Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

English for Journalists & Writers

Main Topics of Study

English Grammar – The Basic Rules

  • Nouns and pronouns (WH – p3)
  • Verbs, adverbs
  • Adjectives
  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions and interjections

Spelling – Selecting the Right Word

  • Making the right choice
  • Words and their meanings
  • Keep it simple – fudge factor
  • Words with double meanings
  • Anonyms and synonyms

Punctuation and Beyond

  • Four main stops
  • Dot colon and semicolon
  • Other marks – the dash, the slash and hyphen
  • Apostrophes

Written English

  • Sentence construction (HE- p.17)
  • Active and positive (HE – p.22)
  • Writing with nouns and verbs (HE – p44)
  • Paragraphs
  • Writing styles
  • Choosing the right style for the right platform

English in the Newsroom

  • The structure of the newsroom
  • Copydesk
  • Newsdesk
  • Text Editor
  • Copy Taster
  • News Editor

Practical Application of English to a News Story

  • Context – making a newspaper, radio bulletin, television programme or web based artifact (HE – p.2)
  • News values, judgement and the writing process
  • The news lead
  • Reported speech
  • Direct quotes
  • The art of the precis
  • Bringing dead prose to life

Cliches, Jargon, Mixed Metaphors and Worse

  • Cliches
  • Metaphors
  • Similes
  • Redundancies (HE – p83)
  • Slang (WH 36 & 66 – & HE – pps57 & 246)
  • Wasteful Words
  • Stale expressions (HE – p87)

English in the Editing and Production Process

  • The news process and editing structure
  • The intro in print and text
  • The intro/link – audio and video
  • The intro online
  • The home page – internet and online
  • The headline – text, audio and online (HE – p204)

Spoken English for the Media

  • English for audio and video
  • Approaches to conversational English
  • Approaches to telling, not writing a story
  • Adapting written English for spoken presentation

English for Text, Online and Small Screen Devices

  • The home page
  • deconstructing text and other content
  • Headlines, captions and textboxes
  • Key words and their importance
  • Text for mobiles
  • Metadata, text and web optimisation

Specialist writing skills

  • Sports writing
  • Business News
  • Politics
  • Arts, Music and Entertainment
  • Critical Writing

Recommended Reading

Main Text:

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Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers - Harold Evans (2000) - (Pimlico)

English for Journalists - Wynford Hicks (2007) - revised edition (Routledge)

Indicative Text:

Alternative Text and Further Reading:

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Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: 150th Anniversary Edition - Peter Roget and George W. Davidson (Jul 2006) - (Penguin )

Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus - Kipfer, Barbara Ann – editor ( 3rd Edition 2005) - (Dell)

Eats Shoots and Leaves - Lynn Truss (2003)  - (Profile Books)

The Broadcast Journalism Workbook - Rowlands, Sarah and Hudson, Gary (2006) - (Longman)

She Literally Exploded – An Infuriating Phrasebook - Christopher Howse & Richard Preston (2007) - (Telegraph Books)

OUP (1984) The Oxford Guide to the English Language (Oxford University Press)

Fowler’s Modern English Usage - R. W. Burchfield (Sept 2004) - (Re-Revised 3rd Edition)

Quite Literally - Wynford Hicks (2004) - (Routledge)