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Media and Communication Theory




Admissions requirements



This course an introduction to the field of mass media and mass communication with a focus on journalism studies and news media. Central theme is the way media mirror and shape our world. Therefore we study and evaluate the processes that generate news and shape our social environment. Students will not only recognize the role of media in changing political, social and cultural dynamics on the global stage but also critique and analyze the variety of relationships between media and their audiences. Its main aim is to introduce students to the various dimensions of the media so that they can independently and competently consider and criticize mass media content and policy. Besides a theoretical component the course also has an empirical component: we also learn to do a small scale research project with content analysis.

Course objectives

After completion of this course, students are able to:

  • explain how various theories have evolved, the various perspectives included, and the relevance for today’s impact of media on society.

  • describe the interdisciplinary nature of journalism studies and its connections with other disciplines;

  • discuss the objects of journalism studies as a discipline.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Each week has two classes on one theme (f.e. on Tuesday and Friday). Tuesday classes will give a theoretical underpinning of the theme: students prepare short presentations on their readings and discuss the different insights and points of view. Other (non-presenting) students post discussion questions on Blackboard.

Friday classes are more hands-on. In V&D-sessions (viewing and discussing) students elaborate on the theory by applying it to examples from present day news media, brought in by students (video fragments, radio fragments, news photographs, articles from news sites, blogs, et cetera). In this way we cover both media theory and media practice, visually and textually.

Both the Tuesday and Friday classes are student-led. (Schedules will be distributed on Blackboard once the exact number of participants is known.) The instructor watches over content quality and the overall learning process and coaches the research projects.

Besides these regular classes in weeks 1 to 5, there will be a small scale research project in week 6 (no regular classes that week; students work in small groups on their project). In week 7 they present and discuss their research results. Week 8 is for the final exam.


This course has 4 assessments: 3 on team level (2-4 students) and 1 on individual level. They are assessed as follows:

  • Presentation on Media Theory (team: 10%) – weeks 1 – 5.

  • Presentation on Media Practice: Viewing & Discussing (team: 10%) – weeks 1 – 5

  • Written test Media Theory; you can choose 7 questions out of 10 (individual: 40%) – week 8.

  • Small Scale Content Analysis Project including research presentation + short research paper / fact sheet (team: 30%) weeks 6 and 7.

  • Participation (individual, 10%)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

All required reading will be made available via Blackboard, or can be obtained via Internet or the electronic library.

Other publications are published in PDF on Blackboard (and are each under 10.000 words, so no permission is needed from PRO). See the week schedule for the exact titles.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. A.W.M. (Willem) Koetsenruijter
Leiden University | Faculty of Humanities
Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, LUCL
Journalistiek en Nieuwe Media
Witte Singelcomplex | P.N. van Eyckhof 4 | 2311 BV Leiden | Room number 0.03a
Tel 071 – 527 2099 or 06 5233 0081.
Office hours: 24/7.


Note: in the first five weeks of this course we will peruse approximately 500 pages of reading. That is 100 pages a week. Students are strongly advised to start reading in week one to avoid time management issues.