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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Representations in the News
Module Code CM2992
School School of Communications
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Dawn Wheatley
Semester 2: Dawn Wheatley
Autumn: Dawn Wheatley
Module TeachersDawn Wheatley
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module establishes an understanding of how and why news media represent different social groups and demographics as they do. By initially focusing on three core areas - gender, race and social class - students learn principles around social construction of the news, stereotyping, and (mis)representation before weaving together these components to explore other groups and the patterns of news coverage associated with their presence or marginalisation in news content. The module, where appropriate, will draw on other media formats such as literature, television or film but it is primarily focused on news reporting/journalism and the normative expectations around accuracy and fairness. During the semester, students will also consider how and why the news looks the way it does, exploring some of what we know about diversity within newsrooms and how journalists’ own backgrounds may affect news judgment and what is covered or ignored, and how certain issues or individuals are portrayed. In the final weeks, the module applies the concepts covered in the first half of the course to real-world examples, doing a class-based media-monitoring and content analysis of Irish news coverage. The aim is to record and document some of the patterns in Irish news media over 24 hours across print, broadcast and online news/sport, producing a valuable document which can be shared publicly and archived, and used to compare with future years’ findings. The students’ final research papers will also involve them choosing a particular societal group and exploring how they are covered in the news.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain representation as a concept and why it is an important component of media and journalism studies, as well as explain the socially constructed nature of news
2. Understand some of the implications of accurate and misrepresentation among the key overarching groups affected by media portrayals of gender, race and social class
3. Explore how minority or marginalised social groups are represented in news reporting
4. Develop introductory skills to media monitoring and participate in the production of a class-wide project analysing 24 hours of news
5. Gain an understanding of the role that journalists have in producing or challenging media portrayals and how their background may affect perceptions of news values and news judgment
6. Combine critical thinking skills with the use of news archives to analyse the news representations of a group of their choice

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Workshop6No Description
Independent Study95No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Schedule of topics
Week 1: Introduction & why representation matters Week 2: Gender in the news Week 3: Race in the news Week 4: Social class in the news Week 5: Ethnic, religious and migrant minorities Week 6: Representations of disability and illness Week 7: Reading Week - no class Week 8: Accessing news archives and assignment guidelines Week 9-10: Practical class project - preparation and media-monitoring work in class* Week 11: Journalism routines and influence of journalists’ backgrounds on content Week 12: Recap and results/presentations on class project

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Research PaperAnalysis of representation of chosen group in the news70%n/a
ParticipationContribution to class media monitoring project30%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Roger Fowler: 1991, Language in the News: Discourse and Ideology in the Press.,
  • Rebecca Ann Lind: 2019, Race/Gender/Class/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers,
  • Karen Ross: 2017, Gender, politics, news:a game of three sides,
  • Carolyn M. Byerly and Karen Ross: 2006, Women and media: A critical introduction,
  • Christopher Campbell: 2017, The Routledge Companion to Media and Race,
  • Christopher P. Campbell: 2012, Race and news: critical perspectives,
  • Deirdre O’Neill and Mike Wayne: 2018, Considering Class: Theory, culture and the media in the 21st Century,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
JRBA in Journalism

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