Malawi Institute of Journalism Handbook

    1.0   WELCOME

    The Malawi Institute of Journalism (the MIJ) wishes to welcome each of you as you start a journey into pursuing a rewarding career in Journalism. This handbook is to serve as a useful guide to answer many of your questions.

    You will be responsible for this information, so it is important to read the entire handbook and digest its contents carefully.

     Definitions of certain words as used in this handbook:

    The word “parent” also means “guardian” unless otherwise stated.

    An administrator’s title, such as Media Training Manager, tutor, Media training assistant or refers to the individual’s designation as per specific job description unless otherwise stated.

    The word “policy” shall refer to the premise that guides MIJ’s crucial operations.

    The term “school grounds” includes the school facility, property within the jurisdiction of the school or school premises,

    The term “school facilities” includes school buildings, school-owned or school operated vehicles or any equipment entrusted to the school by stakeholders.

    The term “school activities” means all school activities in which students are involved whether they are school- sponsored or
    school- approved, whether they are an event or an activity, or whether they are held on or off school grounds.

    The term “assessment “means evaluation of students work through class participation course work assignments and examinations, 




    In line with its motto, it is the philosophy of the MIJ to provide quality education for its students within the capabilities of
    the management. It will therefore endeavor to create a respected, results oriented and safe environment so as to support the cognitive, affective, social and professional development


    The Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) was set to improve the quality of journalism in Malawi, by promoting media independence and professionalism. The MIJ aims at achieving its goals by providing both short courses and long term courses to individuals and institutions. MIJ also offers customized training courses in emerging social and economic issues. MIJ has qualified and experienced personnel in various fields of journalism.

    The Malawi Institute of Journalism as a leading training institution for professional journalism has its own radio station and an online newspaper, to offer hands on experience.  MIJ is committed to maintaining excellence in developing media independence and professionalism. As part of the ongoing development, periodically reviews its curriculum to cater for the fast growing industry. MIJ currently offers a Certificate and a Diploma in Journalism Programme.

    Enrollment requirements Certificate Programme requirements;

    Applicants should be holders of a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), with strong English skills and an interest in
    writing and current events. On top of having a credit in English, they must also have at least 3 credits in any humanities subjects. Applicants have to apply for a place and enclose a copy of the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE)/notification of results or its equivalent.

    Diploma Programme requirements;

    Applicants into this programme should be holders of a tertiary qualification; either a certificate in journalism or a Degree or
    Diploma from a recognized institution. Those with at least two years work experience in the media or a media related field are also eligible for this programme.


    This policy relates to all fees and charges payable to Malawi Institute of Journalism by students for the use of its facilities and
    the provision of its services. This includes tuition fees, examinations, library, studio facilities and other miscellaneous fees and charges as determined by MIJ from time to time.

    MIJ will at all times seek to be sympathetic to, and understanding of, each individual student’s financial circumstances. However, for MIJ to do so, students must engage in dialogue with the Course Manager/Course Administrators if financial difficulties are being experienced.

    MIJ will take proper action to enforce settlement of debt for outstanding fees and legal action may be taken against all students
    who fail to honor agreements, or have failed to pay balances by the end of the academic year.

    5.1 Tuition fees

    As part of the registration process, each student is required to sign a declaration acknowledging that they are personally liable to
    MIJ for payment of tuition and related fees. In the event of any fee-paying body not making payment on their behalf, each student undertakes to make payment of the full amount due to MIJ. This declaration states “I acknowledge that I am personally liable to MIJ for the payment of tuition fees. In the event of any fee-paying authority or other person or body not making payment on my behalf, I undertake to make payment of the full amount due.

    In the event of a query or dispute in relation to the actual tuition and related fees invoiced (as opposed to the method of payment or payment difficulties), please contact the Course Manager.

