Course Title: Terrorism, Media and Morality

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Terrorism, Media and Morality

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


335H Applied Communication


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2009


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011

Course Coordinator: Dr Jonathan Smith

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2177

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 9.5.29

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course includes an overview and critical examination of media-oriented terrorism in the 21st century. You will study the ’ Theatre of Terror’ from an audience or media-user perspective.
The course will focus on three main questions:
- How is terrorism ‘framed’ by the media?
- What truths can be discerned in journalism on terrorism?
- What should media-users do with news about terrorism and related phenomena? 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

By the end of the course you will have used classic and contemporary moral theories to analyse examples of media-oriented terrorism and will have analysed the media’s portrayal of war in civilian areas.   

Overview of Learning Activities

The course consists of lectures on moral philosophy and symposiums on applied ethics.

Overview of Learning Resources

The set text, Regarding the Pain of Others (Susan Sontag, Penguin, 2003), and the course reader will both be available from RMIT bookshop.

Overview of Assessment

You will:
1) design and deliver a seminar saper on media-oriented terrorism and our use of it;
2) engage in dialogues on Sontag’s text;
3) participate in seminar analyses of the media’s portrayal of terrorism as a moral phenomena; and
4) submit a 3000-word essay.