ASSIGNMENT TWO – EXPLAINER and REFLECTION (TOGETHER WORTH 50 PERCENT).
The explainer article IS worth 40 percent of the unit’s assessment. It is to be submitted at 11.55pm on 28 October via Turnitin (NO HARD COPY REQUIRED). We will use the upstart style guide (see the link under the Assessments and Resources tab) for the explainer. The upstart style when writing dates is day/month (or day/month/year when relevant), so 23 October, not October 23, or the 23rd of October.
EXPLAINER:The explainer is designed for publication on upstart, as part of an ongoing project called “upstart explainers: Legal and ethical issues in journalism”. There are two stages to the explainer component: a 300-word (equivalent) pitch — to be delivered in class in weeks 10 or 11 — and a 1,250-word (or equivalent) piece for upstart.
It is up to you to create your own topic, but (NB) Peter must approve your topic.
The explainer must have embedded hyperlinks, a title, an excerpt, a biographical byline and relevant tags, in accordance with the upstart style. This will be explained in the lecture in week 9. Those preparing a video for the assignment could expect it to be three or four minutes long. An audio podcast might be five or six minutes. Anyone using graphics as a major part of the project can negotiate a length for the rest of the content.
REFLECTION: In the 500-word reflection, you can discuss your role as a journalist when researching and constructing the explainer. How did you obtain information for the piece, and how did you choose which material to use? Were there different theories or ideas about your topic? How did your choice of format suit the explanation.? The reflection is worth 10 per cent.
FORMAT: You are free to create your explainer using media and format of your own choosing. However, for those who want a stylistic “formula,” we suggest that you consult the The Conversation’s explainer page for examples. Explainers can be feature articles, videos, podcasts, FAQs, graphic visualisations of data, list articles, blog pieces, or anything else you can use to explain an issue.
Their aim is not to break news. Journalism thinker Jay Rosen says: “An explainer is a work of journalism [that] addresses a gap in your understanding: the lack of essential background knowledge.” In other words, you want to explain a legal or ethical concept, case, event, or proposition by showing how it applies to, or impacts on, journalism and journalists.
PITCH: Everyone must prepare an oral pitch of their pieces, to be delivered in class in weeks 10 or 11. The purpose of the pitch is for you to practice articulating your ideas to a small group (as you would in a newsroom), while also getting some feedback on your ideas from your fellow students (and your tutor).
You will not be marked on the pitch, but failure to deliver it appropriately can incur a maximum penalty of five marks (of the possible 40). The template below might be useful for preparing your pitch:
LEGAL ISSUES EXPLAINED
ETHICAL ISSUE(S) EXPLAINED
WHY DO JOURNALIST NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS?
KEY WRITTEN SOURCES
TOPICS. You will devise an explainer topic, but the upstart explainers link above will show you some past examples. You MUST NOT write about the topic covered in your essay or something already published on upstart as part of the explainer project. However, you MIGHT explore an issue covered already by choosing a new case study or extending the previous coverage. Example: While one upstart explainer has dealt with general debates about objectivity, you may still write one relating to the objectivity debate based around election, court or crime stories.
Previous upstart stories have examined issues like journalism and shield laws, contempt and defamation, racial discrimination, reporting on suicide, the question of balance and open courts.