The Production of News

Module code: MS2000

News is now everywhere in our lives: on our mobile phones, on our laptops and tablets, on our TV screens. More importantly, news is vital for any democratic society. But, as the News of the World phone-hacking scandal has put investigative journalism under close scrutiny, the news media’s responsibility in serving the public interest is being challenged.

What we find in our newspapers and on our television screens may not be a simple reflection of what is going on in the world. Instead, it is a result of complex institutional and cultural practices, which are greatly influenced by current economic climates. This module is designed to shed light on and take a critical view of what news really is, the working practices of journalists and how these practices are shaped by social and economic developments.

Starting with the broader questions about journalism’s responsibilities towards the public, we will go on to consider how the product we call ‘news’ is made. How do journalists select interesting topics? How do they identify appropriate sources? And how do new technologies influence these practices? Having established the main rules of news production, we will then turn to specific contexts and case studies such as war, crime, sports reporting and magazine production. We will conclude with a reflection on the ethical side of journalism as we question its commitment to best practices and core values. 

This is a theory-based module which will give you the opportunity to develop your critical thinking skills, as well as an ability to understand complex theories and assess their application on empirical examples.

Topics covered

  • News Values
  • News Sources
  • Objectivity
  • Gatekeeping
  • Commercial pressures on news
  • Digital news
  • War and conflict reporting
  • Sports journalism
  • Magazine journalism
  • Journalism ethics
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