MC422      Half Unit
Critical Studies in Media and Journalism

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Charles Beckett TW2.7.01K


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Research) and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

In order to accommodate academic staff research leave and sabbaticals, and in order to maintain smaller seminar group sizes, this course is capped, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted. Whist we do our best to accommodate all requests, we cannot guarantee you a place on this course.

Course content

The news media is vital not just for the dissemination information but as a forum for debate. Journalism thus shapes our individual and community lives. It frames ideological disputes and is a site of contestation. But journalism and the news itself is changing because of technological, social, economic and political forces.  This course led by a media professor with 20 years of experience as a journalist, takes an ethical perspective on media change. It asks what impact journalism has, what kind of journalism do we want, and how will journalism reconstruct itself according to competing national, cultural, or political contexts. On completion of this course, students should be able to: understand the role of global journalism in society today; critically discuss different theoretical conceptions of journalism as practiced in a wide variety of social and political contexts; compare and contrast the role of journalism in contexts ranging from mainstream to alternative media outlets; evaluate the normative and empirical connections between media journalism, the production of news and ethical considerations; critically assess contemporary debates about the changing nature of journalism and its implications for cultural understanding and democracy.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

Allan, S. (2009) The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism, London: Routledge;

Beckett, C. (2008) Supermedia, London: Blackwell; Chouliaraki, L. (2006) Spectatorship of Suffering, London: Sage;

De Burgh (2005) Making Journalists, London: Sage;

Frosh, P. and Pinchevski, A. (2009) Media Witnessing, London: Palgrave;

Hafez, K. (2007) The myth of media globalization, Cambridge: Polity; 

Muhlmann, G. (2008) A Political History of Journalism, Cambridge: Polity; Paterson, C. and Sreberny, A. (eds) (2004) International News in the 21st Century, Eastleigh: John Libbey Publishers for University of Luton Press; Rodgers, J. (2012) Reporting Conflict, Palgrave;

Silverstone, R. (2006) Media and Morality: On the rise of the Mediapolis, Cambridge: Polity.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 30.6
Merit 47.9
Pass 20.8
Fail 0.7

Teachers' comment

This course will explore how journalism is going through a series of revolutionary changes thanks to digital technologies and how those changes are impacting on everything from politics to war.

Students' comments

"I really enjoyed how interactive this course was and the way we participated in the lectures and seminars."

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2015/16: 47

Average class size 2015/16: 15

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 76%



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