Warrington Campus (L5 and L6) and Parkgate Road Campus (L4)
Undergraduate Modular Programme
Full-time and Part-time
Classroom / Laboratory,
3 years (for full-time undergraduate programme)
Annual - September
Arts and Humanities
Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies
Wednesday 20th March 2013
To provide a degree that fulfils the criteria suggested in the relevant QAA subject standards and benchmarks.
To offer a programme in Sports Journalism that combines theoretical and practical approaches to the role.
To encourage critical reflection on the profession and the influence of sports journalism.
To develop the cognitive potential of undergraduates through a degree-level education in the role of sports journalism in society.
To provide an education that highlights the role played by sports journalism in the information society.
To provide an education that highlights the role played by sports journalism internationally.
To offer a degree that encourages an examination of sport and the role that it plays in society and the role that the journalist plays in the dissemination of information.
To provide the necessary practical, transferable and subject skills to enable the graduate to work in sports journalism.
To provide the transferable communication skills applicable in a range of professional contexts, including PR, advertising, marketing and corporate communications.
The programme has been structured in a way to allow for students develop and build knowledge and understanding skills incrementally as they move through the years. By the end of the programme the students typically:
The ability to apply a range of theoretical concepts and approaches to sports journalism; critical approaches to sports journalistic practice; the ability to reflect on the role and the relationship of sports journalism within wider society. (ME4717, ME4730, ME4740, ME4742)
Demonstrate significant insight into the range of research approaches employed within sports journalism. The application of skills and knowledge to real life situations and briefs (ME5703, ME5712, ME5722, ME5730, ME5732, WB5101)
Demonstrate considerable skills in relation to the conception of design and critical evaluation of a range sports journalism projects. (ME6719, ME6722, ME6723, ME6731, ME6743)
An understanding and application of key theoretical ideas in sports and news journalism. (ME4717, ME4730, ME4740, ME4742)
Academic knowledge and understanding in relation to the practice of sports journalism, and their role within economic, political, cultural and social environments. (ME5703, ME5712, ME5722, ME5730, ME5732, WB5101)
Academic knowledge and understanding in relation to the practice of sports journalism, and their role in within economic, political, cultural and social environments. A conceptual understanding of relevant texts, and an ability to critically analyse this work. (ME6719, ME6722, ME6723, ME6731, ME6743)
Demonstrate the application of numbers, information literacy and technology, working with others, working independently, problem identification with the production of print/web layout projects. (ME4717, ME4730, ME4740, ME4742)
Demonstrate industrial knowledge and experience, self-directed learning skills; media literacy skills; career planning skills; capacity for critical reflection and self-knowledge and analytical skills with the production of print/web page/broadcast projects. (ME5703, ME5712, ME5722, ME5730, ME5732, WB5101)
Demonstrate the ability to lead and develop products with external organisations. Further development of practical skills, that are transferable and not just relevant to sports journalism - copywriting, proofreading and editing, interviewing techniques, teamwork and working independently. Print/web page design. Broadcast editing (ME6719, ME6722, ME6723, ME6731, ME6743).
The ability to develop the required communication skills to be used in news/match reports and features. Presentation skills, written and oral communication. (ME4717, ME4730, ME4740, ME4742)
Advanced communication skills: the ability to convey information via various designated media. Presentation skills, written and oral communication.(ME5703, ME5712, ME5722, ME5730, ME5732, WB5101)
Transferable practical skills in copywriting, proofreading a (ME6719, ME6722, ME6723, ME6731, ME6743)
Knowledge and understanding
Students will be assessed throughout and at the end of each module as appropriate, on their knowledge and understanding of the subject area. The emerging graduate should have a developing knowledge and understanding of contexts for sports journalism practice, organisational and institutional frameworks, ethical constraints and influences on sports journalism and an overview of the history of, and contemporary developments in, sports journalism and news journalism.
