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MCH8008 : Media and Promotional Cultures

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Hannah McMahon
  • Lecturer: Miss Ramona Slusarczyk, Dr Steve Walls, Mr Jesus Salazar Flores, Miss Patience Mathambo, Mrs Anne-Marie Lacey, Ms Sharon Zheng
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. Expand student knowledge around issues of media and public relations and its contribution to developing a promotional culture.
2. Develop an academically rigorous and critical approach to questions concerning media, public relations and promotional culture.
3. Examine how promotional culture can be understood and interpreted by audiences.
4. Analyse the construction and representations of promotion and digital communications and their economic, social and cultural implications.
5. Introduce students to research methods of increased complexity to aid critical analysis of public relations and the impact of promotional content in digital communication.
6. To enable students to gain a sophisticated understanding of sociological and cultural debates about the media and society through a number of case studies.
7. To provide a critical understanding of the concepts of media globalisation, media ethics, and key theories of the media.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture topics will fall into two main areas: Media texts and media issues.

1. Lectures will explore the composition of media texts and focus on media research skills and critical analysis to prepare students for the demands of independent research. Topics may include semiotics, critical discourse analysis and multimodal analysis.

2.Lectures will explore issues within media and promotional cultures. Topics may include digital and social communication, advertising, promotional materials; branding; the social, economic and political responsibilities & consequences of promotional culture and media globalization.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Interactive non-synchronous lecture materials delivered online.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Synchronous live online consolidation session
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion220:0040:00Independent preparation for two assessments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00Delivered on campus. Can be delivered online if necessary
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading112:0022:00Guided engagement with material related to lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00On-campus seminars. Can be delivered online if needed
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00On-campus seminars. Can be delivered online if needed.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1105:00105:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module aims to advance students’ knowledge and understanding of Media and Promotional Cultures, with a particular focus on Public Relations, through the study of a range of key concepts, theories and case studies. Lectures introduce and develop ideas and case study material and the seminars allow students to consider, assess and debate material in further detail. Smaller group seminars offer the opportunity for more detailed focus on areas of particular interest and peer-to-peer feedback. This will be combined with private study and essay writing.

This module is supported through blended learning, using a series of lectures and seminars alongside packages of digital learning materials to support students as they gain a critical understanding of media and promotional culture. Research activities move from tutor-led to student-led, with interaction and discussion of ideas from self-selected readings and the use of appropriate methods for analysis.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M401500-word critical analysis
Essay1A602500-word essay contextualising and analysing a public relations/promotional culture issue.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment 1: Critical Analysis
For the first assessment, students are asked to produce an individual analysis exercise of 1500 words. This allows students to develop the skills needed to analyse media texts relating to PR or promotional culture. Students are asked to demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the key concepts and approaches required for such an analysis. Examples that could be selected for analysis include a promotional campaign, a brand’s website and/or social media channels, and media coverage about a specific promotional campaign

Additional task-specific criteria:
• Quality of definition of the topic, informed by engagement with and understanding of appropriate research (K1; K2; K6; S4)
• Application of research to appropriate media text (K4; K5; S2);
• Analysis of media text using research methods encountered while studying media in order to make meaningful conclusions (K3; K6; S1);
• Coherence and written structure of the analysis exercise, including appropriate academic tone at postgraduate level and effective display of media text and analysis (K5; S5; S6).

Assessment 2: Essay
For the second assessment, students are required to write an individual essay of 2500 words. Students are asked to produce a critical examination contextualizing and analysing a public relations/promotional culture issue.
Students must assess the strengths and weaknesses of approaches and theories in the study of the media and promotional culture. This assessment will allow students to familiarise themselves with theories, problems and issues raised in the module and to develop a critical understanding of the intersection of media, society and promotional culture.

Additional task-specific criteria:
• Quality of definition of a contemporary media issue, informed by engagement with and understanding of appropriate research (K1; K2; S4);
• A balanced and clear discussion of the weaknesses and strengths of methodological and theoretical approaches pertinent to the issue at hand (K2; K6; S1; S3);
• A critical and analytical discussion of intersections between media and promotional culture and consequences (S4; K4; K6);
• Coherence and written structure of the research essay, including appropriate academic tone at postgraduate level and effective display of media text and analysis (K5; S5; S6).

Reading Lists