Course Outline: COTC 1131 AA Summer 2004 Mass Communications MTR 8:15-11:10

Prof. Thomas R. Rondinella off: FH 26 X5837 SHU email: RondinTh


Objectives of the Course:  This course is designed to make students more aware of the media's influence on their lives.  The class will examine techniques used to shape the student's world perceptions.  Students will be encouraged to analyze information, views and feelings expressed by the media.  It will be illustrated how even raw facts can be manipulated to take on new and diverse meanings due to the contexts that they are shown.  It is hoped that by the end of the semester, the students will be more conscious of their own individual views as distinguished from those born of the media's influence.


Teaching Aids:  This course will use 1/2 video tapes and audio tapes to supplement class lectures as well as handouts.  Some handouts are announced on the syllabi, some are not.


Text Required:  Vivian, John.  The Media of Mass Communication,  6th ed., Allyn and Bacon.


Evaluation:  There will be a midterm and final exam based on assigned readings, lectures, screenings and discussions.  Both exams each are worth 20% of the final grade. 


There is one short paper assignment (20%) It is a reaction paper based on the readings and handouts given throughout the semester.   Late papers are marked down one grade per class late.  No paper accepted after two class periods.  No exceptions.


30% of the final grade is a research paper.   Students have a choice of one of the following two topics.


1) Collect data from 9 different media sources - print, broadcast and radio on a current event.  Examine how the different media cover the event.


2) Read a book with a critical view on mass media.  Some suggested titles:

Neil Postman "Amusing ourselves to Death"; Steven Bach, "Final Cut"

Tom Goldstein "The News at any Cost -Ethics in Journalism;   W. Bryan Keyes "Subliminal Seduction" ;  Jerry Mandler "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television"  ; Michael Medved "Hollywood vs. American Pop Culture and the War on Traditional Values";    Doug Rushkopf, Media Virus; Bernard Goldberg, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes how the Media Distorts the News;  Bernard Goldberg, “Arrogance”; Howard Kurtz, “Media Circus”


Another book may be substituted with instructor approval.


Write an analytical paper about the author's handling to the subject.


A part of class participation is attendance.  (10%)  Attendance is mandatory.  If a student is to be absent, the student must call me at 973-275-5837 as a courtesy. Absences are deducted from the class participation grade.


Course Content:  (readings are to be done by date listed.  Paper deadlines are non-negotiable:  A missed deadline is one grade down per class, no exceptions)


June  1             Syllabus review, course introduction.

Mass Media Issues, Chap. 1,

The Mass Communication process, Chap 14


June 3              Effects on the Individual, Chap. 15 

Orson Welles: War of the Worlds, pg. 365-366.


June 7              Effects on Society, Chap. 16,   "Tragedy wasn't enough" H.O. given

                        “Children’s Heroes and Role Models” H. O. given


June 8              Mass Media and Political Systems Chap. 22 (on-line)

"Tuning out Network Bias" H.O. given


June 10            Ethics in Mass Media, Chap. 20, “All about the Retrospect” H.O. given

Research Topic due


June 14            Ethics in Mass Media Chap. 20


June 15            In-Class Film: TBA,   Class discussion, Midterm review  


June 17            Midterm,    Short paper #1 due


June 21            Journalism, Chap. 10   


June 22            Public Relations, Chap. 11

Advertising Chap. 12

Media Research Chap. 13


June 24            Books Chap. 2

Magazines and Newspapers, Chap. 3, 4


June 28            Radio Chap. 7  

                        Television, Chap. 8

Taking Sides: Does T.V. shape values? H.O. given


June 29            Film, Chap. 6, The Web, Chap. 9   

Final Review, Research Paper due


July 1              Final