Study Journalism with our Oxford Summer School 2017 | Students aged 16-18
Class Summary

“I am deeply interested in the progress and elevation of journalism, having spent my life in that profession, regarding it as a noble profession and one of unequalled importance for its influence upon the minds and morals of the people.” Joseph Pulitzer – journalist, publisher, and founder of the Pulitzer Prizes.

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of journalism by developing their ability to respond critically to a wide range of journalistic media. It is suitable for both those seeking general exposure to the field and those who aim to pursue a career in journalism. Over two weeks, students will have the opportunity to hone the writing skills necessary for excellent journalistic practice whilst being exposed to the ethical and legal issues affecting contemporary journalism.

Classes will look at the challenges facing today’s international journalist, and cover the differing ways in which  religion, science, and the economy are reported. In the second week, a formal debate on the topic of press freedom will hone students’ public speaking and presentation skills, drawing on UK case studies such as the phone hacking scandal and the subsequent Leveson enquiry. Students will consider how much regulation the media should have and the moral duties to which journalists should be subject.

The course will look at broadcast as well as print journalism, and the increasingly relevant world of online news. While the primary focus will be on journalism in the UK, the diversity of nationalities in attendance on the course (students from nearly 50 different nationalities attended the Broadening Horizons summer school last year) will also provide a valuable perspective on how news is reported around the world.

The course combines analysis of the theories behind journalism with practical guidance on writing and approaches to journalistic technique. Consequently, assessment will take two forms: students will produce their own article from a range of options and will also analyse a publication, considering its style, target audience and editorial tone, and producing a ‘pen portrait’ of a typical reader. They will consider how writing can inform, educate and entertain, and how best to write for different purposes and audiences. Profile and travel writing will be addressed alongside comment and news pieces.

In the second week students will be placed into small groups with a view to producing their own print magazine. This will educate students about all the processes of journalism, from writing to publication, while developing skills in teamwork and collaboration. Finally, the course will provide invaluable experience for students who are interested in embarking on a future career in journalism, teaching them about the day-to-day reality of a journalist’s work and providing some career guidance for this competitive field.

Expectations/Prerequisites

Students will need to have an enthusiasm for both the written word and current affairs, and should expect to write a lot both inside and outside the classroom.

Suggested Reading

Students should come to the course having already familiarised themselves with a range of news reporting styles in their own country and in the English-speaking world. Students interested in this class may wish to read the following text before arrival, though it is by no means essential:

  • The Universal Journalist, by David Randall