Global Crisis Reporting

Subject MECM90009 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5
Total Time Commitment:



Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours in media and communication, Master of Global Media Communication, Master of Arts (Media and Communication) Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis, Master of Journalism.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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:


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 "global public sphere".


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.

A 2500 word media report 50% (due mid-semester) and a 2500 word essay 50% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Recommended Texts:
  • S Cottle, Global Crisis Reporting, Open University Press, 2009.
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): Master of Arts (Media and Communication) Adv.Seminar & Shorter Thesis
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Global Media Communication
100 Point Master of Journalism
150 Point Master of Global Media Communication
150 Point Master of Journalism
200 Point Master of Global Media Communication
200 Point Master of Journalism

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