Politics, Communication, Media

Subject MECM30003 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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

On Campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 A 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour seminar per week.
Total Time Commitment: 102
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 100-208 Politics, Communication, Media
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the 3Disability Liaison Unit website: 4http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Sally Young


Sean Cubitt

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the changing relationship between the media and contemporary political institutions and processes. Major topics include the media's role in setting political agendas, the media's function as "fourth estate", the rise of techniques of image politics and news management, and the heightened importance given to polling and the tracking of public opinion. Debates about objectivity, bias and balance in reporting will be examined in detailed case studies, as will the political aspects of media ownership, the challenges posed to traditional political institutions by the new media, and the role of the media in sustaining the public sphere in contemporary society. Students will be presented with examples drawn from a range of media forms including television, newspapers and the internet, focusing on advertising and public relations campaigns undertaken by political parties in Australia and elsewhere. Students completing this subject will develop skills in researching political issues for the media, and will gain a better understanding of the ways in which political parties attempt to influence media coverage.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject will:
  • be able to identify the diversity of media structures and policies in different political systems;
  • be able to critically analyse the role of contemporary media institutions and communication practices in sustaining democratic societies;
  • be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different media strategies and communications practices used in the contemporary political arena;
  • be able to plan and independently research key political issues for both written and oral presentations.
Assessment: A research essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of semester), a short essay of 1500 words 35% (due mid-semester) and a 10-minute seminar presentation 5%. Students must complete all assignments and attend at least 80% of classes to be eligible for assessment. Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject will:
  • be able to identify appropriate analytical frameworks to effectively communicate their ideas in both written and oral forms;
  • be able to contribute to group discussion, and to engage with the views expressed by other students;
  • be able to organise their personal study to reflect on their own learning processes and to complete assessment tasks in a timely manner.
Notes: Students who have completed 100-208 Politics, Communication, Media are not permitted to enrol in this subject. This subject is only available to those students enrolled in the BA (Media and Communications), BA (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Commerce and BA (Media and Communications)/Bachelor of Laws. Students who have completed 100-108 or 100-208 Politics, Communication, Media are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications) & Bachelor of Commerce
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Media and Communications
Media and Communications

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