Film and Theatre Journalism

Dr Daniel Rosenthal

See this course profiled on the PKP blog!

Film

Reviewing a new play; interviewing a controversial movie director; investigating a theatre company’s funding crisis; blogging on Hollywood superhero franchises – typical assignments for film and theatre journalists. But what skills do writers and editors need to cover these art forms for newspapers, magazines and websites?

This course provides a practical introduction to film and theatre journalism, in five content areas: news stories, features, interviews, reviews and columns/blogs.

Course Objectives

To provide a practical grounding in film and theatre journalism, especially for students already majoring in film or theatre, or journalism/communications; students considering journalism as a career and/or keen to make progress in college journalism.

Through comparative analysis of exemplary articles in a range of UK and US publications, students will learn about the editorial priorities of trade (e.g. Variety) and consumer titles, including broadsheet newspapers (e.g. The Guardian) and specialist magazines (e.g. Empire). They will learn how to prepare for press conferences and research and conduct interviews with arts practitioners; how to generate and pitch feature ideas. They will write three graded assignments: a film review, a theatre news story and, as their term paper, a profile of a leading practitioner in film, theatre or another art form (e.g. dance, rock music).

There will also be three preparatory, midterm assignments (not counted towards final grade): a theatre review, a theatre news story; a profile of a theatre or film practitioner (based on a round-table interview with the subject).

One former Film and Theatre Journalism student used her PKP assignments to help secure a summer internship at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles; another used his in gaining a place on the M.S. (Magazine) program at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; a third became film and TV editor for The Daily Bruin at UCLA and interned for Variety; a fourth works for the As-Safir newspaper in Lebanon; a fifth became an arts and entertainment reporter on The Daily Californian at UC Berkeley immediately after completing this course.

Intended Audience

Students of Journalism, Communications, Media, Theatre, Film, Film Studies, English Literature. 

Previous Knowledge

A high standard of English composition; a keen interest in film, theatre and media, and, ideally, some previous experience of high school and/or college journalism.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills

Editing, interviewing, research and writing skills; media literacy.