Politics, Communication, Media

Subject MECM30003 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

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
Total Time Commitment: 102


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 100-302 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 Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Assoc Prof Sally Young


Robert Hassan hassanr@unimelb.edu.au
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.


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%. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials are required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

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:

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: This subject is available to 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
Related Breadth Track(s): Media && Communication

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