Media Studies - clarification level 3 journalism skills

General Comments


For definitions of most terminology, see the Glossary of Standard Terminology.

Unit standard sufficiency

The work required to satisfy unit standards should be of similar quantity and quality as for achievement of Media Studies achievement standards at Level 3.

Students must meet all the requirements of each standard, including all performance criteria and all items in range statements, unless these are expressed in terms that offer some choice or flexibility, e.g. such as; any of; any three of; may include but are not limited to, etc. Please note the specific interpretations in some standards.

Writing for Journalism

Evidence for journalism standards requiring writing or editing must reflect language skills appropriate to Level 8 of the curriculum.

Individual Grades

Students must be assessed on their individual work, not the quality of a group-produced effort.

10827 version 2 Write feature stories


Students must provide TWO features of at least 800 words each:

  • ONE issue-based feature, e.g. graffiti, global warming, teenage drinking
  • ONE individual profile, e.g. an outstanding sportsperson, Head Girl - not a team or group.

Element 1

Students must gather material (complete research). Material gathered must enable the writing of features. Features must:

  • include appropriate context
  • meet editorial requirements (target audience, angle, length, style etc.).


  • should be mostly primary (interviews, surveys, observations etc.)
  • could include secondary sources for additional support.


BOTH articles must:

  • be chosen because the subjects are newsworthy for specific reasons(s)
  • be relevant to the target audience.

PC 1.2

This standard presumes specific editorial guidelines/requirements are provided in the brief that include:

  • style conventions
  • angles
  • target audinece
  • length (word count and/or publication pages etc.)
  • deadlines
  • copy presentation requirements.

Some of this information may be provided in a stylebook or publication profile etc.

Teachers could use a checklist to verify the student's gathered material in terms of meeting the requirements of the feature and editorial requirements. This could be a progress checkpoint before students write the story.


At least ONE interview should be undertaken for each feature. More than one should be expected to get a variety of viewpoints and achieve balance, etc.

Element 2



  • must have impact - no dull intros (e.g. "On Monday 25 March . . .")
  • need an angle / hook
  • must suit the story type (serious issue / entertaining profile) and structure (Wall Street Journal, etc.).


Relevant background context is required. It must assist audience understanding of the stories.


Structure must be clear and logical; information presented in a comprehensible order.

Length should be appropriate to both the brief AND the subject of the feature

Readers must be given enough information to understand the topic and not have unanswered questions.


Clarity of meaning should include:

  • mostly active voice generally simple syntax and effective paragraphing (flexibility/variety of length for effect is appropriate)
  • simple and clear vocabulary
  • generally simple syntax
  • effective paragraphing (flexibility/variety of length for effect is appropriate).

Specialist jargon should be explained to the audience the first time it is introduced.

Colour emotive language, personal tone, amusing anecdotes etc.) is appropriate depending on the focus of the article (e.g. profile versus issue).


Stories must be fair and accurate. Accuracy is assured by evidence of checking of facts (e.g. more than one source).



  • can include both opinions and facts
  • must not mislead readers that opinions are facts
  • should clearly attribute opinions, e.g. 'Ms Redmonds thinks that ...'.


Sources (for data or statistics) should be identified within the feature by conventions such as brief publication title/author, web site etc. in brackets after the information, direct attribution within the copy, e.g. '2003 Census Statistics for ...'.

Attributions must accompany all quotes. (e.g.'X said').  

Element 3


The formality of language may vary to suit the publication but a stylebook or example of the publication's style conventions should be available and adhered to, and grammar rules observed.

Capitals and punctuation should be consistent (1-2 lapses at most).

Students should follow journalism conventions for numbers and titles (honorifics ) (see Generic Conventions).

Colour (see PC2.4) is appropriate depending on the focus of the article (e.g. profile).

PC 3.2

A specific deadline must be set and met.

For details of presentation, see Generic Conventions.


Students should provide draft and final versions to show revision and establish authenticity.

10828 version 2 Write variety of stories for print


The standard assesses the quality of a range of written stories, not layout in a publication.

Element 1

Students must write at least THREE stories on a variety of subjects (see range statement).


See PC2.1, 10827 version 2 Write feature stories.

PC 1.2


  • must contain essential details (e.g. roles of participants)
  • should conform to news conventions (Generic Conventions).

Sequence and structure:

  • should allow the story to flow logically
  • must be clear and logical with information presented in a comprehensible order.


See PC3.1, 10827 version Write feature stories.


See PC2.5, 10827 version 2 Write feature stories.


See PC2.1, 10827 version 2 Write feature stories and PC1.7, below.

PC 1.7

See 10827, PC 2.7.

Attributions (e.g. 'X said') must accompany all quotes.

Other sources of information should be identified clearly in the copy.

PC 1.8

Students must meet a pre-determined deadline.

For guidance about presentation, see Copy Conventions.

Element 2

Students must write ONE review.


Students must:

  • describe their own reaction
  • explain and justify (provide a valid reason for) that reaction
  • support their response with specific details of the event (e.g. concert), facility (e.g. restaurant), or item (e.g. CD or television programme etc.).

