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JRM4909 - Issues and Debates in Contemporary Journalism

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Usha M. Rodrigues


Caulfield Second semester 2007 (Day)
Gippsland First semester 2007 (Off-campus)
Gippsland Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)


This unit analyses the role of journalism as the 'fourth estate', particularly in the present when rapid advances in technology and expansion of global media are changing its characteristics and values as perceived by its audience and journalists themselves. Students study current issues and debates in journalism practice ranging from citizen journalism to the growth of global media empires; from commodification of news to infotainment; from embedded journalism to live war coverage; and from convergence journalism to web-blogging. The unit aims to deepen students' understanding of the role of journalism in modern day society by looking at the impact of various changes in media, its ownership, its policy framework and its products (of which news is but one element).


Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. A critical understanding of the issues and debates in contemporary journalism;
  2. The ability to identify strengths and weaknesses of contemporary journalism practices;
  3. Knowledge and understanding about how the nature of 'news' is changing with the advances in technology particularly the Internet and Wireless technologies;
  4. Understanding of the need and rise of a new 'public space' for journalists and citizens alike through critical analysis and reflection on the vacuum created by some of the contemporary journalism practices;
  5. An ability to survey the various forms of contemporary journalism to become better journalists and more engaged citizens;
  6. Advanced skills in analysing complex issues and concepts;


Critical Essay (2,750 words) : 30%
A Case Study (3,500 words ) : 40%
A Discussion Paper (2,750 words) : 30%

Contact hours

1 two-hour seminar per week