MCH1036 : Journalism: Pasts, present and future
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Dr Murray Dick
- Owning School: Arts & Cultures
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 2 Credit Value:||20|
This module allows students:
1. To critically evaluate what 'journalism' is and what journalists do.
2. To engage with various competing (and overlapping) histories of journalism, in order to better understand the place and function of journalism in societies past and present.
3. To interrogate the historic rise of professional journalism; to understand what came before it, what factors shaped it, and why it takes the various forms it does today.
4. To critically evaluate the fundamentals of journalism: what makes a journalists and what constitutes 'journalism'? For example, what is the 'fourth estate'; where does the idea come from, does it exist, and if so, why (if it all) does it matter?
5. To consider where journalism as profession and practice is heading in the network age.
6. To consider where the study of journalism sits within the wider field of media studies.
This module will introduce you to key theoretical considerations in the study of journalism; its pasts, present and future; from the 18th century pamphleteers, to today’s beat-bloggers.
It will help you to identify and to critically evaluate various competing (and overlapping) histories of journalism towards a clearer understanding of the 'hows' and 'whys' of journalism's emergence; and the significant moments in its narrative arc.
This module will encourage students to reflect upon, and to challenge those elements of journalism that define its centrality to our lives today, for example:
• What is 'freedom of the press'; where does it come from, how is it conceived, does it truly exist, and does this even matter?
Taking a critical historical perspective, this module will consider how journalism's contemporary crises are best understood and learned from in journalisms of the past. Students will be encouraged to find their own answers to the question of what future journalism has in an age of atomised online news consumption.
Outline Of Syllabus
This module is aimed at students who are new to the field of journalism studies; and who wish to develop a more critically engaged understanding of journalism; where it comes from, and what purpose journalists serve (and journalism serves) in wider society.
Students will critically engage with the elements of journalism and its core values, for example:
• What is journalism, and why and how did it emerge as we recognise it today?
• What is 'freedom of the press', where does the idea come from, and why does it matter?
• What is 'impartiality', and does it matter to the practice of journalism? Is it being supplanted by 'transparency' in the network age?
• Is the press truly a 'fourth estate', or is it merely a cypher for elite corporate and political interests?
The module will be structured around a range of key themes in the 'narrative arc' of journalism studies. Key readings from the field will be introduced in order to tease out competing (and overlapping) discourses on journalism's pasts, present and future, allowing students to make comparative assessments of their respective merits.
Historic themes that will be used as a means of engaging competing journalism studies discourses include:
• The pre-history of journalism as a literary (and oral) form
• The rise of the revolutionary pamphleteers
• The early modern press, and the rise and fall of the radical press
• The ‘ new journalism’
• The emergence of wholesale ( globalised) news
• Public sector broadcasting
• Convergence: journalism in the network age
• Journalism's futures: Blogging, Wikileaks and the so-called 'fifth estate'
Small group seminars will enable students to critically appraise the significance of key events in these histories according to different readings of history, from different theoretical perspectives. As such this module may be considered both an introduction to the substance of journalism history, as well as an introduction to the study of journalism history, and the application of theory in journalism studies.
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||24:00||24:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||12||2:00||24:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||50:00||50:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Small group teaching||12||1:00||12:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Reflective learning activity||1||20:00||20:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||1||70:00||70:00||N/A|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
Students will engage with a range of learning approaches on this module, allowing them to develop a nuanced analytical approach to primary and secondary sources, towards entrenching methods for the critical evaluation of theory in the field of journalism studies.
Each method selected is intended to enhance the learning experience, and to help students achieve key learning (and skills) outcomes in a structured accumulation.
Critical historical evaluation will be the dominant feature of this course, and generally speaking, skills in critical evaluation will be encouraged both in and outside of class time.
Lectures will be used to set out competing discourses on journalism history, around key themes in the ‘narrative arc’ of the emergence of journalism. The directed nature of the medium will support students’ engagement with the factual content on the module (Aims: 2, 3, 5) (Outcomes: 1, 2, 3).
Small group teaching will allow students to learn discursively, and to negotiate answers (in the context of peer-interaction) to some of the more complicated ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions in journalism studies, accommodating a more collaborative approach to learning (Aims: 1, 4, 5, 6) (Outcomes: 4, 5, 9).
Critical engagement will be nurtured through directed research and reading; the material covered in lectures, and in small group exercise will be covered (Aims: 1-5; Outcomes: 1-7).
Reflective learning activities will be used to entrench (and help students engage with) the learning process on the module, and learning in journalism studies more generally (Outcomes: 8).
Independent study will enhance student’s sense of initiative (Outcomes: 10).
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Essay||2||M||30||Critical synopsis of two competing/opposing theories (750-1000 words)|
|Essay||2||A||70||Critical essay (3000 words)|
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
|Written exercise||M||Analytical framework for comparing two theories|
|Written exercise||M||Bibliography with brief precise of contribution of each work to argument|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
Formative and summative methods are combined on this module in order to more effectively support students (across the duration of the semester in which the module is taught) towards achieving aims and learning (and skills) outcomes.
1. The Analytical framework for comparing two theories will allow students to demonstrate their awareness of the conceptual bounds of a select theme in journalism studies (Outcomes: 1, 4)
2. The Bibliography with brief precise of contribution of each work to argument will help students to ground their theoretical understanding, towards improving academic communication (Outcomes: 9, 10)
3. The Critical synopsis of two competing/opposing theories will allow students to demonstrate their critical engagement with (and narrative treatment of) two opposing discourses in journalism studies (Outcomes: 1, 2, 5)
4. The Critical essay will allow students to explore the material covered during the module, while undertaking their own original research in journalism studies (Outcomes: 1-3, 5-10)
The completion of each formative submission (3. Critical synopsis of two competing/opposing theories; 4. Critical essay) will be informed by prior submission and tutorial discussion of the formative components (1. Analytical framework, submitted two weeks prior to submission of Critical synopsis; 2. Bibliography with brief precise of contribution of each work to argument, submitted two weeks prior to Critical essay).
This approach will provide the module leader with a clearer understanding of students' progress on the module, and help identify suitable interventions (and provision of extra tutorial support) for students where necessary. It will also re-inforce key learning outcomes at each stage of submission, representing a joined-up learning process.
This approach will help mitigate any disparity in students' understanding of the application of critical thinking to theory during the early stages of their university experience, taking into account the range and varying combination of subjects taken by students new to the program.