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Module Title
Media History

History; print; broadcasting; film; social and technical developments

SCQF Points15
ECTS Points7.5
CreatedApril 2006
ApprovedAugust 2010
AmendedAugust 2012
Version No.3

This Version is No Longer Current
The latest version of this module is available here
Prerequisites for Module

None in addition to SCQF9 entry requirements or equivalent

Corequisite Modules


Precluded Modules


Aims of Module

To introduce students to the historical development of media, including books, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV broadcasting and cinema. Students will be able to trace the emergence of modern media institutions from their historical roots and discuss the impact of social and technological change.

Learning Outcomes for Module

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

1. Trace the emergence of modern media institutions from their historic roots.
2. Appraise and discuss the role of social, political, economic and technological factors in shaping forms of the media.
3. Evaluate the application of mass communication theories to the major developments in mass communication.
4. Develop and sustain historical arguments.

Indicative Module Content

Invention of the printing press; readers, authors and publishers, 1700-1900; newspapers and social change; magazines and the growth of the reading public; 20th century and 100% literacy; historical development of radio and television broadcasting; the 'golden age'; early days of film; the studio system; film versus TV; impact of new media and growth of media corporations.

Indicative Student Workload

Contact Hours

Full Time

Directed Study

Directed Study

Private Study

Private Study

Mode of Delivery

This module consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and guided self-study.

Assessment Plan

Learning Outcomes Assessed
Component 1 1,2,3,4

100% closed-book examination (2 hours)

Indicative Bibliography

1.BRIGGS, A. and BURKE, P., 2005. A social history of the media: from Gutenberg to the Internet. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.
2.CURRAN, J. and SEATON, J., 2010. Power without responsibility: the press and broadcasting in Britain. London: Routledge.
3.FINKELSTEIN, D. and MCCLEERY, A., 2006. The book history reader. 2nd ed. Abingdon: Routledge.
4.HILL, J. and GIBSON, P., eds., 1998. The Oxford guide to film studies. New York: Oxford University Press.
5.WILLIAMS, K., 2010. Get me a murder a day: a history of mass communication in Britain. 2nd ed. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781