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Core Modules


Introduction to Political Communication

The module will first introduce you to some of the key debates in the field of political communications, developing an understanding of political communication scholarship that can be applied to contemporary events or issues. It will then turn to the application of political communication, with more practical sessions on writing press releases and political speeches, lobbying and organizing election campaigning media events.

The first three lectures will address the relationship between media, politicians and citizens. More specific topics in political communications are then addressed. These include examining the style and nature of contemporary campaigning and media coverage of elections, the way in which politics and public affairs are reported in the UK post-devolution,  the role media and state regulation have had on political communication in light of wikileaks, as well as how the changing nature and organisation of demonstrations have impacted on the representation of protestors  in news coverage.

The last four weeks of the module introduce students to the practice of political communication by placing the profession into its societal and media contexts. The dual emphasis on practical matters and their underpinning theory and ethics have been designed to help students develop an appreciation of how political communication practitioners interact with the media and the wider community, and how they have become a significant factor in shaping world events.

Politics of Global Communication

This module introduces and discusses key theoretical approaches to understanding the politics of global communication ranging from claims of ‘cultural imperialism’ to claims of a ‘global public sphere’ to claims that ‘globalization is a myth’. It also introduces contrasting ideas of the transformative potential of global communication such as ‘communication power’ and ‘global civil society’, and ‘communicative capitalism’. In doing so, you will analyze central developments and issues in contemporary global communication from the perspective of ownership and regulation, political practice, as well as changing conditions within media production, distribution and consumption. You will explore the impact of 24/7 global news players such as CNNI, BBC World and international news agencies; the changing spaces of news production and the possible rise of ‘global journalism’; alternative forms of journalism such as ‘public journalism’ and ‘citizen journalism’; and the rising role of social media in journalism.

Putting Research into Practice I and II

Putting Rearrch into Practice I and II are two core modules desgined to give students an indepth understanding and application of relevant academic methods used to study political communications. Putting Research into Practice I is designed to give you an introduction to the key methods of postgraduate research in journalism, media and communications and political communication. Students will be given an opportunity to explore key conceptual approaches in the field and will be introduced to the theoretical underpinnings of a range of media and communication research methods.

Putting Research Into Practice II builds on the more conceptual research method training offered in the autumn term. You will be re-introduced to a range of quantitative and qualitative methods and through participation in short workshops will be asked to practically design and develop mini research projects. The module will be delivered by four three week workshops. You will be first briefly re-introduced to each method and then asked to design, research and analyse mini research projects. This will be done in a workshop environment with tutors on hand to practically help you construct and analyse research projects.

Mediatised Conflicts: The Politics of Conflict Reporting

This module engages with a wide range of scholarly studies of different mediated conflicts, and their changing theoretical frameworks and methodologies. Case studies of media reporting will include, for example, demonstrations and protests, riots and civil unrest; war (from the Crimea to the Gulf War and the 2003 US led invasion of Iraq); international terrorism and the events of September 11 2001; ‘race’, racism and ethnicity; political scandals; the environment and ‘risk society’; and the politics of difference and identity.

Through this case study approach, students will develop a sophisticated theoretical understanding of production processes, professional practices, political contingencies and media performance and how these impact on the representation of major public issues and concerns. Students will also be invited to engage in detailed analysis of current mediated conflicts as they arise throughout the module and reflect on their own findings and research strategies.

Electoral Behaviour, Public Opinion and the Media

This module will bring together theoretical and empirical traditions to analyse how the media represent and contribute to shape (if at all) public opinion, offering (tentative) answers to questions such as: does public opinion originate from citizens or do they just endorse the opinions outlined by the media? Is public opinion the result of public deliberation or is it just a mere aggregation of individual views? Or how do the media represent the voice of the public? The module will also explore the main traditions and current debates explaining citizens’ voting behaviour, to answer questions like: how do citizens choose their electoral option(s)? or do campaigns matter? Finally, the module will include a practical element, and students will learn basic skills to interpret public opinion and pre-election polls. The course is split into three parts: Part One will deal with Public Opinion and the Media, Part Two will explore Citizens’ Electoral Behaviour and Part Three will examine Public Opinion and Pre-Election Polls

Optional Modules

In addition to the above core modules, there is a wide range of optional modules available, such as: Media Law, New Media and Politics, Propaganda and the Reporting of Conflict, Reporting Business, Finance and Economics, Reporting the Middle East, Citizen Media, Reporting Health and Science Insurgency into the 21st Century, International Relations for Journalists, Electoral Behaviour, Public Opinion and the Media, Media, Activism and Participation, Global Crisis Reporting, In the Editor’s Chair and Development Communications.

The above modules are followed by the Dissertation.

Dissertation

The MA Political Communication gives students the opportunity to conduct their own original research, as it requires completion of an academic dissertation of between 15 ‑ 20,000 words. Students will plan their dissertation and develop a research proposal during a first-semester research retreat in rural Wales. Individual dissertation supervisors will be allocated after this retreat. Students will also develop their research skills through two core modules, Putting Research into Practice I and II, and through regular meetings with their dissertation supervisor.