ATS2784 Semester 2, 2023 Assessment 4 Research Essay Questions (students are to choose one):
1. How can journalists most effectively speak truth to power in the ‘post-truth’ era'? Choose a current or historical case study(from Australian or international news) as your focus when undertaking a content analysis to support your response to the question.
2. In the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) report into the state of press freedom in Australia, Federal Presidentof the MEAA Media Section, Karen Percy, noted the finding that ‘92.5% of media workers fear that threats, harassment andintimidation of journalists are on the rise.’ How does the targeting of journalists damage and weaken their reporting? Choose recent coverage of a social issue (such as politics, pandemic or protest) from 2023 when designing a content analysis to answer this question.
3. Do Journalists need to be more discerning about how they use media sources to avoid uncritically reproducing propaganda? Critically discuss in relation to theories of propaganda and journalism, illustrate your argument with a case study including examples and content analysis.
4. John Hartley argues (in Stuart Allan’s ‘Racial Diversity in the News’ chapter) that “news discourse is organized aroundstrategies of inclusion and exclusion”. How do these strategies appear in news coverage? Choose a recent news story or coverage of a social issue (from 2023) as the focus of your content analysis when answering this question.
5. ‘In 2022, ownership is no longer a useful indicator of media diversity.’ Develop an argument in favour of – or challenging – this statement. You may choose to focus on a particular national context, or undertake a cross-national comparison, for your content analysis which should draw on news stories published in the last twelve months.
6. Recent industry reports in Australia and elsewhere have found news organisations do not reflect the diversity of thecommunities they cover. Referring to relevant industry data and using a current or historical example for your contentanalysis case study, consider why and how gender or racial diversity in the newsroom was critical in telling the story?
7. Fact-checking has become an increasingly prominent element of journalism, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.What is the role of fact-checking in democracies, and how can it help journalists counter misinformation? To support your answer, choose an active fact-checker from the list maintained by the Duke Reporter’s Lab, and undertake a content analysisof their ‘checks’ on a particular story or issue. Your chosen fact-checks must have been published during 2022.
8. Is the line between journalism and advocacy becoming blurred and what are the implications of this for democracy?Respond to this question with a content analysis that considers the coverage of a social, political or environmental news story from 2023. Consider the ways in which the news coverage relies on, and incorporates, material provided by non-governmental organisations and/or advocacy groups in reporting.
NB Each of these themes will be explored in one or more weeks over the course of the semester.