There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.
Graduate subject – Journalism – 400 level 

The aim of the subject is to explore the scholarly debates that address news organisations, journalism practices, and the processes of production and consumption of news and current affairs. A comparative theoretical approach is used to critically examine questions about journalism – both from the point of view of those involved in producing media products and from the point of view of audiences. The subject considers the relationship between the media and ideas about democracy, and the relevance of media theory for professional journalism. 

Typical availability

Spring semester, City campus 
Detailed subject description. 

Subject objectives/outcomes

On completion of this subject students are expected to be able to:

  1. demonstrate a critical understanding of journalism in society, and of contemporary debates about journalism practice
  2. apply some of the major scholarly approaches to researching and thinking about journalism
  3. contribute constructively and critically to face-to-face and online discussions of the subject matter of the course
  4. produce written work for assessment that demonstrates a critical knowledge of the major scholarly debates in journalism studies, and a capacity to apply those debates to original research in the field.


Contribution to course aims and graduate attributes

This subject contributes to the development of graduates who have:

  • a knowledge and critical understanding of the media
  • a knowledge of the historical, philosophical, ethical and cultural foundations underpinning journalism and promotion of the important role of professional and ethical journalism in the service of the public
  • an understanding of the role of the media in local, regional, national and global contexts
  • an understanding of the relationship between media theory and practice
  • a critical understanding of issues of gender, race, ethnicity, disability and class and the way these are linked to issues of media representation, production and reception
  • an understanding and commitment to ethical journalism professional practice.


Teaching and learning strategies

The weekly classes consist of two parts: one or two lectures and a seminar with discussion of the lecture, readings and case studies and student presentations. Progress of students on their assessment tasks will be discussed and assisted during class. Readings for each week will cover a variety of analytical perspectives in order to develop a critical understanding of the way scholars think about journalism studies. As well as face-to-face activities, learning in this subject involves participating in a range of online activities with your fellow students and teachers.


  • What Is Journalism Studies?
  • Truth, Objectivity And Facticity
  • Audiences And Social Diversity
  • Professional Identities And Cultural Capital
  • Professionalism And Cultural Capital
  • Regulation Of The Profession
  • Media Power
  • Negotiating Power Relations – Sources
  • News As Narrative.



Assessment Item 1: Participation in online discussion group

Objective(s): a, b, c
Weighting: 30%
  • demonstrated understanding of an argument
  • ability to present a convincing argument
  • ability to present a convincing case
  • understanding of core concepts and issues
  • positive contribution to discussion
  • appropriate postings of material online.

Assessment Item 2: Oral and written presentation of progress report on research essay

Objective(s): a, b, c
Weighting: 20% of final mark (10% by tutor for written report, 10% by anonymous peer assessment for class presentation)
  • effective communication – demonstrated ability to clearly and effectively present ideas and their strengths and weaknesses
  • evidence of understanding of issues discussed
  • quality of description of empirical data to be explored
  • quality of written progress report and bibliography.

Assessment Item 3: 2500-3000 word research essay

Objective(s): b, d
Weighting: 50%
Criteria: Work will be assessed for the quality of its:

  • scholarship (knowledge of the relevant academic literature)
  • rigour, adequacy and insight in the empirical account
  • ability to apply theoretical critique to empirical phenomena
  • effective use of written sources
  • clarity and strength of the argument presented
  • presentation of written work (references, bibliography, literary style).

All written work lodged in hardcopy for assessment must be typed (A4, double-spacing, 3 cm right margin), properly referenced using the Harvard style and have a full bibliography attached. Your bibliography should be alphabetical and include all the resources that you’ve consulted.

Minimum requirements

Students are expected to read the subject outline to ensure they are familiar with the subject requirements. Since class discussion and participation in activities form an integral part of this subject, you are expected to attend, arrive punctually and actively participate in classes. If you experience difficulties meeting this requirement, please contact your lecturer. Students who have a reason for extended absence (e.g. illness) may be required to complete additional work to ensure they achieve the subject objectives.Students who miss three or more classes are advised that their final work may not be assessed and they may risk failing the subject  

Recommended text(s)

See required reading in weekly program list  

Indicative references

Recommended readings will be posted at UTS Online or accessible electronically via the UTS Library’s e-Readings at http://drr.lib.uts.edu.au/drr/public/main  

Students should read as widely as possible, certainly more than the required readings when preparing seminar presentations, online discussion contributions and for research projects. Further readings can be found in the UTS library and other academic libraries. The Resources section of the homepage of the Journalism program at http://www.hss.uts.edu.au/departments/journalism/resources/index.html is a good source of links, and some bibliographies. There are links to Media Studies departments at other universities, many of which publish interesting material and other bibliographies. It is worth exploring these. It is also important to keep in touch with the media. Lots of material is now published online. Media Report (ABC Radio National, 8.30 am and 8.05 pm Thursdays) and Media Watch (ABC TV) publish their transcripts or podcasts.  

The following journals and newsletters are relevant and worth keeping an eye on:
Australian Journalism Review
Australian Studies in Journalism
Colombia Journalism Review
American Journalism Review (online)
Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies
Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly
Journalism Practice
Journalism: Theory Practice and Criticism
Critical Studies in Mass Communication
Communications Law Bulletin
Media, Culture and Society
European Journal of Communication
Media International Australia
Asia Pacific Media Educator  

There is no one set textbook for the course. However, the following books contain a range of useful articles for various sections of the course:  

Wahl-Jorgensen, K and Hanitzsch, T (Eds.) (2008) The handbook of journalism studies. New York: Routledge,  

Benson, R. and Neveu, E. 2004, Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field, Polity, Oxford.  

Castells, M. 1996, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Volume 1: The Rise of the Network Society,  

Blackwell. Cunningham, S. and Turner, G. (eds), 2001, The Media in Australia, Allen and Unwin.  

Curran, J., Morley, D. and Walkerdine, V. (eds), 1996, Cultural Studies and Communication, Edward Arnold.  

Curran, J. and Gurevitch, M. (eds.), 2000, Mass Media and Society, 3rd edition, Edward Arnold.  

Devereux, E (Ed.) (2007) Media studies: key issues and debates London: SAGE, 2007.  

Ericson, R. et al. 1989, Negotiating Control, University of Toronto Press, Toronto.  

Freidson, Eliot, 1994, Professionalism reborn: theory, prophecy and policy, Polity.  

Hall, S. et al. 1978, Policing the Crisis, London Macmillan  

Harvey, David, 1990, The Condition of Postmodernity, Blackwell.  

Thompson, J. B., 1990, Ideology and Modern Society – Critical Social Theory in the Era of Mass Communication, Polity.  

The UTS Markets Library contains a range of material in the communications area. As a rule, you should begin by scanning the shelves in the 300-305 sections, and then access the on-line catalogue. You can also get borrowing rights for a number of other libraries through the UTS library. Other useful libraries for this course are the AFTRS Library at Macquarie University, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority Library. While both welcome students, neither allows you to borrow material, although photocopying is possible. There is a lot of information relevant to this course available on the World Wide Web. The book by Christine Fogg, Release the Hounds: a guide to research for journalists and writers, Allen and Unwin, 2005, is a helpful resource for journalistic and internet research.  

Fee information

2010 contribution for commencing Commonwealth-supported students: $885
Note: Students who commenced prior to 1 January 2010 should consult the student contribution charges for Commonwealth-supported students
Not all students are eligible for Commonwealth-supported places. 

2010 amount for undergraduate domestic fee-paying students: $3334 

Note: Fees for postgraduate domestic fee-paying students and international students are charged according to the course they are enrolled in. Students should refer to the annual fees schedule

Subject EFTSL: 0.167 

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin. 

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