Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Publishing & Journalism)

Professional course with equal focus on developing writing, publishing, business & management skills, in order to be a successful writer, editor or publisher.

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Develop your skills in both professional writing skills and management.

Traditional journalism careers are not as secure as they once were; but the possibilities for a life long career in publishing and journalism have never been so great.

Whether you have already embarked on a career; or are hoping to; it is important to understand the changes that have occurred and monitor the changes that continue to occur in the world of publishing. 

  • Much of what is published today is being published electronically
  • Printed publications like newspapers, magazines and books, have experienced difficulty in adapting to changes brought about by the growth of electronic publishing, and there has been a reluctance by many in print media to commit to employing staff on a permanent basis, to the same degree that they did before electronic publishing
  • Change has weakened some in the established mainstream publishing industry; but at the same time created opportunities for new businesses and professionals to enter the industry.

The future of publishing is as certain as the future of the written word. People will always write; and publishers will always package and distribute what is written. The things that will continue to change will be what is written, how it is packaged and the way in which it is delivered to readers.

If you learn to write well, package and market what is written, and manage the business that underpins all of that; you will be well placed to adapt to work in journalism or publishing; no matter how the industry changes.
This course is unique in that it doesn't just teach you about writing and publishing, but also the business, management and marketing that makes a difference to success or failure of a publishing enterprise. Learn about the whole industry; and lay a foundation to develop more specialised skills.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Publishing & Journalism).
 Business Operations VBS006
 Management VBS105
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Office Practices VBS102
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Editing I (Editing and Proofreading) BWR106
 Freelance Writing BWR102
 Publishing I BWR107
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 5 modules.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
 Research Project I BGN102
 Workshop I BGN103
 Graphic Design BIT205

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Publishing & Journalism) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

CORE UNITS Click on each module for more details

Office Practices
Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc. 

Business Operations
Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan.
Develops knowledge of management structures, terminology, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.
Marketing Foundations.
Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.


Three modules as follows:

Publishing I

There are ten lessons as outlined below:

  1. The Publishing World    Nature & scope of publishing, types of publishers, how books are published, market research.
  2. Publishing Procedures & Techniques    Colour or black & white; film or digital imaging, types of printing, alternative ways of doing layout (eg. typesetting, paste up, electronic layout with Adobe products or MS publisher), comparing types of digital graphic files, printing costs, etc
  3. Desktop Publishing    Word Processing, Alternative publishing methods: Printing on a Computer Printer; Supplying a "Master" to a commercial printer, or publishing electronically (eg. Internet or CD)
  4. Desktop Publishing    Software options, use of colour, black and white, use of graphics, putting it together, etc.
  5. Illustration: Graphics    Line illustrations, cartoons, photos etc. Freehand work, Computer graphics, etc
  6. Illustration: Photography     Photographic Equipment & Materials; Composition; Development of Photographic Style Portraiture, Posing for Photographs, Planning a Photo Session, Studio Photography, Fault Finding, etc
  7. Researching    Types of Research (Exploratory, Experimental etc), Primary & Secondary Data sources,Planning a survey, Conducting an interview
  8. Marketing in Publishing    Understanding marketing & publicity –what makes a publication succeed or fail, launches, press releases, etc.
  9. Publishing: Ethics & The Law    Public attitudes, accuracy of writing, bias, monopolies, media ownership concerns, etc

Freelance Writing

The ten lessons cover:

  1. Introduction to freelancing- Scope of freelance writing (types of writing, where to begin, styles, etc). getting help, finding resources &   contacts, understanding industry terminology.
  2. Basic writing skills-  What is communication, types of communication, types of language, clear wording, concise wording, parts of speech, grammar, punctuation.
  3. The publishing world- Periodicals, books, remaindering, copyright, publishers advertising conditions,  public lending rights, contracts, selling.
  4. Manuscripts- Types of printing, preparing a type script, etc.
  5. Planning what you write- Mechanics of writing, developing an idea, sentence structure, precis, planning what you write, building a paragraph.
  6. Newspaper writing- Newspapers, regular columns, fillers, short features, etc.
  7. Magazine writing- Travel writing, magazine articles/features, determining potentially marketable articles.
  8. Writing books- Non fiction, fiction, short stories, determining what to write and developing an idea.
  9. Writing advertising-  Writing a press release, writing an advertisement, writing for public relations, etc.
  10. Special project- Planning and developing a manuscript for a small book.

