Year 1: Aarhus

The Challenge of Digital Journalism - Academic and practical approaches

Semester/term: Semester 1 / Autumn
University: Aarhus University and the Danish School of Media and Journalism
Credits: 10 ECTS
Professor: TBA

The general purpose of the introductory course is to brace students to study the challenges and possibilities to journalism posed by increased digitalisation processes. The course will combine a practical, skill-centred focus with an academic, research-centred one. Thus, students will learn both to manage different digitalised media products and be introduced to the basics of researching the interrelation between journalism and digitalisation processes.

Practically, students will learn to work journalistically with new media platforms to widen their digital mindset. They will produce journalistic pieces in a digital setup, combining core and basic principles of journalism with a digital approach, including the use of different types of media. Academically, students will be trained in researching relevant theoretical literature, writing a literary review, phrasing a research question, and be introduced to the fundamentals of crafting research designs.

The challenges and opportunities of globalisation facing modern journalism constitute the centre-piece of the Master’s degree programme in Journalism, Media and Globalisation. The processes of digitalisation in focus in this course constitute an excellent example of such challenges and opportunities. Digitalisation undermines the monopoly of information traditionally maintained by the news media. At the same time, the same processes enable journalists to reach new audiences, and thus to redefine the boundaries of the discipline. Through its combination of academic knowledge and journalistic practices, The challenge of digital journalism prepare students for the subsequent courses in the programme

Learning outcome

Students should be able to...

  • identify important contemporary challenges to journalism;
  • identify important research questions that can address such challenges;
  • identify relevant academic literature addressing such challenges;
  • communicate clearly about existing research findings addressing such issues.
  • identify different scientific approaches to the interrelation between journalism and digitalisation

  • describe how different approaches to the interrelation between journalism and digitalisation translate into different journalistic practices
  • describe how different standards of journalism translate into different journalistic practices
  • produce journalistic stories
  • discuss the choice of the digital setup and the digital platform used to communicate journalistic stories
  • assess the quality of journalistic products developed using digital platforms
  • apply insights into different standards of journalism in the assessment of own journalistic products
  • apply insights into approaches to digitalisation in the assessment of own journalistic products

Methods of teaching and assessment

Teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminar classes.

The exam is an individual, set take-home assignment consisting of a product and a reflection report. The student is given a question at the beginning of the exam.
Length: 8-10 normal pages.
Duration: 5 days. 

Public Opinion and the Media - Theory, Methods and Practice

Semester/term: Semester 1 / Autumn
University: Aarhus University and the Danish School of Media and Journalism
Credits: 20 ECTS
Professor: TBA

Public Opinion and the Media will brace students for studying the relationship between public opinion and journalism through making their own inquiries and crafting their own designs to accomplish actual research within this field. In the course students will thus identify academic puzzles, learn to collect and analyse data, and to report results in accordance with academic standards. Moreover, students will be trained in journalistic reporting of complex issues across different journalistic formats with a particular emphasis on storytelling and feature journalism.

Building on methodological and practical insights from the introductory course in The Challenge of Digital Journalism, the research course in Public Opinion and the Media aims at enabling students to conduct their own research projects, studying the relationship between journalism and society. And as in the introductory course, this course also highlights the importance of communicating both in academic and journalistic formats.

Public Opinion and the Media centres on the relationship between journalism, media and public opinion. Specifically, it covers three central themes: (1) the origins of public opinion and the role of journalism and the media; (2) qualitative and quantitative research methods to study this relationship; (3) the use of existing studies and methodological tools in producing and improving academic and journalistic content. Thus, in accordance with the overall purpose of the Master’s degree Journalism, Media, and Globalisation, this course bridges and combines theoretical, methodological and practical contents. 

Learning outcome

Students should be able to...

  • contrast the strengths and weaknesses of different theories of public opinion research for understanding the influence of journalism and the media.

  • evaluate and compare different research results on the relationship between journalism, the media and public opinion
  • to design, conduct and report own empirical research addressing the relationship between journalism, the media and public opinion
  • critically assess the role of researchers and journalists in creating and influencing public opinion
  • independently transform research questions and concrete research designs on the relationship between public opinion and journalism into concrete research projects.
  • critically assess the academic quality of their own research
  • critically assess the relevance of their own research in light of the role of researchers and journalists in creating and influencing public opinion

Methods of teaching and assessment

The teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminar classes. Academic modules, focusing on the theoretical and methodological content, are supplemented with modules focusing on practical-journalistic content and assignments.