     It should be noted that Media Training tutors are not empowered to vary fees or agree payment schedules with students on
    behalf of MIJ

    MIJ follows the modular system. This means that new modules (courses) are taken and completed in one semester. The fees are charged per semester to cater for the modules offered in that particular semester. The fees are currently at MK230, 000/semester for the Certificate and MK250, 000/semester for the Diploma programme. Custom made courses are K45 000 per module. Fees may be adjusted at any time depending on the prevailing economic situation.

    Fees shall be paid in full before or at the start of the course. MIJ Management shall however consider payment by installments with our payment plan; this is the minimum requirement that MIJ can offer.

    Payment of not less than half of the total amount for that particular Semester at the commencement of the semester i.e.
    before the student enrolls

    The rest of the money for the semester is paid by equal installments in the subsequent months after the commencement of the
    semester. Failure to make payment on the assigned times may attract a penalty.

    Fees shall be for registration, tuition and examinations only. Other expenses such as those listed below shall be met by the students:

    ·    Lunch

    ·    Stationery

    ·   Text Books

    ·  Accommodation

    ·    Transport

    ·   ID cards

    To facilitate learning students must have a Camera, for photojournalism, a Recorder for broadcast media News production, and have access to personal computers where possible. These are basic pieces of equipment that a journalist must have. 

    5.2 Important Note on Tuition Fees:

    All fees are non-refundable, non-transferable and may be reviewed/ adjusted from time to time without consultation with students.

    A minimum Deposit of 50% of the total fees must be paid before attending classes only in the first month of the semester.

    A student who does not pay fees or part of it WILL NOT BE REGISTERED.


    Closing date for paying last installment of tuition fees is the month end of the third month after school commences, i.e. if school
    opens in January closing date for settling fees balances will be the month end of March, etc.

    Students who do not settle their fees balances by the time examinations start WILL NOT BE



    6.1 Daily Class attendance

    Class attendance is mandatory. This means that students are expected to be in class at the scheduled times and make attendance
    a top priority. Only through attendance and class participation do students achieve the benefits of the education programme. 

    Participating in class discussions helps the student develop an appreciation for the view and abilities if others. This is a crucial
    attribute for a people intensive profession like journalism. Forming the habit of regular class attendance is a legitimate class objective. Learning that has been lost due to an absence can never be replaced. 

    Since class participation is an important aspect of evaluation, a substantial portion of the student’s final grade is based on the
    student’s involvement in course activities. Students should therefore only be absent for legitimate reasons.

    Any student who misses classes frequently for reasons that are not genuine may be asked to repeat or be excluded from examination and from the programme. Planned absences can only be approved by the Course Manager. 

    6.2 Course work / continuous assessment

    Continuous assessment plays an important role in shaping a student’s learning. It helps both the tutor and the student to identify strengths and weaknesses in the learning styles and strategies. It also helps the tutors identify ways to help a student improve and enhance learning. 

    Course work is done through specified tasks given as class work, home work, group work or long term assignments. This work can be in an essay form, quiz, oral presentations practical work, tests, or mid – semester examinations. The importance of this kind of assessment cannot be over emphasized. 

    6.3 Portfolio

    As part of assessment a student is required to produce a portfolio of practical work that has been done on their own initiative, which forms a grade with other practicals like attachment. This could be a Documentary for TV or Radio, a feature for a newspaper etc. The portfolio should be submitted to the Course Manager or the centre coordinator at the end of the reading week to be assessed together with attachment at Certificate level, and as part of continuous assessment at Diploma level. 

    6.4 Student Union

    The MIJ Student Union is organized for the purpose of sponsoring extracurricular activities and promoting school spirit in all
    functions. Union members seek students’ active support and enthusiasm for the development of a wide variety of activities. 

    6.5 Clubs

    There are a number of clubs available for student participation. Students are encouraged to join at least one club.

    6.6 Resource Centre/Library /computer lab

    This is open throughout the school hours. All students require cards and identities to borrow materials. Once inside students
    are supposed to strictly follow all the library rules and regulations.


