Basic Journalism: News & Opinion

  • Upcoming classes

    • Sept. 4 - Oct. 4, 2023 Mon. & Wed., 18:00-19:00

    • Sept. 12 - Oct. 12, 2023 Tues. & Thur., 17:00-18:00

our offer 2

Basic Journalism is a five-week course allowing students to deliver their first articles for Harbingers’ Magazine.

During the course, you will learn the principles of high-quality journalism while practising planning, researching, and writing on subjects of your choice under the guidance of practising award-winning journalists from the UK and around the world.

Our goal is to teach students not only what is necessary to commence their path to journalism but also to equip them with knowledge and understanding of the media industry, allowing them to become more conscious consumers of news and less susceptible to misinformation.

By the end of the course — if everything goes according to plan — you will have published at least two articles.

Entry requirements

The course is open to students aged 14-17, regardless of their country of residence. To be able to take advantage of the course, you should have a good command of English and a computer with unrestricted access to high-speed broadband.


The course consists of ten one-hour-long sessions over the course of five weeks. All sessions take place on Google Meets.


If you are a refugee student or come from an underserved community, you may be eligible for the fee to be waived. For details, see our Scholarships page – our aim is that at least 25% of students receive our classes free of charge. Furthermore, the best students receive monthly financial scholarships.

Price & scholarships

Basic Journalism: News & Opinion cost is £600 per person. The fee may be reduced or waived if you qualify for one of our scholarship schemes.

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meet your instructors

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    Tatev Hovhannisyan

    Europe & Eurasia Editor, openDemocracy
    2022 Emma Goldman Award

    Tatev Hovhannisyan

    Europe & Eurasia Editor, openDemocracy
    2022 Emma Goldman Award

    An Armenian investigative journalist and editor, Tatev is currently openDemocracy’s Europe and Eurasia editor on the Tracking the Backlash project. She has 13 years of editorial experience, and her writing has appeared in numerous international media outlets, including the BBC, Euronews, and the Guardian. Tatev is also a lecturer at the Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences.

    In 2022, she won an Emma Goldman Award for innovative research on feminist and inequality issues in Europe – the first time a journalist has won the award.

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    Sarah Hussain

    Specialist reporter
    2022 NQJ Media Law and Ethics in Practice Award

    Sarah Hussain

    Specialist reporter
    2022 NQJ Media Law and Ethics in Practice Award

    Before joining the OXSFJ, Sarah was a Specialist Reporter at Archant Media Group’s Eastern Daily Press, where she covered the cost of living crisis, deprivation and mental health, and the war in Ukraine. With almost a decade of experience in the industry, Sarah holds the Level 6 National Qualification in Journalism and received the 2022 NQJ Media Law and Ethics in Practice Award. She conducted high-profile interviews with Liz Truss, Jeremy Corbyn amongst others.

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    Stanislaw Skarzynski

    UK Correspondent, Gazeta Wyborcza
    Grand Press News Award 2016

    Stanislaw Skarzynski

    UK Correspondent, Gazeta Wyborcza
    Grand Press News Award 2016

    Since 2019, Stanislaw has served as the UK and international affairs correspondent for Poland’s largest newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza.

    During a career spanning over 15 years, he was a co-founder and deputy editor-in-chief of the NGO-run fact-checking and investigative journalism outlet, and a managing editor of the Gazeta Wyborcza opinion section. His articles appeared in Die Welt, Le Figaro, and The Diplomat; he also commented for the BBC.

    In 2021, Stanislaw launched Harbingers’ Magazine and, in the following year, The Oxford School for the Future of Journalism.


As we take a very practical approach to teaching, each 60-minute session will be run as a workshop focused on interaction and discussion, with traditional lecturing reduced to a necessary minimum.

Each session will focus on different journalistic elements as a base theory adjoined with student practice to develop their writing through challenges, as provided in more detail below.


  • Session 1: What is Journalism?

    Theory: The very foundations of journalism: understanding the purpose of media, what is truth, maintaining ethical conduct, due impartiality, the pluralism of the media and its accessibility for audiences. Understanding different types of audiences and media outlets – from the BBC to the Oxford Mail and from The London Review of Books to Vice and The Mirror. Where does Harbingers’ Magazine stand against the background of the global media industry?

    Practice: Create your Harbingers’ Magazine profile page.

  • Session 2: News in the information age

    Theory: Deciding what media is important amongst the modern wave of data and online information widely available. The notion of ‘newsworthiness’. Differences between press releases and other sources of information. Considering the importance of language in a news article. 

    Practice: You are a reporter, and your editor approaches your desk. “Hey, look, this piece of rubbish has just landed. Sadly, we should cover it”. He hands you a press release and asks for a 140-word news article.

  • Session 3: Legal framework of Journalism

    Theory: Journalists, as people representing the public, have certain privileges and responsibilities. You will learn about the legal framework as well as the ethics of journalism employed at Harbingers’ Magazine.


  • Session 4: Structure of news articles

    Theory: How to structure a news article correctly. The impartiality standards required in writing news articles. Differences between news and opinion writing.

    Practice: You will be asked to outline your first news article.

  • Session 5: Research for news writing

    Theory: As a reporter, you have to make it your job to research and understand the subject you are writing about. This does not mean you should know everything but do the work to find out and explain the story whether that means interviewing experts in the subject area you chose to report on.

    How to find good sites/organisations providing factual information, and not relying on Wikipedia for knowledge as it is not always accurate as anyone can edit the pages.

    Being mindful of social media and the age of ‘fast information’, you should always be cautious and double-check content seen online before redistributing. How false information could affect the credibility of the news organisation.

    Practice: Research the facts and background to your story and pitch your idea in an editorial to show why it should be run and why it’s interesting. Share the most important and interesting parts of your article, what makes it different?

  • Session 6: News writing - part one

    Theory: The difference between news and opinion. How to conduct proper research and structure a news piece. How to organise sources of information, such as press releases, personal stories, and experts. How to utilise social media in breaking news stories and developing content from press releases and interviews.

    Practice: Write your article beginning with the introduction, putting the most important/new information at the top, then supporting it with facts and background information from your research.

  • Session 7: News writing - part two

    Theory: Following the structure of the article and employing good writing practices. Making decisions on vocabulary, reported speech, and attribution of quotes. How to lead with important information first and bring in sources and background.

    Practice: Finish your first news article (up to 300 words). Edit your piece, and work on making a good headline and your introduction stronger.


  • Session 8: How to pick an idea for your opinion piece

    Theory: Anyone can write an opinion piece, but writing one that will be accepted by a newspaper and actually read by the audience is a challenge. So how do we pick ideas and write compelling opinion pieces?

    Practice: Outlining your first opinion piece.

  • Session 9: Structure of an opinion piece

    Theory: What are the three parts of every opinion piece? How to outline a well-informed and clear argument.

    Practice: You will structure your opinion article and research all the information relevant to your argument.

  • Session 10: Writing an opinion piece

    Theory: What should you know before starting opinion writing? Deciding on vocabulary and tone makes all the difference when you want to persuade a reader to take your point of view under consideration. The tutor will share tips that will help you develop this approach.

    Practice: You will write your opinion article.

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