For example, at level 4 they will be expected to know and understand the role of sports journalism and other news media in contemporary society and appreciate the sociological and economic environment within which sports journalists and the media operate, as well as the political and legal framework. At level 5 they will be expected to adapt that knowledge and relate it to complex and precise situations, developing a critical approach to journalistic practice, for instance by demonstrating critical reflection on the role and relationship of journalism to political and governmental institutions and relating it to the practice of news gathering and writing in practical modules. There will be opportunities to engage in modules that will develop practical skills that can be explored further at the next level. At level 6 students would be expected to reflect critically on the relationship between theory and practice, while producing a major sports journalism project drawing together the skills developed over the course of the degree.
Knowledge and understanding will be assessed through a combination of practical projects, examinations, presentations, individual and group work and coursework and seminar assignments.
The programme is based within a department, which has at its core the synergy of theory and practice. The combination of practically focused courses and the broader academic understanding of journalism in relation to ethical and legal frameworks promote a broader academic understanding of journalism in relation to society, institution and audience. This approach should enable the student to move from initial 'surface learning' to 'deep learning' through understanding, questioning and applying of skills and knowledge. The emerging graduate should be confident and capable of analysing and evaluating areas of journalistic practice, discourse and influence. They should have a conceptual understanding of texts, and be able to respond critically to these texts and personal performance and experiences. This is exemplified in modules requiring particular conceptual analysis, which include practical projects that require students to formalise their own projects and concepts that need to be planned and formalised before they can be produced. The reflective elements offer students the chance to think about the processes that they have been involved in and to articulate this effectively.
In keeping with a subject that is practical in its character, throughout each level of the programme the students will develop a range of practical skills that reflect what is required within the media industry. Across each level students will be assessed through the production of web/print projects. The core skills of writing and communication will be assessed through the on going process of production and reflection throughout the production process and through other modules within the programme. Many of these assignments will attempt to replicate, as far as it is possible, situations that are informed by current industry practices.
Page-setting skills (layout and design), web production skills, social media skills, critical and functional writing, and a working knowledge of journalism and the legal and ethical requirements of the industry.
Practical transferable skills could include copywriting, proofreading and editing, interviewing techniques, working in a team to produce practical journalism projects, working independently on advanced practical journalism projects; and working with different software. In addition, students will be encouraged through module design and level progression to develop their transferable skills within all modules in this programme.
Key skills will be embedded in the practical modules at each level and evidenced in the practical outcomes and on-going process of production.
The development of communication skills is an integral part of the practical aspects of the programme and this is something that all levels will address. The writing projects introduced in level 4 require a good level of communication skills to enable interviews and quotes to be used in match reports. The news/match reports and features themselves also have to be able to convey information in a style that adheres to relevant media (whether that’s online or in the traditional print form). The broadcast module at level 5 will help to further develop a different skillset where communication skills are of paramount importance. Some assessment for the academic subjects at each of the three levels will see students present on topics relevant to each module. Verbal skills and the ability to convey information via designated media will be embedded across the each level of the programme.
Sports Journalism is a single honours programme studied over three years full-time and its form takes into account the benchmarking statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies and the National Qualifications Framework. The syllabus will be primarily focused on sports journalism, though there will be aspects that may address the requirements of other relevant bodies such as NCTJ or BJTC. This is to enable our graduates to develop a range of journalistic skills and not just those that are particular to sports reporting.
The structure has at its core the establishment and development of journalistic skills and practices situated within an understanding of the political, social and economic factors. Throughout the three years of the study there will be the inclusion of ‘field work' that will try to capture the essence of what it is like to work in the capacity of a sports reporter.
Assessment of these modules will be through vocationally orientated outcomes designed to prepare the student for work and /or further study, as well as by theoretical approaches intended to address and develop students' aptitude for critical questioning and application. The emphasis is on education of the would-be sports journalist as well as on vocational training. The graduate will be conversant with the context that they will be operating, as well as gaining an insight into the ethical, moral, societal and legal responsibilities that are the legacies of the profession.
