In an age of political spin; multiple tv news channels; Twitter; Facebook and now private live streaming on Periscope, the ability to decipher and judge the politics which hides behind the news is more important than ever.
The new ‘Tu ôl y Penawdau’ (‘Behind the Headlines’) module run by the International Politics Department at Aberystwyth university combines a thorough analysis of the political facts with an understanding of how facts can be used and abused to promote a particular political view.
The Welsh medium module is led by Dr Catrin Wyn Edwards. She has a good understanding of the different ways different parts of the world approach the news as she is fluent in French and has studied in Canada and Catalonia. However, unlike most academic modules it’s professionals in the field of communication in all its forms and many perspectives who give the talks in this case.
There have already been several presentations by such esteemed journalists as Tweli Griffiths about his experience in Ethiopia and Iraq; analysis of the war photography of the late Philips Jones Griffiths who’s photos of the Vietnam war brought the horror of that campaign to the wider public eye. Bethan Kilfoil, a Welsh-speaking journalist with Irish state broadcaster, RTE has also given her personal experience and an Irish eye on news coverage.
Dyfan Jones, who is a United Nations parliamentary specialist based in Fiji will discuss his work and how news is covered in the Pacific region.
“Political theory has always been a bedrock of our work at the International Political Archive in Aberystwyth and will continue to be so. But students today are also interested to see the many practical applications of politics and how it’s used and abused on a daily basis – in the media; political lobbying or how politicians answer difficult questions. The new ‘Tu ôl y Penawdau’ module gets to grip with these issues,” Dr Catrin Edwards explained.
“The module also give students an idea of the kind of skills and jobs which Politics students can apply for after they’ve gradated,” Catrin continued.