ATS2647 - Journalism: War, crime and trauma - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit



Dr Fay Anderson

Not offered in 2017


Journalists have long trafficked in the causes of trauma - accounts of conflict, loss, suffering, scandal and violence. Drawing on historical and contemporary scholarship, students will examine three key themes: the reporting of war, trauma and crime. It canvases key theoretical concepts and the ethical considerations related to media power, 'othering', compassion fatigue, violence, exploitation and voyeurism. What are the responsibilities of the press and how does journalism impact on the practitioners, survivors and audience? How do journalists write and represent suffering? Students will engage with seminal case studies, archives, photographs and reportage, as well as discussing texts including works by Vasily Grossman, Truman Capote, Janet Malcolm, Susan Sontag, Susie Linfield, Robert Capa, Marcel Ophuls, Claud Lanzmann, Seymour Hersh, Edward R Murrow and Dorothea Lange. This subject requires a strong interest in news and current affairs along with a thoughtful and flexible approach to some of the key issues raised by the media coverage of trauma.


On successful completion of the unit, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge and capacity to make effective use of the academic literature in the field of war journalism, trauma studies and media history;
  2. demonstrate an ability to research, discuss and analyse scholarly issues in a clear, concise and rigorous way;
  3. collaborate constructively with fellow students in learning and discussion processes, including online forums;
  4. produce their written work to deadline making effective use of the conventions of scholarly presentation(references, bibliography, etc);
  5. work independently and in groups to achieve their learning outcomes;
  6. demonstrate a critical awareness of the strengths, limitations and socio-professional implications of scholarly practice in journalism studies and media history.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two first-year level units in Journalism.