Distance learning studies in writing, publishing, media studies and journalism.

  • Develop your skills to become a professional writer.
  • Gain understanding with Core Modules in areas including Freelance Writing, Editing, Technical Writing, and Project Management.
  • Specialise with a choice of Elective Modules including Ethics, e-Commerce, Dramatic Writing, and HTML.

Gain skills for professional writing with this in-depth online diploma.

Study Media, Writing and Publishing with a view to becoming:

  • A Journalist or Writer.
  • Publishing Assistant or Manager.
  • Web Developer.
  • A Marketing Manager
  • A Production Manager
  • A Professional Online Publisher etc.

Many university journalism graduates never end up being able to secure a successful career in publishing. There are many reasons for this.

You are better to investigate and understand these issues BEFORE STARTING a course; rather than being surprised after completing a study program.

ACS tutors are well published and successful professionals with current industry experience. Study here for an education with a strong dose of both reality and opportunity.

The Modules

The Diploma In Publishing And Journalism consists of 15 Core Modules plus a further 6 Elective Modules. The duration of the course is approximately 2100 hours.

Core Modules

These modules provide foundation knowledge for the Diploma In Publishing And Journalism.

Industry Project BIP000
Creative Writing BWR103
Editing I (Editing and Proofreading) BWR106
Freelance Writing BWR102
Photographic Practice BPH101
Publishing I BWR107
Research Project I BGN102
Workplace Health & Safety VBS103
Advanced Freelance Writing BWR201
Advertising and Promotions BBS202
Graphic Design BIT205
Photographic Technology BPH201
Project Management BBS201
Publishing II BWR202
Technical Writing (Advanced) BWR301

Elective Modules

In addition to the Core Modules, students study any 6 of the following 20 modules.
Children's Writing BWR104
Dramatic Writing BWR110
E Commerce BIT100
HTML (Writing a Website) VIT102
Introduction To Photography BPH100
Office Practices VBS102
Workshop I BGN103
Writing Fiction BWR105
Biographical Writing BWR205
Digital Photography BPH202
Ethics BPS217
Information Security BIT203
Internet Marketing BIT204
Journalism Practice I BWR203
Photoshop CS - Beginner To Medium Level VIT202
Research Project II BGN201
Research Project III BGN202
Workshop II BGN203
Editing II BWR302
Publishing III BWR303

Note that each module in the Learning Bundle 2100 hours In Publishing And Journalism is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Factors that influence the decision of what to publish

Some of the factors that a publisher might consider when deciding which proposal to act upon or which manuscript to accept are discussed below.

Genre or type of writing

Some questions that publishers ask when deciding what to publish are related to genre: What is the purpose of the publication … to entertain or inform? What is its subject? Is it:

  • Fiction or non-fiction?
  • Written for adults or children?
  • Popular or academic writing?

Within these broad categories are more specialised categories of writing or genres and their different sub-categories. For instance, under the genre “novel” are included historical novels, romance novels, westerns, fantasy novels, science fiction (sci-fi, or SF) novels etc. Some questions a publisher might need to answer when choosing what to publish are:  Is this genre relevant to our organisation? Is it consistent with our image and our overall goals? If it is, does this particular work meet our standards and criteria for that genre? If not, what are the risks and benefits of going outside our usual boundaries, and is this work worth the risks?

Most publishers are involved in several genres, especially as publishing becomes a multimedia industry. This kind of diversification can be quite profitable, as it spread the potential risks over a wider area. Eventually, most publishers will develop a list of publications consistent with their overall image and style. Other publishers will concentrate their resources on one genre, such as romance novels, textbooks, or news, meeting the needs of a particular niche market. Some may focus on quality publications, others on quantity, producing lots of low-quality, low-cost books, while some very large publishers may produce different kinds and qualities of publications.

Fortunately for the reading public and for many writers, publishers are often on the lookout for titles outside their usual repertoire that might have potential. Because one can never really predict what will succeed, and many best sellers were initially rejected by more conservative publishers, there are always publishers who are willing to take risks, though these may be shared with the author by making them bear part of the costs.

Publishers of news magazines or papers recognise different kinds of stories, some of which are understood and accepted as having greater news value than others at any one time. Some widely recognised news stories are:

  • murder stories,
  • weather stories,
  • fire or disaster stories,
  • accident stories,
  • speeches,
  • international relations stories,
  • government and politics stories,
  • law and trial stories,
  • business, industry stories,
  • sports stories,
  • investigative or analytical stories,
  • entertainment and arts stories,
  • science, education, knowledge stories,
  • religion, spirituality, philosophy.

(Source: Leiter, Harriss & Johnson, The Complete Reporter, Allyn and Bacon)

Reader interest and expectations

There is no single guideline for determining what is desirable content. However, it can be very useful to examine general guidelines by which news publishers choose what is or is not newsworthy (worth publishing). While the criteria may be different, in many instances, the factors that make for newsworthy items may also help determine what makes a good novel or magazine article.

