Syllabus for Roster(s):
- 17F MDST 3680-001 (CGAS)
The News Media Fall 17
TNM FALL 17 SYLLABUS
THE NEWS MEDIA— SYLLABUS
Class Location Wilson Hall 325 1100-1150 MWF
Instructor Wyatt Andrews
Office Location 212 Wilson Hall
Office Hours Monday-Thursday 2-5 PM
Friday 2-3 PM
Appointments are preferred. Please schedule an appointment through an email that suggests times you can be available. You are welcome to drop by, but that’s not always time efficient. Outside of the formal office hours listed above, I will also be in the office most (not all) Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Office Phone 434 243 1675
The News Media, MDST 3680.
This course is a real time, analytical snapshot of the news media today; how it operates, where it succeeds, where it fails, and why. We will examine why the news is crucial to a properly functioning democracy, but faces three simultaneous threats: 1) a collapse in the financing that pays for news reporting 2) the unprecedented hostility between the press and President and 3) the troubling public debate over truth itself, and whether the media can be trusted to tell it.
In this course, we will discuss the tools all citizens need to better evaluate the news. What exactly is the mainstream media today? Are they worth your trust and if so, why? Why is fake news so widespread and successful? Has the digital revolution, and the use of social media, helped or harmed the quality of US reporting? What’s disturbing about a President and White House intent on denying basic facts?
Other major topics. How does the media choose to cover stories? How does advertising in news influence what we read? What’s new and important about political satire? How does every digital news site measure and react to everything you click online and how does that click decide the news you see next?
The course will argue that free, factual information is integral to freedom itself, an idea best articulated by Mr. Jefferson. The best news reporting calls to account politicians, business leaders and public officials. It gives citizens the information necessary to reward or punish those in power. The best reporting is also original; written by reporters who speak to sources directly. The course will examine why this kind of original reporting is in decline.
Hopefully, you will conclude the course with a deeper understanding of the news, and its fundamental role under the Constitution. You will be asked to consider if the news you consume personally is preparing you for citizenship, or leadership, and is making you the informed citizen Mr. Jefferson envisioned.
The books listed below are available online in paperback. The “packet” listed below has been ordered through the UVa bookstore. Because this is a course that seeks to study the news media in real time, there will be readings added. Please stay alert on Collab to notices of new assigned readings.
— THE NEWS MEDIA, What Everyone Needs to Know
Anderson, Downie, Shudson 2016
—ELEMENTS OF JOURNALISM, Third Edition 2014 Kovach and Rosenstiel,
Three Rivers Press
—LOSING THE NEWS, Jones, 2009 Oxford Univ Press
—BLUR How To Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload
Kovach and Rosenstiel 2010, Bloomsbury USA
—Bookstore Packet **MDST 3680 FALL 2017 PACKET: NEWS MEDIA.
—State of the News Media, 2017. From journalism.org and the Pew Research Center
—Daily News Readings and the News Discussion Grade. This is required and worth 10 grade points.
Prior to every lecture, in addition to the assigned readings, you need to read or view news from one of three sources.
1) An article from a mainstream newspaper, print or online edition.
2) A news article from a “digital first” news website; (digital first is a news site that did not begin as a newspaper.) Vox, Mic, BuzzFeed News or Vice News for example.
3) A TV newscast or online video newscast. Your choice may include international sources.
Every lecture will begin with a quick discussion of the readings. This includes the book reading and the daily news reading assignment. I will typically call on students at random, but you may also volunteer.
Why are random news readings important? 2 big reasons.
-Because wider knowledge of news sources is not just a course requirement, it’s a life skill. It’s called news literacy: familiarity with the growing media landscape. This requires regular consumption of news not sourced from social media or cable.
-News Discussion is 10% of your grade. Coming to class ready to discuss your choice of news reads or the book assignment is how you earn that 10%. These points have to be earned; no discussion points are awarded for coming to class. Please do not wait until the last two weeks of the semester to participate in these discussions. If you only start raising your hand in November, its often too late.
