Checking date: 23/04/2024

Course: 2024/2025

Courts Journalism
Bachelor in Journalism (Plan: 383 - Estudio: 212)

Coordinating teacher: GONZALEZ ALDEA, PATRICIA

Department assigned to the subject: Communication and Media Studies Department

Type: Electives
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Requirements (Subjects that are assumed to be known)
Media Theory News Reporting Spanish Language and the Media Theory and Analysis of the Audiovisual Documentary Radio Journalism Television Journalism Online Journalism
Ability to develop informative, interpretative and opinative journalistic messages of legal issues related to the scope of the events. Knowledge of documentary systems and sources in the legal field. Knowledge and training to treat event information as social reflection. Ability to establish the boundaries between journalism and sensationalism. Knowledge of ethical codes and legal requirements journalistic performance.
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
1. Journalism events and courts    1.1. Current events as a reflection of society: violence in society 1.2. Current events as a reflection of society: the spectacle of violence 1.3. Current events as a reflection of society: youth and violence; violence and gender; violence and media.    1.4. Origins and evolution of the specialty of events and courts    1.5. Factors of the news. Emotional stories, human interest and the public interest    1.6. Judicial journalism: basic legal notions    1.7. Typology of crimes 1.8. Crime report: events that left a mark in the history of Spain 2. Work with the usual sources of information: information dependence, reliability and interests    2.1. Police sources (National Police, Civil Guard, other police forces)    2.2. Personal sources (victims, defendants, affected, witnesses, relatives, lawyers, experts ...)    2.3. Institutional sources (political parties, associations, hospitals, Civil Protection, Red Cross ...)    2.4. Sources of the Administration of Justice (judges, magistrates, court clerks, prosecutors, lawyers ...)    2.5. Anonymous informers    2.6. Own research 3. The journalistic narrative: structure, style and images    3.1. The story of events: news, report, interview chronicle, opinion genre 3.2. The journalistic routine of the event journalist 3.3. The specialisation of the events journalist 3.4. Typology of crimes 3.5. Risks, uses and abuses of language. Specialized vocabulary   4. Ethics of the journalism in information events and courts    4.1. The presumption of innocence    4.2. Parallel trials    4.3. Sensationalism. The rumor, conjecture and hypothesis  
Learning activities and methodology
Combination of theoretical studies (1.5 ECTS) and case studies (4.5 ETCS). The first will be targeted in two ways: lectures and conceptual work by students from the guidelines provided therein and transmitted conceptual repertoires. Case studies will include the development of interpretive journalistic messages of nature, serving both morphology journalistic account as relevant documentation processes. Development of chronicles and profiles. Implementation of theories, rules and practices of the respective interpretative genres, adapted to the respective channel, involving the appropriate professional management to the purpose of the message, gathering information from information sources and resources that materializes the message (choice of theme or character, qualifications, structure, style, graphics and audiovisual elements). The teacher supervises all phases of the development to address such practical difficulties, solve specific questions and provide personalized assistance to students. Analysis of journalistic message: chronicle and reports (press, radio, television, digital). The methodology includes both the study of the purpose of the message (more or less explicit or hidden, intentional or not), and the resources that employs the reporter (fonts, titlles, structure, style, graphics and audiovisual resources). It allows familiar with the actual exercise of the profession, with the discussion of its merits or shortcomings. The student text, discussed, considered and discussed collectively in class after previously working individually. Compulsory reading of a work related to chronicle or interview, a renowned journalist, whatever the age, geographical location or thematic area. The student should reflect on reading those contents directly related with the interpretive genres or the factual professional work of reporters. Personal critical reflection on the foreign example enables learning professionals at the same ethical approaches of proper techniques. Individual tutorial. Allow a more precise skills and attitudes of students in relation to the theoretical and practical content of the subject orientation, resolution of doubts and address of practical work.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 40
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 60

Extraordinary call: regulations
Basic Bibliography
  • HALTOM, W.. Reporting on the Courts. How the Mass Media Cover Judicial Actions. Chicago (IL): Nelson-Hall Publishers. 1998
  • PETLEY, Julian. Media and Public Shaming. I. B. Tauris. 2013
Additional Bibliography
  • ALEXANDER, S.L.. Covering the courts: a handbook for journalists.. Maryland (EE.UU.): Rowman & Littlefield, . 2003. 2d ed.

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.