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MFCO223 Documentary and Reality Media

The politics and aesthetics of representing reality through documentary, reality television and social media.

This paper addresses questions of representation, mediatisation and authenticity in contemporary media. It looks at the cultural politics of documenting reality through film, media and reality television. The course accounts for the history of mediations of reality and addresses contemporary challenges to established definitions, categories and assumptions regarding what it means to represent reality.

Paper title Documentary and Reality Media
Paper code MFCO223
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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54 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

A basic understanding of film and media analysis.

Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Kevin Fisher

Paper Structure

Topics include:

  • Social constructionism and "reality"
  • Realism, mediation and ideology
  • The affects and effects of reality media
  • Reflexive subjects and reality media


  • Assignment 1: Concept Test (25%)
  • Assignment 2: Critical Essay (35%)
  • Take Home Exam (40%)

Course readings will be available on Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Communicate effectively in written, visual and verbal form regarding reality media theory and practice
  • Critically evaluate arguments and positions regarding the functions and effects of reality media
  • Grasp the ethical issues embedded in the various modes of reality media practice
  • Demonstrate environmental and general information literacy regarding claims around the presentation of factual data on issues such as social justice within reality media

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Film Screening

Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 11:00-12:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 13:00-13:50 29-32, 34, 36-38, 40-41
A2 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29-32, 34, 36-38, 40-41