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COM 107 Section 004

Spring 2015
Class: Mondays and Wednesdays, 08:00 – 09:20 A.M. RM 101 Newhouse I
Professor: Ji Won Kim
Office: 458, Newhouse III
Phone: 213-500-8303 (emergency only)
Office Hours:
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – noon;
Thursday 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.; and by

Professor: Stephen Song
Office: 458, Newhouse III
Phone: 315-416-3646 (emergency only)
Office Hours:
Monday 10:00 a.m. - noon;
Tuesday 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.; and by appointment

You are taking Communications and Society at a crucial time in the history of the media. The invention
of radio in the 1920s greatly influenced the future of the newspaper industry. The broad acceptance
of television in the 1950s had a serious impact on the newspaper industry, the magazine industry, the
film industry, and the radio industry. In a similar manner, the Internet is having a profound effect on
all the existing traditional media. These older media are trying to determine how to adjust to, and
make the best use of, the Internet. An additional aspect of this competition is the rise of usercreated digital content. Facebook, YouTube, and mobile device apps didn't exist a few years ago
so media are competing while also adjusting to and making use of user-created digital content. Some
call this the era of digital disruption.
In just over 40 years, we have gone from a landscape of mass media to niche media and user-created
individual media. All coexist but are fighting for their place at the consumer's table and for a piece of
the economic pie. The digitization of information has already drastically transformed the music
business, the newspaper and the magazine industries and may do the same to the television and film
industries. Advertising and public relations professionals are also significantly adjusting to this new
world which has opened up new avenues for persuasive content.
So this course is designed to give you an overview of the history, structure, performance, effects,
and future of mass media. Our focus will be on the developments in the United States, but we will
not overlook how the media operate globally. We will examine the power of the media, and the
limits to that power; the meaning of freedom of the press; the structure of media ownership; the role
of advertising in our for-profit media system; the current status of all the media as they adjust to the
Internet; the nature of news and its sister profession, public relations; and the impact of the media
on race relations. At the end of the course, we hope you’ll have a more critical understanding of the
role of media in American life, and of the demands on the professionals who create, manage, and
distribute media content. You may also have a better idea of the career paths open to you in your

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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

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studies at the Newhouse School, and upon graduation. You will also be a more critical media
consumer and a more mindful media producer.

Learn the meaning of the First Amendment’s freedom of press for citizens and for the
Learn how “news” is defined, distributed, supported, consumed, and evolving.
Explore the power of the media to inform, persuade, stereotype, and create popular culture,
as well as the limitations on that power.
Consider the social effects of the media, especially regarding racial, ethnic, and gender
diversity, and the impact of violence.
Develop an awareness of the business environment in which the media operate.
Study how advertising works, and how the ad industry is adjusting to the digital revolution.
Study how the public relations industry and the news business are intertwined.
Examine how digital media are changing the media landscape.

REQUIRED READINGS The required textbook for this class is:
* Media and Culture, An Introduction to Mass Communication (9th edition) by Richard Campbell,
Christopher Martin, and Bettina Fabos (Bedford/St. Martin’s, Boston and NY, 2015);
Be sure you buy the ninth edition, 2015 update, of the Campbell text.
The specifics of these reading assignments are detailed in the week-by-week outline for
the course that appears near the end of this syllabus.
There might be excerpts from other books as additional readings, which will be provided in PDF
format on Blackboard.
Please note: In order to get the most out of class discussions, you must read the week’s required
readings before you come to class that week. Given the amount of reading for this class, you are
better off keeping up on the readings and not letting them go until the week before the exams.

Check this site frequently, as we will be adding material throughout the semester and you can access
your grades there. You will need your Syracuse login ID and password to access the site.
We don’t take attendance, but it is highly recommended that you attend class every day. Some of
the material discussed in class is not in the readings but may be included on the exams. Class
discussions will also help your understanding of the complexity of the topics. Student who attend
class regularly and pay attention tend to do better on exams than those who don’t.

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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

Spring 2015
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Final grades will be based on the numerical scores earned from all assignments and tests according
to the following formula:
Due Date


Points possible



The One-Page Paper
Exam 1
Paper Due
Exam 2
Rewrite Due
Final Exam
Current Events Quizzes









100 points or 10% of the course grade.

