UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION

CMM 449: MEDIA AND SOCIETY

FALL 2002

 

Instructor:                     Edward T. Vieira, Jr.                                         Email:   vieira@hartford.edu

Class Meeting Times:    W: 4:20-6:50 PM                                                           edvieira@cox.net

Classroom Location:      Computer Center, Rm. 117                                Off. Tel.: (860) 768-5418

Office Hours:                M: 10:45-12:45 PM,                                           Place:   H.J.G. Rm. E-225

            W: 3:00-4:00 PM, &                                          Mailbox: H.J.G. Rm. E-222

                                    F: 11:00-1:00 PM or by appointment

 

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK:    - A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication by Richard J. Harris (1998).

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION:    This course examines the relationships between media and society. It explores how the various media influence individuals and society. Students study the role and responsibility of mass media in relation to American institutions including societal, political, and economic institutions. Emphasis is placed upon mass media impact on culture and human behavior. The major topics addressed are media influence on violent, antisocial, prosocial, and voting behaviors. Government regulation is covered as well. Whether or not the media have such effects on individuals and society, in the aggregate, is open for class discussion, and presented by students in debate and position paper formats. PREREQUISITE: CMM 240 (Introduction to Media).

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:           This course meets once per week. It is my role to provide a stimulating lecture and facilitate active classroom discussion. You are expected to attend lectures; you are expected to have done the reading associated with that lecture; you are expected to participate in any classroom discussion, including the topical discussion point activities, which are part of the participation grade. In order to have a successful semester, we must each hold up our end of this arrangement. In addition, in order to pass this class, all course requirements must be completed. Since the class meets once per week, attendance is crucial.

 

COURSE GRADING:            Midterm Examination:                            30%

                                                Position Paper:                                      20%

                                                Participation (Incl. topical disc. pts.)       20%

                                                Final Examination:                                 30%

 

EXAMINATION MATERIAL: Exams will cover all text readings, handouts, homework assignments, lectures, and videos viewed in class. Exams are not cumulative per se; however, the material builds on itself, and, in that sense, one must be cognizant of previous concepts covered through the midterm test for the final examination.

 

GENERAL CLASSROOM POLICY: Please note that food and beverages are not allowed in the classroom, and cell phones must be turned off while class is in session. Also, this syllabus is subject to modification at the instructor's discretion.


UNIVERSITY POLICY: Academic Honesty Statement from The Source and Manual of Academic Policies and Procedures. All students are expected to observe generally accepted principles of scholarly writing in all examinations, compositions, papers, essays, tests, quizzes, reports and dissertations whether written in the classroom or outside. Sources of information used by a student in the preparation of work submitted as a basis for credit, or for a grade, or to satisfy graduate or undergraduate thesis requirements shall be clearly indicated in some conventional manner, such as by the use of quotation marks, footnotes, and bibliography. Also, students are forbidden to submit as their own any project, paper, or creative work which is in whole or part the work of another. Next, the use of a term paper writing service, such services being prohibited by Connecticut law, is academically dishonest and violate rules of scholarship. Moreover, all examinations and quizzes are to be completed without reference to books or notes, except when the instructor of a course shall have given explicit authorization for an "open-book examination" or some other specified sort of assistance. Except as authorized by the instructor, no student is to give or receive assistance in the completion of an examination or a quiz.

 

DATE  TOPIC                                                                                                            REQUIRED READINGS

 

9/4        Introduction, review syllabus, introduction to theory; social learning theory;            Chapters 1 & 2

(Wed.)  cultivation theory; media as perceived reality; & view video: Images & Reality

 

9/11      Excitation transfer; priming; mood management; uses and gratifications

 

9/18      Content analysis, method; portrayal of gender portrayal of race;                           Chapter 3

            Selective exposure vs. selective perception; & View video: Merchants of Cool

 

9/25      Advertising—humor; fear                                                                                  Chapter 4

 

10/2      Families and television-content analysis, effects of conflict/talk time                      Chapter 5

Review for midterm exam

 

10/9      Sports on TV  (mood management, aggression)                                                   Chapter 6

            MIDTERM EXAM DURING FIRST HALF OF CLASS PERIOD

 

10/16    News, effects of news & recall of news                                                             Chapter 7

 

10/23    Politics—negative and positive                                                                           Chapter 8

 

10/30    Violence in the media, introduction; Government regulations;                                Chapter 9

            past and current content analyses, NTVS violence in the media-

            theories of positive (catharsis; aggression anxiety) & negative effects

SLT, excitation transfer negative effects, priming, desensitization,

cultivation and alternative explanations for cultivation. Fear—intro. to

Piaget and development and effects studies

 

11/6      Pornography— introduction, industry, effects on attitudes, effects on behavior       Chapter 10

 

11/13    POSITION PAPER PRESENTATIONS

 

11/20    POSITION PAPER PRESENTATIONS

            **POSITION PAPERS ARE DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS**

 

12/4      POSITION PAPER PRESENTATIONS

            Review for the final exam

 

12/11    POSITION PAPER PRESENTATIONS

                        Review for the final exam 

12/18    FINAL EXAMINATION DURING THE REGULARLY SCHEDULED CLASS TIME

NOTE: Homework assignments and additional advertising article readings will be given accordingly.


