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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

COMM1320 Journalism, Politics and Society

20 creditsClass Size: 51

Module manager: Adrian Quinn

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Module replaces

Partly PIED1100

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to develop your understanding of the role of journalism in society through an introduction to the main theoretical approaches to the academic study of journalism. In addition, the module provides you with knowledge of the UK’s political institutions and systems of governance which is essential to journalism. By developing an understanding of the relationship between the news media, politics and the public you will be equipped with the necessary theoretical basis to critically engage in debates about journalism and its role in the democratic process.


The module will develop your ability to critically reflect on the role of journalism in society. Over the course of the semester you will cover a range of concepts key to developing a framework for understanding the academic study of journalism and its relationship with democracy.

You will understand the structures and workings of local, regional and national government and the implications of this for the provision of public services. You will also gain an understanding of the implications of the recent approaches of political parties and governments to governance and the role of the news media in elections. You will also examine the relationship between journalists/the news media and the public including concepts of the public as voters, citizens, sources of public opinion, consumers, the audience and news sources.

The module will encourage you to begin identifying links between the type and quality of news produced by broadcast journalists and theories about the impact of the social, political and economic context in which news and current affairs is produced.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students should be able to:
- Use evidence to support academic arguments about the role of news in society.
- Demonstrate developing skills in critical thinking and analysis about influences on the production of news.
- Have a developing understanding of key theoretical concepts and debates in journalism studies.
- Describe the structures of the UK’s administrative and political systems.
- Explain the relationship between civic/political structures, the delivery of public services and democratic accountability.


The module will examine key concepts that have informed the analysis of the role of journalism in society within a framework which considers the influence of political, social and economic factors on the production of news. This includes debates about journalism as a profession, understandings of the audience, and contemporary challenges to journalism such as the impact of technological change. The module introduces the workings the UK’s political institutions and systems of governance which is essential to journalism.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study should include reading and researching in preparation for the essays, writing the essay, reading and preparing for seminars including group presentations. In addition, students should develop a routine for engaging with current affairs through the news as well as engaging with debate in the media about the performance of journalists and news organisations.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via participation in seminars, including informal presentations, as well as through assessed work scheduled in the middle and at the end of the semester.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000 - 2,500 words40.00
Essay1 x 2,000 - 2,500 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

If you are required to resit this module please select and alternative essay for the appropriate component from the module handbook.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/03/2022


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