Drawing on materials from this course, including theories related to public interest communication, government communication tactics/messaging and COVID-19 related media coverage, you will examine how the pandemic has been communicated to the public (or various publics) and how various interests have been represented.

Assignment 1

Case study report: COVID-19 and public interest communication.

30% due week 6 (11 September 4pm) – 1,500 words (excluding references, APA format)

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a case study that can be viewed and examined from a public interest perspective. Drawing on materials from this course, including theories related to public interest communication, government communication tactics/messaging and COVID-19 related media coverage, you will examine how the pandemic has been communicated to the public (or various publics) and how various interests have been represented. Imagine you have been tasked by a government authority (such as a Health Department) to develop this analysis. . It should also be referenced and include a cover sheet (note: your report does not require an executive summary due to word length).

You should cover the following in your report:  

Part 1. Theoretical framework. Develop a theoretical framework that uses theories discussed in this course (i.e. theoretical modelling). Examples of theories that you may cite include public interest and public interest communication, enlightened self-interest, stakeholder/publics theory, active/organisational listening, social capital, or others from within the course. There are many that are covered in brief mini-lectures, Power Points and reading folders. You may also use other theories that you find appropriate, but you should focus, where possible, on developing concepts/theories from this course.

Part 2. Communication analysis. Once you have developed a theoretical framework you need to analyse government communication and media coverage to understand how the pandemic was presented. This should illustrate and provide examples of the theoretical elements you have already covered.  The choice of communication and media will be so vast you are advised to limit your communication and media sample, and provide a brief explanation for your selection.

Federal/State Government communication may include the following, but is not limited to this list:

  • Press releases
  • Speeches
  • Press conferences
  • Social media (e.g. Twitter)
  • Booklets/brochures
  • Posters 
  • Advertisements

Media coverage may include the following, but is not limited to this list:

  • Newspaper and online coverage
  • Influencer analysis
  • Other broadcast/online media commentary

Visualisations: Up to four visualisations of your findings must be integrated into your report, or supplied as appendices. These may take the form of a flow chart, pie chart, word cloud, infographic or other model. These can combine elements of parts 1 and 2, or simply illustrate aspects of either part 1 or 2. They must be used to illustrate key points or complex ideas that are more simply represented in this form or used to reinforce major findings. They should be referred to within the body of the document.

In your communication analysis and conclusions you should consider key themes such as interest tensions (e.g. as relating to government vs citizens or different government bodies) and if these were resolved or mitigated; who were the publics/stakeholders; what was the key messaging and how was it presented; what were the main channels for conveying content.

Your report will ‘top and tail’ these main parts to include an introduction and conclusion in the following format:

  • Introduction
  • Theoretical framework (use sub-headings as appropriate)
  • Communication analysis (use sub-headings as appropriate)
  • Visualisations (based on findings in Parts 1 and 2 – integrate or include as appendices)
  • Conclusions
  • References

This assignment will assess:

  • Ability to generate a well-evidenced argument, supported by wide, targeted reading 
  • Evidence of understanding of key theories
  • Evidence of identifying publics/stakeholders and potential interest conflicts
  • Ability to identify and use appropriate public communication and media examples to support argument, combining theory and practice 
  • Ability to generate and integrate appropriate strong visuals to support the written report
  • Good, clear writing style and presentation

Rubric over page

COMU3015 Rubric Assignment 1

 Fail 24%Fail 49%Pass 64%Credit 74%Distinction 84%High Distinction 85%+
Structure of report, argument development & referencing (APA)  No attempt to include or well below standard.Poor report structure and very limited argument development. Poor referencing attempt.Adequate report structure and argument development. Adequate application of appropriate references.Good report structure and argument development. Good application of appropriate references.Excellent report structure and argument development. Excellent application of appropriate references.Outstanding report structure and argument development. Outstanding use of appropriate references to a professional standard.
Theoretical framework and use of key course conceptsNo attempt to include or well below standard.Inadequate attempt to develop a theoretical argument using key course concepts.Adequate attempt to develop a theoretical argument using key course concepts.Good development of a theoretical argument using key course concepts.Excellent development of a theoretical argument using key course concepts.Outstanding development of a theoretical argument using key course concepts, developed to a professional standard.
Communication and media analysis  No attempt to include or well below standard.Inadequate attempt at analysing communication and media coverage.Adequate attempt at analysing communication and media coverage, limited links to theory and conceptual understanding.Good analysis of communication and media coverage, with clear links to theory and conceptual understanding.Excellent analysis of communication and media coverage, with strong links to theory and conceptual understanding.Outstanding analysis of communication and media coverage, with advanced links to theory and conceptual understanding.
Visualisations    No attempt to include or well below standard.Inadequate attempt to develop visualisations which illustrate key concepts/findings.Adequate attempt to develop and integrate visualisations which illustrate key concepts/findings.Good development and integration of visualisations which illustrate key concepts/findings.Excellent development and integration of visualisations which illustrate key concepts/findings.Outstanding development and integration of visualisations which illustrate key concepts/findings, at a professional standard.
Clarity of writing style & report format (includes word length + or – 10% & cover sheet.)No attempt to include or well below standard.Poor writing style and format, which is not at a passable standard for clarity, flow, legibility and coherence.Adequate writing style and format, which is sometimes clear, fluid, legible and coherent.Good writing style, which is generally clear, fluid, legible and coherent.Excellent writing style, which is totally clear, fluid, legible and coherent.Outstanding writing style, which is clear, fluid, legible and coherent to a professional standard.
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