Syllabus query

Academic Year/course: 2017/18

327 - Master's in Modern History

66612 - Mass media: source and document

Syllabus Information

Academic Year:
66612 - Mass media: source and document
Faculty / School:
103 - Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
327 - Master's in Modern History
First Four-month period
Subject Type:

1.1. Introduction

Brief presentation of the course

Study of the medias history as a vital framework for understanding the contemporary world and, at times, as only inventory of current history. Analysis of the dual role of mass media, as objects of historical knowledge and as sources of history. Approach to the History and structure of the media: press, radio, television, film, photography and advertising, as nurtured repertoire of political information and primary source of knowledge and use inexcusable for the development of cultural and social history of contemporary times. It explains the development of mass communication, we discuss the issues that shaped and defined media throughout history.Students learn to appreciate the journalistic documents, and audio-visual propaganda as primary sources of historical research.

1.2. Recommendations to take this course

The general requirements to study the Master's in Contemporary History.

1.3. Context and importance of this course in the degree

This subject, a basic component of the Studies in Contemporary History, provides students with an opportunity to study the most important events that shaped the 19th and 20th centuries in Social Communication History, and also  provides  a grounding in  historical research techniques and  primary sources knowledge.

1.4. Activities and key dates

1.The classroom practice sessions: personal presentations will take place at the end of the semester.

2. Continuous practice sessions in digital learning platform (ADD-moodle classroom space). The specified date for submitting coursework will be in Moodle calendar.  In the ADD, too, will be include several class materials needed for the study of subject.



See the academic calendar of the University of Zaragoza ( and the website of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts (Schedule of classes:;Examination schedule:

More information will be provided on the first day of class


2.1. Learning goals

The student, in order to pass the course, will have to show her/his competence in the following skills:

Students develop historical knowledge and analytical understanding of the concepts and the role of media in shaping public opinion as an engine of modern society. This module challenges students to consider journalism broad interdisciplinary perspectives. As a starting point to reflect on the history of Social Communication is that it can be isolated from the study of general history, and the formulation of media processes as social actors and their impact on the political agenda-setting.

Methodological knowledge and practical use of the mass media, particularly the press, propaganda posters and documentary photography as primary sources for historical research.

Through a combination of presentations and group work, readings, case studies, and exercises, students learn about of the main events in the history of the Social Communication and the formation and rising of mass culture in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries. Students will develop the skills to explore and explain how the contemporary society and culture are defined by mass media influence.

2.2. Importance of learning goals

The proposed aims of this course are crucial to provide students with a sound theoretical and methodological background that will allow them to conduct research in History successfully. Similarly, the specific aims of this subject are essential skills to carry out the research process, using critical tools for understanding and analysing primary and secondary sources , applying critical approaches. The ability to develop and apply original ideas in a professional as well as in a research context is a fundamental skill to conduct successful research in the field of  Contemporary History studies. The same applies to the ability to interrelate knowledge from different subjects, handle complex information, apply the proper methodology and frameworks, express a critical view and provide conclusions in  written essays and oral presentations.

3.1. Aims of the course

The expected results of the course respond to the following general aims

The main aim of this subject is to provide students with theoretical an methodological tools for high quality and advanced research in contemporary history. To this end, the general aims of the course are the following:To strengthen students' initiative in developing research projects with a methodology and scientific principles appropriate to their field of research. To foster general individual and team working abilities, participation in research projects, primary sources  and bibliographical database management.

3.2. Competences

After completing the course, the student will be competent in the following skills:

Knowledge in Methods and Sources for Historical Research

Analysis and accurate use of Mass Media as primary sources: newspapers, magazines, photographs, propaganda posters.  The products of the mass media can be primary source documents if they were produced at the time of the events or phenomena in question. Student must consider by whom, how and for what purpose it was produced. 

The student will identify what, how and for what purpose mass media documents have been produced so that the student can properly evaluate and use it.

4.1. Assessment tasks (description of tasks, marking system and assessment criteria)

The student will prove that he/she has achieved the expected learning results by means of the following assessment tasks:

The final project includes both a written and an oral component. For the written portion, you will write a convention-quality research paper. The paper should include a rationale for the project, a thorough review of literature, a methods section, results, and a discussion of your findings. This manuscript will should be about 15 pages in length and should be ready, with very little revision, to send off to a convention. For the oral portion of the project, you will be expected to "present" your study to the class, it will be conducted with the support visual of power poin. Specifics concerning time limits at presentation dates will be decided in class. The individual oral defense of a essay topic which will be chosen and prepared with supervision of the professor during the course. This activity is worth  40% of final mark. The student must demonstrate its ability to expose and argue the topic studied, mastery of the specific and set concepts of the matter to address and his knowledge of bibliography and primary sources of research used.