At level 4 the programme will utilise modules from the Journalism programme, these will include The Newsroom: Reporting, Production and Principles and Journalism Regulation. These modules will provide grounding and the ability for students to gain an insight into the wider aspects of the role of the journalist. The more practical aspects of The Newsroom: Reporting, Production and Principles will introduce concepts such as newsgathering, photo journalism and web/page layout skills. The modules that are primarily sports journalistic in their focus include: Sports Writing and The Sociology of Sport. The practical module, Sports Writing will further develop a similar skill set as The Newsroom: Reporting, Production and Principles and apply them to a sporting context, and will also look at the longer length feature style of writing and will include some elements of digital media. The Sociology of Sport is a more theoretical module and will contextualise the environment that sports journalists operate within.
The level 5 modules will seek to further the development of skills gained in the introductory modules as well as incorporate other relevant ones. At this level there will be a chance to develop skills applicable to broadcast production. Sports Broadcasting will seek to develop a range of skills that will enable the production of audio and video packages for traditional broadcast mediums (as well as offer the chance to optimise these packages for use online). Sports Publishing will incorporate the skills from Sports Writing and will seek to further enhance them in the production of both print and online publications. In addition, the module Research Methods for Journalists will inform students as to the correct manner to engage in academic study. This module will act as grounding for the level 6 Dissertation module(s). It will also engage in other programme specific research too. Specialist Journalism is a module from the Journalism pool and it is included to enable the sports journalism students to further their portfolio of work in their specialism (or to select another if they so wish).
Level 5 will offer work-based and experiential aspects that are fundamental to a programme such as this. Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning offers students the opportunity to undertake a 5-week placement with an organisation at the end of the 2nd year of the undergraduate degree programme. During the placement, students have the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to any work setting. Students are free to arrange their own placement, or undertake one arranged by the Work Based Learning Office. The placement need not necessarily be related to a student’s academic discipline. There is also the opportunity to select the other option of the ‘in-house’ Experiential Project in Media. This module will see groups working with clients to produce events, media related publications and broadcasts that will be showcased as part of the end-of-year show. If Sports Journalism students wish to, there is also the opportunity at level 5 to spend the academic year studying abroad as part of The Study Abroad Experience module. This will carry an academic weighting of 120 credits.
WB5004 (Learning in the Wider World) is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.
WB5008, The Study Abroad Experience, will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (Level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.
At level 6 students produce more extended projects, which test the skills, practices and theories gathered over the duration of the Sports Journalism programme. The Sports Industry Project module will be an ideal forum to showcase these skills. In this module, students will work on group-based projects, all with a set sporting theme. This module will be 60 credits and will be the main practical module for the final year and will seek to showcase the skills developed at the first two levels. The Media Academic Dissertation will be 40 credits and will enable the development of a longer-length academic sports journalism-related research project of the students choosing with guidance from an assigned tutor. There is also the option of a Media Production Dissertation. The Sports Business is a module that will add further context to the role in which future journalists would operate and seek to understand the nature of sport as a business. This is an aspect of the role that has heightened over the last two decades. Level 6 will also comprise of Creative Media Industries: Careers and Landscapes which is a module that seeks to prepare the graduate for the workplace in enabling them to seek out work and other placements, and to successfully apply for these relevant positions.
Please note that this module, ME6719 is only available for transnational delivery.
Please note that we accept a maximum of 8 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.
The Subject Benchmark Statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies are available on the QAA website (www.qaa.ac.uk). The team have taken cognisance of the benchmark statements throughout the crafting of this degree programme.
Sports Journalism graduates are expected to engage with a range of texts and genres, as well as forms of critical analysis, argument and debate. An awareness of the diversity of approaches to communication via journalism is encouraged throughout the three years of the degree. A balance between theory and practice is maintained via a range of different assessment criteria, related to each module. For example, level 4 requires students to engage with the realities of contemporary news gathering and sports writing. Such practical modules subsequently allow students to apply their knowledge of media processes to an examination of policy, social and ethical issues.
