrations, practical exercises and feedback sessions of increasing complexity and realism - from 'paper exercises' in the early days to complex features that report on real events. These sessions are supplemented by seminars, group discussions and industry guests.

Basic writing, reporting and technical skills are taught in the first semester against a background of group analysis of good current professional practice. The second semester adds editorial and production skills. We use the device of twice weekly production days to integrate planning and production skills with the team working and editorial/resource management skills needed to produce a real magazine to a fortnightly deadline.

During the Easter break students test their skills against the real world in a work placement (or placements) of a minimum three weeks duration at a magazine of their choice. Tutors will advise on choice of placements.

Finally individual writing, reporting and storytelling skills are tested in a portfolio of work and the final practical examinations.

Syllabus Content

Students are taught to initiate and produce, individually and as part of a team, a wide variety of news, review and feature material for magazines.

  • To develop and maintain relevant contacts.
  • To appreciate the importance of understanding the needs of target audiences.
  • To write material for the various sections of a magazine, and for various types of magazine, exercising editorial judgement and maintaining professional journalistic standards.
  • To undertake interviewing and reporting assignments.
  • To locate and develop news, including sub-editing news copy and deploying the necessary resources.
  • To generate magazine feature packages (copy and images).
  • To originate and develop ideas for new magazines.
  • To provide briefings for reporters, production journalists and contributors.
  • To understand and use magazine hardware and software to a professional standard: portable recording equipment, digital cameras, publishing software for print and digital platforms.
  • At all times to carry out assignments in accordance with relevant Health and Safety guidelines.

Shorthand

Shorthand is not a compulsory element of the Magazine course but it is made available at no extra cost and all students are encouraged to take it as an option.