Editing I

There are eight lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Editing – the role and scope of editing; tools for editing; editing skills; the production process: an overview; who does what in publishing
  2. The Mechanics of Clear Writing – spelling, punctuation, grammar, language; style; tense
  3. Assessing Manuscripts – readability; word length; structure; consistencies and inaccuracies; the reader’s report; substantive editing; the author’s responsibilities; the author/editor relationship
  4. Copy Editing I – what the copy editor does; the procedure; house style; style sheets.
  5. Copy Editing II – marking up; parts of a publication; editing non-text material;  illustrations
  6. Preparing Copy for Printing – type design and page layout; proof stages
  7. Proof Reading
  8. The Final Stages – indexes; blurbs; checking final proofs


Here are some examples of the type of thing you will do:

  • Plan and write at several major articles and one short story manuscript.
  • Analyse different articles.
  • Survey the scope and current status of the publishing industry and interpret a range of indicators to the viability of different existing or proposed publications.
  • Explain the publishing industry, the procedures (stages) in bringing a publication to print and the different people (& jobs) involved.
  • Explain how to present a manuscript to a publisher.
  • List the differences between audiences for different types of publications.
  • Explain the differences between types of writing required for newspaper publishing compared with magazine or book.
  • Prepare or select appropriate illustrations (graphic or photographic) for publishing.
  • Explain the processes involved in the production and use of these illustrations.
  • Conduct and report on several interviews.
  • Take a number of photographs with the intention to use them to illustrate a publication.
  • Plan the contents and publishing procedure for different types of articles.
  • Plan the contents and publication of a small book, booklet or magazine.
  • List the scope of statistical information available through government agencies and report on the relevance of such information to the publishing industry.
  • Write copy for different advertisements and different promotional leaflets or brochures.
  • Design the layout for two promotional brochures, and determine the cost of typesetting, paste up and   printing each.
  • Compare the scope and nature of business conducted by different publishers.
  • Plan and determine costs for the publication of a new newspaper, newsletter or magazine.
  • Use prescribed reference books and other resources to gain relevant information.


This is the final requirement that you must satisfy before receiving your award.

Here are two options available to you to satisfy this requirement:

Alternative 1.

If you work in the industry that you have been studying; you may submit a reference from your employer, in an effort to satisfy this industry (ie. workplace project) requirement; on the basis of RPL (ie. recognition for prior learning), achieved through your current and past work experience.

The reference must indicate that you have skills and an awareness of your industry, which is sufficient for you to work in a position of responsibility.

Alternative 2.

If you do not work in the relevant industry, you need to undertake a project as follows.

Procedure for a Workplace Project

This project is a major part of the course involving the number of hours relevant to the course (see above). Although the course does not contain mandatory work requirements, work experience is seen as highly desirable.

This project is based on applications in the work place and specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study.

Students will design this project in consultation with a tutor to involve industry based activities in the area of specialized study which they select to follow in the course. The project outcomes may take the form of a written report, folio, visuals or a mixture of forms. Participants with relevant, current or past work experience will be given exemption from this project if they can provide suitable references from employers that show they have already fulfilled the requirements of this project.

For courses that involve more than 100 hours, more than one workplace project topic may be selected. For example, 200 hours may be split into two projects each of 100 hours. This will offer the student better scope to fulfill the needs of their course and to meet the number of hours required. Alternatively, the student may wish to do one large project with a duration of 200 hours.

Students will be assessed on how well they achieve the goals and outcomes they originally set as part of their negotiations with their tutor. During each 100 hours of the project, the students will present three short progress reports. These progress reports will be taken into account when evaluating the final submission. The tutor must be satisfied that the work submitted is original.

If the student wishes to do one large 200 hour report, then only three progressive reports will be needed (however the length of each report will be longer).


