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.
The following required textbooks are available at the Fordham University - Lincoln Center Bookstore, Phone: (212) 636–6080, through online retailers, and on reserve at Quinn Library.
Straubhaar, Joseph, Robert LaRose, and Lucinda Davenport. Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth Publishing, 2011. An ebook is also available.
Wu, Tim. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. Reprint. New York: Vintage, 2011.
If you prefer to use a different textbook than the Straubhaar, LaRose and Davenport, you can substitute the following textbook, as the content and scope is very similar. However, you are responsible for reading the correct sections.
Starting in 2009, required course materials qualify for a tax credit. See the National Association of College Stores for details.
We will be using Blackboard for announcements, assignment guidelines, and your individual grade book. You will also use Blackboard to take quizzes and submit each of your assignments.
The collective knowledge of everyone in the class can surpass any single resource I can provide. Please use the Wiki to collaborate with other students in creating rich study guides for the class.
Each week, I will post a list of topics covered in lecture. Please feel free to add to each page with your notes and summaries. I will not edit the wiki pages after I post them, but I ask that you please use them in a responsible way.
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 lecture will form the basis of the material I expect you to know for the exams. I will present on the historical, technological, and economics context relevant to each media industry. I will post outlines and slides from each lecture, but believe me, those serve as poor substitutes for attending each week’s lecture.
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 comprise half 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.
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.
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.
Please check your Fordham University email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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 me immediately or you may go to the Office of Disability Services (Room 402-D McMahon Hall, x6282). 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.
On Blackboard, I will post a weekly quizzes, each consisting of ten questions. The questions cover the material covered in lecture and are due each Friday at noon. Because Blackboard cannot penalize late submissions, no late quizzes will be accepted.
Due each Friday at 12pm. Weight: 15%
Research the following media outlets, and who owns them, in your hometown in each of the following media industries:
Answer the following questions about the media companies in your hometown.
Write a 500-word summary and upload your document to Blackboard. Please come to class prepared to discuss your findings.
Note: I have added some relevant links to help you locate some local outlets. If you have any recommendations, please share them with me.
Due Monday, January 30, before class. Weight: 10%
Watch the Frontline documentary “The Way the Music Died” (2004), available on reserve at Quinn Library. You can stream the documentary with a HTML5-compliant web browser while connected to an on-campus network.
Answer the questions in the Assignments section of Blackboard about this documentary.
Due Tuesday, February 21, before class. Weight: 10%
Using the media conglomerate I assigned you, write a 500-word summary of the conglomerate and its holdings. What major operations do they own in each of the various media industries? What products have you consumed from these various operations? Is there any philosophy behind their media operations (for example, why does Viacom own both MTV and Nickelodeon?)?
You should consult these websites to see your conglomerates’ holdings:
Write a 500-word summary and upload your document to Blackboard.
Due Monday, April 30, before class. Weight: 15%
The midterm exam is an objective, in-class exam, consisting of true-false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the blank questions. The exam will cover the course material from the first six weeks of the class.
Like the midterm exam, the final exam is also an objective, in-class exam, consisting of true-false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the blank questions. The exam will cover the course material from the second half of the course.
To see the Course Schedule, select your section below: