Explore how (un)consciousness, coma and the vegetative state are represented in the media. Engage with debates about the portrayal of patients and reporting of  ‘miracle’ recoveries, court cases and scientific breakthroughs. Address implications for family and public understandings. This course will help develop your understanding of ‘coma’ and your skills in writing for the media or being a critical media consumer or researcher, or supporting patients and their families.

Next start date: To Be Announced soon – register to be sure you’ll be alerted to this

Cost: There will be a nominal fee to allow us to cover costs of web licences etc (info to follow when date of next course run sent to you)

Course authorProfessor Jenny Kitzinger, School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University.

Duration: 3 week (self-study materials, for completion at own pace)

Study time: 6 hours (or more with optional activities) (Option of some online seminars may be offered if time available)

Assessment: self-assessment quizzes & reflection (auto-generated certification of participation on completion)


Current Outline of Culture, 'Coma' and the Media course

  1.  Introduction: Course welcome; Connecting learners; Defining terms; Hearing family concerns
  2. Portraying Patients: Sleeping beauties; Politics of visualisation; Vegetative versus Coma; Moving images; Family accounts revisited
  3. Defining Diagnosis and Prognosis: Diagnostic confusion; Imagined awakenings in film; Reporting recovery in the news; Representing misdiagnosis
  4. Framing Law and Science: Reporting landmark “right-to-die” cases; Family conflict hearings; Scientific ‘breakthroughs’ and brain scanning
  5. Research Reflections: Research design; Resource; Creative collaborations
  6. Review: Reviewing learning and signing off