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Regular version of the site
Master 2019/2020

Media and Wars

Type: Elective course (International News Production)
Area of studies: Media Communications
Delivered by: School of Media
When: 1 year, 4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Instructors: Olga Baysha
Master’s programme: International News Production
Language: English
ECTS credits: 5

Course Syllabus

Abstract

With little personal experience of international politics and wars, people depend on news media for information about and understanding of the political world around them. This provides the media with the power to frame reality for the public. How people think about an issue, especially a political issue that is inherently ambiguous, is dependent on how the issue is framed by the media. This makes media analysis an important intellectual enterprise necessary for understanding the complexities of contemporary polarized world full of civil, ethnic, national, and international conflicts. Given the pervasiveness of conflict and the public’s reliance on the news media’s coverage of it, journalists and analysts should understand that understanding wars and conflicts extends beyond understanding the techniques of combat reporting. Journalists and analysts should know how to analyze the political contexts of conflicts; be familiar with the history of news coverage of wars and lessons from past coverage; recognize attempts to manipulate the news media; understand “objectivity” and its limits; consider journalists’ humanitarian duties; and other such matters that are the foundation of understanding conflict coverage. This course will address these and related topics by studying historical and policy-oriented facets of covering conflicts ranging from global war to localized terrorism. The goal is to help prospective journalists, policy makers, and news consumers better understand the significance of the news media’s work related to conflict.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To provide students with analytical tools necessary for tracing the evolution of media norms and practices in different countries and war situations.
  • To develop student’s understanding of the different roles that war correspondents perform: victims, actors, or denunciators of propaganda endeavors.
  • To assist students in assess critically the responsibility of journalists in the evolution of internal and external conflicts and wars.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • To be able to identify the basic historical periods of shifting war-reporting paradigms;
  • To be able to evaluate critically the notion of journalistic objectivity with respect to war reporting;
  • To be able to discuss argumentatively various theories of war journalism;
  • To be able to perform framing analysis to investigate the media representations of conflicts and wars;
  • To be able to employ the political-economic critique of media industries to explain the shortcoming of the media representations of wars;
  • To be able to identify propagandistic messages, deconstruct them, and evaluate their origins from the vantage point of the Propaganda Model by Herman and Chomsky;
  • To be able to discuss the difference in modern and post-modern media propaganda.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Presentation of the course organization and assignments. History of war coverage: key dates.
    Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War: an objective record of the past or a piece of literature? The Crimean War: the first modern war coverage? The Russo-Japanese War and the telegraph: the role of communication technology.
  • World War I.
    The strategies of war: Propaganda, Censorship, PR. The role of radio and telegraph.
  • World War II.
    War and Ideology: Fascism, Democracy, Totalitarianism. The role of music and cinema.
  • The Cold War and McCarthyism.
    Vietnam War. The role of television. The influence of literary journalism. War as a spectacle. Blurring the lines between fiction and reality The Gulf War as a videogame.
  • Media and terrorism.
    The role of the Internet.
  • War and postmodernity.
    The role of drones. Fake news.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Attendance/Participation
  • blocking Reaction Papers
  • non-blocking Term Paper
  • non-blocking Semester Paper Presentation
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Attendance/Participation + 0.4 * Reaction Papers + 0.1 * Semester Paper Presentation + 0.3 * Term Paper
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Knightley, P. (DE-576)161753744. (2004). The first casualty : the war correspondent as hero and myth-maker from the Crimea to Iraq / Phillip Knightley. Baltimore, Md. [u.a.]: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.114148864
  • Michael Griffin, & J Michael Griffin. (n.d.). Picturing America’s ‘War on Terrorism ’ in Afghanistan and Iraq Photographic motifs as news frames. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.8545A30D
  • Sorce Keller, M. (2007). Why is Music So Ideological, and Why Do Totalitarian States Take It So Seriously? A Personal View from History and the Social Sciences. Journal of Musicological Research, 26(2–3), 91–122. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411890701361086

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Kent, G. (2007). Transformations of War: Implications for Democracy and the Media The Media of Conflict: War Reporting and Representations of Ethnic Violence, edited by Tim Allen and Jean Seaton Televising War: From Vietnam to Iraq, by Andrew Hoskins Debating War and Peace: Media Coverage of U.S. Intervention in the Post-Vietnam Era, by Jonathan Mermin War in the Media Age, by A. Trevor Thrall War and the Media: Reporting Conflict 24/7, edited by Daya Kishan Thussu and Des Freedman Media at War: The Iraq Crisis, by Howard Tumber and Jerry Palmer. Political Communication, 24(3), 321–328. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600701471682
  • Zizek, S. (2002). Welcome to the Desert of the Real! Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.BAF6C011