3GJ302 Journalism, Democracy and Development

All versions:
3GJ302 (2024—2025)
3GJ302 (2023—2024)
3GJ302 (2022—2023)
3GJ302 (2021—2022)
3GJ302 (2020—2021)
3GJ302 (2019—2020)
3GJ302 (2018—2019)
3GJ302 (2017—2018)

Course code: 3GJ302

Course name: Journalism, Democracy and Development

Semester: Autumn

Location: Kristiansand

Academic year: 2018–2019

Language: English

Credits: 10 ECTS Credits

Available for course students: No

Required prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the MA Programme in Global Journalism

Relevance within study programme

GJ 302 Journalism, Democracy and Development is a mandatory course in the MA Programme in Global Journalism at NLA University College and takes places in the first semester of the programme.


It is commonly assumed that there is a relationship between media and democracy, although the nature of the relationship is debated. This course addresses the issue through the role of the journalistic media in democratization processes in developing societies. The course takes as its starting-point that the media are used actively throughout the world to promote social and national development, both by local authorities and the international community. Yet there is a lack of consensus on how to describe the role of the media in these processes, and there is a need for a deeper understanding of the motives for the utilization of the media by various stakeholders and the potentials and limitations of journalism in this regard.

The role of the journalistic media in developing societies is frequently linked to conflict situations. Under such conditions there is also reason to question how the media and journalists operate, and in which way they engage with different parties in the conflict.

The course also explores the role of digital media (sometimes called –new media–) in democratization processes. With economic and technological advances, digital media have a potentially unifying role in democratization processes around the world. At the same time, digital media are criticized for reinforcing the gap between the information rich and the information poor, even within developing societies. These issues are treated in the course both theoretically and through case studies.

The course draws partly on the experiences of NLA University College in journalism and media development in various parts of the world.

Learning outcomes descriptors


The student:

  • has knowledge of major paradigms within development theory
  • comprehends key theoretical approaches to media and democratization
  • is familiar with selected alternative approaches to journalistic development
  • has knowledge of experiences with journalistic development in conflict societies
  • is able to explain key issues in the debate concerning digital media and development


The student:

  • can assess general approaches to journalism and democratization
  • can evaluate a media development project in a particular society from a theoretical point of view
  • demonstrates ability to discuss ethical issues pertaining to the role of journalistic activity in a conflict society
  • is able to scrutinize various views in the debate concerning digital media and development and argue for solutions  

General competence

The student:

  • can communicate issues of journalism and development within a broader development frame
  • has skills to problematize media intervention


GJ 302–1: Journalism and democratization

This section of the course visits classic theories of media and democracy and discusses the particular role of journalism in light of the different models. The second part looks at specific media development efforts in emerging democracies.

a) Theories about journalism, democracy and development

b) Journalism and media development in practice

GJ 302–2: Journalism and conflict

This section of the course discusses the role of the media and journalists in international and local conflict situations. The framework of peace journalism is treated as a distinct approach for conflict societies.

a) Journalism in risk societies

b) Peace journalism

GJ 302–3: Digital media and development

This part of the course explores the role of digital media (sometimes called –new media–) in democratization processes. The use of new digital platforms on the fringes of classic journalism, particularly blogs and social media, is discussed. A perspective on media regulation in closed regimes is presented.

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching is given as lectures and seminars. The lectures are organized over approximately five weeks with four lecture hours every week, totalling 20 lecture hours. The seminars are mainly student-led and last for approximately two hours each week.


App. 250 to 300 hours.

Coursework requirements

The following coursework requirement must be passed before a final grade is given for the course:

1. Participation in a group assignment which consists of an oral presentation of a topic reviewing journalism, democracy and development in a specific society for a relevant audience.

Grading, coursework requirements

The coursework requirement is assessed as pass/failure. In order for the individual student to get a passing grade, the overall presentation must be evaluated as pass on a group basis, and the student must participate in the oral presentation.

Final assessment


The graded assessment in GJ 302 comprises one item:

1. Individual assignment consisting of a 4000 word written assignment/paper where the student is asked to evaluate a media development project (100% of the final grade)

Permitted aids under examination


Grading, examination

The assignment is assessed according to the standard A–F grading system. One final, individual grade is given for the course.

Assessment language




Course evaluation

Annually course evaluation in accordance with the quality assurance system for NLA University College. Students may also give their feedback on the course in the student group/ in class.

Available for Course Students



Total reading: Approx. 670 pp.

GJ 302.1: Journalism and democratization

a) Theories about journalism, democracy and development


  • Blankson, Isaac A. and Patrick D. Murphy (eds.) (2007) Negotiating democracy: Media transformations in emerging democracies. New York: State University of New York. Pp. 1-34.
  • Norris, Pippa (ed.) (2010) Public sentinel: News media and governance reform. Washington DC: World Bank. Pp. 3-56 and 193-220.
  • Rønning, Helge (2010) What constitutes media development? In Torbjörn Broddason et al. (eds.), Norden och världen: Perspektiv från forskningen om medier och kommunikation, 305-319. Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet.
  • Sparks, Colin (2007) Globalization, development and the mass media. London: Sage.Pp. 1-19 and 81-125.
  • Trappel, Josef, Hannu Nieminen and Lars Nord (eds.) (2011) The media for democracy monitor: A cross national study of leading news media. Göteborg: Nordicom. Pp. 11-28.

b) Journalism and media development in practice


  • Josephi, Beate (ed.) (2010) Journalism education in countries with limited media freedom. New York: Peter Lang. Pp. 1-14 and 253-260.
  • Melhus, Kåre and Terje Skjerdal (2015) Sustainable journalism education beyond short-term training: Experiences from emerging democracies. Unpublished paper
  • LaMay, Craig L. (2007) Exporting press freedom. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Pp. 1-76.
  • Muchtar, Nurhaya and Thomas Hanitzsch (2013) Culture clash: International media training and the difficult adoption of Western journalism practices among Indonesian radio journalists. Journalism Practice 7(2): 184-198.
  • Skjerdal, Terje (2011) Teaching journalism or teaching African journalism? Experiences from foreign involvement in a journalism programme in Ethiopia. Global Media Journal: African edition 5(1): 24-51.

GJ 302.2: Journalism and conflict

a) Journalism in risk societies


  • Andresen, Kenneth (2008) Newsroom culture in a transitional society: Routines and improvisations in Kosovar news production. Unpublished paper. 20 s.
  • Brooten, Lisa (2006) Political violence and journalism in a multiethnic state. Journal of Communication Inquiry 30(4): 354-373.
  • Tveiten, Oddgeir and Stig Arne Nohrstedt (2002) News, discourse, rhetoric, propaganda. Conflict journalism from a multi-methodological perspective. In Wilhelm Kempf and Heikki Luostarinen (eds.), Journalism and the new world order, 131-144. Göteborg: Nordicom.

b) Peace journalism


  • Loyn, David (2007) Good journalism or peace journalism? Conflict and Communication Online 6(2). Available at: http://cco.regener-online.de/2007_2/pdf/loyn.pdf. (10 pp.)
  • Lynch, Jake and Annabel McGoldrick (2005) Peace journalism. Gloucestershire: Hawthorn Press. Pp. 1-32.
  • Shaw, Ibrahim Seaga (2011) "Human rights journalism": A critical conceptual framework of a complementary strand of peace journalism. In Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Jake Lynch and Robert A. Hackett (eds.), Expanding peace journalism: Comparative and critical approaches, 96-121. Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Skjerdal, Terje (2011) The Somali media and their peace-building potential. Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies 11(1): 27-50.

GJ 302.3: Digital media and development


  • Breuer, Anita, Todd Landman and Dorothea Farquhar (2013) Social media and protest mobilization: Evidence from the Tunisian revolution. Democratization, forthcoming.
  • Cottle, Simon (2011) Media and the Arab uprising of 2011: Research notes. Journalism 12(5): 647-659.
  • Dobra, Alexandra (2012) The democratic  impact of ICT in Africa. Africa  Spectrum 47(1): 73-88.
  • Howard, Philip N. and Muzammil M. Hussain (2013) Democracy's fourth wave? Digital media and the Arab Spring. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 17-34 and 89-102.
  • Kalathil, Shanthi and Taylor C. Boas (2003) Open networks, closed regimes: The impact of the Internet on authoritarian rule. Washington DC: Carnegie. Pp. 135-153.
  • Lowrey, Wilson (2006) Mapping the journalism -blogging relationship. Journalism 7(4): 477-500.
  • Van Rensburg, Aletta H. Janse (2012) Using the Internet for democracy: A study of South Africa, Kenya and Zambia. Global Media Journal: African edition 6(1): 93-116.
  • Yu, Haiqing (2011) Beyond gatekeeping: J-blogging in China. Journalism 12(4): 379-393.