The term ‘publisher’ has two meanings. On one hand, it refers to a person responsible for managing and running a publishing enterprise, or for getting material published. On the other hand, the term publisher can refer to the publishing enterprise itself. These enterprises include small book publishers and large publishing houses, magazine publishers, desktop publishers, e-zine publishers, self-publishing enterprises, and non-profit organisations involved in publishing, such as universities, galleries, professional bodies, community groups.

Each publisher will answer the question, “What to publish?” differently. Some establish a limited repertoire of publication activities, focusing on academic books, novels, westerns, romance novels, text and educational books, informative or self-help books or material on specific topics such as health and wellbeing, ostrich farming etc., fashion or gardening magazines, music scores etc. Other publishers will engage in a wider range of activities, publishing books, journals, monographs and newspapers in their different branches. The nature of the publishing enterprise will determine what kinds of texts they will publish, and how they choose which texts to publish.

The nature of the enterprise can also determine the content, format, quantity and quality of its publications. For instance, a grass-roots publisher might offset low budget and limited readership with low grade paper and no or few colour photographs. A larger, wealthier publisher, on the other hand, might offset the cost of quality materials, many colour photographs, and flashy, glossy format with high retail price and by aiming for a much more general, larger readership. While the more popular and expensive magazine features mostly general interest, light reading to attract an ever-larger audience, the grass-roots magazine may feature specialist articles and lots of personal stories to develop a loyal though small audience.



Publishing is a business and, like any business, can be either profitable or unprofitable. The initial choice that faces any publisher is what to publish. This relates not only to the content of the publication, but also size, format, quantity and commercial potential. Most publishers apply restrictions on what they will publish, minimising the danger of over-extending their resources (physical and intellectual) or harming their reputation by producing inferior products in some areas. Some choose to focus on certain categories of writing, and to build their business by producing a limited but quality range of products (such as children’s books). There can be considerable market value in growing a reputation as a publisher of a certain kind of book (or journal or newspaper).

Each time a publisher confronts a new manuscript or idea for a publication, he or she must decide whether or not to publish it, even if it was commissioned. While personal taste will probably influence the publisher’s decision (consider how many best sellers were repeatedly rejected by unimpressed publishers), the decision will also be based on some basic, practical questions; among them, how closely the manuscript (or article) aligns with the publisher’s standard criteria and requirements. Market analysis helps a publisher make these kinds of decisions.

Commissioned Documents

While many publishers will accept proposals or manuscripts to consider for publication, most non-fiction and educational publications result from publishers’ suggestions or commissions. One of a publisher’s chief duties is to find new titles or ideas and to commission writers for them. These may be ideas or titles consistent with the publisher’s established identity, or may contribute to the gradual development of a publisher’s identity as their reputation for producing particular kinds of works grows. In acknowledgement of this seeking role, the publisher is sometimes called the ‘commissioning editor’, and larger publishing houses may have more than one commissioning editor to help create its list of titles and preferred writers.

To carry out their commissioning role, publishers must engage in research and development of potential ideas and needs for publication, and the authors to fulfill them. The research part involves identifying public interest, potential markets, and niche areas, such as the need for educational books, or interest in gay or feminist writing, do-it-yourself home improvement, or a particular style of writing.


Graduates will not only be more knowledgeable about writing and publishing, but also more aware of how they might move forward, to find and exploit opportunities in the world of publishing.

Every graduate will emerge with different capabilities. This is an important characteristic of this course. Many of the practical tasks and assignments scattered throughout this course will provide you with opportunities to choose what you explore, report on and write about. The interaction which every student has with the school is different for every student. ACS is all about helping you discover your strengths and develop your potential. This approach leaves every student with a raised awareness of not just what they are more capable of, but also where the opportunities for success might be strongest for them.

In today's economy where most employment is self employment (either sub contracting, or running your own business); understanding business, management and marketing is more critical than ever. Realistically, most writers and publishing professionals (editors, publishers, journalists, etc), will need to understand that security in employment will probably mean working as a freelancer, sub contractor or starting your own business. Being a good writer or editor by itself is no longer sufficient -but this course may well be all you need to forge a successful career.

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John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. J
Rachel Syers

Rachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affa
Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Lear
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