Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code COMM240
Coordinator Dr CD Haslop
Communication and Media
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 5 FHEQ First Semester 15


The aims of the module are to enhance critical understanding of PR industries, contexts and practices as part of promotional culture and to develop practical skills which enhance employability for students wishing to work within PR, media writing and related communication fields. The first block provides students with an understanding of the historical development of PR in the West including its part in the growth of neoliberal capitalism and branded cultures, and enables critical reflection on its relationship with the wider reporting media and its industries. Further, the course aims to provide students with knowledge of mainstream and alternative organisations’ perspectives on the role of public relations in building images, reputations and brands as part of wider promotional activities, and on the ways they approach the practice of media writing. The second block develops knowledge and experience of media writing skills including those associated with PR such as news rele ases and media packs, and those associated with journalism such as news and feature writing. The course aims to support students to develop practical skills though critical engagement with theoretical frameworks and tools, case study analysis and practical exercises. The module also aims to develop student understanding of legal, regulatory and professional frameworks associated with PR, media writing and journalism and the role of social media and networked journalism in the contemporary communications workplace.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Critical understanding of PR cultures, theory and practice.

(LO2) Understanding of professional frameworks for PR, media writing and journalism.

(LO3) Practical skills in persuasive and journalistic media writing.

(LO4) Understanding of workplace cultures and practice, and what it means to be a creative professional in the PR or media writing industries.

(S1) Academic writing

(S2) Media writing

(S3) Critical thinking

(S4) Creativity



The module comprises two blocks. The first block focuses on key historical and theoretical perspectives on PR cultures, contexts and practices. This block considers what PR is, the antecedents of modern day PR and its links to propaganda through historical case studies of WWII. The block explores the emergence of modern PR and its role as an integral part of contemporary branding and promotional cultures including questions around the changing politics of identity and celebrity. The second block focuses on developing key skills in media writing including classic journalism tools and devices and legal and professional frameworks for media writers. The block offers practical advice on both journalistic and persuasive writing techniques and explores the contexts in which these techniques are employed. Finally, the block considers the ways in which converged networked technologies are shaping professional practice of media writers in the contemporary workplace.

Topics may include:
Introduction to PR cultures and media writing.
PR or propaganda? From Lippman to Bernays
PR as a profession.
The PR boom and the new individualism.
Analysing the current PR industry.
PR, celebrities and the pseudo-event.
PR, journalism and social media.
Media writing principles and frameworks.
Persuasive writing techniques.
Journalistic writing techniques.
The networked media writer.
Working in teams; giving great presentations.

Independent Study Week: Week 7

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - 1 hour online synchronous workshop with lecture bursts and breakout with group discussion.

Teaching Method 2 – 1 hour face to face synchronous seminar (or online dependent on Covid-19 restrictions).

Description of how self-directed learning hours may be used:
Reading and preparing/writing assignments

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           24

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 126


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 2 Description: Academic and media writing portfolio There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Sched  -3000 words    90       
Assessment 1 Coursework Description: Journalistic writing and theoretical reflection plan There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous as  -500 words    10       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.