Media Effects (Focus on Media Perception of Women) [CRN 29407]

Discipline: Journalism and Media Communication
Instructor: media-effects-focus-women-media
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1400
End: 1520
Field Work: Day 1 | March 11, 2018 | Mauritius
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course will examine the impact of media-influenced perceptions of women internationally, and how news and entertainment media contribute to social practices. Through class readings, presentations, small and large group discussions, team activities and videos, we’ll explore the roles women occupy, sexual practices, reproduction options, religious attitudes and educational opportunities.  We’ll compare and contrast gender roles in the United States with those of other countries, and examine what influences public perceptions in different cultures, and what part various media play in shaping or reinforcing those perceptions, according to classic media theories.  -We’ll also study media strategies that have expanded or restricted women’s roles in society. You will keep a journal of your own experiences and observations in each port to share with the class, which will serve as a sounding board for new ideas and/or a sanity check for over-the-top thinking.  Excerpts from Susan Faludi’s book Backlash, as well as supplemental readings, will lead to discussions of social, financial, cultural and political impediments women face in different countries. We’ll examine the perceived success and/or failure of feminism in different cultures; methods of media manipulation on societal perceptions; press coverage of women in politics and the professions; and question how the media behave when stories involve rape, domestic and stranger violence against women and sexual harassment on the street and in the office.

Field Work

Country: Mauritius
Day: 1
Date: March 11, 2018

Journalist Zubeida Jaffer will meet with us and provide an overview of how the media in Mauritius has historically covered women’s issues and how it has changed (or hasn’t). She’ll also introduce local activists in the women’s movement who have met with and campaigned for changes in the coverage of women in the news, as well as issues and ideas of the women’s rights movement We’ll also discuss which strategies have worked and which have not. We hope to visit newspaper offices as well as radio and television stations to hear their perceptions of editorial expectations and how women and family structures are covered in each venue. We’ll talk about whether or not coverage of women and social issues has changed, and if so, how. Are there now, or have there ever been, separate sections for “women’s issues”? if so, how did “women’s issues” differ from the rest of the newspaper or program? We’ll visit newsrooms and production studios to speak with both editors and reporters. “The personal is political” is often true in the media: How have women’s roles as reporters/ editors/producers introduced change—or petitions for change—at work and at home? Have colleagues and supervisory personnel—as well as audiences—been supportive or resistant? Why or why not?