COMS102-23S2 (D) Semester Two 2023 (Distance)

Introduction to News and Journalism

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


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.

      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.


Tara Ross and Donald Matheson

Contact Person

Donald Matheson


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Newswriting Task1 11 Aug 2023 5% in tutorial, Mon 7 Aug - Fri 11 Aug
Newswriting Task2 25 Aug 2023 10%
Newswriting Task3 29 Sep 2023 15%
Essay 15 Sep 2023 25%
Fact Checking 13 Oct 2023 10% in tutorial Mon 9 Oct - Fri 13 Oct
Final exam 25% University scheduled exam
Tutorial Participation 10% in tutorial, weeks 2 - 11 (10 classes)

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

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Douglas, Omega , Phillips, Angela; Journalism, culture and society : a critical theoretical approach to global journalistic practice ; Routledge, 2023.

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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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

  • COMS102-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023
  • COMS102-23S2 (D) Semester Two 2023 (Distance)