Course Description

Course Name

News Writing for Social Media – Lab

Session: VPGS1324

Hours & Credits

6 ECTS Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


1.    Course Description
There is an art to communicating effectively on social media, and not everyone gets it right.
This course is designed to help students polish their writing skills, not just for writing news, but specifically, news on social media.

Focusing mainly on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and TikTok, this course covers how people read online/on mobile and how to write effectively for the different platforms. It will provide practical guidance on how to increase discoverability, engagement and shareability. Although this is not a search engine optimization (SEO) course, some SEO will be discussed. However, it does not cover writing for websites such as Substack or Medium.

2.    Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
●    Write to get noticed in the right way.
●    Determine what to write about and where to find great creative ideas.
●    Write for their audience, not at them.
●    Catch the eye, hold attention and stop people scrolling.
●    Understand what makes a great tweet, Instagram caption, or Facebook post.
●    Search social media to find the right keywords and best hashtags.
●    Write strong pitches.
●    Use social media to for fact-checking, verification, and finding people. 
●    Attract and maintain attention.

3.    Reading Material
Required Materials
●    Anti-Social Media? The Impact on Journalism and Society (PDF in NEO)
o    Geere, Alan. "Welcome to the World of Newspapers 2018-style." pp. 92-97
o    Sambrook, Richard. "Rethinking the marriage of broadcast news and social media: 'It's complicated' " pp. 98-102
●    6 Ways to Make Your Social Media Posts More Accessible.
●    VandeHai, J., Allen, M., & Schwartz, R. (2022). Smart Brevity. Workman Publishing Company.
●    Lenz, L. Meditations on Axios’s smart brevity longform. Columbia Journalism Review. 
●    Dickey, C. (2022, September 15). The Axios Guide to Writing Well Is Neither Smart Nor Brief. The New Republic.,and%20rip%20across%20the%20page 
●    Warrick, Joby. (2023, August 21). 10 years after deadly chemical attack, Syria’s survivors seek justice. Washington Post. 
●    Smartphone or other mobile device with Internet access and the following apps—Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, TikTok, CapCut and Canva.

Recommended Materials
●    Light box, ring light, tripod, mobile phone holder, microphone, earphones (none of these are required, they’re just additional tools for making and editing vertical videos on your smartphone).

4.    Teaching methodology
This course will use a combination of lectures, discussion, case study analyses, and short videos from online sources. Because this is a lab, most of the learning will be hands-on. Therefore, very little reading or homework will be assigned outside of class.

There will be no quizzes, but there will be a midterm exam and a final exam. For the midterm exam, students will be given an article created by generative AI and instructed to identify duplicate phrases, poor writing construction, factual errors, incorrect sources, and hidden biases. The final exam will be a combination of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and essay questions. 

For their final project, students will write an article for based on the pitches that they workshop during sessions 3 and 4 and are chosen by the Expats editor. The article must include the following:

●    Headline 
●    Word count of 800 to 1,200
●    At least two verified and fact-checked sources from direct interviews or quotes
●    Two original photographs or copyright-free photographs sourced online.
●    A one or two sentence bio no more than 200 characters.
●    A portrait or head shot photograph.
●    A Facebook caption, an Instagram caption, and a tweet for the piece (hashtags are optional).

The final project will also have students create a vertical video based on that same article for Instagram. The video length must be between 40 seconds and 3 minutes. 


*Course content subject to change