This is an archived course. Visit the most recent syllabus.

Course Description

This course is an overview of the mass media communication industries, including print, electronic, and digital media. We examine issues, such as the institutional, social and technological histories of the media, the influence of economic factors in shaping content, and issues governing regulatory policy. Special emphasis will be given to the media’s role in society, the concentration of ownership, the impact of new communication technologies, and increasing convergence of particular media with one another.

Time and Place

Monday and Thursday, 2:30 – 3:45 PM
Room LL–307


Juan Monroy


Office Hours

33 W 60th St, 2nd Fl
By appointment only

Course Materials


The following textbooks are available through online retailers, such as Amazon, and on reserve at Quinn Library. As far as I know, there are ebook versions for all of these titles, which I encourage you to consider.

Outlines and Slides

After each class, I will post an outline and a PDF copy of the slides, available under the “Review” section of each class on the course schedule. The outlines are not detailed summaries of each class. Each is an outline of my lecture and the topics we covered in the class that day. The slides are available by logging in with your Fordham IT ID credentials.


We will not be using Blackboard for this course.


If you don’t use it already, I highly recommend using Dropbox to exchange files with me. You can sign up for free and receive two (2) gigabytes of cloud-based storage. This is an invaluable tool for accessing all of your files anywhere without having to carry a USB flash drive. I hate those things.


This class consists of four components. You cannot satisfactorily complete this course without all four of these.


Each class will form the basis of the material I expect you to know for the exams. We will discuss the historical, technological, and economic context relevant to digital media. Moreover, our class will be driven by discussion.


Please read the assigned course material prior to each week’s class. Consult the Course Schedule for the required reading assignments.


All assignments must be completed on time in order to receive full credit. Late assignments will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After five calendar days, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.


Exams make up forty percent of your course grade and are written to reward regular attendance and diligent studying. Exams will be administered in class and must be taken at the specified date and time.



Please respect the classroom environment. You should pay attention to the lecture, take notes, and avoid distractions, such as web surfing and using your mobile phone. Studies have consistently shown that students using laptops and mobile phones perform about 11% worse than students who are not distracted by these devices. On a personal note, it’s very difficult to stay motivated as a teacher if I see students seemingly disinterested in their own education. If I find you engaging in disruptive behavior, such as watching online videos, passing notes, instant messaging, chatting, or texting, I will remove you from the classroom and have you withdraw from the class.

Late Work and “Incomplete” Grades

Please submit your work on time. Late work will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After one calendar week, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.

There will be no incomplete grades for this class except in the case of a documented emergency in the final weeks of the semester. If you experience such an emergency, please contact me immediately, and we will work out a schedule for you to complete the outstanding work before the beginning of the following semester.

But aside from these circumstances, no late work will be accepted and no “incomplete” grades will be granted. If you have difficulty keeping up with coursework, consider giving yourself extra time to complete assignments, reducing your overall course load, and/or taking this class at a later semester.

Mobile Phones

Please silence or turn off the radio in your mobile phone (power down the phone or set to “Airplane” mode). Not only do ringing phones disrupt class, most phones will also interfere with the media equipment in the room. Also, please refrain from using your phone during class.


Please check your Fordham University email account ( on a daily basis, if not more frequently. I will broadcast announcements and send point-to-point communiques using your official email address.

Please note that I am not allowed to discuss your grade from an account that is not your official email account.

Fordham University Statement on Academic Integrity

“A University, by its nature, strives to foster and recognize originality of thought. Originality can only be recognized, however, when people acknowledge the sources of ideas or works that are not their own. Therefore, students must maintain the highest standards with regards to honesty, effort and performance. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: plagiarism, cheating on exams, false authorship, and destruction of library materials needed for a course. This policy gives definitions and instances of violations of academic integrity, the procedures used to arrive at a judgment, possible sanctions, and the process of appeal. This policy will be enforced rigorously and without discrimination. Please refer to your Student Handbook for a full discussion of the Policy on Academic Integrity.”

Students with Disabilities

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, all students, with or without disabilities, are entitled to equal access to the programs and activities of Fordham University. If you believe that you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to participate in the activities, coursework, or assessment of the object of this course, you may be entitled to accommodations. Please schedule an appointment to speak with someone at the Office of Disability Services (Rose Hill - O’Hare Hall, Lower Level, x0655 or at Lincoln Center – Room 207, x6282).


Who Owns the Media in Your Town?

Research the following media outlets, and who owns them, in your hometown in each of the following media industries:

  • local newspapers
  • broadcast radio
  • broadcast television
  • mobile telephone service
  • broadband Internet service
  • cable television service

To help you find radio and television stations in your town, consult these sources:

Answer the following questions about the media companies in your hometown:

  • Who are these companies and how would you characterize the nature of their media control in your town?
  • Are they local or owned by national companies?
  • What conclusions can you draw about media control based on what’s going on in your hometown?

Write a 500-word summary of your findings. Please come to class prepared to discuss your findings.

  • Due: September 11
  • Weight: 15%

You can review my own example of Media in Santa Barbara.

Technology and the Music Industry

Watch Downloaded (2013), available on Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix.

Answer the following questions about this documentary. Each response should be about 200 words in length (20 points each).

