Word length: max 800 word brief plus 300 word reflection.
Purpose: identify a topic suitable for an investigative story and convince your peers and the editor (the unit coordinator) that the topic is feasible for a semester long investigation.
Assessment 1 – Full description and instructions Page
Students are to find a story that they will work on throughout the semester. The story must reveal an issue or situation that is clearly in the public interest and/or explain and make sense of a complex issue that is in the public interest. The issue can be local, national or international in nature. Students should aim to find a balance between an ambitious story and one that is do-able with access to interviews, documentary sources, data and so on. This will be discussed and workshopped in class in weeks one to three, and this assignments should reflect those discussions.
Assessment 1 – Full description and instructions
Students should produce a research brief that:
Sets out their proposed story, identifies the issue. The key question to answer is: what’s the story?
Identifies likely sources and documents, including public documents
Identify if and how Freedom of Information (FOI) requests can be used.
Identifies other investigative techniques to be used
Provides a feasibility analysis of how the story will be pursued.
Provides a timeline of how the project will be pursued and brought to completion
Identifies potential hurdles.
Students should view this as a story pitch to an editor, NOT an academic essay. This means that brevity and clarity are key requirements.
In the reflection students should answer the following questions:
Why they selected the story they did.
Why it is an appropriate issue to investigate.
How it is in the public interest. What might be revealed?
What difficulties are anticipated in covering the story.
Presentation requirements: In the seminar in week three students will do a verbal pitch based on their work so far. The students will use the feedback they get in the seminar to complete the assignment and submit it on Moodle. The assignment can include, where appropriate, hyperlinks to reference material. Specific details of the people to be interviewed should be included, ideally meaning names and contact numbers.
Please post the pitch and reflection on a single Word document, 1.5 line spacing. Clearly mark your name and assignment title on the document, and include your name in the document title. Do NOT post a PDF version.
NOTE: This assignment is not presented in news story form: it is a research brief – a pitch of proposals to an editor. It can take the form of headings and text or dot points. The timeline should be specific and well thought through.
Evident breadth and depth of preliminary research.
Evidence of well thought through approach to finding a story.
Clarity and presentation.
Originality and/or strength of story proposal.
Comprehension of journalistic implications of research material.
An honest, dispassionate and constructive self-reflection including:
Insight into processes of researching the proposal.
Insight into decisions made and the reasons for them.
Strong and clear arguments and reasoning.