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COMM104 - Writing for the Media AND COMM224 - Producing Online Features

Unit rationale, description and aim

Writing with flair is an important workplace skill. In order to operate in the contemporary workplace, practitioners must be able to conceptualise, research and produce long-form and short-form content. Writing for the public remains central to a range of industries across print and other media. This unit examines a range of written discourses that are employed by the professional writers to inform, persuade, and influence communities. Students will learn how to source and evaluate material and will develop clear and coherent writing styles for a variety of publication contexts.

The aim of this unit is to enhance students’ skills in understanding, critiquing, and creating written work across media formats. Students will also research and compose examples of written genres across a broad range of public communication contexts, for example, news, current affairs or entertainment features, media releases, public speeches, online writing or blogs. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Critique writing designed for different audiences and industry-specific written genres (GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Gather information from a variety of sources and assemble it coherently for publication/distribution (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO3 - Apply knowledge of industry expectations to communicate in an ethical manner when researching and writing about the community (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5)

LO4 - Construct logical and well-ordered examples of writing following the relevant conventions for that genre of written discourse (GA5, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics may include:

Types of Writing genres

  • An investigation of the formats and techniques used in writing for news, current affairs, media releases, and online writing genres: information and entertainment features.
  • Creative and feature writing.
  • Policy Writing.
  • Grant Writing.
  • Writing with respect for Indigenous knowings. Ethical considerations relating to writing about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • How does writing change when it is accompanied by images, videos, animation or graphs? 


  • Appropriate research techniques.
  • Evaluating and using sources, from one-on-one interviews to social media.
  • Professional, ethical, and legal considerations regarding interviewing, researching, and publishing.

Writing for publication

  • Turning complex content into easily digestible forms. Being able to translate jargon-filled reports into accessible information sheets or news items is important.
  • Writing for ‘Behaviour Change’. Being able to write succinctly and persuasively to promote changed behaviour within a community is important.
  • Speech writing.
  • Sponsored articles: writing light features that are a form of advertising.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. The unit features a practice-led exploration of a range of written discourses that are employed by the media professions. In an active learning environment, students will have the opportunity to engage with published texts in a variety of genres and then engage in writing activities which experiment with these. Assessment tasks will allow students to apply these skills to a range of professional contexts. Students will explore real world issues and challenges and develop strategies for problem-solving and decision making in authentic contexts.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The practical assessment tasks in this unit allow students to enhance their writing skills across a range of discourses. Students will be guided as they develop the skills necessary to conceive, develop, write, and produce content for a public audience. The classes within this unit will be usefully employed to provide scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to practice their skills and receive feedback.

The Media Analysis Task allows students to reflect on and develop the knowledge required of media professionals. Being able to analyse existing forms of media is an important first step in understanding how writing across various types of media works. The Professional Writing Task offers an opportunity for students to experiment with writing in two different modes of written communication. The Portfolio Task gives students the opportunity to research a topic and apply knowledge and skills in the context of an over-arching public campaign. This exercise will see students apply their knowledge of industry expectations and practices to conduct themselves in an ethical manner and to deliver a range of professional writing pieces which showcase their understanding of different ways of writing for different communication platforms. 

All the tasks within this unit allow students to apply the skills of media professionals and ensure that students experience a representative sample of methods of writing for the public.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Media Analysis 

Students will examine writing in the media and demonstrate a strong critical understanding of writing for public audiences across a range of industries.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment 2: Professional Writing Task

Students will research and then create professional writing outputs that meet industry standards for the genre.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment 3: Portfolio

Students will create a portfolio of written tasks for specific public purposes. This assessment requires students to apply knowledge and skills in a range of formats to demonstrate knowledge of the persuasive power of excellent and focussed writing. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Benson, C. D., & Whitaker, C. F. (2014). Magazine Writing. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.  

Bradshaw, P. (2017). The Online Journalism Handbook: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age(2nd ed.)  London: Taylor & Francis. 

Filak, V. (2014). Convergent Journalism: An Introduction (2nd ed.) Burlington, MA: Focal Press.  

Hennessy, B. (2015). Writing feature articles. New York: Focal.  

Kolodzy, J (2014). Practicing Convergence Journalism: An Introduction to Cross-Media Storytelling.New York: Routledge 

Levenson, E. (2015). Creativity and feature writing: How to get hundreds of new ideas every day. New York: Routledge. 

Ricketson, M. and Graham, C. (2017).  Writing Feature Stories (2nd ed). Sydney: Allen & Unwin. 

Sumner, D. E., & Miller, H. G. (2013). Feature and magazine writing: Action, angle and anecdotes. Malden: Wiley Blackwell.  

Tanner, S., Richardson, N., & Kasinger, M. (2017). Feature writing: Telling the story. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 

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