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JRN2010 News Literacy

Semester 2, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Kylie Douglas
Moderator: Dianne Jones

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and must have internet access to UConnect for this course.


At a time when the digital revolution is spawning an unprecedented flood of information and disinformation each day, we need to be able to judge the credibility and reliability of news reports. And, we need to understand why that matters.


This course is designed to teach students how to become more discriminating news producers and/or consumers. The course will seek to help students recognise reliable information and teach them how to apply their critical-thinking skills so they can act on such information. As part of their instruction, students also will learn how the journalistic process works and how professional journalists make decisions.


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

  1. define news literacy and describe why it matters to them
  2. recognise the differences between news and propaganda, news and opinion, bias and fairness, assertion and verification, and evidence and inference in news reports
  3. apply their emerging critical-thinking skills to judging the credibility and reliability of news reports
  4. demonstrate emerging skills in academic literacy by describing why there is a need for the free flow of information
  5. apply written and/or oral communication skills to describe the journalistic process and how journalists make decisions
  6. communicate in writing by preparing and submitting assignments.


Description Weighting(%)
1. News literacy: the credibility and reliability of news reports 15.00
2. The power of information: the function of news 10.00
3. Key values in the journalism neighbourhood 20.00
4. The role of the press: “watchdog” or “lapdog” 5.00
5. News drivers, news values and the news process 10.00
6. News and opinion: What’s the difference? 10.00
7. Deconstructing the news story 25.00
8. News consumers in the Digital Age 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Kovach, B & Rosenstiel T 2007, The elements of journalism: What newspeople should know and the public should expect, Three Rivers Press, New York.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Other readings for this course will be drawn from the various news media and academic sources, with access via URL listings (for online reading).

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 60.00
Directed Study 11.00
Lectures 13.00
Private Study 55.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSESSMENT 1 15 15 15 Jul 2013 (see note 1)
ASSESSMENT 2 100 30 19 Aug 2013 (see note 2)
CMA 30 15 18 Sep 2013
EXAM 100 40 End S2 (see note 3)

  1. This assignment must be submitted on the students' blog on study desk, with five posts required throughout the semester. The examiner will advise of the blog topics and due dates each fortnight after the semester commences. Students must complete and submit all items of assessment in order to be considered for a passing grade in this course. The use of another person's work as the student's own, without appropriate acknowledgment and according to USQ's academic conventions, is plagiarism. Where such a breach of ethical conduct occurs, the assignment may receive a mark of zero.
  2. This assignment must be submitted via EASE. Students must complete and submit all items of assessment in order to be considered for a passing grade in this course. The use of another person's work as the student's own, without appropriate acknowledgment and according to USQ's academic conventions, is plagiarism. Where such a breach of ethical conduct occurs, the assignment may receive a mark of zero
  3. Students will be advised of exam dates when the timetable has been finalised

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the Closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.

  2. The journalism course maintains high standards of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Faults in any of these could render an assignment unacceptable.