The exam is a set take-home assignment. The student(s) is given a question at the beginning of the exam. The assignment can be written individually or in groups of up to 2 students. Group assignments must be written in such a way that the contribution of each student, except for the introduction, thesis statement and conclusion, can form the basis of individual assessment. The assignment should clearly state which student is responsible for which section.

Length for one student: 16-18 standard pages
Length for two students: 28-30 standard pages
Duration: 7 days. 

Indicative reading list

TBA

Journalism, Media and Cultural Globalisation

Semester/term: Semester 2 / Spring
University: Aarhus University and the Danish School of Media and Journalism
Credits: 20 ECTS
Professor: TBA

The overall aim of this course is to introduce students to a number of different approaches to understand the interrelationship between processes of cultural globalisation and products of journalism and media. This includes the study of practices, production and reception contexts in which such products evolve. In addition to critically discussing these approaches, students will develop journalistic products in relation to these critical reflections. In accordance with the overall purpose of the Master’s degree, and with what the two preceding courses have prepared participants for, students will here be tested in combining journalistic skills with academic insights.

Thus, at the core of the course will be an examination of the following three key issues:

a) Strengths and weaknesses of different research-based approaches for understanding media, journalism and journalistic practices in a comparative perspective. This includes the roles of the media and journalism in establishing, maintaining and challenging communities, cultures and identities within processes of globalisation.

b) Cross-cultural contexts and the evolving nature of media systems, news production and consumption and their broader implications for journalism as a profession, practice and space of articulation in societies in general.

c) The integration of academic deliberations and practical, professional journalistic outputs in reflections of the processes described in points a-b above.

In the course on Journalism, Media and Cultural Globalisation, students will formulate, develop and carry out small-scale research projects, addressing developments in the media landscape, in journalism and within processes of cultural globalisation. The content of the course builds on and further-develops theories, methodological approaches and practical skills presented in the two preceding courses. The course therefore furthers students’ understanding of the technological, economic and political challenges and opportunities facing media and journalism – a constitutive centre-piece of the Master’s degree in Journalism, Media and Globalisation.

Learning outcome

Students should be able to...

  • Critically present the main, relevant theoretical perspectives, underpinning the relationship between journalism, media, and processes of cultural globalisation.
  • Explain how such approaches contribute to the public construction and understanding of journalism.
  • Formulate relevant research questions based on critical evaluation of existing theories and empirical studies relating to the relationship between journalism, media and cultural globalisation.
  • Design, develop and carry out small-scale research project(s) within the broad parameters of the thematic orientation of the course and communicate the results in appropriate academic formats.
  • Convey journalism in analytical products with oversight and authority and in relation to their academic insights.
  • Independently assess the academic and journalistic strengths and weaknesses of the student’s own work.
  • Produce independent analytical journalistic conclusions related to the explanation of significant issues in journalistic practice and public discourse.

Methods of teaching and assessment

Classes for this course will be a mixture of lectures, group assignments, student presentations and discussions. These will include both academic and journalistic elements.

The exam is a take-home assignment on a topic of the student’s choice, consisting of an academic part and a journalistic part. The assignment can be written individually or in groups of up to 3 students. Group assignments must be written in such a way that the contribution of each student, except for the introduction, thesis statement and conclusion, can form the basis of individual assessment. The assignment should clearly state which student is responsible for which section.

The academic part of the assignment should consist of a publishable empirically-based academic article on a relevant issue concerning media, journalism and cultural globalisation.

The journalistic part is journalistic product that reflects central aspects of the academic part and channels these insights into a journalistic piece in a relevant format. The journalistic product is accompanied by a short report, justifying central journalistic and editorial choices. The assessment is based on an overall assessment of the academic part and the journalistic part.

