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 - 2019

Online

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 'Have your Say' evaluation, Term 2 2018.

Feedback

Overall approach to feedback was excellent.

Recommendation

It is recommended that we retain the approach to feedback, including audio feedback and public drafting.

Feedback from 'Have your Say' evaluation, Term 2 2018.

Feedback

Authentic learning approach was appreciated by students, even though they commented that expectations were high.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the overall approach to 'publishable standard as an HD' be retained.

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 3rd (2017)

Authors: Tanner, S., Kasinger, M., & Richardson, N.
Oxford University Press
Melbourne Melbourne , VIC , Australia
ISBN: 9780190304881
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 styles below:

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Kate Ames Unit Coordinator
k.ames@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1 - Introduction to Feature Writing Begin Date: 15 Jul 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson provides a general introduction to feature writing. By the end of the lesson, you should be able to describe the distinguishing aspects of writing feature stories as opposed to other types of writing, and name the core elements of a good feature story.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 2 - Planning your Feature Begin Date: 22 Jul 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson examines the structure of a feature article, and how it is different from other types of news writing. By the end of this lesson, you should be able to define the structure of a basic feature article, identify whether an article has structural flaws, and create a basic plan for your feature article.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 3 - Identifying the Market for your Feature Begin Date: 29 Jul 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will provide some basic background information to help you identify a market for your feature. By the end of the lesson, you should be able to discuss some of the identifying characteristics that suggest a potential market for your feature.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 4 - Research: Getting Started Begin Date: 05 Aug 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will emphasise the importance of research to the feature writing process. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify appropriate research sources and develop a basic plan for feature research.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Item 1 - Ideas Pitch Due: Week 4 Friday (9 Aug 2019) 6:00 pm AEST
Week 5 - Research: Conducting Interviews Begin Date: 12 Aug 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will provide an overview of the journalistic interview, which provides the foundations which most feature articles are built. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to explain some techniques and considerations when planning and conducting an interview which is intended for use in your feature.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Discussion Sessions for pitches held this week.

Vacation Week Begin Date: 19 Aug 2019

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 6 - Feature Styles: Narrative Begin Date: 26 Aug 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will provide an overview of narrative features. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to discuss general of narrative  writing within the journalistic genre, and the best methods by which to obtain relevant information to incorporate into your narrative piece.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 7 - Feature Styles: News Begin Date: 02 Sep 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will provide an overview of the news-based feature. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to define the characteristics and describe the structure of a news oriented feature.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 8 - Feature Styles: Opinion Begin Date: 09 Sep 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will discuss opinion pieces, reviews, and editorials. By the end of the lesson, you should be able to identify the defining characteristics of opinion pieces, reviews, and editorials, and discuss some of the important considerations for a writer of potential opinion-based feature articles.

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 (9 Sept 2019) 9:00 am AEST
Week 9 - Structuring your Feature Begin Date: 16 Sep 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will describe feature structures. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to describe narrative techniques that support your writing so that your feature is high impact, provoking an emotive response from the reader.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 10 - Editing your Feature Begin Date: 23 Sep 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will discuss the importance of editing your work. By the end of the lesson you will be able to describe techniques that will assist editing your work so that it is accurate, well-written, and effective as a piece of journalistic writing

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 11 - Packaging your Feature Begin Date: 30 Sep 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will discuss some of the complementary aspects of feature articles, such as photograph captioning, tables, infographics, and headings. By the end of this lesson, you should be able to describe some of different techniques used to support feature article presentation.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 12 - Extending your Writing Begin Date: 07 Oct 2019

Module/Topic

This lesson will provide an overview of alternative forms of feature writing. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to define and describe advertorial, discuss options for feature writing within a business rather than journalistic sense, and ways to extend your feature within a multimedia context.

Chapter

See the Study Guide Lesson for associated readings.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 14 Oct 2019

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Item 3 - News Feature (News Issue) Due: Review/Exam Week Monday (14 Oct 2019) 9:00 am AEST
Exam Week Begin Date: 21 Oct 2019

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Assessment Item 1 - Ideas Pitch

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. 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. The presentation will be no more than five slides (intro slide + two slides Ass 2 Feature + two slides Ass 3 Feature). You do not need to record any voice/speech with this PowerPoint. It is simply a guide for you to talk to in your Discussion Session, and gives us a heads-up as to what you will be talking/writing about. 


2) Discuss your topic in a Discussion Session: All students will attend a Zoom session with the Unit Coordinator in Week 5. Students will have a choice of options regarding times during Week 5, and need to choose ONE only. Attendance via Zoom to discuss your pitch is compulsory and all students are expected to participate. 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.


Drafts/Ideas: No private drafting/discussion will be allowed, but we are happy to engage with you if you want to confirm that you are on the right track or discuss your ideas prior to completing your pitch. Submit your questions or discussion to the Assessment 1 - Pitch forum. We don't review drafts privately in this course because a) students need to learn to be confident to engage with ideas publicly, and b) students benefit from learning about what others are doing, and seeing our feedback.  



Assessment Due Date

Week 4 Friday (9 Aug 2019) 6:00 pm AEST

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


Return Date to Students

Week 5 Friday (16 Aug 2019)

Feedback will be provided on your proposal during Week 5 via online discussion sessions for all 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. 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. They will be required to resubmit this assignment until they receive a Pass grade to be allowed to proceed to Assessment 2 and 3.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
You must submit a PowerPoint outline, and then discuss this with teaching staff 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 (1200 - 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.


Self-assessment: We require you to self-assess your submission against the assessment criteria. This simply requires you to highlight the standards you believe you met, and give yourself a suggested grade. We do this because it encourages you to review the requirements of the task and ensures you don't miss critical information. More information is provided on the unit website.  


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 (9 Sept 2019) 9:00 am AEST

Submit as a single word document. Include self-assessment within this file.


Return Date to Students

Week 10 Monday (23 Sept 2019)

Usually within two weeks of submission.


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.

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:


You are able to take a loose interpretation. For example, an article based on the theme 'Fringe dwellers' could examine issues associated with being an artist in a regional town (this might be a great article for artnewsportal.com), being disabled in the workplace, or being a refugee trying to settle in a new place. An article on the theme 'Starting over' could look at issues associated with finding a new job after being made redundant, starting again after divorce, or getting healthier after a heart attack. 'In my own voice' might look at issues associated with loss of indigenous language in a particular region, or efforts to incorporate indigenous language into school classrooms. 'Voice,Treaty, Truth' might explore young locals' (and/or elders') indigenous perspectives on progress toward constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians. It's entirely up to you to think about how you might interpret a theme. You should consider what would be of interest to an editor in October or November this year if you wish to aim for publication.  


Whatever you decide to write about needs to expand public knowledge. For example, if you're going to cover refugee settlement in a regional area as a subject on the theme of 'Fringe dwellers', 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 (1800 - 2200 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.


Self-assessment: We require you to self-assess your submission against the assessment criteria. This simply requires you to highlight the standards you believe you met, and give yourself a suggested grade. We do this because it encourages you to review the requirements of the task and ensures you don't miss critical information.  


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 (14 Oct 2019) 9:00 am AEST

Submit as one file, including your self-assessment.


Return Date to Students

Exam Week Friday (25 Oct 2019)

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?