***Very important.*** If you are found to be unprepared, or not in attendance when I ask for your thoughts, you risk a multi point deduction from the 10%. This will never be an attempt to catch or embarrass you, its all about expanding your knowledge base. If you are too shy to be called, or to shy to raise your hand for News Discussion, that’s fine, just alert me by email. In exchange for this shy exemption you must do two office visits during the semester—before November—to discuss what you’ve been reading or viewing. After November 1st, you lose the 10 points.
Important Sources of News and Course Content—This is where to start.
New York Times http://www.nytimes.com
Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/
Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com
National Review http://www.nationalreview.com
Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com
Daily Caller http://dailycaller.com
Weekly Standard http://www.weeklystandard.com
Pro Publica http://www.propublica.org
Center for Public Integrity https://www.publicintegrity.org
Columbia Journalism Review http://www.cjr.org
The Poynter Institute http://www.poynter.org
On the Media http://www.onthemedia.org
Vice News http://vice.com
Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com
BuzzFeed News https://www.buzzfeed.com/news
Media Matters http://mediamatters.org
Media Resource Center http://mrc.org
Fact Check http://www.factcheck.org
Facebook Your newsfeed
Twitter Your account
Grading and Weights
Numeric grade total will transfer to the letter grades below.
94 to 100 [A ]
90 to 93.9 [A-]
87.5 to 89.9 [B +]
83 to 87.4 [B]
80 to 82.9 [B-]
77.5 to 79.9 [C +]
73 to 77.4 [C]
70 to 72.9 [C-]
67.5 to 69.9 [D +]
63 to 67.4 [D]
60 to 62.9 [D-]
Below 60 [F]
News Discussion 10% Come prepared to discuss that day’s book and news reading assignments.
Paper One 25% This paper may be rewritten and resubmitted for a higher grade.
Paper Two 30% Not this one.
Final Paper 35% This will serve as the final exam and will be a take home 3-hour paper. The questions you must answer for this paper are already listed below.
I will not take attendance, but not being there when called for discussion will be recorded and will impact your grade.
No computers or cell phones may be on during class. They may not be on. This is your time to study and think about the media, not a time to be using media.
You are encouraged to ask a question at any point in the class. I may need to delay the question, but you should not feel constrained.
Office hours happen every day, including Fridays. (see above) It’s best to make an appointment.
The Papers—and the persuasive writing style we will use.
There will be two midterm papers, plus the final paper and for each I will ask you to adopt a blunt, shorter style of writing. It’s the kind of writing you will need when you leave UVa.
The papers must be written in an extremely concise style, 4-5 pages, 1500 hundred words max. Think of them as persuasive essays in which you also use academic citations to back up your factual points.
You must state your central argument clearly in your first sentence. Your first paragraph then summarizes most of what you are about to say. Spend the rest of the paper defending your main thesis. Every paragraph along the way begins with a clear point or argument.
You must write short, with blunt force clarity, which is the style used and expected in the real world. Don’t make announcements of what the paper intends to argue: just make the argument. State your case clearly. Defend it with examples and academic back up. Don’t use unnecessary words. Don’t use filler words or cliches. One way to judge this style is to ask yourself: “If my paper were an article on the web, would I click and read it myself?” If not, the paper isn’t clear enough or persuasive enough.
Your opinions do not need to agree with the readings or lectures, but they do need to be supported with documented facts, and written as succinctly as possible.
The goal is to expose you to a writing style where every word is precisely chosen, and every sentence makes a clear point. You will find this to be very powerful writing: here are my arguments, my facts, my conclusion, drop the mike.
**Re-write on Paper 1.** One re-write of the first paper will be allowed, to help you understand the style and content required. If the re-write is better, it will improve your grade, you will not risk a lower grade. I will help with the re-write on request to identify ways to improve. With or without an office visit, you must finish the rewrite within ten days of your initial grade.**
The UVA Honor Code
The Honor Code will be respected in this class. Please avoid all temptation to plagiarize or over borrow research done by others. I will verify papers at random. The Honor Pledge must be written and signed on both papers and the final paper. Papers without the written code will suffer a three point deduction.
