ATS3761 - Civic forum journalism - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Margaret Simons


Associate Professor Margaret Simons

Not offered in 2019


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed a cornerstone unit in Journalism.


The unit gives students the skills and understanding necessary to fulfil the fundamental journalistic task of reporting the key forums of civil society. Students will gain an understanding of the functioning of these key forums as well as gaining the practical skills, legal knowledge and theoretical underpinnings to fulfil the important tasks. The subject will teach the key skills by focussing on practical exercises revolving around excursions, for example to parliaments, courts, local government and the AGMs of public and private sector organisations.

Content will include:

  1. reporting public forums including public meetings, courts and the three tiers of Australian politics - Federal government, state government and local government;
  2. the functioning of these forums, including their history, structure and place in civil society;
  3. the role of the media in reporting these forums;
  4. impacts of relevant laws, including contempt of court and other court reporting restrictions, contempt of parliament, and privilege pertaining to public documents and public forums under the Defamation Act 2001;
  5. journalistic use of public documents arising from public forums such as parliaments, the courts and local government meetings.


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. identify a range of public forums and explain how they function in civil society;
  2. critically analyse the journalist's role in reporting these public forums;
  3. research and produce reports that differentiate the approaches required to cover these public forums;
  4. critically analyse these forums to construct audience-specific reportage;
  5. create an industry-standard report.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study