Journalism & Risk Society
Journalism & Risk Society 2023-24
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 2
This module examines the impact of the ‘risk society’ on journalism, and the impact of journalism on the ‘risk society’. It will address what the risk society is (i.e. it's future facing, where the facts are uncertain, and the stakes are high). It will examine how it manifests in journalism across a range of different risk issues (like health risks, environmental risks, and political risks). Lectures and seminars will introduce you to academic studies and a host of examples in this area. It is assessed by an individual essay and group work (where you co-lead a seminar).
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.
--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).
-threshold -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 -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 -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
- Analyse the communicative problems and opportunities across different journalistic forms and genres presented by a range of contemporary risk issues;
- Evaluate and assess empirical and theoretical literature on risk communication and journalism;
- Examine the sociological concepts of risk and trust;
- Identify and analyse existing risk communication problems apparent in the world today.
In small groups you will co-lead a seminar and discuss a set of pre-arranged seminar questions, detailed in the Module Guide. This will take place across the semester in specified seminar slots. Preparation will include in-depth assessment of the set weekly reading, contextual reading and development of activities or tasks to engage the seminar group (e.g. you might bring in or create an artefact (e.g. a media text) to stimulate discussion; you might divide the wider seminar group into smaller sub-groups and set them a mini-task). N.b. this is not meant to be a presentation. The goal is to use engagement activities so that fellow students debate, explore, create and develop insight into the issues of the week. The livelier and more engaging the better! However, you will have prepared, read around the topic, found good examples to explain ideas simply. In leading the seminar, your group will show comprehension of academic treatment of the topic. Working in groups, you will receive a group mark. The group will have the final say on how marks are distributed across the group - if everyone has contributed equally, you will all get the same mark.
2000 word essay on the risk society and journalism - full details in Module Guide.