The British public is offered full coverage of political issues and events with five daily ‘broadsheets’, an evening newspaper and several tabloids with high circulation in London alone, and broadcasting networks including the well-respected BBC. This number of British media means that political stories are told in multiple versions and are submitted to multiple interpretations. This course examines a number of issues and current topics in the news that demonstrate the long-term struggle for power between the conventional media (press, TV, radio news media and increasingly, the internet) and UK politicians and political institutions. Additional topics to be explored are: How this struggle affects the delivery of news to the British public; what are the opportunities and challenges of internet coverage of parliament’s proceedings; and whether public broadcasting has a future.
Drawing on topics from current affairs, students will be encouraged to probe the consistency and contradictions of Britain's political leaders, appraise party political agendas and explore how interest groups exercise influence in a mature democracy. In addition to acquainting students with key aspects of contemporary British politics, students will examine the structure and function of British national media.
Students will be expected to read and comment about British domestic political developments featured in the national press and other media. After they have become generally familiar with the UK’s political system, the class will proceed to explore a succession of topics, collectively intended to illuminate and define the changing relationship between politicians and the news media.