Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Workload Breakdown Contact hours = 20 hours Regular background reading = 60 hours Preparing for workshop discussion = 20 hours Work for assignments = 100 hours
Lecture 10 x 2-hour (weekly) lecture-workshop sessions


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000-word written Essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500-word Feature Article  25%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500-word Feature Article  25%
Supplementary Assessment All failed or missing elements must be retaken or made good. In the case of the essay, students will be required to complete a different assignment question to the one originally submitted. 1 x 2,000-word written Essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500-word Feature Article  25%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500-word Feature Article  25%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of how the information revolution and the effects of convergence have impacted on the practice of Journalism.

2. Understand the basics of writing news leads and features.

3. Analyse the relationship between the current working practices in news-gathering and their impact on society.

4. Question the effectiveness of the current state of our mediated democracy.

5. Demonstrate knowledge of the historical journalistic debates surrounding press freedom, state and voluntary regulation.


The change in level from MC3 to MC2 is in line with similar changes made to three other modules within the Media and Communication Scheme. This is to ensure clarity - so students can clearly see what they need to study in Year 2 and Year 3 respectively - and to make explicit the overall structure of the Scheme, promoting a sense of progression. This structure also echoes similar changes made in the Film & Television Studies Schemes within TFTS, enabling more effective cross-fertilization.

The change in assessment reflects a response to student feedback over three years of running the module, where numerous suggestions were made that there should be more emphasis placed on different modes of writing.

The requested change should be applied in time for provisional registration and fully implemented from September 2009-10. We do not wish to disrupt or compromise the available provision for our current cohort, so would like to 'roll-out' the structural changes gradually over the next 12 months.


Lecture-workshop sessions will be based on the following:

  • Introduction: What is journalism?
  • 'Digital' Journalism (1): Writers and audiences
  • 'Digital' Journalism (2): New technologies
  • Institutions (1): The status of PSB
  • Institutions (2): Multi-platform global convergence
  • Case Study (1): Blogging and 'power'
  • Case Study (2): Censorship and regulation
  • Case Study (3): Cyberspace and 'truth'
  • Practice (1): Traditional journalistic writing styles
  • Practice (2): Writing styles in a digital age

Brief description

This module aims to set out an introduction to critical, theoretical and practical perspectives of journalism while exploring the relationship between the news text and its audiences and between 'new' media and traditional journalism practice. It will highlight how the expanding digital environment impacts on newsgathering and reporting and will provide students with a means to become critical users and potential producers of the converging media.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication * Students' written communication skills will be developed (e.g appropriate language and style, accuracy, precision and ability to be concise). * Students will be given opportunity to develop specific journalistic communication skills (primarily written). * Opportunities will be given through interactive lecture-workshop sessions for students to develop confidence in using their speaking and listening skills when communicating their ideas.
Improving own Learning and Performance * Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. * Students will be given opportunities to develop effective note-taking skills. * Through group and whole class discussion students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider initial ideas if necessary.
Information Technology * Students will be given the opportunity to develop their authorial and note-taking skills when planning and preparing for written assignments. * Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills using electronic search and retrieval of sources both on the web and on the AU LIS catalogue. * Students will develop their skills when referencing from the web and related sources, whilst the ability to evaluate (not describe) and ability to be selective in using these materials are also essential key skills. * Students will develop an understanding of e-publishing. *
Personal Development and Career planning * Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning.
Problem solving * Problem identification and analysis. * Ability to rationalise, utilise and apply different approaches and materials to understand problematic data.
Research skills * Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. * Students will be given opportunities to develop effective note-taking skills.
Subject Specific Skills * Students will be encouraged to develop specialist styles of writing - adopting a journalistic pitch/tone - and will develop particular awareness of potential outlets and audiences for digital publishing.
Team work * Most sessions will involve group work where students will be able to collaborate through discussion. * Group-work/collaboration will empower the student to utilise their skills in co-operation, leadership, use of initiative and peer scaffolding which in turn will enhance the students' ability to work individually.

Reading List

General Text
Bell, A. (1991) The Language of the News Media Blackwell Primo search Bromley, M. and T. O'Malley (eds) (1997) A Journalism Reader Routledge Primo search Carey, P. (1996) Media Law Sweet & Maxwell Primo search Day, L.A. (1991) Ethics in Media Communication: Cases and Controversies Wadsworth University Press Primo search Fallows, J. (1998) Breaking the News Pantheon Books Primo search Hartley, J. (1998) Popular Reality: Journalism, Modernity, Popular Culture Arnold Primo search McNair, B. (2000) Journalism and Democracy: An Evaluation of the Public Sphere Routledge Primo search Schlesinger, P. (1984) Televising Terrorism London: Comedia Primo search United Kingdom Committee (1967) Human Rights Heinemann Primo search
Should Be Purchased
United Kingdom Committee (1967) Human Rights Heinemann Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5