    Attendance and identification

    Candidates writing examinations are responsible for arriving at the right time. They must have their identification
    cards in their possession. Forgetfulness or inadvertently arriving late cannot be considered acceptable excuses.

    Only currently registered students who have finished paying their tuition fees will be permitted to write the final exam.

    Examination Process

    The doors of the examination room will be Closed 15 Minutes before the start of the examination. Candidates arriving late after
    exams have commenced will not be allowed to sit for that particular paper.

    Rules and regulations

    ·    Candidates must not begin the examination or attempt to read the examination questions until instructed to do so.

    ·   Candidates once having entered cannot leave the exam room before completing and submitting the exam, the use of bathrooms should be done before entering the exam room.

    ·   Candidates must remain seated and may not leave the examination room during the last 15 minutes of the examination session.

    ·    At the close of the examination period, candidates must stop writing immediately. The Invigilator may seize the papers of candidates who fail to observe this requirement, and a penalty may be imposed at the discretion of the invigilation.

    ·      Candidates must submit all their work, according to the instructions of the invigilator, including all materials and a copy of the examination paper with their name and student ID number written on it. Unused examination booklets may not be taken from the examination room.

    ·   A candidate who leaves before the examination is over must hand in all completed and attempted work, notes made during the exam, and a copy of the examination paper with their name and student ID number on

    ·    Talk or any form of communication between candidates is absolutely forbidden. No information of any kind is to be written on the question paper or on scrap paper for the purpose of assisting other candidates. Responses to questions must not be done in an exaggerated way or in a manner that will involve transmission of information to others.

    ·    Candidates must remain seated during the examination period. A candidate needing to speak to the invigilator (e.g. to ask for ruler, additional papers or to request permission to leave the examination room for any reason) should indicate by raising his or her hand.

    ·  Questions concerning possible errors, ambiguities or omissions in the examination paper must be directed to the invigilator who will investigate them through the proper channels. The invigilator is not permitted to answer questions other than those concerning the examination paper.

    Materials and aids

    Candidates must not use or attempt to use any improper source of information. No candidates for an examination may bring into
    the examination room any books, notes or other material containing information pertaining to the examination unless the examiner has given instructions that such material will be allowed and this instruction is specified on the examination paper. Any item brought into the examination room is subject to inspection.

    ·   No electronic or communication devices will be allowed in the examination room, including cell phones, recorders etc. Calculators are not allowed unless specified by the instructor and indicated on the examination paper.

    ·    Except for bottled water, no food or drink is allowed in the examination room. Candidates with health problems that warrant relaxation of this regulation should provide medical documentation to the Course Manager prior to the beginning of the examination. Such students should restrict themselves to those items and packaging that will least distracts other examinees.

    Letters of excuse

    ·    All letters should be addressed to the Course Manager

    ·   Letters of excuse are tendered when a member of the family has died or was ill and this affected the student in some way.

    · Students given special assignments by their employer during examinations – a letter must come from their employers.

    ·    Students, who miss an examination for valid medical or compassionate reasons, can re-sit the examination without penalty at the next scheduled sitting, but students who miss examination without authorization or due to fees balances, will have to sit for deferred examinations at a fee.  Currently the fees for deferred examinations are K6, 500.00 per module.


    This policy describes the general principles that guide the MIJ’s assessment practices.  The policy may change from time to time to align both formative and summative evaluation with current demands of the media industry.

    Each module will be assessed in the most appropriate manner as follows;

    Theory based modules, the grade will constitute of 40% course work assignments and 60% of written examination.

    Practical based modules will constitute of 60% class assignments and practical and 40% of written exams.

    A grade that determines the award (Final grade) will constitute of 75% of the average grade from all modules and 25 %
    Practical/Attachments for the Certificate program and 25% Research Project for the Diploma program.

