Global Crisis Reporting

Subject MECM90009 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
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: 2
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: None


Dr David Nolan


David Nolan

Subject Overview:

Global Crisis Reporting examines studies and approaches to global communications and the reporting of crises, including disasters and humanitarian relief. The course examines the extent to which, how and why forms of coverage have changed in recent years, and considers how these changes have impacted on the way in which "crises" are constructed, mediated and communicated. It considers the possible impacts of such changes on national and international public opinion and political leaders, as well as on those immediately involved. Amongst the themes addressed are: the rise of new "real-time" technologies of news production and transmission and their impact on the nature of crisis reporting, arguments for and against a "journalism of attachment", the communication strategies of humanitarian organisations, the degree to which coverage of human suffering raises questions about the moral responsibility of news-makers, and the question of how news audiences respond to such coverage, in light of recent debates about "compassion fatigue" or the moral exhaustion thought to be induced by media bombardment of images of human suffering. The subject also examines issues regarding the political impacts of contemporary crisis reporting, the nature and direction of communication flows, controversies surrounding the degree to which media are implicated in the rise of military "humanitarian intervention", and the extent to which contemporary crisis reporting may be seen to facilitate an emergent "international public sphere".

Objectives: Students who complete this subject will:
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of key studies and major theoretical frameworks deployed in the analysis of global disaster, humanitarian relief and crisis reporting;
  • be able to identify how changing theoretical frameworks and forms of analysis prompt particular questions and forms of analysis deployed in media analysis of global disaster, humanitarian relief and crisis reporting; and
  • be able to deploy frameworks and methods of analysis in their own studies of mediated global crisis reporting and reflect on the adequacy of these for improved understanding of media performance.
Assessment: A 2500 word media report 50% (due mid-semester) and a 2500 word essay 50% (due end of semester). Students must attend at least 80% of classes to be eligible for assessment.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Recommended Texts:
  • S. Cottle (2009), Global Crisis Reporting, Maidenhead: Open University Press
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 demonstrate competence in advanced library searches and information retrieval;
  • be able to demonstrate proficiency in the application of selected methods of media analysis; and
  • be able to demonstrate conformity to academic protocols of presentation and research procedures.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts (Honours)(Media and Communications)
Master of Arts (Asian Societies)
Master of Arts (Media and Communication) Adv.Seminar & Shorter Thesis
Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Master of Global Media Communication
Master of International Studies

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