Element 3

Students must write TWO stories, each set in a different culture:

  • ONE story must be set within Maori culture
  • ONE story may be set within any culture other than Maori.

Culture does not have to be ethnic and could be social, religious etc.


Language appropriate to the culture presented in each story should be explained, translated or used in such a way that readers from other cultures in the story's audience(s) can understand the story and the cultural references.

Language appropriate to the culture should be used in such a way that the average reader can understand the meaning.

For the Maori cultural context, standard practice is to use a Maori word with the English meaning following in brackets.

Specialist jargon or non-English terms should be explained to the audience the first time they are introduced.

10829 version 2 Lay out pages for publication


The standard assesses only the student's ability to lay out pages using their own or provided material (stories, advertisements, illustrations etc.).

Element 1

For newspapers, students are expected to lay out a tabloid size double page spread (or A3 equivalent). Four A4 pages are appropriate for magazines.


Layout must:

  • assist readability
  • create a logical reading path by the use of common design and layout conventions (see above).


Students must:

  • write more than one headline (see also PC2.1)
  • include more than one story (implied). In a tabloid double page spread, four may be a reasonable expectation.

Headline depth/size should:

  • suit the story significance on the page
  • suit the page design
  • be bigger / bolder for main story than others, in descending scale.



  • must be used in the layout, but not necessarily in every story
  • must reinforce the story and enhance the design
  • include but are not limited to: pullouts, dingbats, display ads, screened boxes, logos, infographics, illustrations, cartoons, drop caps, clip art etc.


Students must size and crop more than one photo to fit the page and story.


Layout and design features must appeal to the TA.

The TA should be specified in the activity or student design in some detail (1-2 sentences).

Element 2

Students must write headlines and captions themselves.


Headlines must:

  • include at least two
  • focus on the main news angle (newsworthy point) of story
  • hook / engage reader and encourage them to read the story
  • fit the space available
  • be no more than nine words
  • use active voice with verb where possible.

PCs 2.2/2.3

Captions must:

  • include at least TWO
  • name people (specific names/titles) in the photo
  • describe the action/scene in the photo: event and location may be appropriate on occasion
  • link to the central focus of the story
  • match the tone of the photo
  • match the tone of the story, e.g. serious for hard news; humorous (puns etc.) for soft news.
  • use active voice
  • be fewer than 25 words.

10830 version 2 Manage a team in the production of a print publication

Special Note 2

The production management covered by Elements 2 and 3 of this standard requires each student to manage a separate edition or substantial section of a larger publication.

Eight tabloid pages or 16 A4 sheets constitutes a sufficient degree of responsibility.

Element 1


The list covers FOUR key areas. Many roles have disappeared or conflated due to digital technology and other industry changes.

It is unrealistic to expect students to cover all jobs and roles. A suggested approach is that students describe:

Newsroom staff: Reporters (general, including rounds, chief reporter's role)
Photographers (general)
Sub-editors (general roles, plus one specific example)
Editors (general roles, plus one specific example)
Only five major NZ dailies employ leader writers. Editors or senior journalists usually write leaders. This range item should be omitted.
Advertising staff: Advertising department and role in newspaper, plus TWO specific jobs/roles:
Display advertisement sales staff (who write their own copy)
Artists (desktop / graphic designers )
Production staff: Production department plus ONE example role from the range
Circulation staff: Circulation process and role (brief paragraph).

PC 1.2

A 'map' in flow diagram format (chart) would be sufficient.


Information should be:

  • accurate
  • consistent from one student to another, unless they provide clear evidence of their source/original data
  • obtained from such sources as the newspaper, Audit Bureau of Circulation, Newspaper Advertising Bureau, ACNeilsen etc.

Profit information is never given for an individual newspaper in larger media companies, is too difficult to obtain and should not be required (ref. NZJTO).

Element 2

To manage the team, the student must:

  • record the roles and commitments of all team members
  • record decisions, problems, solutions and deadlines
  • manage personnel and production issues
  • ensure the planning and production of the newspaper.


The brief should include:

  • many of the details under PC3.1
  • allocation of roles (stories, photographers, sub editors, ad sales, etc.).

The student must keep a record of:

  • briefings
  • decisions made: pathways defined, jobs allocated, timelines set, etc.


There must be actual records.

Allocations should be:

  • equitable (this does not have to be exact, but should be fair)
  • signed off between team members and manager.

Element 3

PC 3.1 (See also PC2.1)

A brief must be established and recorded.

The brief should include:

  • number of pages
  • print run (number of copies)
  • costs and cost recovery (e.g. funding grant, sales, sponsorship etc.)
  • colour (greyscale, spot colour, full colour etc.)
  • publishing/distribution date
  • copy deadline
  • allocation of roles: stories, subs, designers, photographers, sales, etc.

For new publications, the brief should also include:

  • concept
  • target audience
  • distribution
  • stylebook / templates (fonts, columns etc.)
  • number of pages
  • sections etc.


