Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Political Power and the Media in Britain
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1 @ 3,000 words  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2 @ 3,000 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1 @ 3,000 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2 @ 3,000 words  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of relevant themes and approaches in the history and historiography of the mass media and its role in modern British political culture.
Evaluate different ways of understanding the relationship between the mass media and politics
Marshal and understand the use of appropriate evidence in formulating historical arguments regarding the interaction between the mass media and modern British politics
Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical approaches to the mass media and power
Demonstrate through written work an ability to integrate methodological themes into their own research

Brief description

Over the course of the module, and taking a broadly chronological approach, we will investigate the ties of ownership and of political control that have influenced the development of the print and broadcast media in Britain since the late nineteenth century. We will address each medium’s own perspective on their political roles, and assess the growing importance of the media in presenting political debate to the general public. The effects of this interdependence on public policy and public opinion in various particular case studies over the past century will also be considered.


1. Introduction: political power and the media in modern Britain
2. ‘Government by Journalism’? The late-Victorian press and British politics, c. 1870s-1901
3. ‘Power without responsibility’? The era of the Press Barons, c. 1900-50
4. ‘Reith and the denial of politics’? The BBC in British politics, c. 1922-50
5. Politics, press and broadcasting. The shifting balance: Suez. A case study.
6. The end of deference? Media and politics in the ‘permissive society’
7. Selling politics: electoral politics and the mass media in twentieth century Britain
8. A cancer called Rupert’: the Murdoch empire and British politics
9. Politics, power and press regulation 1945-2015.
10. Conclusions: Politics and the media in the long twentieth century.


This module is at CQFW Level 7