2015 - Fall

The Beat: Media Criticism

Course Number: JOUR-UA 201, Section 006

Day & Time: Thurs 2:30pm-6:10pm

Location: 20 Cooper Square, room 654

Instructor: Brian Cogan

Prerequisites: Foundations, Inquiry.  Media Criticism students only.

This course is designed to hone the student journalist’s ability to research and report deeply and to be able to imagine and develop fresh ideas, test them with the strength of his or her reporting and resarch, and then to present them in story form. Students will be expected to keep weeky beat notes or blogs, exploring what is current in the topic and demonstrating week after week the shoeleather they have worn in pursuit of their subject matter. Out of this work will come four or five stories in narrative, explanatory or investigative style, depending on the instructor and the specific assignment. Syllabi differ by content of the course but all sections emphasize idea development, interview technique, reporting, background research and writing skills across genres. Broadcast sections vary only by medium.

This course will serve as an introduction to various schools of media criticism and ways in which different types of media can be interpreted. What is the traditional role of the journalist and how is it changing?  What new theoretical capacities must be analyzed in order to understand the current state of media? This course will look at early critiques of media to the present and will incorporate critical analysis form a variety of perspectives from critical discourse to ideological criticism to market and public journalism based models. While many pundits are sure that modern news media is in a state of flux, few are fully informed of earlier critiques of media from Marx to Dewey to the New Journalists of the 1960’s, each of which provided a critical lens for analyzing journalism and media. In this course through a variety of writing assignments, in-class and take home critiques, and through serious critical analysis of modern media in all of its various permutations students will analyze the ways in which media can be studied.  Ideally students will leave the class with a set of critical tools to use in analyzing mass media and the inherent difficulties facing major news organizations in all of their various permutations.