Module code: JN300
Number of ECTS Credits: 7.5
Length of Module: 12 weeks including 2 Essay weeks
Weekly Contact hours: 4 (two 1 hour lectures PLUS two 1 hour seminars) PLUS one-to-one
feedback sessions for assessed essays.
Expected number of student study hours including contact hours: 150 hours
Convenor: Prof. Tim Luckhurst
[email protected]
01634 202913
This module outline tells you about:
Module contacts and email addresses
Content of the module
Aims and objectives
Teaching and learning methods
A: Contents Outline
This module describes and explores the development of Journalism in the United Kingdom
from the fifteenth century to present day. We consider the relationship between free speech
and government from the arrival of the first printing press to the birth of the internet. We look
at the relationship between journalism and democracy and the long struggle that culminated
in the freedom of the press from government control. We go on to consider the challenges
confronting journalists when reporting crises and wars including the General Strike of 1926,
the Abdication Crisis of 1936, The Spanish Civil War and The Blitz. The module covers
early attempts to report news in pamphlets; the birth of newspapers; the growth and death of
the radical press; the emergence of the news industry and the impact of new technologies
including steam printing presses, radio and television broadcasting and the internet.
This is the timetable for each week throughout the autumn term. Please note that basic
reading for each seminar is included in your seminar reading pack
Week 1 Lecture: Why History?
Seminar: Some First Drafts
Lecture: Printing and Reformation
Seminar: The Intellectual Climate
Week 2 Lecture: Journalism in the English Civil War
Seminar: Executing a King
Lecture: The Press 1620 - 1780
Seminar: John Wilkes
Week 3 Lecture: The Press 1780-1855
Seminar: The Challenge of Democracy
Lecture: Abolition of Stamp Duty
Seminar: The Times and Crimea
Week 4 Lecture: The Blitz of Paper
Seminar: Liberalism or Social Control?
Lecture: The New Journalism
Seminar: From Maiden Tribute to Daily Mail
Week 6 Lecture: Towards War
Seminar: Could truth have stopped it?
Lecture: Journalism in WWI
Seminar: Censorship or Self-Censorship?
Week 7 Lecture: The Birth of Radio
Seminar: The BBC and the General Strike
Lecture: The Press Barons
Seminar: Abdication Crisis
Week 8 Lecture: Spain and Commitment
Seminar: Appeasement
Lecture: Reporting Spain
Seminar: Spanish Reportage
Week 9 Lecture: Reporting WWII
Seminar: All in it Together
Lecture: The BBC at War
Seminar: The Lesson of London
Week11 Lecture: The Holocaust
Seminar: Liberation of the Camps
Lecture: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Seminar: General Election 1945
Week12 Lecture: Birth of Television
Seminar: Giving the People what they want
Lecture: The Internet
Seminar: Dr Hack I Presume
Aims and Objectives of the Module
The module provides an introduction to the value and purpose of journalism. It explains how
different forms of journalism have emerged historically and teaches you to examine them
critically. It teaches you key research skills and encourages you to draw upon a range of
sources to gather and deploy ideas and to sustain arguments in essays and seminar groups.
After completing the module you will understand:
How and why were newspapers first printed
Whose interests are served by the publication of news
How government has sought to control and censor journalism.
The roles of polemicists, pamphleteers and professional reporters
The forces propelling the growth of newspapers in the nineteenth century, the ‘blitz of
paper,’ the emergence of New Journalism and the retreat of the radical press
Journalism’s failure in WW1
The era of the Press Barons
The birth and growth of the BBC
Journalism in the Spanish Civil War
Journalism and Appeasement
Journalism in WWII
The birth of television
The era of the internet
Teaching and Learning methods
These consist of lectures, seminars and one-to-one feedback sessions. Students must
undertake private study before each seminar to get the most out of these sessions. There will
be four sessions per week throughout the module, excluding essay weeks.
These will take place at 2pm on Mondays and at 11am on Wednesdays. Attendance is
The function of lectures is to provide an expository, narrative framework of the period of
history to be considered. Lectures are a foundation on which students build more detailed
knowledge through private study. All lecture notes are uploaded to Please select the module name (History of
Journalism) and then the relevant lecture.
These will take place at 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The function of seminars is for students to learn through engaging in historical argument
based on their prior reading in relation to specific topics and questions. Seminars provide an
opportunity for students to raise points or clarify issues arising from lectures or reading. They
help students to develop a deeper, critical understanding of history through engagement in
discussion and presentation based on prior reading.
Feedback sessions
One-to-one feedback sessions take place by appointment following submission of written
work e.g. essay plans or assessed essays. Students should make appointments via Anastasia
Bakowski, Professor Luckhurst’s Personal Assistant. Anastasia’s e-mail address is
[email protected] , she works in Room G1-08 and her internal telephone extension is
2913. The purpose of feedback sessions is to identify learning strengths and learning
difficulties in relation to particular topics. These sessions help students to build on strengths
in their work and to remedy any weaknesses.
Revision workshops
Three one hour workshops in the summer term to help students prepare for their History of
Journalism examination.
Assessment Requirements
The examination/coursework division is 50%/50%
There are two components of coursework assessment. Each is an essay worth 25% of the
final mark.
Essay 1 – An essay of between 2,500 and 3,000 words referenced according to the Harvard
system. The essay question will be set and a reading list provided in Week 3 of the autumn
term. The essay must be submitted at the end of Week 5 (Essay Week 1) of the autumn term.
