Study programme for Cultures & Contexts in Munich

Photo credits: Dafne Betzabé Pérez Urrea

The LMU specialisation particularly emphasises the ‘global’ aspect of the Mundus Journalism programme, focusing on the diversity of journalistic cultures worldwide, each of which operates in a specific set of societal structures. After the first year at Aarhus University introduced key concepts and critical issues from political, economic, and methodological perspectives, the Cultures & Contexts specialism deepens this knowledge by focusing on the contemporary issues that journalism faces globally, and addressing the cultural blind spots of established Western-centric research agendas. The specialisation pays particular attention to how journalism deals with these issues in societal contexts that are politically, economically and culturally diverse.

Theories and Methods of Comparative Journalism 

In this introductory module, you familiarise yourself with the diversity of media systems and journalistic cultures across the globe. The module deals with journalism from a comparative perspective by addressing relevant theories and methods.

Learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge of key concepts and literature in the study of media systems and journalism cultures.
  • Overview of different types of media systems and journalism cultures around the world.
  • Insights into comparative research designs and methods used in the social sciences, their epistemologies, and their relative strengths and weaknesses.
  • Reflection on comparative research designs and on the key works that address methodological rigour and coherence, and on the final reporting of the results of such analysis in an academic format.

In terms of theories, the module provides an overview of the literature on media systems and journalism cultures, and of the key concepts, drawing on a broad range of case studies to demonstrate the variety of these systems and cultures around the globe. This part of the module examines three vital theoretical issues: (a) Based on the theoretical overview, critical dimensions of media systems and journalism cultures are identified to allow a comparative discussion of the significant similarities and variations that exist between them. (b) As journalists and news organisations operate in various opportunity structures, you will focus on the similarities and differences between these structures (e.g. regarding politics, governance, socio-economic developments, and cultural value systems). (c) Finally, the module addresses how media systems and journalistic cultures have changed over time.

In terms of methodology, you will deepen your knowledge of the research designs and methods typically used in the social sciences. In particular, you will become acquainted with the methodological aspects of comparative journalism research. This part of the module covers three central themes: (a) It provides an overview of the different comparative research designs and methods, their epistemologies, and their relative strengths and weaknesses. (b) There is a particular focus on new and innovative forms of comparative data analysis (e.g. Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Multilevel Modelling). (c) A review of the key works in comparative research that deal with methodological rigour and coherence.

Cross-border Journalism

Cross-Border Journalism is a hands-on module that will be taught in collaboration with the Munich-based German School of Journalism (DJS). The module aims to broaden your knowledge of globalisation in terms of the diversity of journalistic cultures and media systems worldwide by examining journalistic practice. The module focuses on investigative journalism and strategies for reporting across borders.

Learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge of the forms and practices of collaborative cross-border and investigative journalism.
  • Developing an understanding of problem-solving skills in a broad, international context.
  • Collaboration within an international journalistic investigative project.
  • Production of a journalistic piece based on the investigative reporting project.

You will learn about the various forms and practices of cross-border collaborative investigative journalism. These will be examined through discussion of projects such as those by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN). On top of that, you will acquire practical experience and skills necessary for collaborative cross-border journalism. Together with your instructors, you will work on a specific investigative project and create original journalistic content.


In the third semester, you choose one of the following elective courses to broaden your knowledge and gather in-depth insights.

Contexts of Journalism

The Contexts of Journalism module aims to broaden and deepen knowledge and understanding of journalism and media in different societies. This elective module focuses on selected issues that you discuss theoretically and, in a second step, examine empirically by designing and conducting a research project.

Learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge of journalism and the media across societies through discussing and researching selected contemporary societal issues.
  • Application of social science methods to identify and define research problems, and design and conduct a research project about contemporary societal issues.
  • Work as part of a team in carrying out a collaborative research project.
  • Produce an account of the set-up, execution, and research outcomes of the project, which will further understanding of how journalism works in a global world.

You will discuss selected contemporary issues facing journalism and the media industry across societies. Examples of such issues include the erosion of trust in journalism and journalistic authority, increased competition in the media market, fact-checking in the news, and threats to the safety of journalists.

As part of empirical investigations into the contexts of journalism, you will systematically compare issues across different political, economic, and cultural contexts. You will form teams to develop and conduct your research project on a contemporary issue.

Global Journalism

The module on Global Journalism revolves around journalism and globalisation by deploying a global approach to journalism. In a globalised world, issues cross national boundaries. Global journalism as a specific reporting style and concept provides a global perspective by analysing and reflecting on globally relevant issues and how they affect different parts of the world. The module focuses on theoretical discussions of journalism and globalisation while conceptualising and conducting empirical investigations into global journalism.

Learning outcomes:

  • Expanded knowledge of journalism and globalisation through discussing and researching issues in terms of global journalism.
  • Refinement of social science methods skills to independently identify and define a research problem, and design and conduct a research project related to global journalism.
  • Implementation of a collaborative research project.
  • A systematic and reasoned account of the research’s set-up, execution, and outcomes, which will further understanding of how journalism works in a global world.

As part of this module, you will review the concept of global journalism critically and discuss its implications, strengths, and weaknesses using practical examples of selected issues (e.g. climate change and migration).

Additionally, you will act as part of a team that develops and conducts an independent research project addressing research questions that deal with global journalism in a broader context.

Master's Thesis

The master’s thesis is the culmination of the programme, where students apply the skills, knowledge and insights acquired during the whole degree. During this time, students will engage in an independent long-term and in-depth research project of your choosing within the field of journalism. This is excellent opportunity to leave a mark by producing an original piece of empirical work and presenting your findings to your peers and instructors. An accompanying research colloquium supports you through your master’s research, and academic instructors stand by for advice and assistance.

Cultures & Contexts
LMU Munich
Semester 3
  • Theories and Methods of Comparative Journalism
    12 ECTS
  • Cross-border Journalism
    12 ECTS
  • Elective
    6 ECTS

- Global Journalism 

- Contexts of Journalism

Semester 4
  • Master's Thesis
    30 ECTS