David S. Domke
Journalists' role in elections and public policy. Relationship between news coverage and political campaigns. Study and analysis of local political newswriting, reporting, and response by local and state political figures. Extensive off-campus experience included. Offered: jointly with POL S 304.
Description. The contemporary political arena is a dynamic environment in which communication, particularly journalism in all its forms, substantially influences and is influenced by both elites and regular citizens. In this course we will explore several elements of political discourse, including the role and impact of news media; the goals and success of public relations and advertising strategies used by politically engaged individuals; and the rising influence of new media technologies such as the Internet. We will look at these relationships from three perspectives: (1) that of politicians and interest groups; (2) individuals and institutions of the news media; and (3) citizens. In combination, these topics and perspectives will help you to gain an understanding of how various communication processes contribute both positively and negatively – sometimes simultaneously – to our present democratic environment.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts. Doris Graber, Mass Media and American Politics; Howard Kurtz, Spin Cycle; James Fallows, Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy; Thomas Patterson, Out of Order.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments. Course readings, assignments and exams have been selected and designed with two goals in mind: (1) to increase your knowledge and understanding of the interaction between mass communication and individuals involved in the political process; (2) to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge through evaluation and study of contemporary social problems related to the course concepts. The course grade will consist of several components, added together and converted into a letter grade through a class curve that begins with the highest score in the class. The points are spread out across students’ in-class participation, two papers and two course exams.
Grading: Exams: 60 % Papers: 30 % Class/quiz participation: 10 % TOTAL: 100 %