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ALJ722 - Investigative and Narrative Journalism


2020 unit information

Important Update:

Classes and seminars in Trimester 2/Semester 2, 2020 will be online. Physical distancing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect delivery of other learning experiences in this unit. Please check your unit sites for announcements and updates one week prior to the start of your trimester or semester.

Last updated: 2 June 2020

Enrolment modes:Trimester 2: Cloud (online)
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 2: Matthew Ricketson




Incompatible with:


Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150 hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

Online independent and collaborative learning activities 1 x 2-hour seminar per week equivalent


Investigative and narrative journalism differ from news in their aim to not simply report the day's news but to dig into events and issues. They diverge in emphasis and presentation. Investigative journalism’s primary aim is to scrutinise those in positions of power and authority; narrative journalism’s primary aim is to tell a true story exploring events and issues in their complexity and people in their full humanity. The power inherent in investigative and narrative journalism throws up important, knotty issues. Is investigative journalism’s role simply to expose problems, or suggest solutions, or both? How do investigative journalists overcome obstacles like restrictive defamation and national security laws? How do they manage the fallout when they get something seriously wrong? For narrative journalists: how do they balance their need to maintain editorial independence with the closeness to key sources that comes from gaining the deep level of trust required to construct a work of narrative journalism? Are there limits to the kinds of narrative approach journalists can take when representing actual people and events? If practitioners present their long-form journalism in a narrative style, is it read as non-fiction or, because it reads like a novel, is it read as a novel?

These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit

At the completion of this unit, successful students can:

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes


Critically analyse and explain the history, diversity and importance of investigative and narrative journalism, and their continuing relevance in the digital age

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Demonstrate skills in the researching of investigative and narrative journalism, including generating story ideas, working with data sets and developing and managing relationships with sources

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO3: Digital literacy

GLO5: Problem solving


Demonstrate skills in the structuring and writing of pieces of investigative and narrative journalism

GLO3: Digital literacy

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving


Demonstrate an ability to negotiate legal and ethical issues arising in the use of a narrative approach in telling true stories, whether they are primarily investigative or narrative-driven

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving


Apply concepts presented in the research literature to the analysis of investigative and narrative journalism

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Trimester 2:
Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week

Assessment 1 (Individual) - Investigative Briefing Paper

2500 words or equivalent 50% Information not yet available
Assessment 2 (Individual) - Piece of Narrative Journalism 2500 words or equivalent 50% Information not yet available

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link below: ALJ722 Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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