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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 11/03/2022 11:34:16

Title of Module: Journalism & Public Affairs

Code: JOUR11003 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Elizabeth  McLaughlin

Summary of Module

The first half of the module aims to give students a detailed understanding of the principles behind, and the workings of, political institutions at a local, Scottish, UK and European level.  Students will be encouraged to evaluate the application of these principles, particularly in the area of participation and deliberation, paying specific attention to the role of journalism. The second half is designed so that students engage critically with current debates and academic research methods when discussing the relationship between journalism and political and economic processes. It is essential that you have read a recommended text on media theory before the start of the second half of classes.

Where possible, the practical knowledge required of working journalists is stressed, particularly during the sessions on local and national government. The module is taught mainly through a series of discussions and tutorials with students engaging with lecture materials and readings from academic materials and journalism (news articles, broadcast reports) . Appropriate visits to local authority meetings, Scottish Parliament as well as guest speakers from political jourmallism and government bodies and officials are included to engage students with politicians and policy experts.

 Topics covered include:

  • The development and workings of The Scottish Parliament, the UK Parliament and the institutions of the European Union.
  • The government of Scotland and the UK.
  • The development of political public relations or “spin”.
  • The role of journalism in democracy with an emphasis on deliberative democracy.
  • Discourse analysis – the language of political journalism.”
  • The development and workings of The Scottish Parliament, the UK Parliament and the institutions of the European Union.

  • The government of Scotland and the UK.

  • The development of political public relations or “spin”.

  • The role of journalism in democracy with an emphasis on deliberative democracy.

  • Discourse analysis – the language of political journalism.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. identify and analyse the main principles underlying the operation of government at a UK and Scottish level as well as the relationship with Europe and evaluate the application of those principles, particularly in the area of encouraging participation.

L2. Explain the powers of the Westminster Parliament, Scottish Parliament and Scottish local government, and scrutinise the interaction of those powers.

L3. Identify, conceptualise and make critical judgements on key current debates on the relationship between journalism and political and economic processes.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

Extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding of the interaction between journalism and political processes.

Critical awareness of current issues in political journalism.

A critical understanding of a range of specialised theories, principals and concepts in relation to journalism and politics.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Apply a range of standard and specialised research or equivalent instruments and techniques of inquiry.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Apply critical analysis and evaluation to issues which are at the forefront of political journalism discussion.

Critically review and consolidate thinking.

Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Use a range of advanced and specialised skills to communicate complex ideas to a range of audiences

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Deal with complex ethical and professional issues and make informed judgements on issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes.

Take responsibility for own work.

Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and
equivalent activities – in this case in researching and analysing issues relevant to the module.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module is delivered in a series of lectures and tutorials as well as workshops on aspects of political reporting including live blogging. A series of guest talks and discussions with political actors and journalists will augmented the learning and students are expected to engage with political programmes, reporting and where possible will attend Scottish Parliament and First Minister's Questions.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity24
Work Based Learning/Placement 8
Independent Study156
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Jones, B. et al (2021) Politics UK. 10th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Leach, R. et al (2011), British Politics, 2nd ed Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Handler, S. P and Person, R.T, (2022) International Politics, International Student Edition, Classic and Contemporary Readings, Sage.

McGarvey, N. and Cairney, P. (2013), Scottish politics: an introduction 2nd ed, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Morrison, J. (2019) Essential Public Affairs for Journalists,6th edition, Oxford, OUP.

In addition, you should look at academic journals relating to journalism.
Titles that you may find particularly useful are:

Journalism Studies

Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Students should attend all guest speaker events, external field trips including trips to local government and Scottish Parliament where applicable.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorMargaret Hughes
External ExaminerDeborah David-Wilson
Accreditation DetailsBJTC
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Essay 50%
Broadcast News Package 50%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck mark 500

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of practical work  check mark00
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Handbook Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Students have the opportunity to discuss their final practical assessment and choose their own area of enquiry. Using AULA, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies. Students are also encouraged to consider diverse voices in producing news content examining areas of politics and policy which is fully inclusive.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.