Ethical Issues in Journalism

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
14 February 2023


Requisites for this module


LT138, LT231, LT232

Key module for

BA LP33 Media and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Media and Digital Culture (including Placement Year),
BA P300 Media and Digital Culture (Including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad),
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 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 P565 Film and Journalism,
BA P566 Film and Journalism (Including Foundation Year),
BA P567 Film and Journalism (including Placement Year),
BA P568 Film and Journalism(including Year Abroad),
BA P595 Journalism and Language Studies

Module description

This module is all about how the internet has transformed the media in the 21st century. Building on the History of journalism module in the autumn term, this 10-session module is taking in several related topics, including the way the internet has changed the working practices and business models of existing news media organisations – local, national and international; the increasing dominance of social networking corporations in advertising; the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ online; how journalists can use social media; the challenge of big data for journalists, from Wikileaks to ‘fake news’; the difficulties of regulation in the online age.

The scope is broad: you will be encouraged to explore the economic, political and ethical issues of the still-emerging new media landscape in all its aspects and to engage with debates worldwide. The majority of reading is extremely contemporary – and liable to week-by-week change – and the format of classes will be a mix of lectures, seminars and audio-visual material.

Module aims

The module aims to:

1. introduce you to current debates on new media and its influence on journalists’ practices
2. provide you with a sophisticated understanding of the fast-changing dynamics in the contemporary newsroom
3. help you develop your analytical skills to understand the complexities and challenges arising in the new digitised communication sphere
4. help you develop your critical skills through lectures, essay writing, academic reading and group discussions
5. help you develop your public speaking skills through the preparation and delivery of in-class presentations.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of this module, you will:

1. understand the tensions and opportunities created by the growing merging of old and new media for journalists and the public
2. understand the complex changes introduced by digitisation to news production and consumption
3. acknowledge the transformations and developments in communication brought on by the digital age
4. understand topics at the heart of contemporary debates in journalism -- cyber activism, citizen journalism, ‘fake news’, big data, regulation of online content
5. understand the many ethical challenges posed by the use of social media sources by journalists

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly 2-hour seminar


  • Mair, John. (2015) The BBC today: future uncertain, Bury St Edmunds: Abramis academic Publishing.
  • (no date) The Cairncross Review 2019.
  • Rusbridger, Alan. (2018) Breaking news: the remaking of journalism and why it matters now, Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd.
  • Barnett, Steven. (2011) The Rise and Fall of Television Journalism: just wires and lights in a box?, London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • (no date) Mediatique report for DCMS on UK press (2018).
  • Paul Bradshaw. (2017) Online Journalism Handbook, London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
  • Hargreaves, Ian. (2014) Journalism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • The Leveson Report,
  • George Brock. (2013) Out of Print: newspapers, journalism and the business of news in the digital age, London: Kogan Page Ltd.
  • Rusbridger, Alan. (2018) Breaking News, Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd.
  • Shoshana Zuboff. (2019) The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, London: Profile Books Ltd.
  • Charlie Beckett; James Ball. (2012) Wikileaks: news in the networked era, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • James Curran; Jean Seaton. (2018) Power Without Responsibility: press, broadcasting and the Internet in Britain, Abingdon: Routledge.

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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay (1,500 words)     100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

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

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 621 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
621 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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