PO2TMP-The Media and Politics

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Dawn Clarke

Email: d.clarke@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module introduces students to the practice of discussing politics through the media, to theories of the roles played by the media in politics, and to how the media work in the world today. It combines conventional seminars with participation in a radio show and writing for a blog.
In the event the module is oversubscribed those studying politics as part of their programmes will normally be given priority. Students are chosen from those prepared to do a short broadcast on the politics show in the spring/summer terms and attend the editorial meeting 1pm on a Tuesday. Contact the module convenor for further details.

The module has two broad aims:
•First, to develop students’ understanding of the roles played by the media in contemporary politics. This aim is pursued in part through engagement with scholarly writings and analysis of media practices and outputs. In part, it is pursued through practice of discussing politics through a variety of media and reflection upon that practice.
•Second, to develop students’ capacities to engage a broad audience in thinking about politics and to communicate ideas about politics to a broad audience through both research and presentation. This is intended to advance a wide range of presentational, technical, and team-working skills.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that students should be able:
•to show knowledge and understanding of theories of the nature of the media and of the relationship between media and politics;
•to show knowledge and understanding of how the news is made in practice;
•to analyse media content and identify how it has been constructed and what effects it might be expected to have;
•to plan, research, and present material on the radio in a manner that is accessible and engaging for a broad audience;
•to write in a way that is analytical and precise, but also accessible to a broad audience;
•to reflect upon how their work for the module has developed their broader skills and how they might deploy these skills and experiences in pursuit of further goals, including future employment.

Additional outcomes:
Students’ team-working skills will be developed through participation in planning of the radio show in editorial meetings and through working in small teams in the development of radio reports. Students’ engagement with contemporary affairs will be deepened through the expectation that they will keep up with what is happening on the international, national, and local political stages. Students will develop their IT skills, particularly in using audio recording equipment and audio editing software. Depending on their choices, they may develop specific skills of interviewing or surveying.

Outline content:
The content is indicative only and may be subject to change:
The module looks at key topics in the study of the media and media power, encompassing both theory and reality in a range of countries around the world. It includes such topics as how media agendas are set and how the media affect a variety of aspects of politics. In addition, through the production of a weekly radio show, the module engages students in thinking practically about how news agendas are set and how news stories are developed and packaged. Through reflection, it encourages students to work consciously on the various transferable skills that they can develop through the module.

Global context:
The module requires students to present on current developments in politics at the international level (as well as national and local levels), including developments that are not prominent in the mainstream media. In this way, students are encouraged to engage with contemporary world affairs beyond a mere recounting of existing media presentations.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The more conventional aspects of the module, exploring media theory and the nature of the media in practice, will be taught through lectures and seminars, structured around specified topics. In addition, students will participate in weekly editorial meetings in order to plan and prepare material for the weekly radio show, and they will appear on the show at least twice during the Autumn, Spring or Summer Terms. There will also be four hours of practical workshops early in the Autumn Term, in which students will learn about presentation and interview skills and about audio recording and editing.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 4
Seminars 5 5 8
Practicals classes and workshops 14 14
Supervised time in studio/workshop 2 2
Guided independent study 63 75 8
Total hours by term 88.00 96.00 16.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Oral assessment and presentation 40

Other information on summative assessment:
There are three items of summatively assessed work:

•an analysis (of 1000 words +/- 10%) of a piece of media reporting, examining how the report constructs the news; this is written such as to be suitable for publication on a blog; it is worth 20% of the module mark; it should be submitted on Blackboard by a previously agreed deadline;

•a radio piece, lasting around 15 minutes in total and prepared in a group of two or three students; this may include pre-recorded as well as live elements and should present original research into a topic of interest to the radio show’s audience; it should be accompanied by a reflective essay (of 2000 words +/- 10%) on how the story was selected and developed, how the research was conducted, and what transferable skills the student developed through the exercise; this is worth 40% of the module mark, half of which is given on the basis of the radio material and half the reflective essay; the audio recording of the broadcast and the reflective essay should be submitted on Blackboard within one week of the broadcast;

•an essay (of 3,000 words +/- 10%) answering a selected seminar question; this is worth 40% of the module mark; the deadline for submission on Blackboard will be one week after the seminar in which the topic is discussed.

Visiting students will follow the same assessments for full credit and those studying for half credits will submit a 3,000 word essay and either a short radio piece with reflective essay or an analysis for a blog.

Formative assessment methods:
•Students will give presentations during the seminars on essay questions and on analysis of media reporting. They will participate in at least two radio broadcasts in addition to those on which they are summatively assessed, at least one of which will be before their first assessed broadcast. During the workshops, they will take part in role plays in order to practice presenting and interviewing skills.

•A short radio piece, lasting around 4 minutes and broadcast live, on recent events in the world of politics. Participants feed back on their experience in the next editorial session. The audio recording of the broadcast should be submitted on Blackboard within one week of the broadcast.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    If a student fails to pass the year at the first attempt there is an opportunity to be re-assessed on one further occasion at the next opportunity in those modules achieving a mark of less than 40%. Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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