300 2days media

300 2days media

?    What is included in the word count? The text itself with footnotes/end notes and any tables/graphs included in the text BUT NOT the list of references (literature) and any appendices.

?    These can come from the Journalism in Transition module or from any other modules that you took at Sussex.

?    This specific critical review is about news and features so theories of media and democracy; news values; 24/7 news cycle and its impact; sources etc.

?    The example/s are entirely up to you, this is where you can show your ability to match a theoretical/conceptual issue to an actual piece of news or a feature. When deciding about a theory and an example/s, you can start either way – looking at a theory and finding a matching example or looking at an example and deciding what theory it illustrates. The important thing is that you should not just state the obvious.

?    For example, if you are interested in news values, you can decide to look at a piece of news and analyze the news values that it is based on. This, however, will not tell you much apart from the very obvious fact that you can identify news values. So you may want to develop this further and compare a piece of news in a tabloid and in a quality newspaper – this way you will be able to say more about the importance of news values for news in tabloids and broadsheets and you will also be able to make a comparison about the importance of certain news values for each.

?    This is a short piece of work so you will not be able to discuss many theories and analyze many examples. The important thing is to say enough about the theory/concept and to match what you say with the analysis. Also, you are not expected to conduct an extensive analysis based on a research method (like quantitative or qualitative content analysis) but your analysis should engage with the piece/s of news or features and be more than a commentary

?    News values in mainstream print media follow the same pattern: Examples of news reporting from The Guardian and The Sun.

?    Shrinking sources for news: The use of sources in a series of news features on the Leveson Inquiry in the Times.
?    Please make sure that your text is not too crammed, do not use single spacing and small font sizes (e.g. Arial 11 or Times New Roman 12 are suitable).

?    Please include page numbers and make sure that when printed out, the pages are in correct order.

?    If you feel that something is important and you cannot include it because of the word count, you can use an appendix as what is in the appendix is not included in the word count. For example, you may want to put a copy of the feature that you analyze there.

?    Clarity is very important so try to avoid overcomplicated sentences.

?    Make sure that the terms you use are clear and that you explained them to your reader.

?    Use formal language rather than colloquial (unless it is in a quote, of course).

?    Proofread your work.

?    Your review will include quotes, paraphrases, references. You need to make clear where these are in the text.

?    You will need to use a referencing system for this, we recommend Harvard style but the main issue is to be consistent. Do not forget that even if you are paraphrasing/ summarizing something from literature, you still need to reference it.

Guidance on critical review The aim of this assignment is to allow you to critically review and evaluate examples of news and/or features in relation to some of the theories and concepts that you have learnt about so far on all your modules.
Ideally, you will compare news reports or features to enable you to reflect on the differences and similarities between professional practices and related issues (such as production, consumption and distribution) that characterize journalism in various media outlets (or online and off line).
You can use any of the theories and concepts that you have learnt about so far (for example on the Journalism in Transition module) to build your analysis of the news reports and/or features. Possible concepts include news values, sensationalism, impact of technology on journalists’ work etc.
There is no set topic for this assignment as it should be based on your personal choice of examples of news reporting or features that you want to review. These are some examples of possible topics that may help you with your decision making:
News values in online mainstream media match those in print media: Examples of news reporting from Google news and The Guardian.
News reporting in alternative online media challenges the dominant flow of news from the West.

Module week-by-session detail

Week starting 24 September 2012
Session 1: Introduction: Theories of Media and Society

The introductory lecture will set the scene for the whole course. It will deal with the relationship between media and society as a contextualization for the role of journalism and the journalistic profession historically and in contemporary societies. A variety of theoretical approaches will be discussed as well as examples of concrete studies.
You will also be introduced to the course contents, key materials, assessment items and support mechanisms will be covered as well.

Please note that no seminar is scheduled for this week.

Key reading:
*Chapter 8 “Narratives of media history revisited.” In Curran, J. (2011) Media and democracy. London: Routledge.  OR Chapter 1 “Rival narratives of media history.” In Curran, J (2002) Media and power. London: Routledge.

Further readings:
A very readable basic introduction – also suitable for those with no background in media/journalism  studies – is Chapters 3&4 in McQuail, D. (1994) Mass communication theory: An introduction. London: Sage.
Part IV “Theories of the media.” In Curran, J. and Seaton, J. Power without responsibility. 6th ed. London: Routledge.
Curran, J. and Gurevitch, M. (2005) Mass media and society. 4th ed. London: Hodder Arnold.

Week starting 01 October 2012
Session 2: Media and Democracy

Media and their roles in a democratic society form a crucial area of exploration for the course. The discussion this week will involve questions such as: Do media act as watchdogs or do they serve the interests of those in power? What role do new media play in empowering democratic decision making? Do recent developments in journalism undermine the democratic role of media?

In the seminar we will have a presentation on some of the debates outlined in the key readings. It will also help generate discussion if you come to the seminar with examples of cases when journalism (professional or citizen) successfully intervened in the public interest or when it failed to do so. The examples do not necessarily have to originate from the UK.

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