Faculty of Arts


Politics and the Media

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for POLITICS 113.


This course provides an introduction to political communication and "mediated" politics, democracy, conflict and peace. It introduces class members to some of the major ideas and academic insights relating to the role of words, phrases and images in public political life. Topics covered include media history, the role of news media in a democracy, the online revolution, political economy of media, national and global dimensions, media freedom and regulation, journalism and news bias, political marketing and "spin", the analysis of media discourse and the role and response of audiences.

The course is particularly relevant to students interested in further study in politics and media and considering careers related to journalism, public relations, opinion polling, campaign management, political advertising and political consulting. But it is also relevant to anyone who is a member of the New Zealand public and who watches, listens to, or reads the media – which is everyone.


By the end of the course you should possess: a general understanding of the role of the media in democracy; a deeper understanding of the particular role of the news media in its relationship to politics broadly conceived and to the political process viewed more narrowly, including election campaigns; an awareness of the influences affecting this relationship, from human agency to historical, technological, economic, institutional and cultural factors; an awareness of major approaches to the media, in scholarly and policy terms; an enhanced ability to reflect critically on media output, on the role of the news media and on politics; and an enhanced range of academic and critical skills of more general application, centrally the ability to locate and interpret relevant information and to articulate findings in discussion and in written assignments.   


The course is taught through 24 lecture hours and 11 weekly tutorials.  

Lectures are given by Dr Geoff Kemp and speakers from academia and the news media. A lecture programme can be found below. Some changes may occur as we respond to current events and accommodate guest lecturers but this will not affect the range of topics covered.   

Tutorials will start in the second week of semester, by which time you should know the time and location of your tutorial, having enrolled for one online. You should attend all tutorials – they provide grounding in academic skills, develop understanding of course topics, act as a conduit for course and exam information and provide the chance for you to share your views and raise questions. Your tutor is involved in marking your work so will provide valuable feedback. If you have shown a willingness to contribute to tutorials the tutor may be more sympathetic to requests for coursework extensions and aware of your abilities in the event of a borderline grade needing confirmation. Get to know your tutor! 

Tutorials begin in week two and the tutorial topics run a week behind the lecture topics. For example: in week two, tutorials cover the lecture topics from week one, and in week three, tutorials cover the lecture topics from week two. Please attend tutorials having read the relevant required reading(s).

Please contact your tutor or the coordinating tutor, either by email or in person, in the first instance if you have any questions, concerns or comments about any aspect of the course.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 1




Geoff Kemp, Babak Bahador, Kate McMillan and Chris Rudd, eds, Politics and the Media (2nd edition, Auckland University Press, 2016).


Coursework + exam


POLITICS 113: 15.0 points

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