Page Navigation

Module Descriptors

This page displays the selected Module Descriptor.

Printer friendly version Printer friendly version

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 28/04/2022 17:32:44

Title of Module: News & Politics

Code: JOUR10001 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Dr Margaret   Hughes

Summary of Module

News & Politics will explore and analyse the role of the news media in politics and at how government, political institutions and political parties attempt to influence news.

The module will examine the range of political communication and how the news media provides a forum for the transmission of political news, the role of spin doctors, how political parties communicate with the electorate via the news media and social media and how far they seek to control the dissemination of political messages.

It will also look more broadly at the effect the news media has on peoples’ attitudes and behaviours, with specific focus on how it affects how people vote.

It will also examine the notion of the news media as gatekeepers who set the agenda for public and political debate on a range of issues.

Predominant teaching methods will be tutor-led lectures supported by tutorials and seminars as well as use of visual materials, such as film and newspapers. Students will look at a range of case studies related to election campaigns, the influence of the news media and proprietors and editors. Students will examine the content of news media artefacts to explore and discuss the dominant themes in this module.

In this module students will have the opportunity to produce a portfolio of journalistic content that explores the themes and issues covered, as well as submit an essay that focuses on theoretical perspectives.

Key themes explored in this module are:

  • Political communication

  • Impact of new media on political reporting

  • Packaging politics and spin doctors

  • Media effects and influence

  • How news coverage effects elections and voting behaviour

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
check mark

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:


check mark






Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


[Top of Page]

Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Critically evaluate and discuss the key concepts, theories and principles surrounding the influence of the news media on politics the effect of political institutions and parties on newsgathering and the presentation of news.

L2. Critically evaluate a range of information resources relevant to the study of news and politics.

L3. Produce a portfolio of journalistic content to a high professional standard that explores the interface of news and politics.

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 10.

Demonstrating a critical understanding of key theories, principles and concepts of media effects.Developing a detailed knowledge and understanding of the ways in which the news media influences politics and vice versa.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Undertaking content analysis of newspapers and news programmes.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critically analysing and evaluating complex information to form own opinions supported by evidence.Critically evaluating information from a range of sources.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in writing.Retrieving information from a range of sources.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Working effectively independently in order to meet deadlines.Taking supervision and being able to work independently when undertaking research projects.

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.

[Top of Page]

Learning and Teaching
Teaching will comprise a series of lectures, seminars and practical workshops. Students will receive lectures analyzing and critiquing the worlds of political reporting and political communication. Students will explore themes and theories around media influence, spin doctors, election coverage and the influence of technology on the production and presentation of political news.
There will also be a focus in the module will be on the production workshops with the production of a portfolio of political reporting/communication.

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 Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Independent Study156
Asynchronous Class Activity8
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:

Franklin, B. (2004) Packaging Politics: Political communications in Britain’s media democracy, London: Arnold, 2nd edition

Graber, D. (1998) The Politics of News and the News of Politics, Washington DC: CQ Press.

McNair, B. (2011) An Introduction to Political Communication, London: Routledge, 5th edition

Deuce, M. & McQuail, D. (2020) McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, London: Sage Publications

Oates, S (2008) Introduction to Media and Politics, London: Sage Publications

Journals: Media, Culture & Society
Journal of Political Communication
Journalism Studies

(**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

[Top of Page]

Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorElizabeth McLaughlin
External ExaminerDr John Price
Accreditation Details
Version Number


[Top of Page]

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
An essay (2,500 words) that critically analyses and evaluates the range of theories studied (LOs 1, 2, 3 & 4) – 60% of total mark
A portfolio of journalistic content (1,500 words) exploring political communication and the news media (LO5) - 40% of total mark
(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 600

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 mark400
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

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

[Top of Page]

  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 Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, 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.

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.