Journalism Major - Bachelor of Communication Studies

Te Waha Nui 2

Out with the old, in with the news:
AUT Student Journalism site Te Waha Nui has a refresh.

Back when it all began, Te Waha Nui was nothing but a Wordpress blog. Now it’s a fully-grown version of a live news site that can cater to a multitude of demands.

This latest version of AUT’s student-specific website is a response to the ever-changing needs of both contributors and audience. The site has increased capacity for multimedia and aims to deliver an enhanced user experience.

All social media platforms are visible and accessible, enabling users to share stories with ease as well as engage with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Soundcloud channels.

For the full story and to visit the Te Waha Nui website, click here.
Today’s rapidly changing news media environment means we need journalists who know how to find, write and produce news using multimedia technologies, and who have a solid grounding in broad communication theory. Through the Journalism major in the Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS), you learn to write, illustrate and edit stories for professional news organisations, often beating the professionals to breaking stories for publications.

You gain experience in news reporting, different writing and production specialisations, bicultural reporting, cross-cultural reporting, news photography, media law and ethics. You learn on the job in our full-time newsroom, and will be encouraged to extend your skills with live reporting exercises. The core papers cover news gathering, news and feature writing, and court and local government reporting.

Elective papers include Radio Journalism, Television Journalism, Magazine Journalism, Photo Journalism, Editing and Design, Data Journalism, Māori & Pacific Media Industries, and Reporting the Pacific Region.

Key features

  • Includes real experience in different news outlets
  • Experience running a newsroom
  • Write, sub-edit and design stories for our award-winning Te Waha Nui newspaper and website and the Pacific Media Centre
  • Learn from lecturers who have worked in the industry and are researchers with international reputations

More information about the Bachelor of Communication Studies

Career opportunities 

  • News reporter for newspapers, magazines, television, radio or online media
  • Data journalist
  • Freelance journalist
  • Specialist writer
  • Production journalist
  • Web editor
  • Communications professional


Most papers last one semester and are worth 15 points. Students must complete 120 points each year (360 points for the entire degree). In each year students study core (compulsory) papers, and select other papers from a range of options.

Year 1
Students must successfully complete Principles of Journalism in Year 1 in order to progress to the Journalism prerequisite papers in Year 2.

Level 5:
COMM502 Interpersonal Communication (15 points)
COMM505 Image and Sound (15 points)
COMM506 Media Production Workshop (30 points)
COMM509 Media Communication I (15 points)
JOUR501 Principles of Journalism (15 points)
PHIL580 Applied Media Ethics (15 points)

SELECT a further 15 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies.

Years 2 and 3
In your second and third year you have many opportunities to contribute to the real world of news. This includes filing stories for different news outlets, experience of daily news journalism in our specialist media centre under the guidance of a media professional, and a two-week internship in a newsroom anywhere around the country. Editors know our students produce publishable work and strongly support our programme.

Year 2 papers
Level 6:
COMM601 Media Communication II (15 points)
COMM603 Intercultural Communication (15 points)
JOUR600 Journalism I: Structure, Form and Content (15 points)
JOUR601 Journalism II: Context, Audience and Reach (15 points)

SELECT a further 60 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. Students are recommended to take prerequisite papers from another major. If you wish to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 6 may be in your minor subject area.

Year 3 papers
Level 7:
COMM707 Media Communication III (15 points)
JOUR700 Journalism III: Depth, Speciality and Data (15 points)
JOUR701 Journalism IV: Investigations, Features and Profiles (15 points)
JOUR714 Journalism Law and Ethics (15 points)
JOUR715 Public Affairs Reporting (15 points)

SELECT a further 45 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. If you wish to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 7 may be in your minor subject area.

Level 5:
COMM507 Performance Communication (15 points)
COMM511 Introduction to Popular Culture (15 points)
MUSC500 Technology and Composition (15 points)
RADC501 Audio Production Techniques (15 points)
TVSP501 Screen Production Fiction I (15 points)

Level 6:
MARS603 Communications in Marketing, Advertising, Retailing, Sales (15 points)
MUSC600 Technology and Creative Expression (15 points)
TVSP600 Screen Production Fiction II (15 points)

Level 7:
ADVT773 Advanced Copywriting (15 points)
ADVT774 Selected Topics in Advertising Creativity (15 points)
ADVT775 Advanced Advertising Art Direction (15 points)
CIND703 Selected Topics in Creative Industries (15 points)
CIND706 Creative Marketplace (15 points)
CIND707 The Film Industries (15 points)
COMM703 Media and Politics (15 points)
COMM704 Promotional Culture (15 points)
COMM705 The Music Industries (15 points)
COMM710 Performance for Camera (15 points)
DIGM705 Selected Topics in Digital Media (15 points)
HIST770 Popular Monsters (15 points)
JOUR703 Data Journalism (15 points)
JOUR704 News Editing and Design (15 points)
JOUR705 Magazine Journalism (15 points)
JOUR706 Radio Journalism (15 points)
JOUR707 Photo Journalism (15 points)
JOUR708 Television Journalism (15 points)
JOUR709 Selected Topics in Journalism (15 points)
JOUR711 Reporting the Pacific Region (15 points)
JOUR712 Maori and Pasifika Media Industry (15 points)
MARS705 Trends and Innovations (15 points)
PUBL700 Communication in a Business Environment (15 points)
PUBL703 Selected Topics in Public Relations (15 points)
PUBL706 Sponsorship and Promotion (15 points)
RADC704 Radio and Society (15 points)
RADC705 Selected Topics in Radio (15 points)
TVSP702 Screenwriting: Drama (15 points)
TVSP703 Screenwriting: Documentary (15 points)
TVSP704 Advanced Studio Production (15 points)
TVSP705 Screen Interviews and Production (15 points)
TVSP707 Screen Production Management (15 points)
TVSP708 Selected Topics in Television and Screen Production (15 points)

Click here to view programme structure and paper outlines.
Additional course information can also be found here.

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all requirements and availability of papers.

Last updated: 26-Jan-2018 7.27am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.