  1. How did the technology underlying Napster work?
  2. Why didn’t the recording industry “get” Napster and peer-to-peer file sharing?
  3. Why did some artists, such as Metallica and Dr. Dre, loath Napster, while others, such as Seal and Henry Rollins, find it a way to cut out the “middleman?”
  4. Why did the end of Napster in the early 2000s not stem the decline of the music industry throughout the decade?
  5. The documentary ends on an optimistic note. What is the legacy of Napster beyond music?

Submit your responses through this web form (requires you to sign out of your Gmail account and then sign in with your Fordham Google account).

  • Due: October 9
  • Weight: 15%

Ten-Minute Commandments of Media Regulation

After the midterm exam, I will assign you one of the following commandments of media regulation.

  1. Model of Regulation
  2. First Amendment
  3. Prior Restraint
  4. Sedition
  5. Copyright Infringement
  6. Libel
  7. Obscenity
  8. Indecency
  9. Equal Opportunity
  10. Fairness Doctrine
  11. Net Neutrality

Using your assigned “commandment,” write a 500-word summary that identifies the “commandment” and describes its impact on media and society. Be sure to cite any sources you use and include a works cited page if you are referencing any source other than the textbook. You will also present in class, for no more than ten minutes, on this “commandment.” Your presentation should include at least a five-slide deck, not including the title slide, be concise and illustrate the impact of regulation on a specific media industry, such as print or broadcasting.

  • Paper Due: November 10
  • Presentations on November 10, 13, and 17
  • Weight: 20%


Midterm Exam

The midterm exam is an in-class exam, consisting of the following types of questions:

  1. five true-false
  2. five multiple choice
  3. identification, where you identify and explain the significance of five terms in two-to-three sentences
  4. short essay, where you answer three questions with a one-paragraph response, in four-to-five sentences

The exam will cover the course material from the first six weeks of the class.

  • October 16
  • Weight: 20%

Final Exam

Like the midterm exam, the final exam is also an in-class exam, consisting of true-false, multiple choice, identification and essay questions questions. The exam will be cumulative and will cover the course material from the entire semester.

Please review the list of Testable Terms in advance of the final exam.

  • “D” Block
  • December 15, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
  • Weight: 30%


Assignment Weight Date Due
Who Owns the Media in Your Town? 15% September 11
Technology and the Music Industry 15% October 9
Midterm Exam 20% October 16
Ten Commandments of Regulation 20% November 10, 13, 17
Final Exam 30% December 15



Thursday, September 4

Mass Culture, Inc.

Monday, September 8
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 1, “Mass Communication: A Critical Approach.”
  • The Master Switch, Chapter 3, “Mr. Vail is a Big Man”
Thursday, September 11


Monday, September 15
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 8, “Newspapers: The Rise and Decline of Modern Journalism.”
Thursday, September 18

Watch Page One: Inside the New York Times, available on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix, on your own.



Monday, September 22
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 9, “Magazines in the Age of Specialization.”
Thursday, September 25

Buy the most offbeat magazine in print you can find and bring it to class.



Monday, September 29
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 10, “Books and the Power of Print.”
Thursday, October 2

What was the last book you read? Locate the ebook, using the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, or Apple iBook stores, and the print book. Note some of key differences in layout, content, price, and function. Bring both the digital and print editions to class.


Sound Recording

Monday, October 6
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 4, “Sound Recording and Popular Music.”
Thursday, October 9

Listen to the music I compiled for our Media Industries Mixtape.


Midterm Exam

Thursday, October 16

We will take the midterm exam in class today.


Monday, October 20
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 5, “Popular Radio and the Origins of Broadcasting.”
  • The Master Switch Chapter 5, “Centralize all Radio Activities” and Chapter 9, “FM Radio.”
Thursday, October 23

Listen to one hour of a local radio station and document the content you heard, including music, DJ chatter, advertisements, news/weather/traffic announcements, etc.



Monday, October 27
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 6, “Television and Cable.”
  • The Master Switch, Chapter 10, “Now We Add Sight to Sound” and Chapter 16, “Turner Does Television.”
Thursday, October 30

Watch one hour of a local broadcast or ad-supported (“basic”) cable television station and document the content you saw, including programming segments, advertisements, bumpers, etc.


Motion Pictures

Monday, November 3
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 7, “Movies and the Impact of Images.”
  • The Master Switch, Chapter 6, “The Paramount Ideal” and Chapter 17, “Mass Production of the Spirit.”
Thursday, November 6

Find a movie trailer for a current or upcoming film and share it with the class.



Monday, November 10

Ten-Minute Commandments of Media Regulation presentations begin today.

  • Media and Culture, Chapter 16, “Legal Controls and Freedom of Expression.”
Thursday, November 13

Ten-Minute Commandments of Media Regulation presentations continue today.

Monday, November 17

Ten-Minute Commandments of Media Regulation presentations continue today.

Public Relations

Thursday, November 20
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 12, “Public Relations and Framing the Message.”
Monday, November 24

Find a press release, published in the last month, for a company of whom you are consumer, employee or fan. Note their recent activity on Twitter.



Monday, December 1
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 11, “Advertising and Commercial Culture.”

Internet and Convergence

Thursday, December 4
  • Media and Culture, Chapter 2, “The Internet, Digital Media, and Media Convergence.”


Monday, December 8

Because the final exam is a week away.

Final Exam

Monday, December 15 • Final Exam

We will take our final exam during the “D” Block, on Monday, December 15, from 1:30 – 3:30 PM.

Please review the list of Testable Terms in advance of the final exam.