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Unit of study_

GOVT6336: Media Politics

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit examines politics and media. From the relationship between news media and electoral politics, the study of the intersection of media and power now includes the consideration of new media forms and their relationship with the soft politics of representation and performativity.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GOVT6336
Academic unit Government and International Relations
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Peter Chen,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Policy Brief
Policy Brief
40% Mid-semester exam period
Due date: 06 Jun 2024 at 23:00
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Small continuous assessment Weekly Discussion posts
Weeks 2 - 12
20% Multiple weeks 1000 words (10 x 100)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Content Analysis
40% Week 08
Due date: 18 Apr 2024 at 23:00
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 02 A debate about “effects” Seminar (2 hr) LO3
Week 03 Affordances and algorithms Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 Media systems and political systems Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 05 Political economy perspectives on media power Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Analysing media content Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Media work Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 Campaigning and advertising Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 09 Media and gender Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 10 Media in crisis: Truth and polarisation Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 Media and policy 1: Regulating media Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Media and policy 2: Journalism policy Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 13 Wrap up Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings


- Street, John. “What Is Donald Trump? Forms of ‘Celebrity’ in Celebrity Politics.” Political Studies Review, vol. 17, no. 1, 2019, pp. 3–13,


- McCombs, Maxwell and Sebastián Valenzuela (2014) “Agenda-Setting Theory: The Frontier Research Questions.” In Kate Kenski and Kathleen Hall Jamieson (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1-17.

- van Erkel, Patrick F. A., and Peter Van Aelst, 2021, “Why Don’t We Learn from Social Media? Studying Effects of and Mechanisms behind Social Media News Use on General Surveillance Political Knowledge.” Political Communication, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 407–25,


- Yannis Theocharis, Shelley Boulianne, Karolina Koc-Michalska & Bruce Bimber (2023) “Platform affordances and political participation: how social media reshape political engagement”, West European Politics, 46:4, 788-811, DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2022.2087410

- Etter, Michael, and Oana Brindusa Albu. “Activists in the Dark: Social Media Algorithms and Collective Action in Two Social Movement Organizations.” Organization (London, England), vol. 28, no. 1, 2021, pp. 68–91,


- Wolfsfeld, Gadi, Tamir Sheafer, and Scott Althaus, 2022, “PMP and Comparative Political Communication”, Building Theory in Political Communication: The Politics-Media-Politics Approach, Oxford,, Pages 111-133.

- Christiane Eilders, 2023, “The Hybrid Media System as Battlefield for Climate Politics: Media and Politics in Transformation”, in Detlef Briesen and Sarada Prasanna Das (eds) Media, Politics and Environment : Analyzing Experiences from Europe and Asia, Spinger, Pages 13-21.


- Mullen, Andrew, and Jeffery Klaehn, 2010, “The Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model: A Critical Approach to Analysing Mass Media Behaviour.” Sociology Compass, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 215–29,

- Zuboff, Shoshana, 2022, “Surveillance Capitalism or Democracy? The Death Match of Institutional Orders and the Politics of Knowledge in Our Information Civilization.” Organization Theory, vol. 3, no. 3, , pp. 263178772211292-,


- Stempel III, Guido, H. (1989) “Content Analysis.” In Guido, H. Stempel III and Bruce H. Westley (eds) Research Methods in Mass Communication, Second edition. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. 124- 136.

- Colleen Cotter, 2015, “Discourse and Media”, The Handbook of Discourse Analysis IV Discourse in Real‐World Contexts, Wiley Online Books,, Pages: 795-821.


- Perloff, Richard M., 2019, “Journalistic Routines and Why They Matter” The Dynamics of News: Journalism in the 21st-Century Media Milieu. Routledge, Pages: 204-243

- Xosé López-García, João Canavilhas, María-Cruz Negreira-Rey, and Jorge Vázquez-Herrero, 2022, “Political Journalism in Digital Native Media”, in García Orosa, Berta (ed) Digital Political Communication Strategies : Multidisciplinary Reflections. Palgrave Macmillan, Pages: 59-74.


- Roemmele, Andrea, and Rachel Gibson. “Scientific and Subversive: The Two Faces of the Fourth Era of Political Campaigning.” New Media & Society, vol. 22, no. 4, 2020, pp. 595–610,

- Jennifer Sclafani, 2017, “Performing politics: From the town hall to the inauguration”, in Wodak, Ruth and Bernhard Forchtner (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Language and Politics, Routledge, Pages: 398-411.


- Smith, Jessica C., 2022, “Masculinity and Femininity in Media Representations of Party Leadership Candidates: Men ‘Play the Gender Card’ Too.” British Politics, 17(4), pp. 408–29,

- Heather K. Evans, 2022, “A Woman’s Place Is in the (U.S.) House: An Analysis of Issues Women Candidates Discussed on Twitter in the 2016 and 2018 Congressional Elections”, in Davis, Richard, and David Taras, editors. Electoral Campaigns, Media, and the New World of Digital Politics. University of Michigan Press, (pp. 83-102)


- Jennifer Cassidy, 2021, “How Post-Truth Politics Transformed and Shaped the Outcome of the 2016 Brexit Referendum” in Giusti, Serena, and Elisa Piras, (eds), Democracy and Fake News : Information Manipulation and Post-Truth Politics. Routledge, Pages: 53-63.

- Michael Hoechsmann, 2022, “Mediatized Visions of a Nation on Fire Negotiating Truth Under Shifting Epistemic Conditions” in Jeppesen, S., Hoechsmann, M., ulthiin, I.H., VanDyke, D., & McKee, M. (eds) The Capitol Riots: Digital Media, Disinformation, and Democracy Under Attack (1st ed.). Routledge., Pages: 36-49.

WEEK 11: 

- Yadlin-Segal, Aya, and Yael Oppenheim, 2021, “Whose Dystopia Is It Anyway? Deepfakes and Social Media Regulation.” Convergence (London, England), vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 36–51,

- Ysabel Gerrard, 2022, “Social Media Moderation: The Best-Kept Secret in Tech”, Rosen, Devan (ed), The Social Media Debate : Unpacking the Social, Psychological, and Cultural Effects of Social Media. First edition., Routledge.

WEEK 12:

- Inna Lyubareva and Fabrice Rochelandet 2021, “From News Diversity to News Quality: New Media Regulation Theoretical Issues”, in Matei, Sorin A. et al (eds), Digital and Social Media Regulation: A Comparative Perspective of the US and Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. Pages: 117-142.

- Mirjam Gollmitzer, 2021, “Alleviating or Exacerbating Precarity? How freelancers in Germany and Canada experience policies regulating insecure journalistic labor”, in Chadha, Kalyani, and Linda. Steiner. Newswork and Precarity. First edition., Routledge. Pages: 170-185.

WEEK 13: 

- Open session and policy brief show-and-tell



Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. have an awareness of media theory
  • LO2. criticially engage with media theory
  • LO3. understand the contemporary media landscape

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Focus on individual tasks, maintenance of weekly discussions, maintenance of asynchronous lecture material


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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