Online ExpertTrack in Creative Arts & Media

How to be a Journalist in a Social Media and Digital Age

Develop skills to produce good journalism in a digital era and learn tips about how to consume news with a better understanding.

Created by

The University of KentThe University of Kent

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Kick-start your journalism career

The news industry has changed so much in the digital age, particularly with the growth of social media.

This ExpertTrack will give you an overview of the changes driving the publications and people involved in producing what is known as ‘the first draft of history’.

You’ll discover the secrets of good journalism, what it is, and what goes into making it before trying out some of the techniques used to produce it.

You’ll also develop skills in interviewing people, learn to write a simple news story or social media post, and create features, reviews, and opinion columns.

Led by experts from the University of Kent’s Centre for Journalism, you’ll learn what it takes to become a journalist – whether you have ambitions for a future career or you simply want to consume the news with a greater understanding.

Discover the building blocks of news reporting

In an era of controversy over so-called ‘fake news’ and ‘infotainment’, step back and look at how to spot this and appreciate the qualities of good, reliable journalism.

You’ll explore some of the building blocks of good journalism, including the value of reliable sources and of including the voices of real people in news.

You’ll analyse what makes a good ‘source’ and what makes something ‘news’ or ‘news-worthy’ and think about how you might report on your own community or area of special interest.

Explore the value of digital journalism

Examining journalism in a modern and digital age, you’ll learn the value and purpose of journalism in today’s society – including how it can be a vital way in which ‘power’ is held to account.

You’ll also be introduced to the legal and ethical frameworks of the news and the concept of journalism produced ‘in the public interest’, including investigative journalism.

Develop feature writing skills

You’ll learn the difference between a news story and a feature article to help develop your skills to write both.

This course will combine coaching in some of the practical skills and techniques used by journalists with a discussion of journalism’s value to the world, as well as its flaws. There will be a range of tasks and discussions designed by experts to expand your knowledge and understanding of the profession and practice of journalism.

Linking people from around the world, all with different experiences of journalism and reporting, the ExpertTrack will provide a space for you to share and discuss your perceptions, to analyse the world of news - and create some of your own.

Key skills you will learn

  • Learn about/discover what the foundations (building blocks) of good journalism are.
  • How to analyse journalism and appreciate / spot the difference between Public Service journalism and ‘info-tainment’.
  • Develop an understanding of the changing shape of journalism
  • Analyse what makes something news or news-worthy
  • Learn how to spot fake news
  • Appreciate the value of different sources of information and learn how to collect this
  • Develop good communication skills – verbal and written
  • How to interview someone for journalistic purposes
  • The principles of good news writing
  • How to write a simple news story
  • How to write a feature or review
  • How to write an opinion column

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Explore what journalism is in a digital era of social media shares and what the creation of good, trust-worthy journalism involves.
  • Contribute to a global conversation about journalism today.
  • Experiment with creating your own forms of journalism, guided by people with decades of experience in the profession.
  • Develop an understanding of how multi-media journalists work today - the skills they need and the methods they use.
  • Reflect on the value of independent and trust-worthy news publications.
  • Apply knowledge of journalism gained from experts to create your own journalism.
  • Discuss how you see journalism today and the forms of it you value - or dislike - the most.
  • Improve your communication skills while learning some of the techniques of news-writing.
  • Collect tips on how to interview people for news articles, podcasts or broadcast interviews.

Experience required

This ExpertTrack is designed for anyone with an interest in journalism and a curiosity about what goes into creating it.

You don’t need any prior knowledge but an intermediate level of English language (equivalent to CEFR B2 or IELTS 5.5) is required.

Getting started

Everybody needs to understand what goes into making the news we read, hear, and watch. This ExpertTrack will help you make sense of, and analyse, the information and news swirling around us in this digital age.

ExpertTrack course overview

  • Course 1

    Explore what makes good journalism as you learn about its origins and where news reporting stands today.

    1 test

    2 peer-graded assignments

    4 weeks

    2 hours per week

  • Course 2

    Learn essential skills and useful tools to help you become a reporter in a social media and digital era.

    2 tests

    3 peer-graded assignments

    4 weeks

    3 hours per week

  • Course 3

    Explore the role of a feature writer and the key ingredients to use in your own writing to create a stand-out feature article.

    2 tests

    2 peer-graded assignments

    4 weeks

    3 hours per week

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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How ExpertTracks work

Join an ExpertTrack to master new skills in your chosen specialist area. Work through a series of topic-focused courses at your own pace, and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate award which proves your expertise.

Join a free 7-day trial

Decide if the ExpertTrack is right for you with free access to the full suite of courses and assessments for a week.

Keep learning for $39/month

Pay a monthly subscription fee of $39 for as long as it takes you to complete the ExpertTrack. You can learn at your own pace and cancel at any time.

Earn digital certificates

Receive a certificate for every completed course and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate.

Become an expert

Use your specialist training to progress further in your career or build expertise in areas you’re passionate about.

World-class learning with The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

Meet your instructor

A Journalism Lecturer at Kent University who spent more than 25 years creating news. I began work as a local newspaper reporter in London, then went to the BBC and worked in radio, TV and online.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends

FAQ

ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

Each ExpertTrack comes with a 7-day free trial period. You may cancel your subscription at any time and your subscription will automatically cancel when you finish the courses and assessments in your chosen ExpertTrack.

Yes. All of our ExpertTracks come with a 7-day free trial. You may claim one free trial period per ExpertTrack.

You have seven days before you will be charged your first monthly subscription fee. When you join an ExpertTrack you automatically receive a 7-day free trial period. You can cancel at any time during the trial period and no payment will be taken from your account.

Please see our full refund policy here.

No, all of our ExpertTracks consist of fully online courses. This means you can take an ExpertTrack from anywhere in the world.

No. ExpertTracks are designed for you to master new skills in a specialist area. You will earn a digital certificate that proves your learning, but it does not carry accreditation.

If you’re looking for certified or accredited courses, many of our microcredentials offer university credit or professional certification.

Have more questions about ExpertTracks? Read the ExpertTracks FAQs, or contact us.