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

In this unit you will develop your advanced journalism skills and start to introduce creative prose to your writing. The unit content and exercises focus on research, editorial and column writing, as well as techniques for human interest and profile features. You will experience the rigors of the modern media industry as you pitch, plan and execute two feature articles of a publishable standard.

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: 36 Credit Points

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 - 2021

Online
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: 20%
2. Written Assessment
Weighting: 40%
3. Written Assessment
Weighting: 40%

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 2020 Student evaluation survey

Feedback

Students commented favourably on the practical structure of the assessments, including the initial pitch, and freedom to write about real-world issues.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Unit Coordinator maintain the practical structure of the assessments, including the initial pitch, and encourage students to write about real-world issues.

Feedback from 2020 Student evaluation survey

Feedback

Students enjoyed the variety of supplementary materials which complimented the study guide, including examples of the Unit Coordinator's own published work.

Recommendation

It is recommended to maintain the use of supplementary materials which compliment the study guide, including examples of the Unit Coordinator's own published work.

Feedback from 2020 Student evaluation survey

Feedback

Students suggested more detailed feedback could be provided on assessment pieces.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Unit Coordinator reviews comments from previous offerings and confirm at the start of each term that all students understand how to access feedback provided when assessments are graded.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Pitch newsworthy topics for two different long-form feature articles
  2. Apply appropriate news criteria when using news-gathering skills to address news and current affairs in a feature writing context
  3. Produce a publishable profile feature article while adhering to industry standards
  4. Exercise advanced journalistic writing skills and research techniques to produce issue-based news feature article
  5. Critique and discuss feature article genres, audience, and the nature of publication.
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 4 5
1 - Written Assessment - 20%
2 - Written Assessment - 40%
3 - Written Assessment - 40%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
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 - 20%
2 - Written Assessment - 40%
3 - Written Assessment - 40%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

There are no required textbooks.

Additional Textbook Information

All readings will be available via the unit e-reading list.

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: American Psychological Association 7th Edition (APA 7th edition)

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Lincoln Bertoli Unit Coordinator
l.bertoli@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1 - Introduction to Feature Writing Begin Date: 12 Jul 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 2 - Planning your Feature Begin Date: 19 Jul 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 3 - Identifying the Market for your Feature Begin Date: 26 Jul 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 4 - Research: Getting Started Begin Date: 02 Aug 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment One - Feature Story Idea Pitches Due Friday Week 4 (Friday 6 August, 2021 17:00pm AEST)


Ideas Pitch Due: Week 4 Friday (6 Aug 2021) 5:00 pm AEST
Week 5 - Research: Conducting Interviews Begin Date: 09 Aug 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Vacation Week Begin Date: 16 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 6 - Feature Styles: Narrative Begin Date: 23 Aug 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 7 - Feature Styles: News Begin Date: 30 Aug 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 8 - Feature Styles: Opinion Begin Date: 06 Sep 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Two Narrative Feature (Profile) Due Monday Week 8 (Monday, 6 September 2021 11:45PM AEST)


Narrative Feature (Human Interest - Personal Profile) Due: Week 8 Monday (6 Sept 2021) 11:45 pm AEST
Week 9 - Structuring your Feature Begin Date: 13 Sep 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 10 - Editing your Feature Begin Date: 20 Sep 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 11 - Packaging your Feature Begin Date: 27 Sep 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 12 - Extending your Writing Begin Date: 04 Oct 2021

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 e-reading list on Moodle.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 11 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Three News Feature Due Monday Review/Exam Week (Monday, 11 October 2021 11:45PM AEST)


NEWS FEATURE (CONTEMPORARY NEWS ISSUE) Due: Review/Exam Week Monday (11 Oct 2021) 11:45 pm AEST
Exam Week Begin Date: 18 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Ideas Pitch

Task Description

Pitch your ideas for the two feature stories (PROFILE and NEWS) you are required to write this term (Assessment Items 2 and 3). You will receive feedback on your submission. Exemplars are available on Moodle.
NOTE: Students who 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


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

Pitch outline: Develop a short Adobe Spark Video - between 5 - 7 minutes long - with a voice over. More detail on this task will be provided throughout the unit. The purpose of this pitch is to sell your stories to your targeted publication.
Consider why your story would be ideal for the publication. Why would your article appeal to their readers? Why might your story be unique? Does your target publication have specific submission guidelines - how have your addressed them? (Some supplementary materials will be provided on Moodle in the opening weeks of the unit to assist.)

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 keep your video short and sharp is deliberate; it is to encourage you to be succinct in your writing, and clear with your ideas. (Aim for 5-6 slides per pitch).
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 Q&A 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 (6 Aug 2021) 5:00 pm AEST

Online


Return Date to Students

Week 5 Friday (13 Aug 2021)

Assessments will be returned within two weeks of submission.


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

Assessments will be graded on the following criteria:

• 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


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Submit as an MP4 or link through Portfolium.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Pitch newsworthy topics for two different long-form feature articles


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Ethical practice

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Narrative Feature (Human Interest - Personal Profile)

Task Description

Write a personal profile on someone whose work or life is of current interest. Create an Adobe Spark page and upload your article. Model your page on a credible news site (including the ABC). This may include uploading relevant images, video content, graphics or illustrations. Examples available on Moodle.

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

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..

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

  • Feature Article (2,000 - 2,500 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, 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 (6 Sept 2021) 11:45 pm AEST

Online


Return Date to Students

Week 10 Monday (20 Sept 2021)

Assessments will be returned within two weeks of submission.


Weighting
40%

Assessment Criteria

A marking rubric will be available on the unit website. 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 as a single PDF document through Portfolium.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Apply appropriate news criteria when using news-gathering skills to address news and current affairs in a feature writing context
  • Produce a publishable profile feature article while adhering to industry standards


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

3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
NEWS FEATURE (CONTEMPORARY NEWS ISSUE)

Task Description

Write one news issue-based feature article. Create an Adobe Spark page and upload your article. Model your page on a credible news site (including the ABC). This may include uploading relevant images, video content, graphics or illustrations. Examples available on Moodle.

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:

• Going green

• In my own voice
• Fringe dwellers
• Starting over


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, 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 the COVID-19 pandemic, starting again after divorce, or getting healthier after a heart attack. 'In my own voice' might look at issues associated with indigenous health, again COVID-19 may apply here. 'Going green' may examine the shift towards more sustainable lifestyles or 're-wilding'. 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.
Secondary sources should be referenced.


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

• Feature Article (3,000 - 3,500 words)
• Feature Pitch Letter (200 words)
• Transcript notes

Drafts: Students are expected to share their drafts or sections of writing via the relevant discussion forum, 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. Aim high - you never know where you might end up!


Assessment Due Date

Review/Exam Week Monday (11 Oct 2021) 11:45 pm AEST

Online


Return Date to Students

Exam Week Friday (22 Oct 2021)

Assessments are returned within two weeks of submission.


Weighting
40%

Assessment Criteria

A marking rubric will be available on the unit website. 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 as a PDF document through Portfolium.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Exercise advanced journalistic writing skills and research techniques to produce issue-based news feature article
  • Critique and discuss feature article genres, audience, and the nature of publication.


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?