The student must:

  • establish a pathway towards the completed publication
  • set deadlines for each of the steps along the pathway.

Deadlines must be set, recorded and provided to all staff for:

  • stories
  • illustrations
  • completed page layouts
  • advertising sales, design and production
  • pre-proofing
  • delivery to printer (could be in-school or a commercial printer)
  • printing and distribution/sales, etc.


There should be clear evidence of:

  • production/staff meetings
  • checks and follow-ups of late material, slow workers, stories not coming together etc.
  • changes if required e.g. if some stories do not happen.

This should be similar to a Production Diary for any other media production.


The student should:

  • have a clear connection with all members of their team
  • know what stories students are writing, when they are due, who is subbing them and when, etc.
  • be familiar with the contents of all stories and pages
  • be able to assess how well team members are contributing and following the process.

The teacher must be able to assess how well team members are contributing and following the process.


Student should minute meetings and decisions arising from them.

Managing means having responsibility for ensuring the newspaper's production (Production Manager).


  • tells manager what s/he wants produced
  • is responsible for decisions about content, quality, placement etc.
  • may also be the manager.


Illustrations include photos, flow diagrams, graphs, pie charts, infographics, cartoons etc.

10831 version 2 Produce radio news stories


Students must:

  • put together ONE audio package
  • meet production requirements (deadline, file formats, audio quality etc.).

News Story Conventions

Radio news stories follow news story conventions (see General Conventions).

Element 1


Written script refers to the links used by the reporter to connect the various elements of the reporter's audio package (audio bites, voice report).

The reporter's written script must provide continuity that enables the story to flow smoothly and logically.

PC 1.2

Voice links must:

  • connect different audio bites to create the package
  • create continuity by linking each section to the next
  • be written and ordered in a logical sequence.


Intro material is a short passage the on-air (studio) newsreader uses to introduce the reporter's story, package and voice report. It should provide a general introduction that does not contain content or phrases repeated in the pre-recorded material.


Audio bites must:

  • be chosen by students from pre-recorded audio (e.g. interviews)
  • illustrate and support the story
  • increase the level of audience interest
  • assist audience understanding of the story
  • provide colour
  • include such things as: eye witness accounts, ambient audio (e.g. sounds from the scene of the story - explosions, alarms, sirens etc.), expert opinions, additional information etc.  

Element 2


The student should meet pre-defined durations (e.g. 10-15secs (story); 60secs (package); 30secs (voice report).

The deadline should reflect some time pressure. More than a two-day deadline is not appropriate.

PC 2.2

Story and audio means all parts of the news item (story, reporter's voice report and audio bites).

In required format means:

  • voice report, package and audio bite(s) are recorded in an appropriate audio file format, and/or recorded to digital CART (or minidisc) etc.;
  • story to be read by on-air newsreader is typed, double line spaced with indications of where the package and other pre-recorded audio is to play
  • pronunciation of foreign or other unusual words indicated phonetically.

10832 version 2 Write and produce news stories for television


If a student has not achieved 10819 Conduct interviews for news stories, a practical test or other evidence should ensure that students have the necessary prior knowledge and skills.


Students must:

  • shoot an interview on camera
  • write a script for the news report
  • produce a news story
  • ensure that other staff (reporter etc.) provide the raw footage
  • select footage to use
  • write a script for the news report
  • assemble the news package.

Element 1

Students must shoot ONE interview to camera. Prior experience is essential.


The interview subject chosen must make a contribution that relates to the news angle.

PC 1.2

Students must direct others to shoot all interview footage listed in the range statement so that a complete news package can be assembled.


Microphone placement to ensure broadcast quality sound requires prior experience.

Students should be able to:

  • understand the need for pre-checks and monitoring of audio levels
  • identify unwanted audio elements in the environment
  • address any issues in the field (change location or microphone, use windsock etc.).

Element 2


Students must:

  • view the shot footage
  • select interview grabs, actuality and background visuals that will enable production of the news report.

Students do not have to edit themselves (see PCs 3.1, 3.3).


Intro must:

  • make the news angle clear to the audience
  • effectively introduce the story (grab audience interest, encapsulate the key facts etc.)
  • link to any following or associated visuals.


The voiceover must be support and enhance / explain the visuals over which it is delivered.


Students should ensure that the footage shot tells most of the story.


Language and structure must:

  • be appropriate and effective
  • appeal to the target audience
  • conform to station news style protocols.

Station news style protocols could be based on a local, regional or national television channel news style, or developed in a written brief by the teacher.

Element 3


Students must:

  • sort and organise material in a manner that enables video editors to assemble the news package quickly
  • provide an accurate shot list (time codes, frame references)
  • identify sound effects, visuals and relevant interview clips
  • obtain necessary extra graphics.


To meet production and editorial requirements, the assembled report must be:

  • balanced
  • legal
  • ethical
  • accurate
  • interesting to the viewer.


The item must include:

  • intro
  • cues (for tape roll, newsreader etc.)
  • outro
  • labelling.

The item must also meet duration requirements stated in the brief.

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