Module Catalogue 2020/21

MCH2220 : Conflict and Crisis Reporting

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Florian Zollmann
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

This module could be linked as an optional module to the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Journalism, Media and Culture UCAS Code: P500, the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies UCAS Code: PQL0 and the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Film and Media UCAS Code: P303.

Aims

Conflicts and crises are significant features of contemporary democratic societies. How journalists and the media report on such events is crucial for public understanding and democratic decision making. Moreover, journalistic reporting has an impact on how conflicts and crises are managed by society. In fact, journalistic reporting may contribute towards conflict resolution. Building on the theoretical and practical understandings developed in stage 1, this module aims to develop students’ understanding of the societal role of journalism during times of conflict and crisis. Students will assess how ethical norms of professional journalism, such as ‘objectivity’ and ‘impartiality’, are realized when journalists report on contemporary wars, terrorist attacks or refugee crises. Furthermore, students will consider conflict and crisis reporting in the context of the political and economic organisation of the media industry and with reference to up-to-date scholarship. Additionally, students will, from a journalistic perspective, interrogate the contexts and histories of a range of contemporary conflicts and crises.

More specifically, the module enables students:

-       To analyse the relationship between journalism theory and journalistic practice in the light of conflict and crisis reporting.
-       To obtain in-depth knowledge and understanding of the theories and practices of journalism in the context of national and international media reporting of conflicts and crises.
-       To build their understanding of ethical norms relevant to the media industry in order to be able to practice journalism and media work as ethical and reflexive professionals.
-       To critically assess journalistic accounts of conflicts and crises in relation to theories and concepts that are relevant in media, communication and cultural studies.

Outline Of Syllabus

The topics covered in this module may include:

-       The role of journalism and media in democracy.
-       Normative arrays ascribed to journalism and the media.
-       Reporting conflicts, accidents and crises.
-       Propaganda and bias in the news media.
-       The sociology of news production.
-       The political economy of the media.
-       Professionalism and ethics.
-       News management, lobbying and organised political communication (OPC).
-       News icons.
-       Understanding concepts such as high-intensity conflict, low-intensity conflict, war, humanitarian intervention, ethnic conflict, terrorism, international law and crisis.
-       The histories and contexts of conflicts such as the Vietnam War, the Cold and new Cold Wars, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Yugoslav Wars, the Iraq War, the Arab Uprisings, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Syrian Civil War, the Yemeni Civil War, the Ukraine Conflict, the Korean Conflict, 9/11 and the War on Terror or the War against ISIS.
-       The histories and contexts of crises such as Covid-19 crisis, the climate change crisis, the Windscale Fire, the Grenfell Tower fire, the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster, the MH17 Ukraine Plane Crash, the NSA scandal, the phone hacking scandal, the Ebola Crisis, the Opioid crisis, the refugee crisis, the California Wildfires or the UK and Ireland Floods.

Not all of these topics will necessarily be taught and covered every year. The study programme may adapt to contemporary changes in journalism and politics as well as world events.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module, the students will be able to:

1.       Critically assess major debates and concepts in media, communication and cultural studies about how journalists should and actually do report on conflicts and crises.
2.       Analyse how journalistic reporting of conflicts and crises relates to professional codes of practice and ethics that are relevant in the transnational media industry.
3.       Identify how journalistic representations of conflicts and crises relate to public understanding and political decision making.
4.       Appraise how the political and economic contexts of media production affect journalistic practice and media representation during conflict and crisis reporting.

1. and 4. build on the knowledge gained in stage 1 modules such as MCH1023 Introduction to Media Studies and MCH1026 Introduction to Social and Cultural Studies and prepare students for the skills and knowledge needed to undertake stage 3 module MCH3077 Politics, Power and Communication. 2. complements the knowledge gained in stage 2 module MCH2059 Media Law and Ethics. 3. Complements the knowledge gained in stage 2 module MCH2075 Representations: Identity, Culture and Society. 1., 2., 3., and 4. complement, from a theoretical perspective, some of the knowledge gained in stage 2 module MCH2060 Multimedia Journalism I and stage 3 module MCH3079 Multimedia Journalism II as well as MCH3074 Themes and Issue in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies and prepare students for some of the skills and knowledge needed to undertake stage 3 module MCH3073 Media Dissertation.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module, the students will be able to:

1.       Identify and assess relevant secondary sources from a range of journalistic and academic outlets.
2.       Compare and contrast a range of information sources in relation to their ideological and epistemological content and its validity.
3.       Produce organised and coherent ideas in written and verbal formats and to academic standard.
4.       Explain professional journalistic norms and conventions.

1., 2., and 3. prepare students for some of the skills and knowledge needed to undertake stage 3 module MCH3073 Media Dissertation. 4. 2.       complements the knowledge gained in stage 2 module MCH2059 Media Law and Ethics. 3. Complements the knowledge gained in stage 2 module MCH2075 Representations: Identity, Culture and Society. 1., 2., 3., and 4. complement, from a theoretical perspective, some of the knowledge gained in stage 2 modules MCH2060 Multimedia Journalism I, MCH2065 Race, Culture and Identity and stage 3 modules MCH3079 Multimedia Journalism II, MCH3074 Critical Approaches to Media, Communication and Culture as well as MCH3080 Feminist Approaches to Media Analysis and prepare students for some of the skills and knowledge needed to undertake stage 3 module MCH3073 Media Dissertation.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials94:0036:00Online, non-synchronous.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Formative essay plan in preparation of summative essay.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00Summative essay.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading166:0066:00Mainly reading but also some viewing as well as listening to support lecture and seminar work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00PiP Seminar format
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time91:009:00Online synchronous
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module interrogates the role of journalism and the media in democratic societies during times of conflict and crisis. The lecture materials introduce and situate the key academic literature on conflict and crisis reporting in media, communication and cultural studies. On the basis of a range of case studies and in the light of scholarship, important issues, concepts and reporting pattern will be elaborated. The weekly small group seminars allow for further in-depth study of relevant literature, concepts and issues. Moreover, ethical problems in relation to conflict and crisis reporting will be analysed during small-group works, simulations and discussions. Scheduled online contact time (mainly drop-in surgeries but also webinars and Q&A sessions) will be offered for students to individually present course work to the tutor, obtain formative feedback and clarify questions. This will allow students to further reflect on and refine their work. Guided independent study time will be used to engage in reading, viewing/listening and study activities as well as to prepare and write the formative and summative assignments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A100Academic essay. Topics to be set by tutor (3,500 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2M500 words. Essay plans will be discussed with tutor in designated drop-in surgeries.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A summative essay assessment will ask students to evaluate a designated conflict or crisis in form of a case study. Students will apply theory and scholarship to interrogate journalistic or other media representations of the case. The essay assesses students’ ability to critically engage with theoretical and source material as well as their research, writing and referencing skills. This will enable students to engage with relevant theory and case study material and develop an analytical framework for the critical analysis of journalistic or other media representations of pertinent events and issues. A preparatory formative essay assessment enables students to develop a rationale for their summative essay and obtain feedforward.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.