What is ‘good quality’ journalism and what is its role in society?
The overall aim of this final assignment is for you to develop and communicate an argument about what constitutes good quality journalism and its role in society. The assignment provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding of the course in general, and Modules 2 & 3 in particular. Here is how to do it:
Pick a recent issue or event that interests you (for this assignment, recent means an event or issue that has been in the news since January 2016). Find 2 different examples of its coverage one ‘good quality’ and
one ‘bad quality’. Your two stories must also be produced by different authors and different kinds of media organisations (commercial, public service broadcasting, independent, community). At least one of the news stories must be sourced from an independent or community media organisation. Do not use a case-study that we have covered in lectures or tutorials. If you aren’t sure about your choice of stories make sure you check with your tutor.
Compare and contrast how each story constructs the same event or issue. You should draw on relevant concepts from Module 2 (eg representation, framing) to help guide this aspect of the essay.
Include, in your analysis, an evaluation of the quality of each story that you have chosen: what do they do well? What do they do badly? Finally, what does your evaluation suggest about the nature of good quality journalism and its role in society? Here is where you will show your understanding of Module 3 of the course (eg normative theories of the press).
Your essay (1500 words) will incorporate an analysis of the two news stories as evidence (as illustrations of your argument) and demonstrate your insight into some of the ideas from the course.
Module 1’s emphasis on the media environment remains relevant for this final piece of assessment: it will help you to critically assess the contexts in which your two stories were produced and, therefore, why the media organisations produced these particular stories the way they did (eg impact of digital technologies, commercialisation).
In your essay you should use at least 3 of the set readings we have examined throughout the course. You should also find at least 2 further academic sources (journal articles or books) that will help you to focus your analysis. These should not include any readings (set or extra) that have been provided in ‘Learning Resources’ on Blackboard.
Make sure that you also include a reference list in APA style: include scholarly work and a reference for each story (including the URL, if available).
Please also include an appendix that provides a summary or a copy (if available) of each of the stories.
Criteria & Marking:
Please use the following criteria sheet as a guide for this assignment will be assessed. There are also a number of examples of students’ work from previous semesters.