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Study in Finland

Helsinki_UniSwedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki

(Semester 2: August – December)

Foreign Reporting

Students coming from New Zealand to Helsinki will take part in the one Semester programme Foreign Reporting with Political Communication offered every European autumn semester. The module is at an advanced Bachelors level. More info on the module here.

The module is designed to equip students with theoretical knowledge in support of journalistic work in international intercultural context and to expose them to the reality of being a foreign reporter on assignment. The programme emphasises multiculturalism, ethnicity and international journalism. The module is taught by experts in the field and it includes a working assignment abroad. The module consist of 6 courses where one course is elective. The total amount of ECTS credits for the module is 30.


International Journalism, 5 ECTS

Objective The course in International Journalism has a triple focus:

  1. First, it discusses various concepts of international news and research on news flows and role of journalism in different societies.
  2. Second, the course focuses on dominant modes of journalism and their journey across cultures and national borders. Ideals such as objectivity, reporting modes and media ethics are discussed. Thus basically the course deals with questions related to journalistic professionalism as documented in research.
  3. Third, the course elaborates on recent changes in conventional journalism caused by online journalism, online sources and rivalry offered by the net.

After passing the course, students are assumed to have

  • acquainted themselves with relevant literature on international trends in journalism
  • developed tools for an analysis of journalistic products.
Completion Lectures and group assignments (20h)
Course participants are examined on the basis of an essay (2500 words, 5-6 pages) plus a course diary (1-2 pages per session) on a minimum of 5 sessions

Ethnicity and the Challenge of Diversity in Foreign Reporting 5 ECTS

Objective This course introduces students to the challenge of ethnic diversity in contemporary societies and explores the ways in which ethnicity may be related to processes of exclusion and marginalisation. It addresses the role of the media in contributing to an active public sphere and facilitating democratic engagement between members of society.At the end of this course the students should possess a critical capacity to identify the ways in which ethnicity is coded and given political relevance in any country in which they operate. They should understand how racism and other ideologies of oppression may permeate ethnic relations and how the media may be implicated in this process. They will have an understanding of how modes of journalistic practice may deny ‘voice’ to particular communities and individuals, and have a reflexive critical sensibility toward their practice in multi-ethnic societies.
Contents This course will explore the role of the media in impacting upon personal identities and framing the politics of diversity in contemporary societies. Drawing upon mass communication research, cultural studies and social psychology the course will examine the means whereby the mass media may be partisan and biased in their representation of ethnic identities. Descriptive case studies of the ways in which the media may stereotype particular individuals and communities will be explored in relation to the routine practices of media production. In a comparable way the role of the media in framing events and providing a taken-for-granted understanding of ethnic relations will be explored.The professional context in which journalists generate news will be examined in relation to the concept of ‘communities of practice’. The implications of this for the way in which media professionals negotiate both professional ethics and their ethnic identities will be discussed.Going beyond a concern with the specifics of media representation the course will also examine the question of what should be the role of the media in multi-cultural societies. The nature of the ‘public sphere’ in complex modern societies will be explored. Specifically, through case studies, the role of ‘minority ethnic media’ in multi-ethnic societies will be explored.
Evaluation Course participants are examined on the basis of lecture participation, set work and an essay.

Foreign Reporting in Practice 6 ECTS

Objective The course is aimed at providing students with the conceptual framework and the practical skills needed to work as a foreign reporter on assignment. These include accessing sources in the country where assignments are carried out, report production and filing. Instructors and lecturers are drawn from both academic institutions and from the professional international press corps. The course includes a reporting trip to Estonia where the student produces a report(s) under actual working conditions.By completion of the course, students should have achieved/acquired
the following:

  • a deeper first-hand understanding of the foreign reporting process in both theory and practice
  • the ability to identify foreign news developments and contextualise them for a home audience
  • the ability to identify and access sources relevant to foreign
  • reporting work
  • the basic skills required to plan and carry out a reporting
    assignment in a foreign country
  • improved techniques in effectively communicating foreign events.
  1. theory and practice of foreign reporting (40h)
  2. an intensive introduction to the target area, mainly Estonia and a working assignment(s) in Estonia and in Finland(100h)
  3. guest lectures

Reporting trip research is expected to be carried out throughout the course.

Foreign Reporting Integrative Course, 4 ECTS

Objective This course aims to provide the participants with an opportunity to consciously engage with the learning that they have undertaken throughout the Foreign Reporting Module. In the beginning of the module the introductory reading material and Tom Moring’s introduction lecture aim to give the students an equal starting point to the module. The module’s “Reflect and Relax” evenings aim to give time to further connect the different course contents in a relaxed setting. At the end of the module the course provides an opportunity where students will be explicitly required to explore the extent to which they have integrated the separate teaching elements which have formed their learning. It will also bring together the staff to share the impact of their separate inputs, through participation in the intensive week: thus providing a coherent staff resource for this experience.
Contents The course consists of two parts. The first is to give the students a mutual starting point with the Foreign Reporting module and provide the students a chance to reflect on what they have learned from the courses during the module. The second part is at the end of the module during its last week. During this time-limited and intensive practical exercise the students will prepare ‘copy’ within a specific and prescriptive editorial framework. This will reflect realistic working pressures and will require each student to ‘work against the grain’ of their own predispositions in order to explore their capacity to ‘professionally’ create copy within specific editorial constraints. The copy produced will then provide the basis for a shared reflection on what their competence to work under such pressures reveals about their ability to draw upon a range of skills and knowledge bases that they have acquired over the course. It will also act as a final valedictory warning about the ethical challenges they will face in their professional life.

Political Communication, 5 ECTS

Objective The aim is to convey knowledge regarding the interaction between political actors and citizens within various forms of media. The course provides students with insights into the dynamics and development of political communication as a point of departure for research into relevant fields of study.
Contents Lectures (in English) regarding the communication of politics with a focus on election campaigning, agenda setting, issue framing, and various other aspects of the role of media and information in politics.
Completion Course participants are examined by means of lecture diaries, essays/presentations, and discussion on Moodle based on selected course literature.If the course is registered at Master’s level (8 cr) the course participant should write an additional essay, the heading, format and literature of which is agreed upon with the responsible teacher of the course.

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