Sports Journalism graduates will have demonstrated a broad knowledge of the centrality of the media at all levels of political, economic and social organisations and will have the ability to articulate media influence and its implications. At level 4, modules encourage students to appreciate the wider socio-cultural context in which sports journalists operate. At level 6, students are required to analyse the relationship between media, public opinion and government policy.
In addition, modules contribute to the understanding of the historical formation of sports journalism, allowing students to place the modern profession in context. Journalism students are expected to engage with a range of texts and genres, as well as forms of critical analysis, argument and debate, expressed through a competent command of appropriate communication and production forms. An awareness of the diversity of approaches to understanding communication via journalism is also encouraged.
Students will be required to apply their knowledge of media processes to an examination of policy and ethical issues as they affect democratic participation and issues of citizenship. Students must prove their ability to work across a range of group and independent modes of study, and must demonstrate flexibility, creativity and the capacity for critical self reflection within them.
The learning and teaching strategies employed on the Sports Journalism programme are underpinned by a variety of learning and teaching methods. A significant proportion of these will emphasise student participation with an overriding attempt to relate to the everyday experience that a sports journalist would routinely face.
Workshops will be used and are intended to provide experience in collaborative and creative problem solving. These workshops may include relevant case studies, simulation and virtual experiences utilising the resources of the campus for live sports reporting situations. The Warrington campus is ideal for the delivery of Sports Journalism as it can use the existing media facilities for the production of various packages, whether they are in print, online, audio or video. Also the campus hosts Warrington Wolves RLFC and BUSA events, these resources will be utilised for the simulations and the live sports reporting situations.
Lectures are employed for the purpose of orientation and for the transmission of key knowledge and perspectives in a structured form. Lectures also introduce a model for the generation of critical evaluation. They are also utilised to provide a basis for self directed study. Key-note lectures in core modules will be supported by contextual seminars as relevant to the requirements of the Sport Journalism programme. Visiting lecturers, external contacts and practicing professionals from sporting and media contexts, who would have first hand and current experience of the opportunities for graduates, will be used for lectures. This is in addition to the existing members of staff whose experience will also be important in the facilitation of this mode of learning.
Seminars and Presentations are an ideal forum to provide students with the opportunity to investigate issues and present these to the rest of the group. They have the role of the sharing of knowledge, the justification to others of the conclusions reached and experience of semi formal or structured presentation. In some modules presentations will be utilised with summative assessments. Within the seminars, discussion will be actively encouraged: this develops critical and evaluative processes by debate regarding perspectives, experiences and outlook. These can be tutor-led and/or student-led. Small groups of participants share knowledge and experiences and attempt to develop information, arising from the formal programme or from self directed study. The Sports Journalism degree offers training in the skills required to function as a practicing journalist but it will also seek to contextualise the role. Seminars will be an ideal forum in which to facilitate this.
Work-based/Experiential learning elements are fundamental to this programme, these provide the participant with experience of a work environment. There are three styles of experiential learning on offer, all offer opportunities for networking and building contacts. They can also be used to develop portfolios of work that can be used in the future.
As students progress through the levels of the programme they will be expected to become more independent in their learning and to develop the capacity for critical reflection. From the student point of view, the three levels of study can be considered to be foundational, developmental and independent in their nature. The increasing emphasis on student self-direction and self-responsibility will be reflected in the learning and teaching strategies and methods deployed.
Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students on their performance in order to shape future learning, to verify achievement in order that students can progress through and beyond the programme and to evidence for internal and external use the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the programme.
In the early stages of the programme, the formative role of assessment to help students learn may be as important as the summative assessment for certification. As students progress through the programme more emphasis may be placed on the verification of achievement. More traditional methods of assessment such as examinations and formal essays predominate on this programme, but are balanced by presentations, reports, and critical reviews of media texts.
Written assignments provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to study independently and involve locating, organising and critically assessing material. Seen and unseen exam papers provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge under time constrained conditions.
