CQUniversity Unit Profile
JOUR12010 Feature Writing
Feature Writing
All details in this unit profile for JOUR12010 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information

Overview

This unit develops advanced journalism writing skills. It covers research, editorial and column writing, and techniques for profiles and human interest features. Students will produce several features for assessment.

Details

Career Level: Undergraduate
Unit Level: Level 2
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 10
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Prerequisite: COMM11007 or JOUR 12039.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2017

Distance
Rockhampton

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Written Assessment
Weighting: Pass/Fail
2. Written Assessment
Weighting: 40%
3. Written Assessment
Weighting: 60%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Student feedback. Reviewed at 2016 Annual Course Review meeting.

Feedback

Students enjoyed the course, including approach to feedback and mentoring.

Recommendation

Maintain approach to student engagement and feedback.

Feedback from Student feedback. Reviewed at 2016 Annual Course Review meeting.

Feedback

More structured approach to on-campus class activities.

Recommendation

Structured approach will ensure detailed review of articles as focus points for discussion each week.

Feedback from Student feedback. Reviewed at 2016 Annual Course Review meeting.

Feedback

Peer review and engagement would be of benefit.

Recommendation

Incorporate peer review/engagement into discussion/assessment.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Exercise advanced journalistic writing skills and research techniques to produce feature material.
  2. Critique and discuss feature article genre, audience, and nature of publication.
  3. Apply appropriate news criteria when using news-gathering skills to address news and current affairs in a feature writing context.
Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Written Assessment - 0%
2 - Written Assessment - 40%
3 - Written Assessment - 60%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
9 - Social Innovation

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Written Assessment - 0%
2 - Written Assessment - 40%
3 - Written Assessment - 60%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

Prescribed

Feature Writing 2nd (2012)

Authors: Tanner, S., Kasinger, M., & Richardson, N.
Oxford University Press
Melbourne Melbourne , VIC , Australia
ISBN: 9780195561746
Binding: Paperback

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
Referencing Style

All submissions for this unit must use the referencing style: Turabian

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Kate Ames Unit Coordinator
k.ames@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1 Begin Date: 10 Jul 2017

Module/Topic

Introduction to Feature Writing

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 2 Begin Date: 17 Jul 2017

Module/Topic

Planning your feature

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 3 Begin Date: 24 Jul 2017

Module/Topic

Identifying the market for your feature

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 4 Begin Date: 31 Jul 2017

Module/Topic

Research: Getting Started

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Item 1 - Ideas Pitch Due: Week 4 Friday (4 Aug 2017) 6:00 pm AEST
Week 5 Begin Date: 07 Aug 2017

Module/Topic

Research: Conducting Interviews

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Discussion Sessions for pitches held this week.

Vacation Week Begin Date: 14 Aug 2017

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 6 Begin Date: 21 Aug 2017

Module/Topic

Feature Styles: Narrative

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 7 Begin Date: 28 Aug 2017

Module/Topic

Feature Styles: News

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 8 Begin Date: 04 Sep 2017

Module/Topic

Feature Styles: Opinion

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Item 2 - Narrative Feature (Human Interest - Personal Profile) Due: Week 8 Monday (4 Sept 2017) 6:00 pm AEST
Week 9 Begin Date: 11 Sep 2017

Module/Topic

Structuring your Feature

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 10 Begin Date: 18 Sep 2017

Module/Topic

Editing your Feature

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 11 Begin Date: 25 Sep 2017

Module/Topic

Packaging Your Feature

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 12 Begin Date: 02 Oct 2017

Module/Topic

Extending Your Writing

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 09 Oct 2017

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Item 3 - News Feature (News Issue) Due: Review/Exam Week Monday (9 Oct 2017) 6:00 pm AEST
Exam Week Begin Date: 16 Oct 2017

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Assessment Item 1 - Ideas Pitch

Task Description

Task Description

This assessment requires you to pitch your ideas for the feature stories you are required to write this term (Assessment Items 2 and 3) so you can receive feedback on your approach.

You should review the requirements for your features in Assessment 2 and 3, and identify target publications and associated audiences; justify your story ideas in relation to current public discourse (why are they interesting to an audience, and why now?); and present evidence of planning, such as what you are going to do and when.

The two feature stories are different, so your pitch should deal with each feature article separately.

As a writer, you need to ask yourself some hard questions first, and that's the purpose of this assessment. A good proposal will sell your idea for a story. Your pitch should address the questions an editor would consider when deciding whether to publish your article, such as: Why would I want to publish this article? Why is it of interest to my readers? What's unique about this story?

Specifically, your pitch for each feature should consider the following:

  • The news value or interest of this person or topic (why is he/she/it interesting to a reader?);
  • The relevance of this story to current public discourse (why is it current for a reader?);
  • The aim of the article (what will/should/may readers learn?);
  • Your ideas about what you as a writer need to know about the person/subject before proceeding;
  • Your interpretation of the theme (why did you choose the theme, and why is it interesting to you as a writer) – Feature 2 only;
  • Intended publication and style, and why this type of article would suit that publication.

