Franko Egro ( MA in Journalism Studies ) Westminster University, London, UK

Saturday 09.00 – 12.00 4A

Course Description:

This course examines the various ways that the mass media operates in presenting the reality to the wide audience. It deals with the way this important and powerful industry functions. One of the main goals is to provide the students with all the necessary knowledge, in order to think critically about media current affairs issues. It analyses the reasons behind the way media covers the domestic and international events. In order to better understand the effect of the news stories the course aims to put things into an historical context. This is an essential element of the course.

Required Text:
Inventing Reality: The politics of News Media, Second edition, by Michael Parenti.

Recommended Material

The students are required to read as many newspapers and magazines as possible.
At the same time the students need to watch and listen news bulletins and Current Affairs of various domestic and more importantly international TV/Radio stations.
During the first part of each class there would be in class discussions.

Course Objectives

The basic concepts behind news (making)
Who controls the news and to what end
The relationship between the image and the reality
How media shapes the reality through the way it sees the reality; Inventing reality Misrepresentation, manipulation, calculation of the news media
Private interests versus private ones; how and when is it balanced to achieve the end Historical perspective; pluses and minuses in the way it is reflected in news making

At the end of this course the student will be in the position of:

Better understand the mechanism behind news making
Better understand the relationship between the main protagonists How the reality sometimes is distorted
The difficulty in reflecting the reality
The way Society and Politics is reflected in the news media
The way the historical perspective is reflected in today’s events

3 classes per session


Feb 25

General Presentation. Course introduction, subjects & requirements. Aims. Media as the 4th power.


March 3

News Stories. Partisanship: Advocacy. Propaganda. Ideology. Impartiality. News sources. News perception. Illustrations


March 10

Roles & Functions of News Media. Independence. Fairness. Balance. Bias. Media evolution in Albania and Abroad.


March 17

Pub. Service Broadcaster. A parallel between Albania & western countries. Similarities and differences.


March 24

Public interest versus Private interest. The role of Private Service Broadcaster. Albania & Western countries. Media ownership and vested interests


March 31

Shaping views and events. The power of news media owners. Class, race and gender. Sexism. Strength and weakness.






April 28

Types and impact of interferences with the Media. Economy; business; government; political parties; advertisers


May 5

Suppressing news; inventing the reality. Media serve the owners. The absolute necessity to serve the public. Maintaining appearances


May 12

Whom to believe. The reasons why. Monopoly in news media. Boards/ How control is exercised. Are there forbidden areas for news media. How to push away the boundaries provided to news media.


May 19

Myth of Objectivity. Does it exist; how is it achieved; honesty. Checking news sources; Balance through fairness


May 26

Consumerism in Media. Not enough space for important news stories. Advertising spots sell a system. Portraying a different reality to the existing. No space free of advertising ( sport & weather included).


June 2

Advices/ discussions & suggestions on the TAKE HOME EXAM. Ignoring the real stories/ Absence of Inv. News Stories. Facts speak louder/ How to deal with and interpret facts.


June 9


TOTAL CLASS HOURS: 40 HOURS Attendance Policy and Lateness:

Students are expected to attend classes and be punctual. All those students who miss more than 20% of course hours, for whatever reason, will fail it in accordance with UNY/T policy.

Class instruction will be divided into 50 minute period with 10 minute breaks given in between periods.

Academic Integrity Policy:

Students will be expected to be honest and avoid plagiarism. They should provide their own examples in full accordance with the suggestions of the instructor. Any case of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty will be handled in accordance with the UNY/T policy.

Bibliography (Additional Readings)

Understanding Journalism ;A guide to issues-Chapter on Editorial issues, by John Wilson

Main Albanian newspapers: Shekulli, Panorama, Shqip, Korrieri
International Newspapers and Magazines: International Herald Tribune, Time Magazine

Assessment and Grading:

Grading will be divided into three components.
1. The first component is the active participation of the students within the class

discussions. (30%)

  1. The second component is the Mid Term exam paper that will evaluate thestudent’s ability and skills to analyze and assess a variety of complex issues basedon the guidelines offered by the Instructor ( 30 % )
  2. The third component is the preparation and presentation of a major project (40%),by selecting a topic, researching it and following it in different media and then analyzing and evaluating how it has been presented in the public.

Evaluation Criteria:

  1. In Class Discussions:                                   20%
  2. Mid Term Exam Paper:                               40%
  3. Project Preparation and Presentation:     40%

Grading Scale:

Letter Grade

Percent (%)

Generally Accepted Meaning



Outstanding work





Good work, distinctly above average







Acceptable work







Work that is significantly below average







Work that does not meet minimum standards for passing the course

In- class Reaction Papers

Students will be asked on regular basis to prepare a topic and discuss about it in class. They need to monitor carefully a news story and provide the right Historical Perspective. These discussions are intended to check up the students’ reactions to a specific medium of mass media which should demonstrate their critical thinking skills.

Active Participation

It is an essential part of grade evaluation. Every student should give his/her best during their class attendance. It is extremely important for them to view their opinions on all the issues and subjects discussed in the class. In accordance with the Instructor’s suggestions they should read and digest the coming chapters to better understand the topic and be more active and lively in their discussions.

Oral Presentation with Paper

Students will be given frequently specific requirements to write and present a short 2 – 3 page paper on a specific subject and present/ discuss it to the class.

Group Presentation with Paper

Students will be given the specific requirements for this several weeks before the due date. They will be asked to form small groups ( 3 – 4 persons), and each group will look at a specific event or topic and how the different forms of media cover it. Each student within the group should be responsible for looking at how one specific media outlet covered the event or topic, and then all members should meet on their own time to discuss and compare their findings. Special importance lies with the Historical Perspective of the stories under scrutiny.

Mid- Term Exam and Final Exam

Obviously they will be based on the issues covered during the whole course as well as on the specific chapters covered in the book and literature. They should be reflected in the critical and original thinking materialized in the papers presented for the Mid Term and Final Exam.

Please Note: STUDENTS: If you feel that you have special learning difficulties, please, make an appointment with Dr. E.Cenko. Dr. E.Cenko is trained to help students with learning difficulties. She has offered to provide this service to our students, just as it is offered in all American universities.

Scheduele: Saturday 09.00 – 12.00 4A

Instructor: Franko Egro