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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsHello, and a very warm welcome to the fifth week of our course, an 'Introduction to Journalism'. Over the past number of weeks, we've looked at various news forms. But this week, we're going to turn to the most fundamental ways that journalism makes a difference. And that's the relationship between journalism and those in power. Even in an era in which social media gives all of us our own voice, we expect journalists to have a particular kind of expertise in representing our interests to those in government. We'll be thinking about the ways that journalism nourishes public discussion. And we'll be asking you to bring good and bad examples from your own experience of political journalism.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsOf course, we'll also be exploring the political dimensions of our Blackout scenario. And we'll be setting in train a few leads that we might just pick up on next week. As well as me, you'll be hearing from prominent scholars and political commentators, and engaging in discussion and exercises. And by the end of the week, we should have gained a fuller understanding of why a healthy political culture needs journalism. So I do hope you enjoy this week.

Welcome to week five

Hello and welcome to the fifth week of our course, ‘Introduction to Journalism’.

Over the past four weeks, we have examined some of the fundamental skills of the journalist. We have looked at how to recognise and research a news story; how to write news and feature stories and the differences between them; and we have looked at the skills involved in news interviewing.

This week we turn to one of the most fundamental ways that journalism makes a difference: the relationship between journalism and politics.

US President and Founding Father Thomas Jefferson once wrote that, if forced to choose, he would take newspapers without government rather than the other way round. To this day, we routinely place a great deal of trust in journalists to provide us with information on how we are governed. And even in an era in which social media offers us channels of our own, we expect journalists to understand and represent our interests in interacting with politicians and those in power.

Over the course of this week, we will be looking at the conceptual underpinnings of the political role that journalism occupies. We’ll be thinking about how journalism nourishes public discussion on politics, asking you to bring examples of where this works well and not so well. We will also be looking at how journalism might impact upon political culture; perhaps reshaping politics in accordance with the needs of a media agenda.

Of course, we will also be exploring the political dimensions of The Blackout and setting in train a few leads that we might well pick up on next week.

As well as me, we’ll be hearing from prominent scholars and political commentators, and engaging in discussion and exercises. By the end, we’ll have gained a fuller understanding of why a healthy political culture needs journalism, as well as a grasp on some of the debates on how the relationship between journalism and politics may be made better.

Note that, towards the end of this week, we’ll be asking you to exercise your judgement and vote for particular questions you would most like to ask an interviewee regarding The Blackout. This poll will close next week, week six, at noon on Wednesday 14th October with the vote discussed in the final ‘Ask Michael’ step.

Enjoy your week!

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This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to Journalism

University of Strathclyde