Witness: War and the Australian Media

Subject AUST30004 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture per week and a 1-hour tutorial for 11 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

8.5 hours per week: 102 hours over the semester.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed Witness: War and the Australian Media with the code 102-206 are not permitted to enrol in this subject

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/

Subject Overview:

War is good business for the media industry: it contains compelling news values and an appealing narrative-youth, tragedy, violence, heroism, suffering, good versus evil. How do the Australian media communicate and understand war? Drawing on the expertise of historians, journalists and editors, this subject examines the Australian media's coverage of war and the experiences of journalists and photographers who reported on international conflicts including the Boer War, the World Wars, the Spanish Civil War, Vietnam, the Middle East, Ireland, Cambodia, East Timor, Kosovo and the present conflict in Afghanistan and 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 shape public perceptions and the prevailing representations. It draws on a range of case studies involving seminal battles and iconic correspondents, and covers topics such as the creation of the Anzac legend, mythmaking and truths, censorship, propaganda, genocide, race, national identity, objectivity, photography, television, film and the changing nature of war reporting.


Students who complete this course should be able to:

  • comprehend and engage with a range of interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the role of war journalism in Australia
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of aspects of the history and politics of war in Australia
  • think in critical terms about Australian media coverage of war
  • demonstrate a capacity for critical thinking about Australian culture and society
  • demonstrate skills in research, analysis and communication that draw upon materials and concepts presented in lectures and tutorials


An article review of 1500 words 30% (due mid-semester), a research essay of 2500 words 55% (due during the examination period), a 10 minute group presentation 15%.

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be accepted. 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:
  • 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.
Links to further information: http://australian-centre.unimelb.edu.au/
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Studies
Australian Studies
Australian Studies
Australian Studies Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Australia in Writing

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