There will be eleven current events quizzes throughout the semester. The purpose of the current
events quizzes is to encourage students to stay informed about major developments in the world, in
the nation, and in the media.
Regular consumption of major news outlets should help with this; thus, you might choose to listen
to All Things Considered on National Public Radio (FM 90.3), read The New York Times (Especially on
Mondays for news concerning media industries), check out news-related websites, or watch CNN.
The University provides to you, free of charge, The New York Times at boxes located around
the campus. Questions will primarily come from its front page.
 The current events quizzes will cover the major national and international events of the
previous few days and developments since the last CEQ. Keep your eye on the big picture.
In addition, every Monday the New York Times devotes much of the Business section
to media stories. Pay particular attention to those.
 There are no make-ups for these quizzes. If you miss one, you miss it. We’ll drop your
lowest grade at the end of the semester.

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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

Spring 2015
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The current events quizzes will be given at the start of the class and will take but a few minutes to
complete. These quizzes are not meant to be tricky. We will ask only about major events relating to
war, politics, the economy, culture, sports, media, and more. We will quickly go over the answer
afterwards. You will not get the quizzes back; your grades will be posted on Blackboard.
Exam 1: Monday, February 9, 100 points or 10% of the course grade
 It will cover all of the lecture and reading material assigned up until the day of the exam.
 The format: short-answer questions, multiple choice, and true/false questions.
Exam 2: Monday, March 23, 150 points or 15% of the course grade
 It will cover lecture and reading material since the first exam.
 The format: short answer questions, multiple choice, and true/false questions.
Final Exam: Thursday, April 30, 8 – 10am, 200 points or 20% of the course grade.
 The short answer, multiple choice, and true/false portion of the final exam will cover lecture
and reading material since the second exam.
 But unlike the first two tests, the final exam will include one or two essay questions that will
cover the entire span of the course.
 Make your travel plans accordingly. Do NOT ask for an alternate time.
The Campbell text is very readable but also very dense. We suggest that as you read the
chapters, pay particular attention to the “Key Terms” and the “Review Questions” listed at the
back of each chapter. The exam questions that are based on Campbell will come entirely from
these two study guides.
Total: 400 points (40%); The first draft: 250 points (25%), the rewrite: 150 points (15%)
Note: Please read all the directions for the writing assignment.

Analysis of an assertion of media effects in the popular press.
Assertion: (noun) a declaration, affirmation or claim open to challenge.
In the aftermath of the tragic murder of journalists and cartoonists at the French satire magazine
Charlie Hebdo, some news outlets decided not to publish reproductions of that magazine’s more
offensive cartoons for fear of angering Muslims and potentially bringing violence upon themselves.
Others have suggested that the videos of ISIS beheading Western citizens are effective propaganda
and recruiting tools, and have helped that organization attract young people from around the world
to them. And with record amounts of money spent on advertising during the 2014 midterm election
campaign, some people have wondered if wealthy corporations and individuals have too much

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influence in our politics. In all three of these cases, people are making assertions about the effects
of mass media on audiences.
Do the media have strong effects on audiences? Under what circumstances do media really affect
audiences? Should we be concerned about media violence or violent video games? Stereotyping?
Sexual messages in TV shows? Is Facebook use leading people to be overly dramatic or too shallow
(Consider instead melodramatic? shallow? Self-indulgent?) Outside the university setting, much of
what we learn about mass media effects comes from the popular press. Political figures, celebrities,
journalists and average citizens often talk about "the media" and their effects with a certainty that is
usually unwarranted. Such assertions of media effects are also often reported without comment or
analysis. The goal of this assignment is to have you analyze a significant assertion of media effects in
the popular press.
For this assignment, you will need to find an article in a reputable newspaper or magazine, or its
online equivalent, from the past four months (i.e. since Sept. 15) that features any kind of assertion
about media effects. The assertion can come from the author of the article or from a person quoted
in the story, and it need not even be the main focus of the piece, but it must make some sort of
claim that mass media content is having some sort of an effect.
Once you have found an article that in some way contains an assertion of a media effect, analyze
the credibility of this assertion. Do you believe it? Does this make sense to you? Why or why
not? Be prepared to justify your analysis with logical reasoning and supporting evidence.
You must gather outside research to do this assignment: You need to use at least eight (8)
sources, none of which can be any of the textbooks required for class (that means don’t rely
on the Campbell text!), nor textbooks from other college classes. There is a lot of scholarship on
the effects of mass media, so you should not have any trouble finding appropriate research.
Where to find research on media effects? One helpful tool is Communication and Mass Media
Complete, a database available to you through Bird Library’s website. You can also use other online
databases, such as ComAbstracts, JSTOR, and PSYCHinfo, that can help you find academic
research about media effects. You are strongly encouraged to use these resources to locate social
science research about your topic.
In your paper, you should:
 Briefly describe the media effect being asserted and who said it.
 Discuss the context in which the assertion was made, any evidence the source used
to support the assertion (if any), and any assumptions the source is making about the
 Critically analyze the credibility of the assertion using existing research – this point is
most important and should be a significant portion of your paper.
 Offer a conclusion that links this particular assertion to larger questions of how
much we should believe what we see or hear in the media.
Given your experiences with mass media, do you think the assertion is a fair and accurate one?
Does the source have the appropriate credentials to be believable on this topic, or are they trying to
persuade the audience to further some agenda? Is there any research that either supports or refutes
this assertion? You must use additional outside credible sources to support your analysis.

