History of Journalism

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module


LT144, LT231, LT232

Key module for

BA P500 Multimedia Journalism,
BA P501 Multimedia Journalism (Including Year Abroad),
BA P503 Multimedia Journalism (Including Placement Year),
BA P590 Journalism and Modern Languages,
BA P550 Journalism and Criminology,
BA P551 Journalism and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA P552 Journalism and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA P540 Journalism and Sociology,
BA P541 Journalism and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA P542 Journalism and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA P520 Journalism with Business Management,
BA P510 Journalism and English Language,
BA P511 Journalism and English Language (Including Placement Year),
BA P512 Journalism and English Language (Including Year Abroad),
BA P530 Journalism and Literature,
BA P531 Journalism and Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA P532 Journalism and Literature (Including Year Abroad),
BA P570 Journalism with Human Rights,
BA P571 Journalism with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA P572 Journalism with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA P580 Journalism and Politics,
BA P581 Journalism and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA P582 Journalism and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA P525 Journalism and Liberal Arts,
BA P526 Journalism and Liberal Arts (Including Placement Year),
BA P527 Journalism and Liberal Arts (Including Year Abroad),
BA P515 Journalism and Philosophy,
BA P516 Journalism and Philosophy (Including Placement Year),
BA P517 Journalism and Philosophy (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module covers the history of journalism in Britain from its beginnings in the 16th century to the start of the internet age. Topics include: the impact of printing; the first news serials; government attempts to control the press from the 17th to the 19th centuries; the emergence of mass circulation papers; the role of press barons in the 20th century; radio and the rise of the BBC; the press from 1945 to 2000; the arrival and development of television; ownership and control of the media; and the impact of the internet. The module critically considers the evolving political, economic and social contexts of journalism and the media more generally, underpinning and informing the content of all other elements of the degree course.

Module aims

The aims of the module are to:

1. give you an understanding of how British journalism got to where it is now
2. give you an understanding of the changing political and economic constraints on media freedom
3. give you a sense of how ownership and control of news media have changed over time
4. give you an introduction to interpretative controversies in media history
5. enable you to relate journalism's past to contemporary debates about its role and ethics.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of this module you will:

1. be able to place today's journalism in Britain in a historical context
2. have a good sense of how controversies over censorship, freedom of expression, media ownership and the influence of mass media on politics and society have played out in the past five centuries
3. have a working knowledge of how technological change has affected the news media over time
4. understand the origins of contemporary concerns about journalistic ethics.

Module information

Essential Reading:

Hargreaves, Ian (2014) Journalism – A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Curran, James and Seaton, Jean (2016) Power Without Responsibility: Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain, London: Routledge. EBSCOhost ebook collection.

Recommended / supplementary reading:

Marr, Andrew (2005) My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism, London: Pan Books.
Conboy, Martin and Steel, John (2014) Routledge Companion to British Media History, London: Routledge
Conboy, Martin (2004) Journalism: A Critical History, London: Sage

Learning and teaching methods

The module will be taught through a combination of lectures, discussions and practical examples and case studies. Teaching will be based on a weekly two-hour seminar, comprising a lecture and interactive discussion delivered by journalism staff, enhanced by guest lecturers as appropriate with expertise in the history and practice of journalism.


  • Hargreaves, Ian; EBSCOhost ebook collection. (2005, 2003) Journalism: a very short introduction, Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press. vol. Very short introductions
  • Seymour-Ure, Colin. (1996) The British Press and Broadcasting Since 1945, Oxford: Blackwell.
  • James Curran; Jean Seaton. (©2018) Power without responsibility: press, broadcasting and the Internet in Britain, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Colin Seymour-Ure. (1975) 'The press and the party system between the wars', in The politics of reappraisal, 1918-1939, London: Macmillan.
  • James Curran; Jean Seaton. (2018) Power Without Responsibility: press, broadcasting and the Internet in Britain, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Cox, Howard; Mowatt, Simon. (2014) Revolutions from Grub Street: a history of magazine publishing in Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hargreaves, Ian. (2014) Journalism: a very short introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press. vol. Very short introductions
  • Derrick Knight. (1971) 'Development', in Scoop, scandal, and strife: a study of photography in newspapers, New York: Hastings House.
  • Peter Chippindale; Chris Horrie. (2013) Stick it up Your Punter!: the uncut story of the Sun newspaper, London: Faber.
  • Knightley, Phillip. (2004) The First Casualty: the war correspondent as hero and myth-maker from the Crimea to Iraq, Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Williams, Francis. (1957) Dangerous Estate: the anatomy of newspapers, [London]: Longmans, Green and co.
  • George Brock. (2013) Out of Print: newspapers, journalism and the business of news in the digital age, London: Kogan Page Ltd.
  • Colin Seymour-Ure. (2000) 'Northcliffe's legacy', in Northcliffe's legacy: aspects of the British popular press, 1896-1996, New York: St. Martin's Press. vol. Contemporary history in context series
  • Greenslade, Roy. (2003) Press Gang: how newspapers make profits from propaganda, London: Macmillan.
  • Linda Melvern. (1986) The End of the Street, London: Methuen.
  • Williams, Kevin. (2010) Get Me a Murder a Day!: a history of media and communication in Britain, London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Conboy, Martin. (2004) Journalism: a critical history, London: Sage.
  • Harris, Michael. (1997) 'Farewell to Fleet Street?', in A journalism reader, London: Routledge. vol. Communication and society
  • Joel H. Wiener. (1988) 'How new was the New Journalism?', in Papers for the millions: the new journalism in Britain, 1850s to 1914, New York: Greenwood Press. vol. Contributions to the study of mass media and communications
  • Lucy Brown. (1992) 'The British press, 1800-1860', in The encyclopedia of the British press, 1422-1992, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • Matthew Engel. (1997) Tickle the Public: one hundred years of the popular press, London: Indigo.
  • Black, Jeremy. (2002) ''From woodcuts to steam press'', in BBC History Magazine., pp.12-14
  • Ofcom. (no date) News consumption in the UK: 2019.
  • Andrew Crisell. (2002) An introductory history of British broadcasting, London: Routledge.
  • Marr, Andrew. (2005) My Trade: a short history of British journalism, London: Pan Books.
  • Crisell, Andrew. (2002) An Introductory History of British Broadcasting, London: Routledge.
  • Cockett, Richard. (1989) Twilight of Truth: Chamberlain, appeasement, and the manipulation of the press, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  • Brendon, Piers. (1983) The Life and Death of the Press Barons, New York: Atheneum.

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 (1,500 words)    100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Paul Anderson, email:
Paul Anderson
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Mr Richard Evans
City, University of London
Programme Director, UG Journalism
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (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.

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