For the public to be able to make informed decisions about important scientific issues, they need to have access to accurate yet understandable information. The best vehicle for this is through the print and electronic media. However very few scientists are trained to communicate effectively with the media, which can make informing the public a difficult process.
This course examines the relationship between science and the media and the cultural differences that often make the relationship difficult. Topics to be covered include an analysis of science-media relations from both the scientists' and journalists' perspective; the style in which science is reported in the media; and how best to present science in the media. This is a skills-based course, the aim of which is to train science students in the production of material suitable for publication or broadcast in the popular media. Students will have opportunities to practice the skills of this course in 'real life settings' gaining valuable industry experience and contacts.
On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Identify and apply the
processes involved in getting an issue into the media
- Apply the basics of print media production
- Discuss, and where appropriate explain, current issues in journalism
- Differentiate the communication needs of various audiences
- Evaluate the suitability of topics for different media, and examine and select appropriate background material for a story
Assessment for the course will be continuous throughout the semester and involve preparation of material suitable for publication or broadcast.
- Ongoing analysis of material in the media (10% - LO1, 3, 4)
- Consultancy project for industry partner (50% - LO1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Writing news article based on recently published scientific research (15% - LO1, 2, 4, 5)
- Event promotion (25%* - LO1, 2, 4, 5)
- Feature article (25%* - LO1, 2, 4, 5)
- Essay - how controversies in science play out in the media (25%* - LO3, 4, 5)
* Optional assessment items; students choose 1 of 3.
The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
WorkloadOne three hour workshop per week and one x one hour tutorial per fortnight
Requisite and Incompatibility
Assumed KnowledgeSCOM1001 and SCOM1002
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Band 2
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.