courses > 2009 spring

Graduate Courses

CINE 540 - Mass Media Systems

COMM 540 | ARTH 540
001 | W 3-5pm

The course will be an introduction to the contemporary media scene, placed in an historical context. That scene is changing profoundly. Industry boundaries are blurred in ways that are leading practitioners to question the basic vocabulary that has guided them for decades; a rapidly developing digital landscape (with transformed domestic, outdoor, and workplace media) is disrupting longstanding routines and beliefs; the hierarchy of media giants is changing; longstanding content forms of traditional media are being adapted to new media; and new (as well as enduring) framings of controversies about the relationship between citizens and media corporations are roiling through government and advocacy organizations. The goal in the course will be to understand what is happening-and why-across and within such industries as books, newspapers, magazines, recordings, magazines, television, the internet, billboards, video games, advertising and public relations. Rather than center on sociological theories of culture-production (which I will reserve for my Mass Media Institutions" course), the focus here will be on ways to approach and assimilate conceptually what is happening on the ground. Readings will include my Media Today text, trade publications, consulting-firm reports, and other vehicles that will help students understand how the media system works, where it seems to be going, and why we should care. I see the course as providing a knowledge base about industry processes that will allow students to teach courses such as "Mass Media and Society"; that will prepare them with the pragmatic layer of knowledge they will need to conduct theory-guided research that interrogates or reflects on cultural industries; and that will help them understand, and get involved in, key advocacy debates around media policy issues.