The Seven Key Questions You Need to Master for the Final.
These questions are what you need to know for the final paper. Really and truly, this is the final.
Is news sponsored by advertising good for our democracy?
Is TV news more a public service or a disgrace?
Is President Trump the victim or lead practitioner of fake news and falsehoods? Is he the victim of overly critical news coverage?
Is news online inherently corrupted by how it’s measured?
What’s good and bad about news delivered on social media?
What’s better and worse about consuming news through comedic satire?
What’s the worst form of news media bias?
Compare your thoughts on the News Media last August, to how you view the News Media now.
WED AUG 23 CHARLOTTESVILLE 8/12: THE DAY, THE PRESIDENT AND THE MEDIA
Lecture: Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville and his charge that the media presented a one sided view of the day encapsulates several themes of this course: Trump’s claims of being victimized by the media, Trump’s reliance on falsehoods, the signals he sends to the alt-right through the media and his complaint that most news outlets did not cover the violence committed by the left.
FRI AUG 25 COURSE INTRODUCTION. WHY NEWS IS FREEDOM
Read: Elements of Journalism Introduction and Ch. 1 What is Journalism For?
Ch 3. Who Journalists Work For.
Lecture. Course introduction and how to succeed in the class. We will discuss the purpose of news in America and the responsibility citizens and leaders have to stay informed. The founders gave us the First Amendment, not because they loved the press, but because they saw free and open information as essential to freedom itself.
THE WEEK OF AUGUST 28. WHY IT MATTERS HOW NEWS IS FINANCED
MON AUG 28 WHAT NEWS DOES BEST —AND WHAT THAT COSTS
Read: Elements of Journalism, Ch. 6 Monitor Power and Offer Voice to the Voiceless.
Read: The News Media pp 1-119. Intro, The Past, The Present
Lecture. What citizens have a right to expect from the news media, and how to recognize when the media fulfills its mission at the highest levels.
WED AUG 30 PAYING FOR LEGACY NEWS—MEASURE THE AUDIENCE
Read: Bookstore Packet : MDST 3680. Fall 2017 Packet. NEWS MEDIA.
——Chapter 11 “The Business of Producing Journalism” from The Ethical Journalist
Lecture: Most but not all US news organizations are businesses owned by large corporations which sell ads to pay for news gathering and to make a profit. How these companies measure audience size and who is in that audience has an impact on news coverage. The need for profit also creates an incentive to spend less on news.
FRI SEPT 1 PAYING FOR ONLINE NEWS. MEASURE THE CLICKS
Read: Be familiar with the web tracking software Chartbeat
Read: Be familiar with these online news charts.
Lecture: Old school media used to rely on daily or weekly ratings or circulation counts. Ratings and circulation determined what they could charge advertisers. But now, the audience for news online is measured every second, the ads are worth less, and the news is altered to maximize clicks and shares. The pressure to give an audience what it wants, not what it needs is higher than its ever been.
THE WEEK OF SEPT 4: THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA 1: TV NEWS
MON SEPT 4 HOW TO WATCH AND JUDGE TV NEWS
Read: Blur. Ch. 1 How to Know What to Believe Anymore
Ch. 3 The Tradecraft of Verification.
Ch. 7 Assertion, Affirmation. Where’s the Evidence?
—**In Blur, pay special attention when the book covers these distinctions. 1) News that’s verified versus news that’s emphatically asserted. 2) News that is fact checked versus news that is not. 3) News that originates in the field and features interviews with real people and experts, as opposed to news that originates on a set and relies on opinion.
Lecture. How to judge TV by whats on the screen. Does the broadcast show you reporters in the field or experts on a set? Does the broadcast feature interviews with real people who have been impacted by the issue in the news? Is the report based on first hand news gathering, or based on video purchased from outside providers?
