As the mass media have become pervasive tools for information, persuasion, and entertainment throughout the world, concerns about their effects have become more pervasive. An understanding of media effects is important to academic researchers, media industry professionals, and media consumers alike. This course is designed to provide you with an overview and analysis of contemporary mass media – examining print, electronic, and web-based media from a historical and critical perspective. Throughout the course the sociological, economic and political effects of mass media – their structure, systems, regulation, industries and operation – will be examined. We will also consider basic communication theories as they have been used to understand and explain various media systems. In addition, we will explore how the mass media influence and are influenced by the greater world community and gain a greater appreciation for how the mass media impact us, and the world around us.
By the end of this course students will:
- Understand the basic characteristics of the media – its structures, processes, and industries.
- Recognize and understand the major historical events, and the social contexts involved in the shaping of the contemporary mass media.
- Know more about how media and the international community interact and affect each other.
- Have a greater understanding of mass communication theory, law and ethics.
- Have a greater critical appreciation for the effects of media on individuals, societies, cultures, and the world around us.
- Recognize the role of media in changing political, social and cultural dynamics on local, national and international levels.
Your goal should be to expand your knowledge of the mass media and its dynamic, ever-evolving influence and impact on you and the world around you.
Field WorkCountry: India
Date: February 28, 2019
The Me Too Movement has received a great deal of press and brought a growing national and international awareness about sexual assault and sexual harassment issues. For this field class, students will meet with journalists in Cochin, India and discuss how the media in India have historically covered women’s issues and how it has changed (or hasn’t). The class will visit newspaper offices to hear their perceptions of editorial expectations regarding how women and family issues are covered. 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? 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? While primarily focused on coverage of a single issue, this field experience will explore much broader issues involving cultural and social mores, freedom of the press and how these ideas intersect.
1. To build an understanding of journalism practice and how culture, religion and politics may shape content.
2. Become more familiar with the work of writers/editors and other journalism professionals.
3. Learn more about the pressures and constraints faced by journalism professionals.
4. Gain a greater cross-cultural understanding of how and why stories might be covered differently by different cultures.
5. Promote critical thinking about our world and its varied political, cultural and ideological perspectives.