Supplemental Materials

 

Topics for position papers:

 

1. Catharsis v. Social Learning Theory/Cultivation?

 

2. Does pornography really prime individuals?

 

3. Should media frame programming to address social issues, albeit subtly?

 

            -Is there a social responsibility?

 

            -What about manifest and latent content?

 

4. Primarily does the media influence individuals (effects are the dependent variable) or do individuals use the media as they see fit (Uses and Gratifications)?

 

5. Is the Reflection Myth really a myth?

 

6. Do people actually develop a TV version of “reality?”

 

7. Does agenda setting go beyond the cusp, or does it serve a “useful” purpose? Cover the role of gatekeepers.

 

8. Do online technologies violate an individual’s privacy?

 

9. Does government have aright to censor news coverage in the name of “national security?” This takes on new meaning since 9/11.

 

10. Are foreign countries concern with the “Americanization” of their culture through mass media a validate concern?

 

11. Does advertising create desires for products/services no one needs?

 

12. Do the paparazzi and the press have a right to report the news even if it compromises personal privacy?

 

13. Has the quality of news diminished or improved?

 

14. Should large transnational media corporations be allowed to merge?

 

15. Should web programs designed to make it nearly impossible to exist a site be illegal?

 

16. Does the media lobby wield too much power in Washington?

 

17. Are sports and other programs the “opium” of the masses?

 

18. Do shows focusing on minorities serve the societal interests of those particular groups?

 

19. In covering political campaigns, do the media focus on personal issues and irrelevant blunders at the expense of covering substantive issues?

 

20. Is it ethical for advertisers to take advantage of impulsive and/or compulsive buyers?


Position Paper Rubric

 

1. This is a group project, consisting of approximately 3-4 students per group (depending on enrollment), and will be 20 minutes in length.

 

2. The paper must contain 5-8 pages of content, exclusive of the cover, table of contents, and works cited pages. Graphics are not considered in the 5-8 page requirement.

 

3. The cover page must include: title of paper, full name of group members, date, course name and title, and my full name.

 

4. The table of contents should include an introduction, stating in summary your position, sections according to the Toulmin Model of Argumentation, and a works cited page.

 

5. Your supporting material must consist of at least 5 scholarly journal articles no more than 5 years old. The citations must be according to APA format. Also, Internet sources are unacceptable unless it is an electronic version of a recent academic journal article.

 

6 Font will be 10-12, and the paper must be submitted in hardcopy format.

 

7. Any late submissions will result in a significant grade reduction for the entire group.

 

8. The paper must be submitted before class commences.

 

THE TOULMIN MODEL OF ARGUMENTATION

TWO-SIDED ARGUMENT FORMAT

 

TOULMIN’S MODEL FACILITATES LOGICAL ANALYSIS IN A USABLE AND USEFUL MANNER.

 

 

A CLAIM WITHOUT DATA IS SIMPLY AN ASSERTION.  IT BECOMES AN ARGUMENT ONCE IT IS SUPPORTED BY DATA-ONCE IT IS WARRANTED.

 

THE COMPONENTS OF THE MODEL ARE AS FOLLOWS:

 

                                                I.  CLAIM

 

                                                II.  DATA

                                                                STATS

                                                                EXPERT OPINION

                                                                EGS

                                                                FACTS

                                                                EXPLANATIONS

                                                                DESCRIPTIONS

                                                                NARRATIVE

 

                                                III.  WARRANT

 

                                                IV.  QUALIFIER

 

                                                V.  RESERVATION

 

                                                VI.  BACKING

 


Discussion Point Topics

 

 

1. Is market-driven journalism a serious issue and is it influencing the quality of news content?

 

2. Discussion of the issue of sexism in advertising from both a male and female perspective?

 

3. Presently, what is the impact of radio on society?

 

4. Is the current entertainment, casual, conversational format to reporting news on the radio influencing the quality of the news content?

 

5. Television “news” magazines: are they news or are they entertainment?

 

6. Media literacy: is it real or a matter of convenience?

 

7. Is the Web addictive to the average online surfer?

 

8. The influence of mass media branding on society: positive or negative?

 

9. Is targeting minorities as consumers to get to other market segments ethical?

 

10. What is happening to the quality of news content?

 

11. Should transnational media companies be reined in?

 

12. Do Paparazzi have free speech First Amendment rights protected under the U. S. Constitution concerning their pursuit and reporting of celebrity “news?”