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Course Information

Instructor Info:James Miller
Office Extension x5510
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
02:30 PM - 03:50 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221
02:30 PM - 03:50 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221

In this course, we will become familiar with documentary, popular and scholarly representations of journalists at work. We will read literature on issues in present-day American journalism. And we will carry out limited observations of actual journalists on the job.

 Required book: Kovach and Rosenstiel (2007) The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, rev’d ed. New York: Three Rivers Press.  Available for purchase at Amherst Books downtown on Main Street. Also on Reserve at the Library. All other readings are available on the course website.

Evaluation Criteria:

Assignments and Responsibilities

 You are expected to come to class having done the assigned readings, viewed the films and carried out the projects - ready to engage in a spirited, informed discussion of them.

Course work must be completed by the assigned date. No late work will be accepted unless you have provided a reasonable explanation in advance. More than two absences will result in no evaluation.

The course website will be kept as current as possible. It is your responsibility to keep an eye on it.

Your responsibilities include:

 • Essay: 3-5 pp., posted on the website no later than midnight, Sun 23 September; to be discussed in class on Mon 24 September.

 • Provide updated examples to illustrate our discussion of Kovach and Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism, posted on the website no later than midnight of the day preceding our discussions.

 • Issues blog. Choose an issue concerning US contemporary journalism (the list below suggests some) and during the term find and post information about it. Make a brief oral report about your issue.

 • Carry out fieldwork. This is tentative and subject to change, but probably half the class will form pairs and shadow/observe journalists at work in local news media. The other half may meet as a group in a meeting with journalists at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton.

 • Present an oral report on your fieldwork of about 15 minutes, including Q&A and a slide show or other audio-visual complement (or something still more imaginative like a mini-play, a video, etc.).

 • Final research paper: 5-9 pp., posted on the website no later than noon Mon 17 December. The online course evaluation must also be completed by this time. The paper will probably make connections between your fieldwork and a journalism issue we discussed.


Additional Info:

Some Issues

 Loss of newspaper readers, migration of classified and display advertising away from newspapers, consolidation of (cross media) ownership, media consumption patterns of young people, tabloidization, loss of distinction between hard and soft news, fewer journalism jobs, low pay of most journalists, increasing reliance on freelance journalists (not a regular job, no benefits or job security), ethics scandals, rise of non/anti-professional journalisms (satire, citizen journalism, blogging, etc.), crowd sourcing as alternative news/information.