You also need to think about how you plan to complete the feature, and should include information about:

  • Sources
    • List of proposed interviewees (primary sources) and mode of interviewing.
    • Names and status of proposed interviewees.
    • List of proposed secondary sources.
  • Time frame
    • List the proposed research, interview and writing tasks and a suggested timeline for each feature.
    • Proposed structure (provide brief details of planned structure)

Pitch presentation

There are two parts to presenting your pitch.

1) Pitch outline: Develop a very short PowerPoint presentation (no more than four slides). These slides, including expanded points in the notes panel if you desire, must be submitted online at the end of Week 4. These files will be downloaded and reviewed by teaching staff prior to discussing your ideas in a Discussion session.

2) Discuss your topic in a Discussion Session: On-campus students will be expected to discuss topics in Week 5 in class, and off-campus students will attend a Zoom session with the Unit Coordinator in Week 5. Distance students will have a choice of options regarding times during Week 5, and need to choose ONE only. Attendance on-class/via Zoom to discuss your pitch is compulsory and all students are expected to attend/participate. Students unable to make the on-campus or online lessons will need to make appointments with teaching staff to discuss your ideas. You will need to provide evidence of your inability to attend a group session (eg. medical certificate/letter from supervisor).

Justification of approach: Editors rarely accept unsolicited manuscripts. The ability to identify a story idea, summarise it, and articulate it in a way that generates interest is a critical skill for feature writers. The more effort you put into your pitch, the more guidance you will be able to get from teaching staff. The requirement to submit only four slides is deliberate; it is to encourage you to be succinct in your writing, and clear with your ideas.

Changing your Mind: Remember that this is a pitch of intent. Depending on feedback, you may change your mind about your feature, in terms of topic or approach. You will not be required to submit another formal pitch, but will need to discuss your ideas with teaching staff.


Assessment Due Date

Week 4 Friday (4 Aug 2017) 6:00 pm AEST

Your proposals must be submitted during Week 4. Teaching staff will review these prior to the discussion sessions.


Return Date to Students

Week 5 Friday (11 Aug 2017)

Feedback will be provided on your proposal during Week 5 via on-campus workshop or online discussion sessions for distance education students.


Weighting
Pass/Fail

Assessment Criteria

This is a Pass/Fail assessment.

To pass, students need to submit a pitch outline and discuss their work with the unit coordinator or tutor. Feedback will be provided on the following points:

  • News value or interest of this subject is clearly established and appropriate
  • Relationship to current public discourse is clearly established and well-considered
  • Target publication and audience is identified
  • Aim of the article and what it seeks to achieve in audience response is clear
  • Evidence of future planning is evident

Students who do not attend, or demonstrate limited attention to the requirements of the task will Fail this assessment and be required to resubmit.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
You must submit a PowerPoint outline, and then discuss this with teaching staff on-campus or online.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Critique and discuss feature article genre, audience, and nature of publication.
  • Apply appropriate news criteria when using news-gathering skills to address news and current affairs in a feature writing context.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Assessment Item 2 - Narrative Feature (Human Interest - Personal Profile)

Task Description

Your task is to write a personal profile on someone whose work or life is of current interest.

This profile must include a personal interview with the main subject of the feature, as well as interviews of family/friends/work colleagues/peers that provide some alternative perspectives of your subject.

You may interview someone you know, but this person has to be someone of potential interest to another reader.

You are not able to be the subject of the personal profile, and you are not able to 'interview yourself'.

The article must:

(a) Present the person in a way that expands public knowledge and demonstrates application of news values (ie. reveals new information or takes a new angle on a person, or highlights a current issue through a personality profile);

(b) Demonstrate research in support of the subject. Primary and secondary source material must be referenced and acknowledged appropriately;

(c) Be written in a way that attracts and sustains reader interest; and

(d) Provide a list of full contact details of interviewees including telephone numbers and addresses.

Feature Pitch Letter and Interview Notes

You will be required to include a short pitch letter to the editor of the intended publication, telling the editor about the article and why this feature is interesting to the publication's target audience. You may use some of the information you prepared as part of your proposal.

You will also need to submit your interview notes (or transcript) with your feature article as an appendix.

Any secondary sources must be referenced using Turabian (Footnote).

Length: You will submit one file for this assessment that contains:

  • Feature Article (1500 words)
  • Feature Pitch Letter (150 - 200 words)
  • Transcripts (no word length)

Drafts: Students are expected to share their drafts or sections of writing via the unit discussion forum or in class, and all students are encouraged to share their constructive opinion and ideas on one another's work. Feedback is therefore public and assists all students. No private drafts will be accepted.