WED SEPT 6 THE BROADCAST NEWS NETWORKS
Read: State of the Media
Network News Fact Sheet http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/network-news/
Lectures. As a business, broadcast news is composed of true networks using roughly 340 local stations each. It still commands huge audiences and profits. And even though you probably watch the broadcast networks over cable, broadcast news also transmits over the (extremely valuable) public airwaves, like a radio station. As a result, the networks are obligated under federal law to broadcast “in the public interest.” As we examine the highs and lows of broadcast news, you should judge whether the nets meet the public interest standard.
FRI SEPT 8 No Class.
MON SEPT 11 No Class.
WED SEPT 13 THE STATE OF LOCAL TV NEWS.
Read: State of the Media 2017
Local TV News: http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/local-tv-news/
Read: FCC study http://transition.fcc.gov/osp/inc-report/The_Information_Needs_of_Communities.pdf pp 13-14
Read: http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2013/special-reports-landing-page/the-changing-tv-news-landscape/ (Scroll down to read the findings on local TV News)
Lecture: Local TV news, which also uses the public airwaves, and also must broadcast in the public interest—is a source of concern because of the high profit demanded by station owners, which tend to be large, conglomerate media corporations. The audience still loves local TV, but newscasts are covering less city hall and statehouse news. Local news also features coverage by MMJ's, multimedia journalists, who report, edit and operate the cameras, which steals time from the reporters’ focus on facts.
FRI SEPT 15 LOCAL TV NEWS 2
Lecture. The Tale of Two Houston TV reporters.
We discuss the importance of Local TV news by highlighting the experience of two local TV reporters based in Houston. Internet Guest Appearance by Brandi Smith, the KHOU reporter who helped direct a first response team to a truck driver in imminent danger.
THE WEEK OF SEPT 18: MAINSTREAM MEDIA 2: PARTISAN CABLE TV NEWS, MSNBC VS FOX
MON SEPT 18 CABLE TV NEWS CNN
Read: State of the Media, Cable News
Read: Who Gets to Speak on Cable. http://fair.org/extra/who-gets-to-speak-on-cable-news/
Read: http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2013/special-reports-landing-page/the-changing-tv-news-landscape/ (this time, focus on the study’s findings on the time Cable devotes to reporting versus opinion.)
Lecture: Cable news comes to your home on a wire and is actually not composed of networked stations like broadcast news. It does not have to present news in the public interest. Cable is a superior news source when covering major breaking news, but after that, cable fills its airtime with panel discussions, live guest appearances, debate and punditry.
WED SEPT 20 WHATS DIFFERENT ABOUT FOX NEWS
Read: Fox Impact on Politics https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2604679
Lecture: Fox News rose to its position of influence by becoming the voice of politically conservative Americans who believe most mainstream news is politically liberal and elitist. But the Fox audience is old and white, it’s become a one sided platform for Republican candidates and causes, and some of its commentators have chosen to cheerlead for President Trump in what’s grown into an unprecedented alliance. That might be one reason its dominance at 9pm is slipping. Fox also provides a unusual level of misleading and non factual commentary, even for partisan news. It’s founder and two of it’s leading anchors recently lost their jobs while facing charges of sexual misconduct.
FRI SEPT 22 WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT MSNBC
Lecture: Trump’s election has pumped life into the once fading MSNBC, which tries to be the overtly liberal counterpart to Fox. Is MSNBC as partisan and as loose with facts as Fox can be? And what’s behind the phenomenal ratings increase for the new Queen of Cable, Rachel Maddow?
THE WEEK OF SEPT 25. MAINSTREAM MEDIA 3: NEWSPAPERS AND ORIGINAL REPORTING
MON SEPT 25 THE DECLINE OF NEWSPAPERS AND THE STAKES INVOLVED
Read: The paragraphs in this syllabus related to the required writing style.
Read: State of the Media Newspapers
Read: Losing the News, Chapter 1, The Iron Core. Chapter 7, Newspapers on the Brink.
Read: Layoffs at the WSJ. http://www.poynter.org/2016/layoffs-hit-the-wall-street-journal-2/437385/
Read: WSJ making money http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38927316
Read: Layoffs in Dallas http://www.poynter.org/2017/in-a-shift-away-from-print-the-dallas-morning-news-is-laying-off-25-and-outsourcing-its-newspaper-design/446918/?utm_source=Daily+Lab+email+list&utm_campaign=e261172d4f-dailylabemail3&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d68264fd5e-e261172d4f-396028457
Lecture: A the beginning of class, bring any questions related to the writing style required in this class.
Lecture: Printed newspapers are suffering an economic death spiral. The rapid decline of print subscriptions and ad revenue is forcing all newspapers to go online, where, despite a much larger audience, advertising income is minimal. Because digital—so far— does not pay the bills, papers have fired tens of thousands of reporters once devoted to watchdog, original journalism.
WED SEPT 27 ORIGINAL VERSUS DERIVED REPORTING
Read: Blur Ch. 5, Where Did This Come From. Ch 8 How to Find What Really Matters
Read; Who covers the statehouse. http://www.journalism.org/2014/07/10/who-covers-the-statehouse/
Lecture: Most original reporting begins with reporters on the phone, attending events, pouring over documents and public records or persuading sources to speak to them. Even in the digital age that job is still done mostly by newspaper and wire service reporters, who then find their work lifted and repackaged by TV news and everyone on the web. Some digital first organizations like Slate, Politico and BuzzFeed News do offer excellent original journalism. But most news on the web is offered by aggregators such as Google News or the Skimm, which collect, rank or repurpose the top news stories written first in the mainstream legacy press.
FRI SEPT 29 MAINSTREAM NEWS ETHICS. NOT AN OXYMORON
Read: Reuters’ 10 Journalistic Absolutes
Read: Code of Ethics, Society of Professional Journalists
Read: Dan Rather’s defense of the 2004 Memogate scandal
Lecture: One major advantage of the mainstream press is that despite some spectacular lapses, reporters are obligated to never commit factual error, never tilt a story based on personal politics and never do a story for pe rsonal gain. Reporters still get things wrong, but the real mainstream press has high ethical standards, which are enforced by suspensions and dismissals. This is not yet true in the digital world. The move to online news has created competitive pressures to post bulletins immediately by direct email or Twitter, which leads to a new world of postings that have not been verified.
**Paper One Due, Friday Sept. 29: 5pm on Collab/Assignments **
Persuasive essay. Pick one category of TV News. Is it a public service, or a disgrace?
WEEK OF MONDAY OCT 2. THE REVOLUTION 1: SOCIAL MEDIA
WED OCT 4 SOCIAL MEDIA FACEBOOK
Read: How the algorithm works. http://www.inma.org/blogs/Dancing-with-Platforms/post.cfm/facebook-s-legendary-algorithm-demystified?utm_source=Daily+Lab+email+list&utm_campaign=c19821047a-dailylabemail3&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d68264fd5e-c19821047a-396028457
Read: How Algorithms Decide. http://www.cjr.org/news_literacy/algorithms_filter_bubble.php
Read: Does Facebook Trending need an old school editor? http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/09/media/facebook-vietnam-photo/index.html?iid=SF_LN&mc_cid=046871aa56&mc_eid=1ebeb2e7c7
Read: Is Facebook Trending really neutral technology? http://www.cjr.org/innovations/in_at_least_one_respect.php
Read: How Facebook enforces “community standards”
Lecture: Facebook, a tech first company is taking over the news business in several ways. The Facebook Newsfeed page is where newspaper and TV reports are shared millions of times. Facebook Live makes any citizen a broadcaster. Facebook is adopting new protections against blatantly false news. But we don’t know whether Facebook is the scourge or savior of high quality news, because its algorithms only favor what’s popular.