Active Participation in the semminar theoretical sessions, taught by the professor, that each one will conclude with a brief discussion forum ; for which previously  the students should read that the professor references has provided in the previous session or to have executed the practical work with the material, hemerográfic or of another type, previously proposed. While exploring each theme we will also work through and examine a set of concepts that have become established as the basic interpretive tools available to those studying. The participation in these sessions its worth 20% of the final mark.


The student will write regular short reaction papers assignment in Moodle learning platform. The course is divided in various Topics.  Each topic will be introduced by means of the competences that the Topic covers. Under the competence is a list of 'assessment criteria', which can be considered as 'sub-competences', and a guide to what you will be expected to be asked for in the assignments. The delivered of this assignments  worth 20% of the final mark.

5.1. Methodological overview

The learning process that has been designed for this course is based on the following activities:

  1. The learning and teaching methodology is based on the seminar-theoretical sessions, reading, research and the discussion of resources and bibliography.
  2. The course is based on practical activities with primary sources: multiple mass media of the 19th and 20th centuries.
  3. The students should use the Moodle Platform. Many of the resources and readings are uploaded on the Moodle page "Mass Media: Source and Document".


The goal of the syllabus is to help students become theoretically-informed, using history as a tool, of mass media and the historical and contemporary roles of media in society as well as their value as historical sources. The Media History provides students with theoretically-focused and application-based frameworks to understand media, and its influence upon Contemporary Spanish Culture and Society. The Study of the media history is an essential framework for understanding the contemporary world and, at times, as the only inventory of current history. Analysis of the double role of mass media, as objects of historical knowledge and as sources of history. Approach to the History and structure of the media: press, radio, television, film, photography, advertising, and the Internet as a nurtured repertoire of political, cultural, social information and a primary source of knowledge. Students learn to appreciate the journalistic documents as primary sources of historical research.

5.2. Learning tasks

The programme offered to the students to help them achieve the learning results includes the following activities :

  • SEMINAR SESSIONS: This course will cover current research and theory in the area of mass media history.
    • 1. Main newspaper libraries, collections and databases, main photo libraries, sound and film historical collection in Spain.
    • 2. Resources network: Use and practice. Practices with newspapers, posters, sound records and film archives of 19th and 20th centuries.
    • 1. Instructions and methodology  for this sessions will be on the Moodle platform.
    • 2. The students will be required to orally defend their seminar paper in the seminar session before the teacher and other students. The students will be examined for their oral presentation at the Seminar and for oral and write defence of their findings or their conclusions in their respective seminar papers.

5.3. Syllabus

The course is divided into ten main sections and case studies in order to examine key events underpinning the analysis of media and communications phenomena, and to understand processes of historical influence of Media in the Spanish Contemporary Society.

  1. Introduction: Public Opinion and Mass Communication, 19th and early 20th century. Mass media and its value as historical sources

  2. The Second Spanish Republic and the "unsuccessful freedom" of the mass media (1931-1936).

  3. The Spanish Civil War, "the first victim is the truth"; Internationalization and foreign correspondents (1936-1939).

  4. Francoism and political Indoctrination: Press laws of 1938 and 1966.

  5. The Spanish Transition to Democracy and "The Paper Parliament" (1975-1978).

  6. Democratic consolidation. "The night of the transistors" and "EL PAÍS with the Constitution" (1979-1981).

  7. PSOE "Time for change!" Communication companies; Investigative journalism (1982-1995)

  8. "With the new majority!", the Media and the People's Party (1996-2004).

  9. Late 20th century. The digital revolution of information and communication technologies . The impact of new media on society.

  10. Epilogue: Mass Media as Primary Sources, contemporary Analysis and Criticism.

5.4. Course planning and calendar

Calendar of actual sessions and presentation of works:

  • Week 1: Presentation of the course and explanation of the syllabus.
  • Weeks 2 to 6: Classes and practices.
  • Weeks 7 to 9: Preparation of the students' papers (without classes; only tutorials and Moodle practices).
  • Weeks 10 to 12: Presentation and discussion of the students' works. Closing session.