    8.1 Assessment

    i.   Semester Assessment

    For all semester results; a student will only be awarded a:

    PASS if he/she has passed all the required courses/modules in that semester- a student is supposed to take a minimum
    of FOUR modules a semester 

    FAIL if he/she has failed any course/module, in this case a student will be required to sit for supplementary exams if the
    grade is between 35%-39% and will be required to repeat the course if the grade is less than 35%.

    ii. Final Assessment

    This assessment combines all the courses/modules for the whole programme to come up with a final grade.

    A grade that determines the award (Final grade) will constitute of 75% of the average grade from all courses and 25 % Practical/Attachments for the Certificate programme and 25% Research Project for the Diploma programme.

    To qualify for a Diploma, students must complete and pass all the prescribed courses in the programme including the PROJECT.

    To qualify for a Certificate, students must complete and pass all the prescribed courses and the Attachment/Practical.

    8.2 The Grading System

    The following grading system is used:

    Grade (%)



    Undoubted Failure


    Marginal Failure







    Pass with Credit


    Marginal Distinction


    Undoubted Distinction

    iii.      Awards-
    These are the exclusive mandate of the ACADEMIC COMMITTEE of the MIJ and are done following the guidelines below: 

    Pass with Distinction

    To be awarded a pass with Distinction, a student will be required to score minimum average of 70% or above and must also fulfill the following requirements

    Certificate in Journalism

    Distinction Passes (70 -100%) in all Core modules AND the Practical; the other modules should be credits (60% or above).

    Diploma in Journalism

    Distinction Passes (70 -100%) in all Core modules including the PROJECT the other modules should be credits (60% or above).

    Pass with Credit

    To be awarded a pass with Credit, a student will be required to score an average of 60% or above and must also fulfill the following minimum requirements;

    Certificate in journalism

    Credit passes (60-69%) in at all Core modules AND the Practical the other  modules should be good passes (50% or above).

    Diploma in Journalism

    Credit passes (60-69%) in all Core modules including the PROJECT the other modules should be good passes (50% or above).


    To be awarded a pass, a student will be required to score a minimum mark of 40% in all the courses at any level.

    Certificate in journalism

    Pass (40%- 59%) in all modules and the Practical/Attachments

    Diploma in Journalism

    Passes (40-59%) in all modules including the Project


     A student is considered as failed if a student has scored an average of less than 40% or has scored less than 40 % in a number
    of modules as follows

    Certificate in Journalism

    If a student fails more than four modules will be considered as having failed the Certificate course and will have to repeat the whole programme if they want to proceed to Diploma.

    If a student fails any module with a grade less than 35% will be required to repeat the module

    Diploma in Journalism

    If a student fails the research project and more than four modules will be considered as having failed the Diploma course.

    If a student fails any module with a grade less than 35% will be required to repeat the course/module.

    8.3 Supplementary Exams

    A student at any level could be allowed to sit for supplementary examinations in any module up to a maximum of four
    modules, if the grade is between 35-39%.

    8.4 Examination Fees

    Examination fees apply only to those students who miss the scheduled examinations for some reason. These are revised from time to time and the following are the current rates:

    Re marking                          K7000.00/subject

    Remarking the project       K20,000.00

    Repeating Module       K45 000.00/subject/semester

    8.5 Remarking

    Where a student is dissatisfied with the grade received in the final examination, she/he may request remarking. This request
    has to be made within a week of receiving the unofficial results. The fee for remarking is indicated under examination fees.

    Requests for remarking should be put in writing and submitted to the Course Manager, approved by the Executive Director. The
    request for marking can only be honored if your performance in class and in the continuous assessment is satisfactory and your class attendance regular. Your request will not be entertained once the official results are released. 

    8.6 Examination results

    All things considered, unofficial examination results should be expected four weeks after the end of the examination. 

    8.7 Students with disabilities

    Currently the institution does not have a set policy for students with disabilities. However the MIJ has ever given to students with disabilities but have an interest in journalism, the kind of assistance that is within the institution’s capacity to do so. 


