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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5645M Journalism Theory and Research

30 creditsClass Size: 74

Module manager: Dr Adrian Quinn

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective


This module examines the intersection between the theory and practice of contemporary journalism internationally. Through a focus on how what we know as “news” is manufactured, we seek to challenge conventional ways of thinking about news media and their role. Using critical approaches to journalism practice and consumption, this module will develop a framework for assessing journalistic output
in the press and on television, radio and the internet. Students will be encouraged to make international comparisons across societies and cultures using practical examples and case studies. Students will also have an opportunity to develop their own skills as international journalists and this module will contribute to building the skills required to pursue careers in journalism and/or to engage in further academic research.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should:
- be able to theorise journalism, its messages and the forces influencing it
- be able to critically analyse the language of journalism, the social impact of journalism, and a range of journalist practices
- have a knowledge and appreciation of the range of contemporary issues affecting journalists in their work
- have a sense of news as the product of a specific set of social practices, codes and conventions
- be aware of the historical, economic, political and social contexts of news production internationally
- understand the constraining influences – economic, ideological, professional and practical – on journalistic practice
- understand international news gathering and delivery
- critically evaluate research about journalism and be able to engage in complex research projects concerning journalism


Classes initially contextual journalism and define terminology before engaging with theoretical perspectives on journalistic practice and exploring sociological approaches to news production. At an early stage, research approaches to journalism are examined comparatively. The module then moves to examination of the influences of news sources and of media owners, and examines political economy approaches to journalism. Additional topics in the second half of the module include the language of news and theories of news consumption, key issues in international reporting, including both critical approaches such as the “othering” and structural limitations to international reporting, and finally, issues of changing technology and emerging models of journalistic practice.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students should prepare for each lecture and seminar using assigned required and recommended readings in combination with additional library and online research (est. 20 hours per week). Students will have the opportunity to debate current issues in journalism in a VLE based forum. The remaining private study time should be dedicated to researching, preparing and writing the essays.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The first assessment is due by mid-semester and students will receive feedback prior to submission of their second essay. There will be weekly seminar presentations in teams. Students will have the option of completing an (apx.) 300 word piece of journalism for formative assessment. Additional individual and group meetings with the instructor will be used throughout the semester and students will be encouraged to discuss paper preparation with the instructor.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,500 - 4,000 words75.00
Literature ReviewLiterature Review and Bibliography25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:23:02


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