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.
-threshold -(D) Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence as follows:1.Generally accurate but with omissions and errors.2.Assertions are made without clear supporting evidence or reasoning.3.Has structure but is lacking in clarity and therefore relies on the reader to make links and assumptions.4.Draws on a relatively narrow range of material.
-good -(B) Submitted work is competent throughout and may be distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It:1.Demonstrates good or very good structure and logically developed arguments.2.Draws at least in parts on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student.3.Assertions are backed by evidence and sound reasoning.4.Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.
-excellent -(A) Submitted work is of an outstanding quality and excellent in one or more of the following ways:1.Has originality of exposition with the student’s own thinking being readily apparent.2.Provides clear evidence of extensive and relevant independent study.3.Arguments are laid down with clarity and provide the reader with successive stages of consideration to reach conclusions.
- Analyse the communicative problems and opportunities across different journalistic forms and genres presented by a range of contemporary risk issues;
- Assemble and summarise journalistic risk communication that reflects best practice guidelines.
- Identify and analyse existing risk communication problems apparent in the world today.
- Summarise and evaluate empirical and theoretical literature on risk communication and journalism;
- Summarise and examine the sociological concepts of risk and trust;
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.
essay examining the relationship between the risk society and journalism (full details in Module Guide)