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The History of Television: News Coverage through the Looking Glass

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

Television remains the most significant source for the delivery of news to the American public. Local television regularly tops surveys as the preferred provider of news. Network evening newscasts reach 25 million each night. At the same time, the challenge television has in presenting content to a diffused audience is great.

This class will cover history over the past 75 years through the lens provided by moving picture images. Starting with newsreels, and continuing to images delivered to our screens this present day, we will explore how the news has been covered, and why we saw the news as we did at that moment.

At times, the content is memorable (the Lunar landing in 1969), powerful (Tiananmen Square in 1989), or carries great meaning (Barack Obama's 2008 Convention speech). The evolution and enhanced role that television news carries in our world helps us to determine how we view history, and how history has been defined.

With this course, students will be able to critically examine how news delivery via visual media fits within the context of the decade in which that news was delivered. They will have a greater sense of late 20th century history, and an understanding for how news stories go viral. They will see how images become iconic, and learn whether stories are framed by the media, or merely covered by independent journalists.

Students will need to have a general sense of late 20th century history, or at least an interest in news, television, or late 20th century history.

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