NOTE: Our ultimate aim is to help you get your work published. Think of someone locally whose profile might be of interest to your local paper, or a young emerging sport person whose profile might be of interest to a specialist publication. In the past, we've had local personalities, tattoo artists, and beer brewers featured in local newspapers as examples. You could feature a local emerging band/artist/athlete; highlight the work of a volunteer who is a bit unusual; or tease out the human interest side of a high profile business person. Remember, EVERYONE has an interesting story - it's our job to find out about it and decide whether it's of interest to a wider audience.


Assessment Due Date

Week 8 Monday (4 Sept 2017) 6:00 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Monday (18 Sept 2017)


Weighting
40%

Assessment Criteria

A marking rubric will be available on the unit website, but the criteria upon which this profile will be assessed are:

  • Application of news values
  • Use of sources
  • Quality of writing
  • Referencing


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Submit all documents in one file.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Exercise advanced journalistic writing skills and research techniques to produce feature material.
  • Critique and discuss feature article genre, audience, and nature of publication.
  • Apply appropriate news criteria when using news-gathering skills to address news and current affairs in a feature writing context.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Technology Competence
  • Cross Cultural Competence
  • Ethical practice

3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Assessment Item 3 - News Feature (News Issue)

Task Description

Your task for this is to write one news issue-based feature article.

Addressing a theme

We set themes as starting points for your writing, as experience in this unit has taught us that many students often struggle to generate ideas. The themes for this term are:

Girls vs girls

City streets

The end of the road

A beautiful life

My land

You are able to take a loose interpretation; for example, an article based on the theme 'Girls vs Girls' could examine issues associated with women's sport, girls bullying at school, or women's lack of support in the workplace. An article on the theme 'My land' could look at issues with land development in urban areas, neighbourhood disputes, or efforts to regenerate agricultural land, as examples. 'The end of the road' might look at euthanasia, the phasing out of certain technology, or going back to real life after a backpacking holiday. It's entirely up to you to think about how you might interpret a theme. The main point to remember is that whatever you decide to write about needs to expand public knowledge. For example, if you're going to cover euthanasia you will need to think about a way of writing the story that tells us something we don't already know. You will learn about how to do this in the course of the term.

You must clearly state the theme you're addressing in your pitch and on the cover page of your submission.

Writing your feature

You must research and write a feature story that includes reference to at least three (3) separate personal interviews (no more than five), and conduct primary and secondary research in support of your interviews.

Your feature must:

(a) Present a specific issue in a way that expands public knowledge about an issue of current importance in public discourse (ie. hasn’t been done before or is unique in its approach);

(b) Demonstrate significant research in support of the subject. Primary and secondary source material must be referenced and acknowledged appropriately;

(c) Be written in a way that attracts and sustains reader interest; and

(d) Provide a list of full contact details of interviewees including telephone numbers and addresses.

This is not an essay-style feature, nor is it an opinion-based feature. You are to write a news-based feature, informed by research. This could be softer style news - it doesn't need to be an investigative piece, but it does need to 'reveal' something and include sources. The way you write the feature will be informed by content you have learned in the unit.

Feature Pitch Letter and Notes

You will be required to include a short pitch letter to the editor of the intended publication, telling the editor about the article and why this feature is interesting to the publication's target audience.

You will also need to submit your interview notes (or transcript) with your feature article as an appendix.

Any secondary sources must be referenced using Turabian (Footnote).

Length

You will submit one file for this assessment that includes:

  • Feature Article (2000 - 2500 words)
  • Feature Pitch Letter (200 words)
  • Transcript notes

Drafts: Students are expected to share their drafts or sections of writing via the unit discussion forum or in class, and all students are encouraged to share their constructive opinion and ideas on one another's work. Feedback is therefore public and assists all students. No private drafts will be accepted.

NOTE: You may come up with your own theme or topic in consultation with the Unit Coordinator if you are or would like to work on a real commission or idea. Again, as with Assessment 1, we would like to see you publish your work if you can. Think of a local issue your local newspaper might like explored in more depth. Find a journalism award to which you can target your investigation, or consider how you might be able to contribute to hijacked.com.au or the news site at http://www.artnewsportal.com/. These are just examples. Aim high - you never know where you might end up!


Assessment Due Date

Review/Exam Week Monday (9 Oct 2017) 6:00 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Approximately two weeks after submission


Weighting
60%

Minimum mark or grade
Pass Grade

Assessment Criteria

A marking rubric will be available on the unit website, but the criteria upon which this feature will be assessed are:

  • Application of news values
  • Integration of interviews
  • Quality of research and use of sources
  • Quality of writing
  • Referencing


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Submit all documents in one file.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Exercise advanced journalistic writing skills and research techniques to produce feature material.
  • Critique and discuss feature article genre, audience, and nature of publication.
  • Apply appropriate news criteria when using news-gathering skills to address news and current affairs in a feature writing context.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Technology Competence
  • Cross Cultural Competence
  • Ethical practice

Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?