Length for one student: 20-24 normal pages: The academic part should consist of 14-16 normal pages, the journalistic part of 6-8 normal pages
Length for two students: 34-38 normal pages: academic part, 24-26 normal pages; journalistic part, 10-12 normal page
Length for three students: 48-52 normal pages: academic part, 34-36 normal pages; journalistic part, 14-16 normal pages.

Indicative reading list

TBA

Year 2: Amsterdam | Politics & Communication

Journalism and the Media

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: University of Amsterdam
Credits: 12 ECTS
Professor: TBA

The critical interplay between journalism and politics in modern democratic societies is the focus of this course. We address different models and conceptions of political journalism, the role of journalism in society, ethical considerations, issues of freedom of speech, and the question of what represents "good" political journalism today. In this context, the seminar also deals with (non-)government communication, e.g. how politicians, parties, NGOs, social movements and interest groups interact with the media and citizens. Students will read both classic and contemporary texts about news production, journalism, media, and political systems. Sessions will be reserved to discuss new developments in the organisation of news production and the changes in journalism due to globalisation and economic pressures.

Learning outcome

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to...

  • explain the reciprocal relationships between media organisations, political journalism and politics; and evaluate the role of (political) media in democratic processes;
  • critically analyse academic literature on political journalism and report the results of such analysis in an academic way;
  • apply classic and modern theories of media and political journalism to relevant cases, and critique them in light of the changing nature of political communication in the 21st century;
  • translate theoretical insights into journalistic or political practice and vice versa;
  • discuss and debate the literature critically with fellow students in class. 

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Communicating Europe

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: University of Amsterdam
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

Over the years, "Brussels" has acquired an extensive amount of competences and power in various areas of policy, yet citizen engagement with and support for the European project has dwindled. The EU is often considered an elitist project, and opinion polls in various member states report increasingly critical public attitudes towards advanced integration of Europe. Today, in the wake of the ongoing economic crisis and new geo-political developments, the EU has become a contested topic. This seminar deals with European integration and the behaviour of the elites, the media, and citizens. 


One of the first focusses of the seminar is the issue of European integration in the eyes of voters and the political elites. Causes and effects of support for European integration will be discussed more generally, as well with regard to particular topics such as EU enlargement, the Euro, and the crisis of the rise of new Eurosceptic parties. Another key focus is campaigning in European elections and referendums. Throughout the seminar special attention will be paid to the role of the news media, how they cover European issues, and what effect this has on the formation of public attitudes. Students will conduct their own small-scale empirical research project.

Learning outcome

Upon completion of this course, students will have...

  • gained knowledge about key concepts, theories and developments in cutting-edge political communication and political science research on European integration;
  • learned to identify and analyse key features of various research perspectives, and improve their analytical skills and insight by scrutinising empirical studies;
  • learned to critically reflect on the various approaches, theories, and application of methodology utilised in extant empirical research.

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Data Journalism

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: University of Amsterdam
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

One of the most important recent innovations in journalism is the increasing use of data. Often referred to as data journalism (or data-driven journalism), we see a development of using computational techniques to make use of, for instance, massive sets of documents (e.g. leaks), or government data, provided via APIs or scraped from the web. In short, the increased availability of digital data, fuelled by developments such as the trend towards open governance or the use of online media, has opened new ways for journalists to discover and research interesting and relevant stories. While the use of data in journalism is not new (there are examples of tables and data visualisations in newspapers from a century ago), the amount of data and their digital nature require new skills from journalists. At the same time, audiences are demanding greater transparency from news organisations, and the news cycle is ever-more choked with traffic, both of which challenge journalists to use data in ways that are creative, compelling, transparent, and innovative.

This course combines practical skills training and theoretical discussion of these developments. As well as reading and discussing relevant literature, a major focus lies on introducing students to the programming language Python, which is widely used for retrieving data from the web and for analysing both textual and numerical data (see some examples from the Data Journalism Handbook). Students will learn how to visualise data, how to find stories in large amounts of data, and how to combine multiple datasets in order to gain new insights.

Learning outcome

Upon completion of this course, students should...

  • be familiar with innovative forms of journalism, in particular data journalism, and how these innovations transform the field of journalism;
  • have knowledge of different techniques used in data journalism, involving the acquisition of data (e.g., through scraping or APIs), their analysis, and their presentation/visualisation;
  • have a basic understanding of how programming languages can be used to achieve data-journalistic goals;
  • be able to apply some data-related techniques themselves. 

