Course Code
CN403
Programme
MA
School
Arts & Communication
Department/ Centre
Communication
Categories
Programme Type/ Requirements
Post-graduate
Course Features/ Requirements
Full Time, Core Course

Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Recognise their strengths and weaknesses as writers
  • Identify the differences in writing for the eye, ear and mind
  • Apply the rules of good grammar, structure and syntax in writing
  • Appreciate the difference between purposive and creative writing
  • Interview and conduct secondary research as inputs to writing
  • Describe vividly, narrate and provide anecdotes and quotations when relevant
  • Plan content in different formats for different media types
  • Research and write content for different media
Course Outline

Overview
No matter what the medium, writing is fundamental to building content and framing ideas. From writing a social media post or a 280-character tweet to a news or feature story, to pitching an idea for a film or radio show—words matter, and how you use them matters. This course aims to provide an understanding of how writing plays a significant role in communication irrespective of the medium. Students will be introduced to different genres of media writing, how to plan content for different platforms and appreciate the difference between different genres of writing. While doing so, it will lay emphasis on principles of writing such as brevity, clarity and accuracy. Please note that this is not a creative writing course—it is a course about writing with a purpose, that of informing, instructing, persuading or elucidating. 

Course design
The course will take a workshop approach; that is, it will be built around a series of tasks that aim to give you practical exposure to writing, and build a tool kit that you will be able to apply as you progress through the MA programme. Each week you will be expected to read the assigned texts/view or listen to the assigned audiovisual material, and come prepared to discuss or respond to these. While all the material will be provided online, regular synchronous sessions will be held on Google Meet to discuss doubts, provide specific inputs, and give feedback on assignments.

Requirements
Laptop or Smartphone with Internet connectivity. Assignments should be typed and submitted on the Classroom Drive in the marked folder, but if this is not possible, handwritten (scans or photographs, clearly legible) or recorded voice notes are also permitted, with prior explanation.

Outline

Week Topic/Module Readings (pdfs of most materials will be available in the Classroom Drive; others can be accessed directly from the links)
1 Introduction to the course and Goal setting

Understanding writing as a process

Please read through the course outline and familiarize yourself with the Classroom layout!
2 Why medium matters: or does it?

Thinking about writing—the pre-writing stage

Chapters 1 & 2 from Writing for the Media
3 Generating ideas

Tuning ideas for different media

Look at the following sites:

https://openthemagazine.com

https://caravanmagazine.in

https://indianexpress.com/audio/

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab

4 Genres of journalistic writing: news and the rest Read the followingarticles:

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/arnab-goswami-republic-mumbai-police-live-updates-6936736/

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/the-pandemic-proof-atmosphere-of-the-odeon-outside

https://scroll.in/food/973481/cauliflower-and-bhindi-caldeen-by-chef-floyd-cardoz

https://scroll.in/field/977589/womens-t20-challenge-from-ecclestone-to-dottin-the-top-foreign-stars-in-a-depleted-field

 

5 Information gathering and research Read the following articles and note the sources

https://scroll.in/global/977612/2020-us-election-in-new-jerseys-little-india-vocal-biden-supporters-and-shy-trump-voters

https://science.thewire.in/the-sciences/covid-19-india-epidemic-ethics-communities/

6 Building blocks: description and narration https://openthemagazine.com/features/andaman-viral-islands/

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/the-undeniable-sean-connery

 

7 Building blocks: argumentation, opinion and analysis https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/hitting-fossil-fuel-companies-where-it-hurts/article33015942.ece

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/marriage-rights-india-same-sex-couples-6929246/

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/covid-19-spread-in-some-unique-ways-in-india-new-contact-tracing-data-shows-11601453112907.html

 

8 Structure and form: leads, middles and ends for different media https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/reader-center/1619-project-slavery-jamestown.html?searchResultPosition=1
9 Summarizing, extracting, condensing

The social media effect

https://www.wikihow.com/Write-Social-Media-Content

https://blog.hootsuite.com/writing-for-social-media/

10 Writing for the ear https://longform.org/posts/longform-podcast-415-latif-nasser
11 Writing for the eye To be assigned
12 From complex to simple

Explainers—print, audio and video

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-baby-shark-is-the-most-watched-video-on-youtube-6930166/

https://indianexpress.com/audio/3-things/

https://www.vox.com/2020/9/4/21419921/cloud-detective-identify-cumulus

13 Writing Instructions Selections from https://www.wikihow.com/Main-Page
14 Persuasive writing To be assigned

 

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Assessment Criteria

Assignments

Topic Description/Instructions Tentative deadline
The writing SWOT analysis (ungraded) What have you learned about writing through your years of education? How have you developed as a writer—what are your own strengths and weaknesses? What motivates you and what holds you back?

(350 words)

Week 2
Structure and form (10 points) Based on a quick review of three text-based media forms—newspapers, magazines and the web, identify what characterizes writing across these media. Use examples to discuss how the form affects structure and content?

(350 words)

Week 4
Idea Generation (10 points) Come up with five ideas for stories, drawing from a variety of sources—observation, current events, experience, curiosity. Outline each idea and describe how you would develop it for different media—text, audio and video. (500 words) Week 5
People make stories (10 points) Write a 400-word “snapshot profile” of someone you find interesting—in your family or neighbourhood. Convert this into a script for a 5-minute podcast. Week 8
The explainer (10 points) Select a topic based on current events and write a 300-word explainer based on the principles we have discussed in the class. How would you script this for an audio-visual presentation? Week 13
Writing Instructions (10 points) For a selected process (a game, a recipe, an instrument, etc.), write a set of detailed instructions that can be followed by someone who has no prior knowledge of this. Week 14
Grammar and Style Presentation (Group work: 10 points) In groups of three, you will work on an assigned grammar or writing style topic and create a short (5 slide) presentation accompanied by a voice over. Topics will be assigned in Week 5 of the semester. To be uploaded on the Class Drive by Week 10
Final assignment: Writing Across Media (40 points) Based on a combination of research and interviews around a selected theme of your choice (you will need to pitch the idea and have it approved by the instructor), you will write (1) a short feature story for print, (2) a script for a multi-media web feature and (3) a script for a 5 minute podcast, all on the same theme. Date to be announced/End of the semester

Grading

Periodic assignments (10 marks each X 5 assignments) = 50 marks

Grammar and style presentation = 10 marks

End-semester project (Writing package across media) = 40 marks


Course Instructor/s
Usha Raman

Phone Number