Essay 2 – An essay of between 2,500 and 3,000 words referenced according to the Harvard
system. The essay question will be set and a reading list provided in Week 8 of the autumn
term. The essay must be submitted at the end of Week 10 (Essay Week 2) of the autumn term.
Notes on Essays
Students may make an appointment to discuss their essay plan with Professor Luckhurst. The
essay plan should be typed on no more than one side of A4.
Submission deadlines will be strictly adhered to in relation to both essays. Work submitted
later than the due date will not count towards a student’s assessment unless approval for a
good cause has been granted by the convenor. In all but exceptional circumstances this
approval must be granted prior to the relevant deadline.
One copy of each essay must be submitted electronically via the Moodle page. A second copy
must be printed and handed in at Reception in the Gillingham Building.
A note on plagiarism: please read the relevant guidance in the student handbook. If you have
any queries about referencing your written work, please make an appointment to talk to me.
The examination counts for 50% of the overall final mark. It will take the form of a 3 hour
unseen paper and will contain a range of essay questions across the syllabus. There will be at
least 10 essay questions and students will be required to answer 3 of them. All questions are
equally weighted.
Seminar Reading Packs
In addition to the lecture notes available at a seminar pack will
be issued to each student. These packs include essential reading for seminars. Students must
undertake the reading included in their seminar packs prior to each seminar.
This list contains texts every student should read or consult. It is not exhaustive. Additional
reading will be recommended in lectures and tailored reading lists will be issued with each
essay question. Copies of these texts and many others are available in the Drill Hall Library,
so you do not necessarily have to buy everything
Andrew Marr (2004) My Trade – A Short History of British Journalism, London: Pan
Books. An eloquent introduction by one of Britain’s finest journalists, this book is essential
preliminary reading. It remains relevant throughout the module.
Mick Temple (2008) The British Press, Maidenhead: Open University Press. This is a
thorough and intelligent introduction to the history, politics and possible future of British
newspapers. It assesses journalism’s contribution to the public sphere.
James Curran and Jean Seaton (2009) Power without Responsibility – The press,
broadcasting and the internet in Britain, seventh edition, Oxford: Routledge. A lively
introduction to the radical version of media history. Entertainingly written and widely
regarded as the standard text for students of media.
Dennis Griffiths (2006) Fleet Street: Five Hundred Years of the Press. Thorough and
detailed narrative history of Briti8sh newspapers, it is invaluable for reference purposes.
Martin Conboy (2011) Journalism in Britain – a historical introduction, London: Sage. A
detailed, passionate and engaging overview of British journalism which explains why the
history of journalism is important to informed understanding of its role in contemporary
J.H. Plumb (1950) England in the Eighteenth Century: Penguin Books. Classic
descriptive narrative covering the development of English society during a period of great
economic, cultural and political change. Useful to understanding impact of the loss of the
American colonies and its consequences for state and society.
Hugh Cunningham (2001) The Challenge of Democracy – Britain 1832-1918, London:
Longman. Clear, concise and eloquent analysis of Britain during a period of unprecedented
and rapid change. This book describes the political, economic and cultural context in which
democracy and journalism developed. A superb and thought provoking text which assumes
no prior knowledge.
Phillip Knightley (2004) The First Casualty – The War Correspondent as Hero and MythMaker from the Crimea to Iraq London: Johns Hopkins University Press. Compelling and
opinionated history of war reporting. The title comes from Senator Hiram Johnson’s assertion
that “The first casualty when war comes, is truth.” Every journalist should read this book.
Paul Preston (2008) We Saw Spain Die – Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil
War, London: Constable. Brilliant description of the role of journalism and journalists in
this savage conflict by Britain’s leading historian of the Spanish Civil War.
Thomas Paine Rights of Man (1792) Dover Thrift Edition originally published in two parts
between 1791 and 1792 this passionate argument for democracy and equality defended the
early achievement of the French Revolution and made Paine one of the most influential
writers of his age. Written in plain English, it was a sensation in Britain and the United States.
It paved the way for the growth of radicalism in British society. An inspiring document, it
remains as exciting now as it was in the late eighteenth century.
John Stuart Mill On Liberty (1859) Penguin Classics Edition The ideal of liberty
organised into a philosophy, A foundation text of modern liberalism that includes a brilliant
defence of the value of free speech.
Angus Calder (1969) The People’s War – Britain 1939-1945, London: Pimlico. The best
social history of the Second World War.
The main journals relating to this topic are Media History (Routledge), Journalism Studies
(Routledge) and British Contemporary History (Routledge). These and many others are
available online.
There are several films that tie in with the module and reference to these will be made during
the term. Films can be borrowed from the library. If several of you would like to watch a film
together, rooms may be reserved within the Drill Hall.
Module costs
A copy of the module reading pack will be supplied to each student during welcome week.
This copy is provided at no additional charge. Students should look after it carefully as
replacement copies can only be supplied at a cost of £5 per reading pack. All of the books
and journals required for seminars and essays are available in the Drill Hall Library at no
additional cost to students. Students may choose to purchase copies of key texts but please
note that multiple copies of these texts, including reference copies that may not be removed
from the library, are available in the Drill Hall.
The Module and its Programme
This is a core module. It requires students to read widely and to think carefully about issues
surrounding journalism’s contribution to the public sphere. The module aims to contribute
to the Journalism degree programme as a whole by providing knowledge and understanding
that will enhance a student’s ability to think critically about journalism’s role and purpose.
Professor Tim Luckhurst
Module Convenor
05 August 2015