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Understanding the Media: Becoming a Critical News Consumer

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

Course Description

Media surrounds us, but does it inform us? It is reported that the average news consumer comes across more information in a day than an informed 17th century citizen came across in a lifetime. So how do we surf these waves, how do we avoid being flooded, and how do we discern between fact and fiction, news and information, meaning and symbol?

In this class we will examine a variety of news sources for meaning. We will explore the intended or desired coverage of the newsmaker, we will examine both what and how the story was presented by the reporter, and we will also look inward to how we perceived the story. We will also discuss how social media has redefined traditional media and communication.

Students will critically examine news stories across media platforms, discerning the significance of sound bites, whether a story was covered comprehensively, whether there were elements missing from reporting, and whether there is a place for additional coverage on each story.

Students should be familiar with the contemporary and prevailing issues in the public realm, the relative role of the electronic media in covering politics and breaking news, and maintain a healthy appetite for news and media matters. And of course each student should be willing to debate and discuss these questions.