Witness: War and the Australian Media

Subject 102-206 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Fay Anderson
Subject Overview:

This subject examines Australia's involvement in war and the journalists and photographers who reported on these international conflicts. Since Howard Willoughby covered the Maori Wars in 1863, our war correspondents have been considered important witnesses and the public's main source of information. This subject explores the background of the major wars that the Australian media have covered including the Boer War, the World Wars, the Spanish Civil War, Vietnam, the Middle East, Ireland, Cambodia, East Timor, Kosovo and the present battle in Iraq. Within this context, the subject considers the rich history of Australian war journalism (print, broadcasting and photography), the evolution of the industry, the extent of the war correspondents' influence, how they shaped public perceptions and the prevailing representations. Drawing on a range of case studies involving the seminal battles and iconic correspondents, students will consider Banjo Patterson's reports from the Boer War, the legend of Gallipoli immortalised by C.E.W. Bean, Damien Parer's images of the Kokoda Trail, Wilfred Burchett's warning to the world at Hiroshima, East Timor and the Balibo Four and Paul McGeough's coverage of the fall of Baghdad. Major topics include: the creation of the Anzac legend, the mythmaking and truths, censorship, embedded journalism, propaganda, genocide, imagery, national identity, objectivity and the changing nature of war reporting.

Assessment: An article review of 1500 words 30% (due before mid-semester break), a research essay of 2500 words 55% (due during the examination period), a 10 minute group presentation 15%. Students must have attended at least 70% of classes to be eligible for assessment.
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available from the Bookroom at the beginning of semester.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • research: through competent use of the library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;

  • critical thinking and analysis: through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;

  • understanding of social, ethical and cultural context: through the contextualisation of judgments, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument;

  • communicating knowledge intelligibly and economically: through essay writing and tutorial discussion; written communication: through essay preparation and writing; public speaking: though tutorial discussion and class presentations;

  • attention to detail: though essay preparation and writing, and examination revision; time management and planning: through managing and organizing workloads for recommended reading, essay and assignment completion and examination revision;

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Diploma in Arts (History)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Studies
Australian Studies Major

Download PDF version.