Module Identifier TFM0620  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Ms Janet Jones  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Professor Thomas P O'Malley  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay 5,000 words based on quantitative and qualitative study of political broadcast output100%
Further details For information on due dates for submission of assessed work, please refer to the departmental web pages at  

Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this module will be able to critically assess:
Some of the processes by which broadcast journalists mediate their work to construct reality on the screen.

How the interaction between the news media and its sources dictates the political news agenda.

The functions of the elite

The tensions between regulators, commercialisation and a depleted public service broadcaster.

The function of bias in election news reporting.

How the UK system differs from other international models such as The USA and Russia.

The impact of the digital broadcast revolution/web broadcasting on political communication and voting behaviour.

How the system might be improved to enhance its accountability to the electorate.


To provide students with a framework within which they can critically interpret the broadcast news and current affairs output, its relationship to the ruling elite and its effects on the viewing public. Students will be asked to question how successfully broadcasters fulfil their remit to provide a rationally based and balanced service of news enabling viewers/listeners to make basic judgements about public policy in the capacity as voting citizens of a democracy.


? Three contrasting cultural frameworks of regulation (public service, state run or commercially driven).
? The UK News Agenda
? Inside the modern newsroom
? A loveless embrace ? the dynamic between news maker and news breaker
? Election reporting 1 ? history, propaganda and the BBC
? Election reporting 2 ? The rules of engagement
? Election reporting 3 ? 1997 Analysis ? painting politics black
? Marketing the political message ? the party political broadcast
? The future of political communication through the broadcast media in a digital age. (Case Study: The decline of the gatekeeper in the Monica Lewinsky Affair)
? Election 2001 ? analysis and prediction

Reading Lists

** Recommended Background
Blumler, J and Gurevitch, M (eds) (1997) The Crisis of Public Communication London: Routledge
Chomsky and Herman (1994) Manufacturing Consent London: Vintage
Curran, J and Myung-Jin Park (2000) De-Westernising Media Studies London: Routledge
Curran, J (2002) Media and Power London: Routledge
Kavanagh, D (1990) Politics and Personalities London: Macmillan
Kerbel, M. R (2000) If It Bleeds it Leads, An anatomy of TV News Oxford: Westview Press
McChesney, R. W (1999) Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication politics in dubious times Urbana: University of Chicago Press
McNair, Brian (2000) Journalism and Democracy: An Evaluation of the political public sphere New York: Routledge
O'Malley, T (1994) Closedown, The BBC and Goverment Broadcasting Policy London: Pluto
Postman, N Amusing Ourselves to Death - Public Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness London: Heinemann
Zelizer, B, Allan, S (2002) Journalism After September 11th London: Routledge


This module is at CQFW Level 7