Media and Communications – Distance Learning Courses

Posted on August 12, 2022 by Cheapest Assignment

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Media and Communications – Distance Learning Courses

Guidance on writing your assignments

  • Essays should be clearly written in good English, and preferably typed. Where your tutor judges that your writing is illegible, ungrammatical or otherwise inaccessible, to the extent that this significantly impairs the possibility of understanding what has been
    written, marks will be deducted and in severe cases the essay will not be marked. All students must undertake one of the following two options. Please refer to the Course Handbook for general guidance on assignments. Your assignments should
    be approximately 2,000 – 3,000 words. You may wish to attach appendices (e.g. supporting data) but tutors will not necessarily read appended material in detail.
  • Remember that this is a course at Postgraduate level. In addition to showing good understanding of the course materials it is expected that you will also be able to engage critically with the arguments examined in them. It is generally advisable to avoid
    expressions of personal opinion or anecdote unsupported by course-related evidence. Arguments should draw substantially on theories and research, themes and issues which are addressed in the course materials, quoting references where appropriate.
  • The use of citations is common practice in western scholarship: they protect the author from charges of plagiarism when the author is drawing on the research of others in order to develop an argument, they indicate sources of further or relevant reading for the
    benefit of readers, and they help tutors to judge how skillfully students have used their study materials. Please refer to the Course Handbook for guidance on the method you should use for referencing. You should avoid extensive quotations from the course
    materials or slavish repetition of the structure of evidence and arguments presented in them.
  • While it is expected that you will build on the research of sources and authorities drawn from the course materials, the assignments are also an opportunity for you to develop original arguments and insights. You should show strong sensitivity to the nature and
    controversies of media research and to issues of theory and methodology in research. Students who work in the communications industries should feel encouraged to reflect on aspects of everyday professional practice from a variety of different theoretical
    perspectives and, without necessarily criticizing their effectiveness within particular work contexts, look at professional practices as social phenomena or data which can help to illustrate theories about communications, media and society.

Option 1
Either (a)
“Media professionals are subject to routines which reward conformity and stifle innovation”. Explore this proposition with reference to any particular professional group within the media; how far does the balance between conformity and innovation serve the interests of different ‘stakeholders’ in the media?

Advice to Students
This question relates mainly to Module 7 and its associated readings, but you may want to draw on material you have encountered earlier in the course, including units on media industries in Module 6. Within Module 7, Unit 37 is clearly a starting point and an important
building block. You will need to assess how far the proposition has validity in general, as well as at each of a variety of levels and in a variety of domains: from the individual, through the departmental or professional to more senior levels of strategic management; or from
routines governing authoring and performance through editorial and other ‘backroom’ functions, including advertising, circulation, distribution, technological and so forth. In other words, the balance between routine and creativity is likely to vary even for one individual in different roles, and for different roles and statuses within a profession or organization, and may be influenced by tensions between bureaucratic and professional interests. Whose interests are best served by what you find, and on the basis of what evidence?

Or (b)
How can media managers and professionals take effective account of the interests of social minorities or other groups whose needs are not typically thought to be addressed by ‘mainstream’ media? Explore with reference to any particular minority or group and assess examples that are known to you.

Advice to Students
This question draws in particular on Units 38b (Thussu), 39a (Cottle), 39b (Mirza) and the selected readings in Unit 40a. But it also relates to other parts of the course, not least to Units 23 (Servaes and Thomas) and Unit 24 (Lewis) on media and development and
alternative media in Module 4. The question does focus, however, on ‘mainstream’ media and although this is a somewhat vague concept it does denote media organizations which are in large measure commercially-driven and which are probably appealing to large
populations. Your analysis should range from the strategic and managerial (how can meeting the needs of minority groups be reconciled with commercial and management imperatives?) to issues of staffing, marketing, modes of audience address and content. Responsiveness to minority interests may be demonstrated at every level of media organization and practice. Be wary of prescriptive judgements which are not supported by valid and reliable evidence, while recognizing that the development of knowledge in this area tends not to be systematic or widely shared.

Option 2

Either (a)
With reference to a particular media context, critically assess the management structure which underpins the provision of service, taking account of the interests of proprietors, professionals, and customers/clients. What recommendations for change would you advise, and why?

Advice to Students
The purpose of this question is to invite you to think about a context that is very familiar to you in terms of how it is currently perceived, firstly from a management perspective (e.g. related to objectives for your chosen unit or department in relation to other parts of the
organization, to the organization’s overall objectives, to customers, to the external environment, etc.), and, secondly, from the possibly competing perspectives of different ‘stakeholders’. How far is there a match between these different perspectives; has your chosen unit achieved an appropriate balance between these various pressures, and if not what changes would you recommend to enable it to do so? How is it possible to assess the interests of different ‘stakeholders’, on the basis of what kinds of evidence? You will need to explain your recommendations and if possible indicate how they could be implemented in practice.

Or (b)
With reference to a particular media profession or occupation, critically assess the formal or informal ethical framework within which it operates and the other ethical considerations, both formal and informal, which influence its work.

Advice to Students
The starting point for this question is Unit 42 (Frost) and its associated readings. Because Unit 42 is specifically concerned with journalism it may be of less relevance to other media occupations and professions. Nonetheless, there may be similarities in the range of issues to be considered: e.g. the structure of external regulation; the ways in which external agencies function, their effectiveness and their impact on your own professional group; professional self-regulation and voluntary codes of practice, their policing and effectiveness;
the relationship between regulations and other ethical frameworks, which form part of the culture in which the media operate; the domains or contexts which are of most ethical concern, the ways in which ethical dilemmas are typically handled and resolved. Be careful
here not to privilege your own particular values; a good answer will tend to focus more on independent evidence of the ethical positions that are embedded in formal legal and regulatory frameworks, and evidence of how these are applied (or fail to be applied) in practice.

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