    This section of the handbook is an extension of the board policy and a reflection of the goals and objectives of the Institution.
    The board, administration and employees expect students to conduct themselves in a manner fitting to their age level and maturity and with respect and consideration for the rights of others. 

    9.1 Respect

    Respect for authority – every student has a right to be taught and to be heard by those in authority. But let us remember that
    every right goes with responsibility.

    Respect for rules, regulations and established procedures – these are put there as controls, checks and balances to avoid chaos. Let us respect them. 

    Respect for all staff – Students are expected to treat teachers, employees, students, with respect and courtesy. Disrespect
    for any member of staff will have serious consequences. 

    Respect for property – show respect for the property of the institution, staff and fellow students. Do not keep or take what does not belong to you. The most sensible thing is to surrender it to the class rep who will take it to the Course Manager or centre coordinators. 

    Respect for non personnel – show respect to visitors and guests who visit the MIJ. Practice what you learn by respecting
    other people’s right to be different from you. 

    Respect for the profession – the training you get from MIJ is supposed to prepare you for the employment and employable
    behavior. Therefore use your time at the MIJ to practice employable behavior like punctuality and keeping to deadlines. E.g. be on time for classes and other activities, dress decently, submit assignments in time. 

    9.2 Abuse

    Students may not use abusive language, profanity or obscene gestures or language. 

    Bullying of any kind will not be tolerated. Anyone found/reported bullying will be subjected to stiff disciplinary action. 

    Cell phones are not allowed inside the classes or other teaching settings unless they are switched off. Using a telephone in
    class is tantamount to human rights abuse. Use break time or any other free time to make phone calls. 

    Substance abuse should be avoided at all times. Smoking, drinking or bringing alcoholic beverages into the campus is strictly
    prohibited. Any student found drinking; drunk, smoking Indian hemp or tobacco will be suspended. A student coming to attend classes while drunk will be subjected to disciplinary actions. 

    9.3 Dress and Deportment

    While it is appreciated that there is freedom of dress in the country, the nature of the journalism profession demands that a
    journalist should look presentable at all times. We trust that students will exercise prudence in their choice of clothes to wear. Clothes that are too revealing or scruffy dent the image of the profession. 

    Follow these guidelines in choosing what to wear. Avoid beach type clothing – it is suitable only for the beach

    Under garments should not be visible Bare midriffs are not appropriate

    Hats, toques and bandanas are not allowed

    Clothing with inappropriate slogans or graphics is not acceptable

    Sunglasses should not be worn in the classroom 

    9.4 Absence from classes

    Please notify the Course Manager/Centre Coordinator in goodtime if you are unable to fulfill your assignments or write examinations in good time because of illness. If you have been instructed by the doctor to rest, BRING A MEDICAL DOCUMENT OR A NOTE FROM THE DOCTOR BEFORE THE EXAMS AND NOT AFTER. 

    9.5 Visitors

    Never take friends or personal guests into the classroom. Attend to all visitors outside when you are free. 

    9,6  Discipline

    We are proud that ever since its inception the MIJ has had students who consistently display self discipline and good citizenship.
    We would like to encourage you to keep it up. In some cases however, misbehavior occurs and this will be treated accordingly. 

    The rules and regulations contained in this handbook are in effect while students are on school grounds, or on property within the jurisdiction of the school; while on school-owned and/or school-operated vehicles or chartered buses; while attending or engaged in school activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school or involves students or staff. 

    A violation of a school policy, rule, regulation or student handbook may result in disciplinary action and may affect a student’s
    eligibility to participate in various school activities. 

    Students are expected to comply with and abide by the school rules, regulations and student handbook. Students who fail to abide by the school district’s policies, rules, regulations and student handbook may be disciplined for conduct which disrupts or interferes with the education program; conduct which disrupts the orderly and efficient operation of the school district or school activity; conduct which disrupts the rights of other students to obtain their education or to participate in school activities; or
    conduct which interrupts the maintenance of a disciplined atmosphere. 

