Journalism & Risk Society
Run by School of Arts, Culture and Language
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Vian Bakir
Overall aims and purpose
This module examines risk (issues involving uncertainty, future-orientation, value judgements, and the possibility of loss or gain), with a focus on the communication of important risk issues of our time. It examines the development of risk communication, with a focus on journalistic forms and genres, critically exploring issues of trust and expertise. Patterns of journalistic risk reporting are examined across a range of risk issues, such as security risks like terrorism, health risks like COVID-19 and environmental risks like climate change. A critical understanding will be gained of journalistic reporting of diverse risks, along with social impacts of 'good' and 'bad' risk reporting.
This course starts by presenting and critiquing the concept of risk, and the development of the field of risk communication. It then examines two key theorists of the 'risk society', namely Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, to explore sociological theoretical foundations that explain inter-relationships of risk, trust, expertise and mass-mediated communication. Building on this theoretical lens, it then moves to examine in-depth specific risk issues and their journalistic communication, ranging from health risks like COVID-19 to security risks like terrorism.
Threshold - D
- Knowledge of key areas/principles only
- Weaknesses in understanding of main areas
- Limited evidence of background study
- Answer only poorly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure
- Arguments presented but lack coherence
- Several factual/computational errors
- No original interpretation
- Only major links between topics are described
- Limited problem solving
- Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy
Good - B
- Strong knowledge
- Understands most but not all
- Evidence of background study
- Focussed answer with good structure
- Arguments presented coherently
- Mostly free of factual and computational errors
- Some limited original interpretation
- Well known links between topics are described
- Problems addressed by existing methods/approaches
- Good presentation with accurate communication
Excellent - A
- Comprehensive knowledge
- Detailed understanding
- Extensive background study
- Highly focussed answer and well structured
- Logically presented and defended arguments
- No factual/computational errors
- Original interpretation
- New links between topics are developed
- New approach to a problem
- Excellent presentation with very accurate communication
You will be assessed on: Depth of critical thought (Make sure you directly engage with the essay title in a critical fashion). Level of conceptual analysis of relevant issues (You should be moving beyond the descriptive towards the analytical). Clarity of argument (You should aim for a strong and clear argument, rather than an assortment of loosely related paragraphs). Diversity of sources (NB You MUST read beyond the lecture notes! Your sources should consist of a range of academic sources, drawn from this Module Guide). Presentation of ideas and information (including referencing and bibliography, spelling and grammar).
Evaluate and assess empirical and theoretical literature on risk communication and journalism;
Understand the communicative problems and opportunities across different journalistic forms and genres presented by a range of contemporary risk issues;
Critically identify and analyse existing risk communication problems apparent in the world today.
Understand critically the sociological concepts of risk and trust;
|Co-leading a Seminar||30.00|
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Lecture, 1 hour per week x 11 weeks
Seminar, 1 hour per week x 11 weeks
Group work - work as a team to answer the week's questions for leading that week's seminars. You will get a group mark.
To consult the module teachers with a plan for the group work, and for an essay plan
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
- Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
- Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in
Resource implications for students
All resources are freely available in the library.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/uxs-2038.html
See Module Guide on Blackboard for full list.
Core readings include: - Zinn, J.O. and P.Taylor-Gooby, “Risk as an Interdisciplinary Research Area.” In P.Taylor-Gooby and J.O.Zinn, (eds) Risk in Social Science. Oxford University Press: Oxford (2006): 20-53 . - Cottle, S. “Ulrich Beck, 'Risk Society' and the Media: A Catastrophic View?” European Journal of Communication, 13 (1) (1998): 8-32. - Giddens, A. The Reith Lectures: Risk BBC News Online (1999). Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/reith_99/week2/week2.htm - Giddens, A The Consequences of Modernity. Polity Press (1990) - Bennett, P. “Understanding responses to risk: some basic findings.” In Bennett, P. and K. Calman (eds.) Risk communication and public health. Oxford medical publications. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2005): 3-19 - Stocking, S.H. & Holstein, L.W. (2009) Manufacturing doubt: journalists' roles and the construction of ignorance in a scientific controversy . Public Understanding of Science, 18: 23-42 - Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar (2006). Analysis and Recommendations: Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar. Available at: http://www.sirc-csars.gc.ca/pdfs/cm_arar_rec-eng.pdf#53 - Kellner, D. (2007). Lying in politics: The case of George W. Bush and Iraq. Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies, 7 (2), 132-144. - Danchev, A. (2004). The Reckoning: Official Inquiries and the Iraq War. Intelligence and National Security, 19(3): 436-466. - Reichel, C. (2018.) Covering climate change: What reporters get wrong and how to get it right. Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. https://journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets/reporting/climate-change-reporting-tipsheet-elizabeth-arnold/ - Roozenbeek, J. & van der Linden, S. (2019). The fake news game: actively inoculating against the risk of misinformation, Journal of Risk Research, 22(5): 570-580, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2018.1443491.
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- L202: BA Politics and Economics year 2 (BA/POLEC)