Education and training over the three terms in ACJ are designed to equip students with wide-ranging skills to perform confidently in today’s technology-driven media-neutral newsrooms where news is processed for the print, the web and the broadcast platforms.
Under the Print platform where text and photographs are the main components, in Term One, students are first encouraged to keep themselves updated with news, paying close attention to the content, structure, and language of the different types of stories in mainstream newspapers and their multimedia platforms.
Through lectures, classroom exercises and field assignments, students are taught to gather news, write and edit it in the clear, precise and grammatically accurate language required for newspaper readers. The curriculum includes instruction in identifying the newsworthiness of a story idea, writing different kinds of leads for stories and substantiating statements with examples, quotes and data. While editing copy, students are taught to correct factual and grammatical errors, ensure clarity, avoid jargons, tighten sentences without losing information or changing the meaning, keep out defamatory content and compose headlines.
Students also pick up page design and layout concepts for a newspaper. They first learn to import text and pictures and replicate pages from mainstream newspapers.
In Term Two, students are taught to enhance their news-gathering, news-writing and editing skills in an incremental manner. They also move on to writing editorials and opinion pieces, in-depth news reports, long-form features and profiles. In these deadline-driven modules, they learn to make a written pitch for a story idea and then write the feature/report with descriptive elements and detailed reportage..
Fine-tuning their layout skills, students move on to create their own pages from scratch with wire copy and photos and with their own stories and pictures. As part of the production process, they learn to use and create page stylesheets, ensure news hierarchy, crop photographs, write picture captions and design and produce pages before deadlines.