    Discipline procedures

    The class rep to report the case to the class tutor The class l tutor to report the case to Media Training Manager/Centre Coordinator/ Course Administrator

    The Course Manager/Centre Coordinator/ Course Administrator to summon the concerned student to appear before two or three
    tutors who then decide what punitive measures to take.  
    Disciplinary measures include, but are not
    limited to:

    ·   Removal from the classroom,

    ·     Suspension

    ·   Probation

    ·     Expulsion.

    Discipline can also include prohibition from accessing school’s facilities such as the computer lab, the studios etc. The discipline imposed is based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and the student’s record. 

    Students who are suspended from the institution cannot be on school property and cannot participate in any school activity. 

    The school reserves and retains the right to modify, eliminate or establish school policies, rules, regulations and student handbook provisions as circumstances warrant. Students are expected to know the contents of the handbook and comply with it. Students or parents/guardians with questions or concerns may contact the School Office for information about the current enforcement of the policies, rules, regulations or student handbook of the school district.  


    A student who becomes ill or is injured at school must notify the school office as soon as possible. Upon assessment, the school
    office will take the necessary action.  While the school is not responsible for treating medical emergencies, employees may administer emergency or minor first aid if possible. The school will attempt to notify the parents where necessary. 

    10.1 Health and Safety

    The health and safety of students and employees is always prioritized. In case of any developing health hazard, the school office
    should be notified immediately. The school office should take necessary action to address the concern. 

    10.2 Sexual Abuse and Harassment of Students by Employees

    The school does not tolerate employees to physically or sexually abusing or harassing students. Students who are physically or
    sexually abused or harassed by an employee should notify the Course Manager, parents, or another employee who ever they may feel comfortable with. In an event of sexual abuse and harassment allegations against an employee; the school will designate an independent investigator to look into the allegations. 

    Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to:

    ·  Sexual acts involving a student

    ·    Intentional sexual behavior

    ·    Sexual harassment

    Sexual harassment is defined as behavior such as but
    not limited to: 

    ·   Unwelcome sexual advances

    ·   Requests for sexual favors

    ·   Other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of the student’s education benefits

    ·   When submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting that student.

    10.3 Death

    In an event of death of student during breaks or semester time; the school is supposed to be notified. During semester time, the school encourages students to pay the last respect by attending the funeral. Where transport is required to facilitate the logistical requirements to attend the funeral, the school provides such transport as required. The school is however not mandated to provide more than this.

     11.0 PRIVACY

    It is essential that the MIJ operates within frameworks which respect people’s right to privacy, fairness and yet allow investigations on matters which are in the public interest.

    Private behavior, correspondence and conversation should not be brought into the public domain unless there is a clear public
    interest. The mere fact that other parts of the media have reported private behavior is not itself sufficient justification for MIJ students to report it. 


    Reporting of any grievance should follow proper procedures and should always be documented including evidence where necessary.

    All students should lodge their written complaints through the students union who will take the complaint to the Media Training Manager where the Media Training Manager is not a concerned party. When the Media Training Manager is a
    concerned party the written complaints should be forwarded to the Executive Director. 
    All grievances should have all relevant evidence to be made with submission.


    An academic calendar is produced every academic year. It highlights important activities and dates. Every student should ensure
    that they obtain one and keep it close for reference. 

      14.0 IMPORTANT TIPS!




    ·    Concentrate on your tutor as she /he lectures

    ·    Tune out noise and talking

    ·    Listen for the main ideas

    ·    Focus on the 5W’s and 1 H: – What? Why? Where? When? Who? How?


