Module JD090

Media Journalism

Module author

Paul Bradshaw

Birmingham City University

City University of London

Learning objectives After you have completed this module, you will be able to:
  • Identify the different parts of the media market which you might report on;
  • Describe the audiences who may read media reporting, and how that impacts on reporting style and content;
  • Describe different outlets that employ people to report on the media, across different media and roles;
  • Describe and critically analyze formats and techniques used in reporting the media, including those facilitated by new networked forms of media production, consumption, and distribution.

Chapter 1: What is media? The media market and media history
1.1 The history of the media: politics, economics, culture and technology
1.2 Convergence
1.3 The internet and telecommunications becomes ‘the media'
1.4 Why the ‘goldrush' makes for good stories
1.5 Multiplatform publishing makes new enemies of old media
1.6 Decline and fall
1.7 The self publishing revolution
1.8 The media moves from content into products and services

Chapter 2: A brief history of media reporting
2.1 Reporting on the news media
2.2 Specialist media publications
2.3 The boom in media reporting online

Chapter 3; Audiences and distribution
3.1 Audiences for media reporting listed
3.2 Specialist media publications
3.3 Media sections in mass market outlets

Chapter 4: Sources, leads and resources
4.1 Diary sources in media reporting: events, conferences and awards
4.2 Planning an editorial calendar
4.4 Data and document releases
4.5 Politics and the media: regulators, industry bodies and pressure groups
4.6 Human sources
4.7 PR and the importance of independence
4.8 Press releases
4.9 Background noise: finding story leads and ideas in existing news coverage

Chapter 5: Turning the lead into a story: formats in media reporting
5.1 Media news stories
5.2 Identifying the ‘new thing'
5.3 Intelligent aggregation and curation
5.4 Moving the story on: reaction and developments
5.5 Reactions in media stories
5.6 Follow-ups
5.7 When news turns to features, and vice versa
5.7.1 Trend pieces
5.7.2 Feature format: ‘bucking the trend'
5.7.3 Feature format: the list
5.7.4 Feature format: profiles and interviews
5.8 Online formats: liveblogging

Chapter 6: Future developments
6.1 Mobile and tablets
6.2 Media everywhere

Study points 2
Preview Media Journalism


Why Open School of Journalism believes that Media Journalism is important

Media journalism can best be defined as a segment of the journalism tree that focuses on the variety of forms that make up the media itself. Though this branch has grown exponentially even within the past decade, understanding exactly what makes up the individual roots of this genre mean that closer analysis is not only expected, but required. This may take on the form of simple critiques or it may involve a wider exploration of issues that threaten to envelop the entire system that make up this occupation.


Why study Media Journalism?

This topic remains relevant for a variety of reasons, but the most important aspect is due to the political atmosphere that surrounds countless stories that have come out of central locations such as Washington, D.C. and Wall Street over the past few decades. Having a watchdog with an understanding of the motives or potential biases involved in such presentations may shed greater light on issues than can be integral to the country. 

Given the diametrically opposed political viewpoints espoused on such outlets as Fox News and MSNBC, it is vital that each story from media sources such as these be looked at objectively from an outside source. That allows the media journalist the opportunity to gauge how a respective news story has been presented, in order to see if a particular political slant has been applied that distorts the overall context of what is involved.

When it comes to economics, the validity of the content provided from a media journalist can be extremely relevant to the media consumer. The potential for conflict of interest in this area has to be noted by a media journalists in order to protect against a fraudulent promotion carried out under the guise of news.

In that same realm, how culture is presented to its audience is a facet of media journalism that can offer guidance as to the value of whatever is produced. Assessing social trends via social media has become standard for even traditional journalists when attempting to get a quick pulse on the opinions of the general public.

The continuing evolution of technology demands that a media journalist be ready to adapt at a moment's notice or risk sliding into irrelevancy. The steady decline of newspapers has been chronicled by noting the inability of this entity to grasp the significance of the paradigm shift that moved right past them.

The management of the current media journalist in many cases is a situation where a journalist may not even possess that official title. That results in a situation in which a person's past writings or actions offer a window into their credibility and intent.

From both a national and international perspective, allowing the modern media journalist to present their information to their wider audience allows for a greater understanding of topics that may be seen as too complicated to those still entrenched in old media standards.

Simply from a financial standpoint, the drastically reduced costs that make can make content available allow for a greater distribution of information that could be invaluable to the general public. Thus, the importance of this subject.


Overview of the module

This module will look at all the different segments of the media market in which a student could end up reporting on, and explore exactly what media is in relation to the overall journalism marketplace. By looking at the history of the media from a variety of prisms that include politics, economics, culture and technology, the student will better understand the convergence that has taken place within this spectrum.

In an era where journalism can take place immediately, the student will be able to grasp how the internet and telecommunications have essentially become the media. They'll also learn how the speed with which such stories are produced have created a goldrush effect that makes for good stories.

The student will also be able to see how the development of multiform publishing has helped create major conflicts with old media, resulting in the latter's decline and fall, due to the inability to match both the former's speed and flexibility.

The module will take a look at the widespread development of self-publishing vehicles that allow different avenues when it comes to reporting. In addition, it will delve into how media has evolved from simply producing content to creating products and services. Looking at such things as how journalists report on the news media and the niche of specialist media publications, the module will also investigate the surge that has taken place in online media reporting.

The all-important consideration of the audience that consumes such media reporting will be addressed. That segment will again probe the specialist media publications that have developed as a result of this sharper focus, as well as the media sections within mass market outlets.

How this new form of journalism takes place with respect to formats and techniques is another area for students to gain a foothold when attempting to understand the new landscape. They will learn the difference between human and diary sources, with the latter involving events, conferences and awards.

The student will also learn the importance of planning an editorial calendar, while also remaining cognizant of data and document releases. They will understand the various subsets the help drive politics and the media, such as regulators, industry bodies and pressure groups.

Realizing the difference between an actual news story and press releases will be paramount for the student to understand how to sift through what constitutes public relations. Doing so will allow the media journalist to maintain their independence, and will give them the impetus to dig below the surface of a standard story in order to offer a new take on a situation.

Looking at the different formats in media reporting entails looking at such things as media news stories and being able to identify the ‘new thing.' The student will learn how the twin concepts of intelligent aggregation and curation must work together, and how to move on from a story by following the reaction and developments that transpire from it. The reactions in media stories as well as the follow-ups that need to take place will also be part of the module.

The realization of when news turns to features and vice versa will help show how such things as trend pieces and different feature formats develop. In the latter case, that may take the form of those who go against the grain, i.e. ‘bucking the trend', or it could more simply involve compiling lists or doing profiles and interviews. With an online component, this may take the form of something such as liveblogging.

Finally, the student will be able to understand what future developments to look for when it comes to such things as distribution, such as the widespread adoption of mobile devices, as well as tablets. In short, they will be able to grasp the coming changes that will result in having media everywhere.