Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

COMU1316 - Issues and practices of journalism

Credits : 5

Lecturer :
Teaching assistant :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first term, 30 hours of theory and 15 hours of exercises.

Timetable :
First term
Friday from 08:30 to 10:30 at 43 Botanique 4

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
The course aims to :
1) To bring the students to apprehend as well on a reflexive mode as practises the various facets of the journalistic environment (its actors, its structures, its logics, its practices...).
2) To familiarize students with some major conceptual and theoretical frameworks for analyzing journalism practices.
3) To sharpen the students' critical sense of the logics and processes of journalistic information production, of the evolution of the media landscape within which journalistic information is likely to develop, and of the constraints specific to the socio-economic context that currently weigh on this information.
4) To highlight the requirements of the journalistic approach in relation to the choice of information, its treatment, the search for sources and the rules of ethics.
5) To introduce students to journalistic writing practices, experiment with different techniques specific to written journalism (at work in the written press, but also at the basis of any audiovisual or multimedia production) and different journalistic genres.

Prerequisites :
For the Bachelor in Information and Communication :

For the Bachelor in French and Romance Languages and Letters : General :

For the Bachelor in Political Sciences: General :

For the Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology :

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
The course “Issues and practices of journalism” address the following themes, objects or issues :
- the journalistic profession (professional status, professional identities, working conditions, changes in the profession, etc.);
- the production of information (the role of news agencies, the hierarchy of information, framing, staging...)..;
- editorial practices and journalistic writing (its genres, codes...) ;
- the relationship to sources (or information in the face of communication);
- the rights and duties of journalists, the ethical and professional aspects of journalism;
- some current journalism issues: the transformation of relations with the public, the question of diversity, the question of objectivity (bias, partiality, neutrality), the new genres or formats of journalism (e.g. narrative journalism, comic journalism, transmedia journalism)...

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
Description of the "theoretical" course (30 hours in distance learning) :

The main aim of the "theoretical" course is to familiarise students with some of the major conceptual and theoretical frameworks for analysing journalistic practices, while at the same time providing reference points on the journalistic environment and sharpening students' critical sense in this field.
The activities will take place online via Teams and Moodle according to the scenario available to students on the course Moodle. Precise planning of activities is also available on Moodle. The activities will require students to use a variety of media: radio broadcasts, parts of documentaries, videos, press articles, case studies from regulatory authorities, etc. All resources used during the sessions are an integral part of the examination material. They are all available for those who are absent on Moodle. For each session, students will have access to a section on Moodle with slides, course video, resources and instructions for personal work.
Students will also be required to keep up to date with current events over the course of the course, which is a quad term, in order to be able to prepare a news post and take two news tests (see below).

Description of the exercise sessions (15 hours in person on-site) :
Attendance at the exercise sessions is compulsory (unless you suspect you are a carrier of the coronavirus of course) and will be subject to attendance.
The EU exercise part takes the form of practical journalistic writing work.
During the 15 hours of face-to-face exercises, students will be led to experiment with the different writing techniques specific to the written press and the different journalistic genres related to it. Through in-session group analysis and practical exercises (in and out of sessions), students will practice information research and the use of sources, determine the choice of a specific topic and angle, choose the appropriate journalistic genre for the treatment of the chosen information, and write several articles according to the specific codes of journalistic writing.
Finally, the drafting of an editorial report at the end of the seminar on a topical issue will be carried out alone or in pairs, outside the sessions and presented orally during the sessions.

Assessment methods and criteria :
The evaluation, which will take place throughout the four-month period, consists of five components:
As part of the course with Marie Dufrasne :
1) Participation in a project of reading and analysis of journalistic productions (investigative journalism, undercover journalism, specialised journalism, radio, web or TV journalism, written press, etc.): 10% of the overall mark ;
2) The production of a news brief or a short podcast news clip (sound or video) and the commentary of the brief by a peer: 10% of the overall mark ;
3) Monitoring current events, asking questions and taking two current events tests: 2x10% (20%) of the overall mark;
4) An oral examination, in session, on the whole subject seen within the framework of the "theoretical" course: 20% of the global mark;
As part of the practical work with Nathalie Cobbaut :
5) The writing of articles and participation during the practice sessions (20%) and the production of an editorial file (20%): 40% of the overall mark.
All the instructions are explained during the session and in writing on Moodle. All productions must be submitted to the plagiarism detector (see instructions and link on Moodle). Any plagiarism will be severely punished as stipulated in the RGEE.
As provided for in the implementing provisions of the General Regulations for Studies and Examinations for the ESPO Faculty (article 6 § 2), unjustified absence from more than two sessions [in the case of this EU, for practice sessions only] and/or unjustified failure to hand in any real work [for the theory course or practical work] within the time limit may result in a final mark of 0/20 for the EU.
In case of registration for the second session: the student will have to represent any part for which he/she has not obtained the equivalent of at least 10/20. The evaluation will be distributed as follows:
1) A written work analysing a journalistic production (investigative journalism, undercover journalism, specialised journalism, radio, web or TV journalism, written press, etc.): 10% of the overall mark.
2) The production of a news post or a short podcastable news sequence (sound or video) different from the one produced in the first session: 10% of the overall mark;
3) Monitoring current events, asking questions and taking one or two current events tests: 2x10% (20%) of the overall mark;
4) An oral examination on the whole subject seen in the "theoretical" course: 20% of the overall mark;
5) The production of an editorial file: 40% of the overall mark.

Recommended or required reading :
- Agnès, Y., Manuel de journalisme. Ecrire pour le journal, Editions La Découverte, Coll. Grands repères, 2006.
- Estienne, Y., Le journalisme après Internet, L'Harmattan, 2007.
- Grevisse, B., Écritures journalistiques. Stratégies rédactionnelles, multimédia et journalisme narratif, Éditions De Boeck, 2008.
- Grevisse, B., Déontologie du journalisme : enjeux éthiques et identités professionnelles, Editions De Boeck, 2016.
- Le Bohec, J., Dictionnaire du journalisme et des médias, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2010.
- Neveu, E., Sociologie du journalisme, La Découverte, 2006.
- Scherer, E., A-t-on encore besoin des journalistes? Manifeste pour un journalisme augmenté, PUF, 2012.