There is no agreed-upon definition of ‘news’, for what is news is determined by many factors, including:

  • The people who publish it.
  • Social values and expectations concerning news.
  • The political and economic environment.
  • Information-gathering and reporting technology.
  • Reader interest.

When deciding what is newsworthy, publishers look for articles that will take and hold readers’ interest, and stimulate some kind of dialogue or debate. Reader interest is said to be the main factor determining what news is published. However, there is some debate as to whether the media respond to reader interest or create it.

News values

Factors that the news industry generally agrees stimulate reader interest are called news values. These include:

  • Conflict – riots, wars, violence, assaults etc that upset social order and arouse emotional responses.
  • Radical changes – progress, successes, developments, rapid or unexpected gains, or failures, disasters, sudden losses of well-being or fortune.
  • Consequence – the degree to which events or people affect us or a community, or the perceived importance of the effects.
  • Prominence – fame, infamy, popularity, influence, authority attached to a person, event or place.
  • Sex– private details of a sexual nature, exposes, romances, deviations etc., especially in regard to prominent people or groups.
  • Timeliness– current events are considered more newsworthy that previous or possible future events. For instance, events that provoke great public controversy one week may not be considered newsworthy a week later, though the issues have not been resolved.
  • Proximity– our geographical closeness to the events. For example, a strike in our small community might feature on the front page of our local newspaper, and not even get a mention in the nearest large city.
  • Novelty– anything that deviates (is different) from the norm: Siamese twins, multiple births, unusual practices etc.
  • Human Interest– these are stories about individuals or communities that may not have any of the above factors, but appeal to our emotions or curiosity (elderly lady forced out of her home because of council fees; hospital for injured wild animals; community support for a burned-out family etc).
  • Special interest– any topic that interests or informs readers: animals, fashion, alternative health etc.


Many of these news values are also relevant to creative writing. Stories that feature a strong storyline will be more warmly received by a publisher than those that lack a good story line. Again, there is no general agreement on what makes a good story.

However, it is generally agreed that a basic storyline contains conflict (internal and between individuals or groups) and changes (developments, reversals, growth and resolution) that are seen to have consequence for the main character or characters. 

Good non-fiction can also contain a strong storyline, which the writer creates by careful selection and organisation of information. In fact, in many ways, non-fiction writing such as biographies, auto-biographies, histories and news features can be considered as created as fiction writing. Publishers (or editors) select from the many bits of information what is to be included, what overall tone or mood will be developed, even what meanings are to be drawn from that information.

Perceived need

Based on market analysis and simply keeping attuned to what’s happening in publishing and society, publishers can often identify specific needs, such as the need for quality textbooks relevant to students in their own country, or self-help articles in magazines.  Learning the market - what is wanted, what is lacking – is essential to developing special or niche markets in response to need.

Cost and profit-making potential

In the end, most publishing decisions end here.  Even the most brilliant and exciting concept and most skilful writing might not be sufficient to outweigh financial considerations. Every innovation, every branch into new areas by a publisher, every exciting project must be weighed against the publisher’s evaluation of the risks involved, the cost, and the continuing financial viability of the enterprise.

Guidelines for Writers

To increase the likelihood of receiving acceptable (if not publishable) manuscripts, manuscript proposals, or magazine articles, many publishers provide guidelines for prospective authors. These may include what kind of manuscripts (genres) they are looking for, ideas, formatting and size requirements for submitted manuscripts, perhaps pay rates, and sometimes, even guidelines for writing suitable articles, stories or novels. These guidelines are not only helpful to prospective authors or freelance writers, but can help the publisher weed out unacceptable or inappropriate material in the search for publishable writing that is relevant to that organisation.

Learn From Real World Publishers and Writers

Here at ACS, we have been not only educators, but also actively involved in the world of publishing and writing for decades.
Our Principal was writing for magazines and newspapers in the mid 70's and had his first book published in 1978. As an organisation, the school was regularly contributing to magazines in the mid 80's, and wrote and published its first printed book in the late 1980's.  Our activity with publishing and writing has continued through the years, and since 2012, we have operated our own publishing department, writing and publishing over 100 eBooks.

Where Might this Course Lead

The exciting thing about the publishing industry is that it is changing more rapidly than ever. For some, the rate of change has been unsettling, but for others it is an opportunity.

The reality of today's world is that more is being published than ever before; only it isn't being published in the same way or in the same places that it was published before. Large publishers used to dominate the world of publishing, making it difficult for any newcomers to make a start, without patronage and employment from those dominant organisations. Many of those large publishers have shrunk in size though, and some medium size publishers have struggled to even survive. At the same time though, others who have been capable and aware of the evolution under way, have seized upon opportunities and made a huge success forging their own way forward.

Graduates of this course are groomed for this new world order; to connect and grow an awareness of shifts that are happening, at the same time as building their understanding of how to write, edit, publish and market any many or publication.

You will build your capacity to do the job; and also build your capacity to see and act on opportunities as they emerge now and in the future.

Find out More

You can enrol on the Diploma In Publishing And Journalism at any time. If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please get in touch with us today - 

Phone us on (UK) 01384 442752 (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING to contact our tutors with your questions.