Journalism for the Digital Age: Pre-University Arts and Media

Level 5 QQI Award


One Year


This course will equip the learner with the skills, knowledge and confidence for a career in Journalism in the digital era.  All aspects of the industry will be studied, including, making contacts, interviewing and the craft of writing.  Social media and traditional sources will be used to find out and publish news.  Learners will attain the know-how to get published in print and online and upon successful completion of this course, may progress to the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Journalism for the Digital Age at DFEi or may progress to Third Level Media and Arts courses through the Higher Education Links Scheme.

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate Established/ LCVP
  • Leaving Certificate Applied
  • Relevant Level 4 QQI Award
  • Mature applicants are welcome

Course Modules

  • Research Skills for Journalism
  • Writing Skills for Journalism
  • Technical Skills for Journalism
  • Media Analysis
  • Legal Practice and Procedures
  • Political Studies
  • Photographic Techniques
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Communications
  • Work Experience
Module Information

Module Information

Journalism for the Digital Age

Level 5 QQI Award: Journalism (5M2464)

Course Content: (Module Names and Codes)


Research Skills for Journalism (5N2443)

The basis of good journalism is thorough, careful research. If you need to find out more about a story, you will need to know who to ask and what to ask them. As part of this subject you will learn how to make contacts, ask the right questions and conduct an interview from start to finish. You will learn about developing a ‘nose’ for a good story and you will gain an understanding of how the analysis of raw data such as crime statistics can form a great article. Classes will be a blend of discussion, active research and group work.

Assessments: Two Assignments (60%) Project (40%).


Writing Skills for Journalism (5N2435)

The traditional skills of good, careful writing that can engage an audience and get a story across is vital for any journalist. Learners will spend classes writing news, opinion, features and reviews and also learn how to structure their writing, use good quotes and tailor their articles to different audiences, such as mainstream, alternative and tabloid. Learners will compose articles from start to finish and will benefit from consistent feedback. Learners will also spend time reading articles by great (and not great) journalists and will learn from their techniques and their mistakes.

Assessments: Portfolio/Collection of Work (70%)  Assignment (30%).


Technical Skills for Journalism (5N2463)

An article may be well researched and skilfully written but to be a great article it has to be perfectly edited. Learn how to restructure work so that it is sharp and focused. Write great headlines and captions, and pick the perfect photos to accompany all articles. Learn how to recognise good design and to understand how online and print publications appeal to an audience through the use of design and layout.  Classes will be spent editing articles for style and grammar, searching online picture libraries and applying design theory to practice.

Assessments: Two Assignments (60%) Project (40%).  


Legal Practice and Procedures (5N1394)

As a journalist or broadcaster, you must be aware of how the law applies to your day to day work. You might find yourself in the Central Criminal Court reporting on a murder trial, or if you do not adhere to media law you might find yourself in court as a defendant!  Learn about the operation of the Irish court system, from the District to the Supreme courts. Find out about defamation and contempt of court; two laws essential for anyone working in today’s media. Learn about areas of law such as privacy which restrict what the media can tell its audience. Classes will comprise lectures, discussion, audio visual experiences and group work.

Assessments: Two Assignments (60%) Examination - Theory (40%).


Media Analysis (5N1298)

If you have ever wondered why some stories dominate the headlines and other go under the radar, Media Analysis will help you to understand what makes a story newsworthy.  This component considers who owns and controls the media, who frames the message, and asks the question; how savvy are the audience? Are the audience easily manipulated, or can they identify media bias? You will also learn about current media legislation, and reflect on the legal, ethical and moral responsibilities of media practitioners. This module aims to make us better and more effective producers and users of media content.

Assessments: A Project (60%)  Examination – Theory (40%).


Desktop Publishing (5N0785)

Using industry standard software, learn the skills of desktop publishing. Create and produce single page, double page and multi-page documents containing text and graphic images suitable for professional/commercial publication. All aspects from layout to printing including work flow, colour modes, file types and pre-print preparation are covered. Desktop Publishing is an integral component of modern Journalism. It is also used for preparing items for digital publication.

Assessments:  A Portfolio/Collection of Work (70%) Examination - Theory (30%)


Political Studies (5N1837)

There is much interplay between the media and political worlds – the media provides a platform for politicians and political news and the political establishment recognises the media is an important channel of communication to the electorate. Journalists, therefore, need to be able to hold their own in mediating this critical area of everyday life, whether discussing stories of political interest in Ireland, Europe or further afield. Political Studies gives you the foundations upon which to build your knowledge of the political and to better equip you to practice in the media/political arena.

Assessments:  Two Assignments (60%) Examination – Theory (40%)  


Communications (5N0690)

Gain the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to communicate verbally and non-verbally in standard everyday tasks and work related situations, operating independently and under general supervision.  

Assessment:  Collection of Work (50%) Skills Demonstration (50%).


Work Experience (5N1356)

You will prepare for work placement in a relevant vocational area through an evaluation of your skills set, the development of a CV, and an understanding of current work place legislation. An integral part of this component is developing the skills required for a successful job search; therefore is it your responsibility to secure your own placement. On completion of your Work Placement of at least 10 days (or 60 hours) you will reflect, review and consider your future career options.

Assessment:  Collection of Work (60%)  Skills Demonstration (40%).


  • Level 5 QQI Award Journalism (5M2464)

Progression Opportunities

DFEi: Graduates may progress to the Level 6 QQI Advanced Certificate in Journalism for the Digital Age at DFEi.
Elsewhere: Graduates are eligible to apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes, at both Universities and Institutes of Technology.

This course has a strong record of progression with graduates going on to study Media at DCU, DIT and IADT. Many graduates return to DFEi for the second year of the Journalism course.

Progression Examples

BA in English, Media and Cultural Studies (DL821)

Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology

Bachelor of Arts (MH101)

BA in Media Studies (MH109)

National University of Ireland Maynooth

Bachelor of Arts (DN500)

University College Dublin

BA in Journalism (DT582)

Dublin Institute of Technology

BA in Media Studies (DC291)

Dublin City University

Career Paths

Graduates have progressed on to work in the print and digital media as freelance or staffing journalists, writing or editing content. Graduates also work in press offices and as print, design and layout assistants.

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly

John McKiernan

Journalism Graduate - Class of 2018

I enjoyed the variety of classes at DFEI as it opened lots of doors in Media, not just writing, which I was predominantly interested in. Since completing the course at DFEI I am now  doing a Degree in…

Read More

John McKiernan

Journalism Graduate - Class of 2018

I enjoyed the variety of classes at DFEI as it opened lots of doors in Media, not just writing, which I was predominantly interested in. Since completing the course at DFEI I am now  doing a Degree in Media Studies at IADT, something which I never thought possible. 

I work as a Tour Guide during the summer and my employer has now asked me to write blogs for them, which they pay me for! 

None of this would have been possible without my time at DFEI. I loved the course and the opportunity to pursue my passions. I found all the teachers have a wealth of experience and I have entered 2nd year in New Media with confidence and skills so I can hit the ground running. 

DFEI was  vital stepping stone for me and I am very grateful for my time there. 

Course Coordinator

Adrian Smyth

Adrian Smyth

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly