Media & Society: Assessment

There are four Short Papers’ assigned for this course, you should choose three of them. Please do not submit all four, this will not gain you extra marks.

The target length for each of these papers is 800-1000 words (references are not included in the total word count).

Short Paper 1 - Media Theory

Deadline: 24 May 2024

Prompt: Answer section A and one question from section B.

Section A.

What are the features we look for when trying to distinguish mass media’ from other types of media and communication?

Section B.

Answer one of the following:

  1. What are media effects’? There is little agreement amongst researchers on what effects the mass media might have; explain briefly why this is.
  2. Explain briefly the advantages and drawbacks of the following two approaches to media text analysis:
    1. semiotic, and
    2. quantitative content analysis’

Notes: Based on three readings covered in sessions 3~6.

Short Paper 2 - Newspapers and Journalism

Deadline: 14 Jun 2024


  1. Explain briefly some of the main theoretical features of;
    1. Gate-keeping
    2. News values
  2. Choose a leading (front-page) news article from a printed or online news source (an english-language newspaper or newspaper website) published in the last 3 months (after mid-March 2024) and look at the features that the theory of news values’ point to. Write a brief analysis of your chosen article which identifies whether the various news values listed by Galtung and Ruge are present and which seem to be more important.

Notes: Based on two readings covered in sessions 7,8 and 9

Short Paper 3 - Television

Deadline: 5 July 2024


Choose a television station in your home country.

Investigate and explain:

  1. Who (or what) owns the company you have chosen? What other media outlets (tv channels, websites, radio stations etc) do they control/own (if any) ?

  2. What laws in your country regulate the ownership and control of television broadcasting companies? Briefly explain what requirements and restrictions exist for those who own and control such companies?

Note: Media ownership laws can be fairly complicated, please don’t go into great detail. Try to summarise the main provisions of the law(s) and to explain their overall intent’ (i.e. why does this law exist and what is its aim?)

Notes: Based on two readings covered in sessions 10, 11 and 12

Short Paper 4 - The Net and Social Media

Deadline: 21 July 2024

Prompt: How has the growth of the internet changed politics’? Write briefly about two of the following aspects:

  1. the ways citizens interact with governments and national administrations
  2. the various interactions between voters and political parties (and politicians) during election campaigns
  3. political journalism in your home country

Notes: Based on the readings covered in sessions 13 and 14.

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