FRI OCT 6 SOCIAL MEDIA TWITTER
Read: The Importance of Twitter Moments
Read: Athlete suspended over Twitter Hate http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/24/sports/baseball/steve-clevenger-suspended-seattle-mariners-twitter.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-4&action=click&contentCollection=Baseball®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article
Read: Twitter and the Pope
Read : Trusting Twitter
Read: Twitter and Harassment
Read: US Rising Reliance on Social
Lecture: Twitter is the most important news gathering tool in history, because like Facebook, it gives a voice to anyone who wants to be heard. It’s the leading source of citizen journalism. It represents a democratic movement in news, in which elite, educated editors are no longer the gatekeepers they used to be.
However, Twitter also magnifies falsehoods, rumors and hate, and mixes corporate messaging with the news.
WEEK OF OCT 9 THE REVOLUTION 2: DIGITAL FIRST NEWS
MON OCT 9 DIGITAL FIRST GIANTS: Slate to Politico to BuzzFeed News to HuffPo
Read. Rising Importance of Branded Content Ads
Lecture. Huffington Post. Slate. Vox. Politico. Buzzfeed and Gawker are news related websites that were born online, not as printed newspapers. Some are committed in varying degrees to producing investigative and original news. They use very different approaches, but are all in competition to find the largest online audience.
WED OCT 11 VICE: INTERNET TV FOR MILLENNIALS
Read or Watch: Vice.com, Vice News Tonight, HBO Vice
Lecture: Vice News is a rising powerhouse and innovator in video based news, foreign news and now a nighty newscast, all of it targeted at your generation. It’s hard news mixed with millennial edge and attitude. Vice also represents an emergent form of news thats fact based but not classically he-said, she said objective. Financially, how it makes money over time isn’t clear and it’s gamble that millennials will support serious news is unproven.
FRI OCT 13 DIGITAL NON PROFIT, PUBLIC SERVICE JOURNALISM
Read: Be familiar with the most recent editions of the sites listed here. Be prepared to discuss an article from each publication. This is also your random reading assignment.
Pro Publica http://www.propublica.org
Center for Public Integrity https://www.publicintegrity.org
Texas Tribune https://www.texastribune.org
Lecture. Non profit digital websites raise money from foundations and donors, and like PBS, this frees them to do watchdog investigative reporting without relying on clicks or shares and ad revenue. The result is high quality public interest, accountability reporting.
THE WEEK OF OCT 16. WHITE HOUSE VS THE MEDIA 1
MON OCT 16 SOCIAL MEDIA AND FAKE NEWS
Read: Elements of Journalism Ch 11. "The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens."
Read—Fake News based on Fear Leads to Policy Based on Fear.
The credibility of all online news is being threatened by online posts that are lies or purposeful distortions disguised as news stories. We examine whether and to what extent fake news impacted the 2016 campaign, why people either fall for it or share it by design and what responsibility the social media websites have in detecting and/or limiting fake news.
WED OCT 18 THE MEDIA AND THE 2016 CAMPAIGN
Read: Should the Press Use the Word: “Lie?” http://www.cjr.org/criticism/trump_birtherism_lie_media.php?newsletter
Donald Trump’s used Twitter to generate conflict and unprecedented levels of free media. Then he disparaged the media as crooked and dishonest. Through it all, his corp constituents saw his attack on opponents, and the press, as positives; evidence that Trump was the kind of tough, anti-establishment candidate they were seeking. We examine the media’s treatment of Trump, what the media missed, and how Trump exploited widespread distrust of the press.
FRI OCT 20 TRUMP AS THE VICTIM OF UNBALANCED OR FAKE NEWS
Lecture. President Trump’s claims that he’s treated unfairly by the press have an element of truth and in this lecture, we look from his perspective at the coverage that’s gotten under his skin.
THE WEEK OF OCT 23 WHITE HOUSE VS THE MEDIA 2.
MON OCT 23 TRUMP AS THE SOURCE OF LIES AND FAKE NEWS
Read: Trump and the Art of the Lie https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/us/politics/donald-trump-truth.html?mc_cid=50ac5a156c&mc_eid=1ebeb2e7c7
Lecture: Outside of the fake news debate, no President in the TV era has lied or relied on falsehoods to extent that Trump does. No President has used social media to spread falsehoods including those written by others. No candidate or President has been forgiven the number of lies he’s told. What’s the obligation of the news media to confront outright falsehood and what are the implications of how, in many corners of America, the truth itself is debatable?Reading: TBD
Lecture: We review the number of times Trump has either initiated truly fake news or used his Twitter account to spread fake news written by others.
WED OCT. 25 TRUMP VS PRESS CORP
We examine in real time the latest conflicts between the President and the reporters who cover him.
FRI OCT 27 EMERGENT THREATS TO THE NEWS MEDIA
Lecture: The press faces several new and unexpected threats from lawsuits, well funded opponents and a new breed of owners with a not quite free speech agenda.
THE WEEK OF OCT 30 THE ROLE AND IMPACT OF SATIRICAL NEWS
MON OCT 30 JON STEWART’S SATIRICAL NEWS INVENTION
Lecture. Jon Stewart sat behind a desk and showed video clips as if he were a news anchor, but his purpose was to mix satire and comedy to criticize politicians and the media. His brand of “fake news” was fact based, he paid fact checkers to avoid the charge of false claims. It made his brand so intelligent and hilarious, your generation learned more policy from The Daily Show than it did watching real news.
WED NOV 1 JOHN OLIVER’S NEXT LEVEL
Lecture. Stewart’s successors in the fake news arena took his ideas to new creative levels. John Oliver kept the fake news, fact based brand of satire and added elements of investigative reporting. Samantha Bee’s TBS show mixes satire and field reporting. Bill Maher weaves comedic satire into political roundtable discussions.
FRI NOV 3 INTERNET VISIT: CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT JIM ACOSTA
Class: CNN’s Jim Acosta visits by internet to talk about subjects you may find important for the paper..what’s it like covering President Trump day to day. How is he different from previous presidents? What’s it like when the President points at you personally and says “you are Fake News?” What is the challenge when dealing with the President’s press office, spokespeople and his Press Secretaries? Members of the class should come prepared to ask the questions.
***Paper Two Due Monday Dec 6. 5 pm, Submit directly in Collab Assignments***
Persuasive essay. Is President Trump the victim or lead practitioner of fake news and falsehoods? Is he the victim of overly critical news coverage?
THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 6 SATIRE WRAP UP. THEN BIAS 1: POLITICAL BIAS
MON NOV 6 STEPHEN COLBERT GETS ALL POLITCAL
Lecture: Stephen Colbert began to dominate late night entertainment talks shows after deciding to open every show with a takedown of the President Trumps latests tweets, decisions and behavior. 1130pm broadcast shows had never been used like this, but Colbert’s ratings have soared. Saturday Night Live has regained its fading mojo also by targeting the Administration.
WED NOV 8 LIBERAL BIAS
Read: The Political Bias List in Collab Resources
Read: Is “The Media” a meaningful phrase anymore? https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/dear-readers-please-stop-calling-us-the-media-there-is-no-such-thing/2016/09/23/37972a32-7932-11e6-ac8e-cf8e0dd91dc7_story.html?postshare=1421474647621966&tid=ss_tw
Lecture. Conservatives have long argued the mainstream press is politically biased in favor of liberal causes and Democrats. They have a point, especially on social issues like race, guns, gender equality and the presumptive need for government intervention. Those branded as liberal see themselves as truly objective reporters or outlets who are sometimes guilty of inadvertent mistakes. From their perspective, the charge of “liberal bias” is too often a marketing slogan raised by overtly biased right wing commentators or politicians who cry “liberal bias” falsely and cynically, knowing that true or false, millions of Americans will take the bait.
