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Unit Overview


This unit explores the role of the mass media in the operation of government and the conduct of politics. The media are correctly perceived to have great power in shaping public policy and moulding public attitudes on a wide range of issues. However, while the media's power is undeniable, one should not disregard the influence over the media of other actors, notably the government. The unit examines the interaction between the media and the government in affecting public opinion and policies. It covers key issues such as the nature of, and forces producing, news; media cultures and organisational settings which shape the way journalists report politics; and the relationship of media to the processes of government, including agenda setting, policy formation and policy implementation. It analyses cases from Australia and overseas in order to provide students with a better understanding of how and why the media game is played.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) 1.Demonstrate advanced knowledge about the political role of the media and the relationship between media and government; (2) 2. Critically explain and evaluate relevant ideas, theories and concepts that seek to explain relationships between media and the government and political actors; (3) 3. Creatively apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to independently and collaboratively address challenges, crises and change in media's relations with the government and political actors; (4) 4. Competently apply basic Political Science and International Relations methods and skills to designing and executing research on the political role of the media; and (5) 5. Effectively communicate knowledge, ideas, analyses and arguments about the political role of the media in different formats..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial presentation and participation; (2) written assignment; and (3) a final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Jeannette Taylor
Unit rules
POLS3331 Politics of the Mass Media
Advisable prior study
All level 1 and level 2 POLS units
Contact hours
lectures: 20 hours
tutorials: 9 hours
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.