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Module

MCH8163 : News and Journalism

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Florian Zollmann
  • Lecturer: Dr David Baines
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

To enable students to gain a critical understanding of the key issues pertaining to news and journalism today and the role of journalism in a democracy and in other societies.

To enable students to acquire the conceptual and theoretical tools to analyse changing journalistic forms, practices and institutions.

To enable students to gain a thorough familiarity with contemporary debates about the forms and practices of reporting and address the quality of news and source dynamics.

To provide students with the critical and analytical tools to study current economic and technological changes in news production, dissemination and use.

To assess the current state of journalism and public communication in a global context.

To develop the capacity to reflect critically on contemporary issues pertinent to journalism and publicity such as sexism and racism in the news, scandals and celebrities, reporting conflict, terrorism and war.

This module examines the role of journalism in western and non-western societies. It provides students with the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the key issues confronting journalism today by examining major debates about the ethics, professional values, forms and practices of reporting and about the quality of news. The module examines source dynamics in news production; sexism and racism in the news; news audiences; the commodification of news; ‘tabloidisation’; scandals and celebrities; patterns in reporting conflict, terrorism and war; and the state of investigative journalism. The module places these themes and issues in the context of global media and allows students to draw on concepts and theories addressed in the core module, Media Analysis.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics may include:
Introduction to the module
News and 'objectivity'
Gatekeeping, agenda setting & media framing
Changing news cultures, digital journalism and news audiences
The reporting of conflict and war
News coverage of race and religion
The tabloids, popular news and celebrity journalism
The role of journalism in civil wars and democracies
News values and global news
The news factory, public relations and 'churnalism'
Gendered journalism and news practices

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Interactive non-synchronous learning materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00Full-group online non-synchronous learning consolidation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00On-campus synchronous learning consolidation. Can be delivered online if needed
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Independent preparation for assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading112:0022:00Guided engagement with readings, videos or podcasts related to module learning, towards assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Synchronous small-group seminars (on-campus). Can be delivered online if needed.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1105:00105:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module aims to advance students’ knowledge and understanding of news and journalism 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. Seminars will involve small-group work and spoken presentations. This is combined with private study and essay writing.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M301,500-word essay.
Case study2A703,000-word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment 1: 1,500-word essay.

The first assessment requires students to write an essay of 1500 words by answering one of the questions listed.

This assessment will allow students to familiarise themselves with relevant theories and debates addressed in the module and to develop a critical understanding of the processes of news and journalism, nationally or globally. To do very well on this assessment, students should demonstrate a thorough understanding of a specific topic involving engagement in a sophisticated analysis of a particular contemporary issue or trend in news and journalism.
Additional task-specific criteria are as follows:
- Quality of definition of a contemporary issue or trend in news and journalism and degree of understanding of appropriate primary and secondary theoretical research (K1; K2; K6; S1);
- Quality of discussion of strengths and weaknesses of academic approaches pertinent to the contemporary issue or trend in journalism under discussion (K3; S2);
- Quality of discussion of the context and consequences of news and journalism within a range of social contexts (K4; S3);
- Coherence of argument and written structure of the research essay, including academic tone and display of examples and analysis (K5; S5; S6).

Assessment 2: 3,000-word essay

The second assessment asks students to produce an individual case study project of 3000 words, by answering one of the questions listed.

To do very well on this assessment, students should demonstrate a thorough understanding of a specific topic by choosing a relevant case study and by applying appropriate concepts, theories and methods to explain the relevant issue issues. The definition of a ‘case study’ for this purpose is therefore: an empirical news or media-related event.
Additional task-specific criteria are as follows:
- Quality of definition of the topic and answer to the question; engagement with and understanding of appropriate primary and secondary research (K1; K2; K6; S1);
- Appropriateness of choice of case study (from news media, event or organisation) and quality of application of research and evidence drawn from that case study (K4; K5; S2; S3);
- Quality of analysis of media text using research methods encountered while studying media (K3; S1);
- 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

Timetable