FRI NOV 10 CLASS VISITOR. CHRIS LICHT, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT
Class: Colbert’s lead producer, Chris Licht, visits us in person to discuss how he and Colbert and their team of writers and researchers produce the show everyday. Who thinks of the subjects to lampoon? Is anything out of bounds? Would the show lead most nights in the ratings without Donald Trump to parody? What’s different about today’s political comedy and satire compared to when Jon Stewart retired? Does Licht think Colbert is helping to educate or polarize the country?
THE WEEK OF MONDAY NOV 13 BIAS 2: CONSERVATIVE AND MARKET BIAS
MON NOV 13 LIBERAL BIAS 2
WED NOV 15 CONSERVATIVE BIAS
Lecture: Conservative news outlets are more profitable than liberal leaning outlets, and despite MSNBC’s resurgence, liberals don’t concentrate on MSNBC in the same way conservatives focus on Fox. The market in other words, rewards overtly conservative newscasts, magazines and websites. This makes conservative bias open, obvious and purposeful.
FRI NOV 17 MARKET BIAS
Read: The Press and Bernie Sanders http://www.cjr.org/analysis/bernie_sanders_underdog.php
Read: Columbia takes down Rolling Stone http://www.cjr.org/investigation/rolling_stone_investigation.php
Lecture. Market bias is news the audience demands because its entertaining or salacious, but not truly important. It’s the decision to cover more weather and less Congress, more Trump and no one else, more Clinton’s scandals and less Bernie Saanders. It’s any news that’s trending and popular at the expense of —for example—informative foreign news. One of the most destructive forms of market bias is conflict coverage—the coverage of heated disputes instead of policy being more calmly debated. Finally, market bias is the cause of confirmation bias; when a story so explosive and marketable, its too good to check. UVa suffered the worst kind of confirmation bias in the Rolling Stone debacle.
MON NOV 20 STRUCTURAL CORPORATE BIAS
Lecture. Outside of the confines of political bias, the American press generally does not question the value of a market based economy, the advantages of capitalism, or why corporations choose to give their profits to management and shareholders at the expense of workers. This bias partly exists because most elite reporters earn high salaries from large corporations and don’t recall when they were part of the working poor. This is structural corporate bias, and it helps explain why the news rarely focuses on workers’ wages and the number of working Americans in true distress.
WEEK OF NOV 27 GLOBAL AND HISTORIC PERSPECTIVES
MON NOV 27 WHERE THE PRESS IS OPPRESSED AND COURAGEOUS
Read: Committee to Protest Journalists: Getting Away With Murder
Read: Freedom House: Freedom on the Net 2016
Lecture. In too many places on earth today, honest news reporting can get you arrested, imprisoned or killed. In the face of those risks, reporters in every oppressed nation still go out fearlessly, because they see free information as a human right and the most effective way to combat and reverse the tyranny in control of their country.
WED NOV 29 EPIC FAILS: THE IRAQ INVASION: THE MORTGAGE MELTDOWN
Read: Read: Bookstore Packet : MDST 3680. Fall 2016 Packet. NEWS MEDIA.
From the book: Lapdogs, Ch 8. This is Scripted.
Lecture. Very few reporters questioned in depth the Bush Administration’s argument that a ground force invasion of Iraq was required because Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons for use against the US and allies like Israel. Reporters who did raise the most serious questions were essentially ignored.
Five years later the business press, despite its expertise and connections, missed the level of mortgage related gambling that put the world banking system at risk.
In both cases we look at the factors that put the mainstream press to sleep, or open to manipulation precisely when the public needed an aggressive press the most.
FRI DEC 1 EPIC MEDIA SUCCESS: MURROW TO WATERGATE TO CHURCH SCANDAL
Lecture. In this class we come full circle to discuss what happens when our free press, operating properly, exposes a level of criminality or injustice that transforms the country. What is the impact on our leadership after these stories? What level of power is returned to citizens who’d fallen victim?
MON DEC 4 COURSE REVIEW
TAKE HOME FINAL PAPER. Details disclosed in class.