Seminar presentations help students to develop their ability to articulate ideas and arguments orally, providing the opportunity for students to develop presentation skills and use appropriate technology. Combined, these and other methods of assessment are both formative and summative.
Methods of assessment are communicated to students at the beginning of each module and details of the form of assessment and associated criteria are clearly stated in each module handbook. The department uses anonymous marking for projects, assignments and dissertations where this is practical. All examination scripts are anonymously marked. Although examination papers are not returned to students, they are offered the opportunity to discuss their scripts with tutors.
Feedback forms based on the published assessment criteria are used to provide feedback for all assignments. Feedback on all assessments is used to provide guidance to students on how to boost future learning as well as to clarify current achievement. Formative feedback is used on all programmes. Students are entitled to personal guidance on feedback given, which may be supplied by the module tutor or an academic advisor.
The assessment strategy of this programme is based on the following assumptions and practices:
Assessment is acknowledged to be a major driver of student learning.
A variety of assessment practices will be employed in order to provide students with a range of opportunities to display intellectual, practical and transferable skills, and to accommodate the different learning styles of individual students.
Clear criteria for grading and the rules and regulations for assessment and awards will be available for all students throughout their programme.
Assessment at early stages of the programme will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of foundation undergraduate knowledge, skills and understanding; later stages of the programme will focus on the demonstration of students' ability to independently synthesize advanced knowledge and skills. Assignments and projects at the start of the programme will be largely tutor determined. By level 6 students will have significant elements of self-determination in their coursework assessments and dissertation.
Tutors delivering the programme have explored and discussed maps of module aims, learning outcomes and assessments across the programme during the programme's design process in order to understand how their module assessments complement others in the programme and to develop equivalences in assessment weightings and balances.
An honours graduate of this programme will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline. Through this, the graduate will have developed analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many different types of employment. The graduate will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements and to communicate effectively.
An honours graduate should have the necessary qualities for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances. Through specific module demands and the work-based or experiential learning scheme the programme will draw upon and develop capabilities in analysis, critique, and synthesis. This will enable students to analyse, contextualise and apply skills, theories and practices in an informed and intelligent manner.
Throughout the writing of this programme, the team has been mindful of the graduate characteristics detailed in the benchmarking statement for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies. Though these are specific aims, it is understood that it would be unlikely for any one programme of study to achieve all of them. However a course which has at its core, the synergy between theory and practice, relating education to the work place, is likely to achieve most of them.
The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.
The programme team takes very seriously issues of inclusion, particularly in the areas of diversity and equality, with special reference to race, gender, disability and age, amongst others. The team recognises its legal and ethical responsibilities, and seeks to embed appropriate, reasonable and sustainable schemes throughout the programme’s design, delivery, content and ongoing support of student achievement.
These issues are addressed through a variety of means from admission through to graduation. These schemes include ‘high-level’ involvement in ‘Applicant Days’ but ‘low-level’ involvement, where possible, in admission processes, beyond entry benchmark setting. The Department, from which this programme is delivered, has fully embraced the philosophy of anonymous marking, utilises online learning spaces, provides electronic handbooks in a standard format and commits to timely, supportive feedback.
Students are actively encouraged to utilise their Personal Academic Tutor, tutorial support, Learning Support Services and Student Guidance and Support. These often being motivated by the Department’s “Supporting Academically Vulnerable Students” and attendance monitoring schemes.
Additionally, the programme takes full cognisance of Learning Support Plans for students with learning difficulties and the Department has a Disability Link Tutor who reviews and disseminates any special requirements appropriately.
The value and relevance of our programmes is recognised through the relationship we have with a large range of media and related employers, through our work experience programme and through our liaison with professional organisations and media organisations. These include the Chester Chronicle, the Warrington Guardian and their related publications.
There will also be an option to learn shorthand as part of the Sports Journalism programme. It is included as it is still seen as integral skill for a modern day journalist to possess. This will be an optional module and will not carry any academic weighting.
The University enjoys very close links with a number of broadcasting companies, including the BBC and ITV.
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