Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 1-2 PM; Friday 11 AM - noon.
If these times are inconvenient, please make an appointment
purpose of this course is to explain the relationship between
newsmakers and the mass media. It asks
how political figures try to influence the traditional media and
broadcast their messages via social media. It also asks how the media
influence the behavior of officials and activists, as well as ordinary
voters. It is not a "how-to" course on the practice of journalism. Instead, it poses these questions:
How is new technology reshaping American media politics?
What political and social biases affect the media?
What ethical standards should journalists observe?
Class sessions will include lecture and discussion. Finish assigned 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 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. If you want more confidentiality, post to the forum on the class Sakai page.
One four-page paper: 20%
Two six-page papers: 25% each
One three-page paper: 15%
Class participation & blog: 15%
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. 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.
In addition to the required readings (below), I may also give you handouts, emails, and web links covering current events and basic factual information.
As a courtesy to your fellow students, please arrive on time, and refrain from eating in class.
Check due dates for coursework. Do not plan on extensions.
Plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty are not a victimless offenses, because they hurts fellow students. Please study our Statement of Academic Integrity, which reads in part: "The faculty of Claremont McKenna College is firmly committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity. Each faculty member has the responsibility to report cases of academic dishonesty to the Academic Standards Committee."
This class welcomes viewpoint diversity. See: https://heterodoxacademy.org/teaching-heterodoxy-syllabus-language/
the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted
for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity,
over error and oppression." -- James Madison
Sept 9, 11: Media History I
of the Media
Graber, ch. 1-3.
Sept 30, Oct 2: News Routines in a Changing Media Landscape
"What is a trend going on in the U.S. or abroad that doesn’t get enough attention? `The surface blurring of lines between reporting and opposition research. All information is now democratized so everyone can act like a researcher and reporter, and everyone with a smartphone can be a video tracker. Thankfully the advancement of technology has made us realize our competitive advantage is going back to basics. Only talented oppo researchers can go into the county courthouse and pull the records they need to build a narrative. Only a reporter can talk to a source and bring sometimes decades-old anecdotes to the surface.” -- Joe Pounder
Graber, ch. 4-5.
Oct 7, 9: Audiences and Media Impact
"Imagine a world without free knowledge." -- Wikipedia, January 18, 2012
Graber, ch. 6, 11.
Oct 14, 16: Campaigns and Elections I
OCT 23: Campaigns and Elections II
Hall and Sinclair, ch. 3.
"The press is the enemy." -- Richard M. Nixon
Nov 4, 6: Bias, Incivility, and "Fake News" II
"Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports and records of all kinds, newspapers, books, pamphlets, films, sound-tracks, photographs — all had to be rectified at lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was known that the chiefs of the Department intended that within one week no reference to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in existence anywhere." -- George Orwell
Robert D. Novak, The Prince of Darkness (New York: Crown Forum, 2007), 359-390. On Sakai.
Nov 25: News and the Entertainment Media
FOUR-PAGE ESSAY ASSIGNED NOV 25, DUE IN SAKAI DROPBOX BY DEC 13
Dec 2, 4: 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.
'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”