Module UXS-1004:
History of Journal & Pub Sph.

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Vian Bakir

Overall aims and purpose

This module critically examines the development of the public sphere and core journalistic ideals, forms and practices over time, from the perspective of critical theorists, historians, political-economists and sociologists. Students will gain insights into how these journalistic ideals, forms and practices emerged; the extent to which they have been compromised by the forces of professionalism, propaganda, public relations, interest groups, neo-liberalism and market pressures; and the consequences for our trust in journalism. The time period to be examined will be mid 18th century to the current day.

Course content

This course starts by presenting and critiquing Jurgen Habermas’ ideal of the public sphere. It then examines the various forces that he suggests constitute the public sphere’s corruption – namely the forces of propaganda, public relations, interest groups, neo-liberalism and market pressures. Taking a range of analytical perspectives (critical-theoretical, historical, political-economic and sociological) the rise of market-driven journalism will be examined, as will journalism’s struggle to establish its independence from the state and the state’s consequent attempts at manipulation and censorship. Throughout, a range of journalistic ideals, forms and practices, such as the radical press, objective journalism and investigative journalism, will be critically analysed and evaluated.

Assessment Criteria

You will be assessed on:  Ability to identify and accurately assemble relevant material (Make sure you get your facts right).  Level of conceptual analysis of relevant issues (You should aim to provide concise and relevant description, leading to a logical analysis).  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).

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

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

good

B: Very Good

  • 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

C: Good

  • Knowledge of key areas/principles
  • Understands main areas
  • Limited evidence of background study
  • Answer focussed on question but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure
  • Arguments presented but lack coherence
  • Has several factual/computational errors
  • No original interpretation
  • Only major links between topics are described
  • Limited problem solving
  • Some weaknesses in presentation and accuracy

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a good grasp of Jurgen Habermas’ ideal of the public sphere, and the centrality of journalism within.

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the ‘refeudalisation’ of the public sphere via the forces of professionalism, propaganda, public relations, interest groups, neo-liberalism and market pressures.

  3. Analytically situate the development of the core journalistic ideals, practices and forms over time.

  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the complex relationship between journalism, the state and the economy.

  5. Understand a range of critical-theoretical, historical, political-economic and sociological approaches to studying journalism.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
An essay of 1500 words, related to learning outcomes 1-2 50
1.5 hour Exam, related to learning outcomes 1-5. 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Seminar

Seminar, 1 hour per week

11
Lecture

Lecture, 1 hour per week

11
Private study 178

Transferable skills

  • 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

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: