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: 2021–2022

Language: English

Credits: 10 ECTS Credits

Available for course students: Yes

Application: Apply at our local applicationpage

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 place in the first semester of the programme.


It is commonly assumed that there is a relationship between media and democracy, but the nature of the relationship is debated. This course addresses this issue through the role of the journalistic media in democratization processes in developing societies. The course takes as its point of departure that the media are used actively throughout the world to promote social, political, economic and national development, both by local authorities and the international community. Yet there is a lack of consensus on how to describe the role and impact of the media in these processes. 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 and transitional societies is often linked to conflict situations. Under such conditions there is also reason to question how the media and journalists operate, and how they engage with different parties in the conflict.

The course also explores the role of digital media (including social and citizen 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 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 alternative approaches to journalistic development
  • has knowledge of experiences with journalistic development in conflict and post-conflict societies
  • is able to explain key issues in the debate concerning digital media, citizen 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, citizen 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 discuss media intervention and media development projects, as well as suggesting improvements


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 actual cases of media development in emerging democracies.


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.



GJ 302–3: Digital media and development

This part of the course explores the role of digital media (including social and citizen 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 given.

Teaching and learning methods

The course has an introductory week with intensive teaching from Monday to Friday. The remaining six weeks of the course have weekly lectures. Online connection is available for the weekly lectures, but not for the introductory week.


App. 250 to 300 hours.

Coursework requirements

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

Participation in a group assignment which consists of an oral presentation of a specific media society for a relevant audience. The presentation should discuss relations between journalism, democracy and development in the particular society.

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 3GJ302 comprises one item:

Individual assignment consisting of a 4000 word written assignment/paper (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

English or a Nordic language



Course evaluation

Annual 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


Reading list and academic resources

Follow this link for reading list and academic resources.