Democracy and the Media

The details
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
08 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module is open to third year students. It will be particularly useful to students who wish to pursue a career in the media, communications or marketing.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with a good understanding of the relationship between the media and politics, particularly – but not exclusively – in Great Britain.

Module learning outcomes

The module will provide students with an understanding of:

1. The relationship between the media and democratic values.
2. The structure of the media and the regulatory system.
3. The relationship between politicians and the media.
4. How to systematically analyse media content.

Module information

BBC Radio 4 has a regular programme called The Media Show. If you are not able to listen to the original broadcasts you can catch up with shows via downloads.

The Guardian newspaper is usually the first place to look for news about the media since it is the 'House newspaper' for people who work in the media. You should particularly look out for articles by Roy Greenslade.

You should also look what is available on the Reuters Institute for the Study of journalism website at the University of Oxford. This carries reports from both scholars and practitioners.

The BBC Academy is another good sources of information and provides clues about the skills needed to get a career in journalism and/or the media.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered with a two-hour weekly seminar that will be live streamed to students off-campus. Listen Again The Listen Again system will be activated during classes, enabling you to listen to discussions without worrying too much about notes.


  • Norris, Pippa. (1999) On message: communicating the campaign, London: SAGE.
  • Allen, Nicholas; Bara, Judith; Bartle, John. (2013po) 'Rules, strategies and words: the content of the 2010 prime ministerial debates', in Political Studies. vol. 61 (S1) , pp.92-113
  • Kuhn, Raymond. (2007) Politics and the media in Britain, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. vol. Contemporary political studies series
  • Sanders, Karen. (2009) Communicating politics in the twenty-first century, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Leveson, Brian Henry; Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. (2012) An inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press, London: The Stationery Office. vol. HC
  • Ofcom adjudications, https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/bulletins/broadcast-bulletins/content-sanctions-adjudications
  • Curran, James; Seaton, Jean. (2010) Power without responsibility: press, broadcasting and the internet in Britain, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Norris, Pippa; EBSCOhost ebook collection. (1999) On message: communicating the campaign, London: SAGE.
  • Quinn, Thomas. (2012-9) 'Spin doctors and political news management: A rational-choice 'exchange' analysis', in British Politics. vol. 7 (3) , pp.272-300
  • Allen, Nicholas; Bartle, John. (2010) 'A much debated campaign', in Britain at the polls, 2010, London: SAGE.
  • Murdoch, James. (no date) The absence of trust.
  • So, what is a free press?, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/nov/23/what-is-a-free-press
  • Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. (2015) Future of the BBC, London: The Stationery Office Limited. vol. HC
  • IPSO Rulings and resolution statements, https://www.ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/
  • Great Britain. Department for Culture, Media and Sport. (2015) BBC Charter review public consultation, London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. vol. Cm
  • Dalton, Russell J. (2019) Citizen politics: public opinion and political parties in advanced industrial democracies, Los Angeles, California: SAGE, CQ Press.
  • Allen, Nicholas; Bartle, John. (2011) 'A much debated campaign', in Britain at the polls 2010, London: Sage.
  • (no date) The Calcutt Report.
  • (no date) The Ofcom broadcasting code.
  • Nolan, Michael Patrick Nolan; Great Britain. Committee on Standards in Public Life. (1995) Standards in public life: first report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, London: HMSO. vol. Cm
  • Newton, Kenneth; Brynin, Malcolm. (2001) 'The national press and party voting in the UK', in Political Studies. vol. 49 (2) , pp.265-285
  • IPSO Editors' Code of Practice, https://www.ipso.co.uk/editors-code-of-practice/
  • (no date) Audience attitudes to the licence fee and public service broadcasting provision beyond the BBC.
  • O'Neill, Onora. (no date) Written evidence to Levenson Inquiry.
  • Bartle, John. (c2006) 'New Labour and the media', in Britain at the polls, 2005, Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay 1    33.3% 
Coursework   Essay 2    33.3% 
Coursework   Research Paper    33.4% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof John Bartle, email: jbartl@essex.ac.uk.
Professor John Bartle
Module Supervisor: Dr Bartle, jbartl@essex.ac.uk Module Administrator: Sallyann West, govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Arzu Kibris
University of Warwick
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 40 hours, 40 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.