Office Hours: Tuesdays 3-5 PM, Thursdays 1-3 PM
If these times are inconvenient, please make an appointment! (Seriously.)
Also see my Media links page
This course studies the linkages between the media and political figures. It asks:
Who runs the media?
How is new technology reshaping American journalism?
How do political figures try to spin the news?
How do press coverage and advertising affect political behavior and public policy?
Do the mass media have a political or social bias?
What ethical standards should journalists observe?
Class sessions will include lecture and discussion. Finish each week's readings before the class because our discussions will involve those readings. Do not assume that your instructor agrees with everything in the assigned readings, or that you must do so. Feel free to agree or disagree with any of the material, provided that you can back up what you say.
shall discuss breaking
stories, so you should read newspapers or on-line news sources every
Our class blog is at http://gov115.blogspot.com . I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.
Remember that the blog is on the open Internet. Post nothing that would look bad to a potential employer.
One four-page paper: 20%
Two six-page papers: 25% each
One three-page paper: 15%
Class participation & blog: 15%
The papers will develop your research and writing skills. In grading your papers, I will take account of the quality of your writing, applying the principles of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. If you object to this approach, do not take this course, or anything else that I teach.
Class participation will hone your ability to think on
your feet, as I shall call on students at random.
If you often miss class or fail to prepare, your grade
will suffer. Because we have
papers instead of a sit-down, I shall use the cold calls to judge how
well you are keeping up with the material.
Class participation will hone your ability to think on your feet, as I shall call on students at random. If you often miss class or fail to prepare, your grade will suffer. Because we have papers instead of a sit-down, I shall use the cold calls to judge how well you are keeping up with the material.If you object to this approach, do not take this course. I also expect you to post relevant material to the blog.
As a courtesy to your fellow students, please arrive on time, and refrain from eating in class. I reserve the right to withhold class handouts from latecomers. Check due dates for and arrange your schedule accordingly. Do not plan on extensions. Plagiarism or any other form of academic dishonesty will result in referral to the Academic Standards Committee. See: http://writing.claremontmckenna.edu/plagiarism.asp
that's all right, it's
Jan 26, 28: Ownership
and Regulation of
of the Media
Graber, ch. 1-3.
Feb 2, 4: News Routines in a Changing Media Landscape
"When I turned on my computer this morning, I had over two million unique visitors all looking for the truth." -- Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) in Contagion
Graber, ch. 4-5.
Play the "Be a Reporter" game at http://www.newsu.org/courses/be-reporter-game. Registration is free but necessary. Email your course report to me when you have finished.
FOUR-PAGE ESSAY ASSIGNED FEBRUARY 4, DUE IN SAKAI DROPBOX BY FEBRUARY 19.
Feb 9, 11: Audiences and Media Impact
"Imagine a world without free knowledge." -- Wikipedia, January 18, 2012
Graber, ch. 6, 10.
Feb 16, 18: Campaigns and Elections I
"Best-case case scenario: That dude's hammered. Worse-case scenario: That is Perry sober and every time we've seen him previously, he's been hammered. Or there is one other explanation: Rick Perry just got back from the dentist." - Jon Stewart, commenting on a YouTube video of the Texas governor.
Graber, ch. 11.
Feb 23, 25: Campaigns and Elections II
"I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman." -- Mitt Romney on a 2008 debate with a YouTube question about global warming from a snowman.
Peter Hamby, "Did Twitter Kill the Boys on the Bus? Searching for a Better way to Cover a Campaign," Kennedy School of Government Discussion Paper #D-80, September 201. Online: http://shorensteincenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/d80_hamby.pdf
"The press is the enemy." -- Richard M. Nixon
Groseclose, ch. 1-8
Mar 9, 11: Bias II
Groseclose, ch. 9-17.
Mar 30, Apr 1: News and Governing II
"In this town, you're either a source or a target." -- Robert D. Novak
Malecha, ch. 4-7.
Robert D. Novak, The Prince of Darkness (New York: Crown Forum, 2007), 359-390. On Sakai.
"The St. Louis County And Municipal Police Academy, which encompasses Ferguson, is offering a `Continuing Education' course in October entitled `OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING — YOU CAN WIN WITH THE MEDIA.' The class is billed as `fast-paced class is jam-packed with the essential strategies and tactics, skills and techniques' and includes a `detailed case study of Ferguson.'"-- Judd Legum
Malecha, ch. 8.
Apr 13, 15: International Affairs, International Perspectives
“Don't look at the camera! Just go by -- like you're fighting!” -- Francis Ford Coppola in Apocalypse Now
“The troops landing in Somalia yesterday jumped from their rubber boats and headed into the dunes -- and into the glare of television lights. More than 75 reporters and camera crews were waiting on the beach with microphones on and videotape rolling.” New York Times, 12/9/92.
Apr 20, 22: Alternative Media I
Lichter, ch. 1-4
Apr 27, 29: Alternative Media II
Lichter, ch. 5-8.
'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em all around -- Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry”