Politics And Mass Media Syllabus English Language Essay

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Whether you are being assaulted by music videos in the canteen OR you are in the cinema being put under by the latest Hollywood blockbuster OR you are trying to make sense of reality through what passes for TV news OR you are plugged into the most recent retread from this week's hottest fabricated group OR you are trying to comprehend what someone decided was worth knowing in the day's press OR you are falling prey to the latest adverts OR you are surfing the internet for information or entertainment or (if surveys are correct) probably something else (particularly if you are a male), almost every minute of every day you are bombarded by mass media.

We will look at how the mass media affect you, your politicians, your society, and the construction of the world around you.


By the end of the course, you should be able to:

Better understand the ways in which the mass media contribute to the construction of our shared reality, which should add to your "understanding of political processes and institutions at the local, national, regional, and global levels" (POS Program Goal 1);

Experience media more critically, which should add you your "ability to critically analyze, interpret, and evaluate political texts and issues" (in our case mass media messages as political texts) (POS Program Goal 7);

Understand the news production process and how this affects the news product, which should assist your "ability to understand the ethical implications of political processes" (POS Program Goal 6);

Understand how to work with mass media outlets and be able to undertake a small, original research project that should add to your "ability to conduct research and solve policy-related problems using a variety of methodologies and sources of information" (POS Program Goal 8); and

Through the use of a group element in the project and through the project presentations, the course will promote "mastery of written and oral communication skills and of interpersonal skills needed for efficient teamwork" (POS Program Goal 9).


I will be very precise in assigning final grades; therefore, I urge you to keep track of your evaluations and to save all evaluations until the end of the semester. Unless you do, my records will determine your final evaluation. I reserve the right to give incredibly challenging, unannounced quizzes that will be included in the final evaluation at my discretion if it appears that the class is not reading assignments or doing the lab exercises.

500 points PROJECT



200 points FINAL EXAM

A 850-up

A- 800-849

B+ 750-799

B 700-749

B- 650-699

C+ 600-649

C 550-599

C- 500-549

D+ 450-499

D 400-449

D- 350-399


The project will provide you with an opportunity to engage in a short, original research experience.

Projects are to be between 2250-2750 words, excluding the bibliography. Please do not include a title page. All projects are single-spaced with twelve point Times New Roman font; at least two cm top, bottom, left, and right margins; and double-spaced between paragraphs. Please include your student number and paper title (one line maximum) in the top left corner of the first page.

Please cite using footnotes according to the University of Chicago-Turabian style sheet using numbered footnotes. You may use ten-point Times New Roman font for your footnotes. You can find a helpful document on using Turabian at: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Chicago-Turabianstyle.pdf. If you fail to follow this format, the assignment guidelines, or the footnote guide, the penalty is 25 points.

Projects must be in proper English. Projects should be free of spelling, punctuation, subject-verb agreement, malapropism, and capitalization errors. Consistency is the goal. I suggest using either the Guardian or the Economist Style guides (both are online) for UK conventions and the AP style guide for US conventions. Paragraphs should flow from point to point. Subheadings should be used to designate different sections of the project. These aspects will be taken into consideration in the final evaluation.


"Students are expected to adhere to the Academic Honesty Policy stated in the Catalog and the Student Handbook. Consequences for violations are included in the Catalog and the Student Handbook." Plagiarized work will result with a zero for the assignment.


Participation means that you have completed the readings and lab exercises for each session and are prepared to analyze, discuss, challenge, and/or ask questions about them.

Participation of 0-4 points is evaluated on a per class basis for 20 days during the semester. Participation is TRIPLED (0-12 points) during the panel presentations. It is my appraisal of how you assist the classroom experience and how your comments/questions help the class move forward. Quantity of questions/comments may or may not show quality. Quality, not quantity, is highly regarded. The criteria I use to evaluate participation are listed here.

4 points You demonstrate a familiarity with the material and a willingness to share in the class discussion. You attempt to apply the day's concepts to a different circumstance. You can connect the day's topics with earlier topics. You can combine the concept with new information to infer a reasoned outcome. You can evaluate the concept from a clearly stated criterion. You participate in the day's event for analysis and connect the discussion with concepts covered in classes and readings.

3 points You demonstrate a familiarity with the material and ask some questions or make some comments. You can paraphrase or reformulate the concept. You can illustrate a concept through examples and recognize concepts in a new, unfamiliar situation. You have prepared for and participate in the day's discussion.

2 points You are present and more or less ready to answer questions about the material. You ask questions or make comments that are usually factually based or available in the reading. You have prepared for and are able to participate in the day's discussion though you might not do so.

1 point You are present, but it is clear from your comments/questions that you have not fully prepared for the day's discussion.

0 points You are absent (excused or unexcused), leave without prior notice (except for an emergency situation), arrive late after arriving late on a consistent basis, or have not prepared for the day's discussion.

You do not need to let me know if you will miss a session; that is your business. However, if you come to class and need to leave early, common courtesy requires that you inform me ahead of time. Leaving and returning during the class is likewise discourteous. When it becomes a habit (and more than once is enough to constitute a habit), it drastically affects your participation. Strong participation means that you consistently are ready to demonstrate your familiarity with the material, current events, and an eagerness to share in class discussion and analysis exercises with relevant comments, questions, and/or examples-not verbal utterings made for show.



These will be short written exercises. The exact format will be discussed later in the semester. The final exam will be open-book and cumulative. It will use a short-answer and short-essay format.