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Methods and Statistics Tailored to the Thesis

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: University of Amsterdam
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

To prepare for writing their master’s thesis, students first meet in "Thesis Preparation Groups" several times during the first two blocks of the third semester under the supervision of a senior researcher. In-between meetings, students draw up a brief "Initial Thesis Proposal" that can function as a kick-start for their individual master’s thesis, and an early version of the "Extended Thesis Proposal" to be written in the fourth semester.

Following the Thesis Preparation Groups, the course "Methods and Statistics Tailored to the Thesis" then aims to extend students' methodological knowledge. Throughout the course, students learn about and develop ideas for research designs, data collection and analysis that are appropriate for a master's thesis in political communication & journalism. The course involves lectures on research methodology, group work directed at developing quantitative and qualitative research instruments fit for a master’s thesis, and in-class working sessions. The course will be "tailor-made" based on initial research ideas of the participating students. This also means that most assignments throughout the course are related to the students' individual thesis ideas.

Learning outcome

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to...

  • to formulate a clear, investigable research question for their thesis, and to be able to identify and explicate - through conceptual and operational definitions - the core concepts of their thesis;
  • choose (and justify their choice of) a research design and methodology in relation to their research questions and the practical constraints of the master's thesis;
  • construct basic measurement tools relevant for their chosen methodology;
  • collect data using these measurement tools;
  • understand and undertake simple analysis of qualitative and/or quantitative research data relevant for the master's thesis.

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Elective

Semester/term: Semester 4 / Spring: block 1 (8-week course)
University: University of Amsterdam
Credits: 6 ECTS

In the third semester, you can choose one elective course of 6 ECTS. The Graduate School of Communication offers approximately 12 different electives each semester. You can either broaden your knowledge and select an elective within a different field of Communication Science or specialise yourself more on Politics & Communication with e.g. the electives "Investigative Journalism" or "Psychology in Political Communication".

Learning outcome

The learning outcome depends on the students' chosen elective.

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Master's Thesis

Semester/term: Semester 4 / Spring
University: University of Amsterdam
Credits: 30 ECTS

Writing a thesis is, above all, a means of increasing one's understanding and knowledge of a particular problem area.

It is also a test of the competency in skills that may be required later in a professional setting, including structuring, developing and writing a clear and systematic research report and choosing an appropriate journalistic medium to present the findings of the empirical thesis to society. This implies that knowledge, insights, skills and attitudes acquired in the earlier parts of the programme are combined in the writing of the thesis.

Journalistic product

Under the supervision of a senior lecturer, students present the findings of their empirical thesis to a wider audience through an appropriate journalistic medium. It may vary from print publishing to documentary making to web- and other digital technology. The journalistic product show that the students are able to journalistically communicate their thesis to society.

Year 2: Prague | Totalitarianism & Transition

Media in Post-Totalitarian Countries

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: Charles University, Prague
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

Media and journalism and their performance are key issues of liberal democracy. The status of media is therefore a crucial point in the transition from a totalitarian to a liberal political environment. The course "Media in Post-Totalitarian Countries" offers basic knowledge of the development of media in post-totalitarian countries of Central Europe (mainly Czech Republic, but also Poland, Hungary and Germany) from 1989 until now. It supports students' critical approach to reflections on mass media and social media, and on contemporary societies and their political communication.

The course requires some basic knowledge of sociology, social theory and communication science on introductory level, as well as some basic knowledge of European history and popular culture.

Learning outcome

TBA

Methods of teaching and assessment

The course consists of seminars, with some introductory lectures, and strong active participation (in the "media news" segment in every class and the "team project" at the end of the course).

Indicative reading list

TBA

Contemporary History of Post-Totalitarian Countries

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: Charles University, Prague
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

Since 1989, Central European countries have been committed to the common European values such as liberal democracy, respecting the rule of law and human rights. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary joined the EU in 2004, and referencing Francis Fukuyama, this is the point when history should have ended. However, the success story seems to take an "illiberal" turn – for instance through the monopolisation of media outlets and the popular appeal of authoritarianism. Thus, present political trajectories in the region cause bewilderment in the core countries of the EU. As Jacques Rupnik pointed out in December 2017, "the decoupling of liberalism and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe has a lot to do with the post-1989 confusion, and indeed collusion, between political and economic liberalism". In order to understand this confusion and collusion, profound knowledge of contemporary history of the region is required.

The course "Contemporary History of Post-Totalitarian Countries" provides knowledge of contemporary history of post-totalitarian countries in Central (and Eastern) Europe in order to understand the specifics of its political, socio-economic and cultural developments in the recent past that have an impact on the societies of Central European countries today. The course uses a variety of methodological approaches to deal with key historical and contemporary issues such as the process of nation-building; dealing with the German political, economic and cultural hegemony; expulsion/resettlement of Germans and coming to terms with the past; dynamics of the development of societies in the communist era; achievements and failures of the post-communist transformation; and important recent topics such as the migration crisis etc. Students are expected to work in groups and discuss the issues based on their presentations.

Learning outcome

TBA

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Audiovisual Journalism of the 21st Century

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: Charles University, Prague
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

Apart from political and market related transitions, the workflow of current media professionals also faces challenges related to technological challenges and professional convergence. Therefore, being a journalist in contemporary media does not only mean being a writer, a photographer or a reporter. Instead, various multi-media skills are essential, and working with text, photography, sound and video are all part of the basis of journalists' daily work. Being able to report instantly using various forms of media has become natural in the media industry.

"Audiovisual Journalism of the 21st Century" aims to develop journalism and reporting skills. The first part of the course combines excursions to public and private news TV broadcasters and lectures that provide essential editorial and technological knowledge in the field of TV journalism. Within its practical part, the course combines TV studio and field work both with professional broadcast technologies and widely used consumer devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets). Students will work on simulated TV newscasts which will include work in the TV studio, editing news stories and live reporting.

Learning outcome

TBA

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Post-Digital Photojournalism

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn
University: Charles University, Prague
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

In light of the political, market related and technological developments described above, the course "Post-Digital Photojournalism" discusses the current situation of visual journalism. With the rise of digital technologies, theoreticians began talking about the death of traditional photography and describing the era as post-photographic. Now, twenty years later, it is obvious that visual messages are more powerful than ever in and beyond political discourse.

This course introduces today's condition of visual journalism and its development in last few decades. Students will learn about the transition from traditional film-based photography to digital imaging to the current post-digital condition. The course also includes practical assignments which will help students understand the nature of problems introduced in the theoretical lectures. Students will try traditional technical equipment, DSLRs, mobile photojournalism, drone journalism, VR journalism, the use of AI in digital imaging, among other things.

Learning outcome

TBA

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Foreign Correspondence

Semester/term: Semester 4 / Spring
University: Charles University, Prague
Credits: 6 ECTS
Professor: TBA

The course "Foreign Correspondence" covers both the very interesting history of the profession, as well as its current situation that is influenced by both technological and economic challenges. The course makes use of the practical skills students gained from the previous courses to simulate the work of foreign correspondents. The students' knowledge about the Central and Eastern Europe region is used in their journalistic stories, thereby deeply grounding their theoretical knowledge.

The course consists of two main sections. In the first section, theoretical approaches are introduced, while in the second section, students are dedicated to their creative work.

Learning outcome

TBA

Methods of teaching and assessment

TBA

Indicative reading list

TBA

Master's Thesis Part 1 & 2

Semester/term: Semester 3 / Autumn (Part 1) & Semester 4 / Spring (Part 2)
University: Charles University
Credits: 30 ECTS in all for Parts 1 & 2

Writing the thesis provides the opportunity to choose a subtheme/region/theory within the wider field of studies to produce an original piece of empirical work.

The master's thesis courses have two main objectives. The first objective is to provide the relevant methodological and theoretical knowledge and skills, at an advanced level, which are necessary for MA students to produce a master's thesis. The second objective is to guide students in developing the core design of their thesis, i.e. their research questions, theoretical/conceptual framework, methods and research design, and textual structure.

The first part of the master's thesis courses consists of seminar discussions and lectures. In the second part, students have individual consultations with an academic supervisor.