    ·   Listen 80% and write 20% of the time

    ·   Do not write down everything

    ·   Record the main ideas and supporting facts use your own words as far as possible

    ·   Keep your notes organized


    ·   Study more regularly for shorter periods. This often works better than one long study and cramming session

    ·   After school, quickly review your notes for that day

    ·   Highlight important points and add notes and explanations if necessary

    ·    Apply what you have learned as soon as possible

    ·    Study with a friend. Ask each other questions and simulate situations that you are likely to meet in your course of work e.g. interviewing a source, reporting for TV or Radio



    ·  If possible find your own quiet place to study

    ·  Keep your workplace clean and uncluttered. This will help you locate study material easily

    ·  Make sure you have good lighting, a straight chair, and fresh air

    ·   Quiet background music may help to keep you focused


    · Loud TV or Radio

    · When you are hungry

    · With a bed close by

    · At a place with a lot of distractions

    · When you are feeling sleepy


    Make an effort to know what type of a test you will take(essay, multiple choice, etc)

    Set up a study schedule and review everything well before the test

    Write out likely questions and answer them Get enough rest the night before the test

    Come to the test prepared (bring pens pencils calculator if necessary)


    Read each question carefully

    Before looking at the alternative/possible answers, try to form the answer in your mind

    Read all the answers. Watch for words such as always, often, never only or except

    Do not change the answer that comes to mind first unless you are absolutely certain it is wrong

    Try to leave some time before the end of the test to review your answers and correct errors


    Read through the questions and mark the ones that are easier

    Estimate how much time you have to answer each question

    Answer easier questions first to build your confidence

    Read questions several times to ensure you understand what is being asked

    Answer essay questions this way:

    make a rough outline

    begin with a topic sentence that includes the key words of the question

    support your answer with specific examples and detailed information

    conclude by summing up your answer

    Never rush. If you run out of time on a certain question, leave some room and return to it later.

                   2.0 WRITING SKILLS

    A Journalist’s core business is writing. Whatever
    information a journalist has to communicate on Radio, TV or the newspaper, it
    has to be written first. 

    The goal of the journalist must therefore be to acquire good writing skills and habits.

    When writing consider the following:

    – what are you going to write about?

    Sometimes the topic is determined for you

    If not write about something that interests you

    Narrow your topic

    After you know your topic, narrow it to a manageable size    e.g.


    Crime in Malawi

    Armed robbery in cities in Malawi

    Armed robbery in Mzuzu

    Focus your writing on a main idea or argument

    Develop a thesis statement that briefly
    expresses your point of view -e.g. armed robbery has increased in Mzuzu city
    since the Taifa Market burned down last November.

    2. STRATEGY – How will you write?

    Consider the following: 

    What is the purpose of your writing?

    You can write to INFORM, to PERSUADE, to

    Deciding what purpose of your writing is will
    give you insight into how to write e.g. if you are writing to persuade, you
    might include examples that prove or give support to your claim.

    Who is your intended audience?

    Your method of writing differs depending on the audience or the person(s) you are writing for e.g.  Writing to friend vs. to your boss.

    Adjust your style and language for each audience.

    Know your audiences background, level of education, status, beliefs and adjust your style accordingly 

    What point of view will you use?

    Point of view refers to the angle/position from
    which you write a story, .i.e. you may write as an observer and report as such
    or you may write as a participant in the story and write with your own voice.

    The general rule is: pick a point of view and
    stick to it e.g. Nonfiction (factual) writing

    You can write with your own voice or without With: from my analysis I believe the country’s economy will improve in the coming year.

    Without: based on this analysis it can be concluded that the country’s economy will improve in the   coming year.

    Fiction (creative/imaginative) writing 
    You can write in either the first person or the third person

    First: “the girl with the bundle of blankets in her hands came and stood close to me as I was waiting to cross the road. Suddenly I saw her throw the bundle down and started to run as a police van was passing. The bundle started to cry… Then I realized the
    girl had stolen a baby.

    Third:”the girl with the bundle in her hands stood by the road waiting to cross. Suddenly she threw the bundle down and started to run as a police van was passing. The bundle started to cry…The girl had stolen a baby. 

    What form will you give your writing?


    ·  A form of writing is called a genre

    ·  Different forms /genres (e.g., essay, book review, commentary, opinion) have different requirements

    ·  Determine or ask your tutor what form you should write in.

