IR6005 - Media Power and Propaganda

What will I learn on this module?

Most people find out about politics, and what is going on in the wider world, through the media. It is therefore critical to understand how the media functions in contemporary society. This module focuses upon the debate about the role of the media in liberal democracies: is it an independent check on the exercise of power or an instrument by which the powerful manipulate the masses? What is the impact of the media upon individuals: does it inform us or brainwash us? How are the Internet and other new technologies affecting individual’s ability to access alternative sources of information to the established media? What implications do these new media have for states that seek to direct, if not control, the public’s access to information? What role, if any, should propaganda play in a liberal democracy? Using concepts, such as power, and theories of media effects, media performance and interpersonal communication, students will be encouraged to engage with these fundamental questions.

How will I learn on this module?

The learning and teaching strategy will employ a variety of methods that are appropriate for Level 6 students. Directed learning will take the form of taught lectures in which the Module Tutor will set out the main topics, perspectives and debates, thus providing a framework for the student’s independent learning. These will be augmented by student-led seminars – small-group sessions that draw upon the student’s reading, review the existing literature, survey the historical and contemporary debates, and encourage critical thinking.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Via a module handbook with details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides made available on the e-learning portal; feedback during seminar sessions; opportunities to seek personalized support after lectures, seminars and/or specific office appointments.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Understand and critically appraise the societal function of the media and propaganda.

2. Understand and critically appraise the impact of the media and propaganda on policy-makers, plus individuals, specific communities and society as a whole.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Synthesize concepts and theories and apply these to historical and contemporary case studies.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. Appreciation of the value of critical thinking

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment
Based upon one 3,500-word essay.

The essay will provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of their reading, evidence of independent learning and critical thinking. It will also test their ability to synthesis appropriate concepts and theories and apply these to historical and contemporary case studies.

Formative assessment
Generalized feedback will be provided to all students during a special seminar session that focuses upon the essay questions. Individual feedback will be available to students on demand.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code L2L2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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