COMS102-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Introduction to News and Journalism

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


This course provides students with an understanding of the forces that shape the selection and presentation of news. It introduces significant theoretical approaches that seek to explain what is news and the criteria by which it is selected; it explores key aspects of the production of news and analyses specific areas of news (foreign, political, sport and crime) in more depth.

This course introduces students to the study of journalism. You will learn about: how the news works; issues and constraints that journalists face; and how the news is changing. Among the major ideas threaded through the course are the independence of journalists, the way technology shapes what journalism can do, the position of the news within society and politics and the double orientation of news producers towards public service and selling a product. Learning will take place largely through active engagement with the news, including brief tasters of doing journalism.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course you should be able to:

  • understand how news is produced and the major forces shaping its production
  • identify ideas of quality journalism
  • construct arguments about the power of journalism within society
  • discuss how news is changing
  • reflect on the role of technology in journalism
  • interpret media content in terms of production dynamics
  • critically analyse media content
  • work individually and in small groups on information-gathering and analysis
  • develop basic news skills
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 15:00 A2 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 16:00 - 17:00 E7 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 10:00 - 11:00 Jack Erskine 441 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 14 Oct
02 Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 Jack Erskine 340 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 14 Oct
03 Thursday 13:00 - 14:00 James Logie 104 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 14 Oct
04 Thursday 15:00 - 16:00 Ernest Rutherford 140 23 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 14 Oct

Course Coordinator

Donald Matheson


Tara Ross


Mark Wilson


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Social media exercise 03 Aug 2018 10% In groups of 3, analyse what news you share with others
News story 17 Aug 2018 20% Rewrite a news story for two different audiences
Essay 14 Sep 2018 25%
Exam 25% University scheduled exam
Devising a news model 05 Oct 2015 10% Devise a model of political news that engages younger people
Tutorial work 10% Complete at least 8 tutorial exercises

We require only electronic copies of assignments submitted via Learn (no paper
copies). We will return assignments electronically too.


Required Texts

Phillips, Angela; Journalism in context : practice and theory for the digital age;

There are other required readings on Learn, accessible on the page for each week.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $746.00

International fee $3,038.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All COMS102 Occurrences

  • COMS102-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018
  • COMS102-18S2 (D) Semester Two 2018 (Distance)