    3. CONTENT– What information do you need?

    Research your topic thoroughly

    ·  Start with general references – encyclopedias, CD-ROMs etc

    ·   Go specific – books, magazines, internet, interviews – to get more detail

    ·  Take notes as you go

    ·  Write down relevant information

    ·  Do not write down everything. Taking too many notes will just drown you in information, thereby making it harder for you to chose the relevant information you need to write a coherent  article

    Make an outline

    ·  As you take notes form general ideas about you topic

    ·  Take those ideas and make a general outline of your paper /article or essay

    ·  Write down each main idea then organize them into coherent paragraphs

    4. WRITING – finally it is time for the real work!

    Write your first draft

    ·  Begin with a brief interesting introduction

    ·  Include your thesis statement

    ·  Develop each main idea into a paragraph and each paragraph in turn as a whole. For interest, vary the length

    ·  Make sure each paragraph is linked to the next and the previous

    ·  Use your best arguments at the beginning and near the end

    ·  Close with a restatement of your original thesis

    Revise your draft

    ·  Read your article out loud slowly, listening for awkward words/sentences

    ·  Proofread for spelling and grammatical errors

    ·  Take out redundant phrases (ones that repeat what has already been said

    ·  Make sure the sentences have enough variety to keep readers interested

    ·  Check that all your paragraphs provide meaningful information

    ·  Clear up any vague or ambiguous sentences

    Write the final draft

    · Make it look good!

    5. DOCUMENTATION – how do you acknowledge sources of your information?

    ·  Make sure that you always acknowledge sources of your information(books,  journals, newspaper articles magazines ,internet, or even the people you have interviewed)

    ·  Learn about different methods of documentation and find out what method your institution or  organization uses.


    Training as a journalist is a significant step in the preparation of a career in the media. But remember that success does not
    come by itself; you have to make a plan to succeed in the career that you have chosen. Chart your course! The sooner you start, the sooner you will begin to achieve your goals.

    Here are some tips on STEPS TO TAKE for you to achieve your goals:


    Employers are looking for certain skills and attitudes.

    Think about:

    ·  What interests and skills have you developed?

    ·  What do you like best: working with people, things or ideas?

    ·  What goals and values have you set for yourself?


    Are you interested in other media related careers?

    ·  Find out what other careers are there which benefit from the foundation knowledge and skills that you acquire from the journalism training. A trained journalist does not need to limit himself /herself to the airwaves! There are numerous job opportunities out there waiting to use the knowledge and skills you have acquired in your journalism training!

    ·  Search the web

    ·  Check them out by volunteering or working part time

    ·  Get to know what they are all about through talking to people in a specific field, observing them at work or professional meetings

    ·  Find out about internships, part time jobs and other alternatives

    3.       INFORM YOUR SELF

    Investigate a variety of possibilities

    ·  Know the facts

    ·  What skills and competencies are required?

    ·  Is there room for professional growth?

    ·  How big is the market for the media and media
    related jobs ?

    ·  What is the projected growth?

    The more knowledge you have about a career the better prepared you are to make an informed decision


    Get ready and prepare your job hunting tools

    ·  Have a portfolio of the work you did as you trained (see page 6)

    ·  Create a CV, or resume and cover letter(emphasize the skills and competencies you have acquired in your training )

    ·  Contact people for references

    ·  Investigate companies that interest you


    Make yourself stand out!

    ·    Only if you acquire specialized, employability skills can you stand out and impress potential employers. You must therefore endeavor to develop these skills as you train.



The Media Training Manager               Malawi Institute of Journalism    

P.O. Box  30165, Chichiri, Blantyre 3

0 995 432 431 /0 888 188 508


The Administrator

Malawi Institute of Journalism

P.O. Box 2847, Lilongwe    

0 999 524 941


The Administrator

Malawi Institute of Journalism

Chapita Building

P.O. Box 1142, Katoto, Mzuzu   

0999 735 750 / 0111959725