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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

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 Your paper should be between 1000 and 1200 words long, typed, double-spaced, with
normal margins and fonts. You are being given only 1000 - 1200 tightly written and wellchosen words to complete this assignment; no more.
 Include an Annotated Bibliography listing all the sources you used for this paper as well as
why they were beneficial for your analysis. You need only include a couple sentences for
each source. Neither the title page, the endnotes nor the annotated bibliography count
toward the word limit.
 Your references must conform to the APA citation style (a handout for this will be provided
in class, or see the below websites).
 Please include a word count for your paper on the bottom of the last page of your
assignment (most word processing programs feature a word count tool - highlight the body
of your paper before using this tool).
 Include a photocopy or print-out of the article you found that contains the media assertion,
with the assertion highlighted.
First draft due on Monday, February 23. We will grade the papers, and we will return them with
comments, line editing and a grade.
You will have the opportunity to rewrite the paper. Based on my comments, you will rewrite the
paper and make it much better. Students who received an A on the first submission need not
rewrite. Those who received an A- or a B+ may rewrite if they so choose. It is not required. Those
who received a B or below MUST rewrite. The rewrite is due in class on Monday, April 13. I
will return the rewrite, with a second grade, at the final exam.
The first draft of the paper is worth 250 points, or 25% of the final course grade. The rewrite
is worth 150 points, or 15% of the final course grade. If you do not rewrite, the grade on the
first draft is also the grade for the second draft. In other words, if you get an A on the first draft, 40%
of the course grade is an A (I will scale up the points accordingly). If you get an A- and choose not
to rewrite, 40% of the course grade is an A- (Note that it is possible the rewrite will not produce a
higher grade. It must be better than the first submission.)
How the paper will be evaluated. The paper will be graded based on the clarity, logic and
originality of your analysis, the strength of the justifications you provide, and the clarity of the
writing. Proofread your work and write multiple drafts. Make sure the paper is completely free of
misspellings, typos, and errors in grammar, punctuation and syntax. The paper should also be
interesting to read, as should everything you write at the Newhouse School.
We will be utilizing, which is a website that checks student work against a sizable
database of published works in order to detect possible duplications. You will be required to upload
an electronic copy of your paper to through our class Blackboard site on or before the
due date AS WELL AS turn in a printed copy to your instructor.
Note: You will lose points needlessly if you fail to follow these directions or turn in your assignment

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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

Spring 2015
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You must provide complete citations for each source that you use in your written work--both within
the body of your work and in the accompanying Works Cited page. Remember, even if you are
paraphrasing someone else’s words (as opposed to using a direct quote), you must still provide a
citation. The Internet is not the public domain. Material drawn from Internet sources must also be
cited. Never make up quotations, sources, “facts,” statistics, or any other material. Be prepared to
provide sources for every quotation or disputable fact. The following websites provide information
on how to correctly cite written, electronic, and broadcast sources using APA style (Note: the 3rd
link includes information on ways to cite TV programs):
LATE PAPERS: Deadlines are extremely important in all areas of professional
communication; no extensions will be granted except for documented illness or family
emergency. Technical difficulties (i.e. printer jams or hard-drive crashes) do not
constitute illnesses or family emergencies, so save your work frequently and know
where the nearest computer lab is located. Make sure you leave plenty of lead-time so
that if one of these problems arises, you will still be able to hand your work in on time.
Late papers will lose the equivalent of a full grade for every day they are late. We will NOT
accept papers via email - you must hand in a printed copy of your work in class.
Papers turned in on the correct day but after class will lose half a grade.

THE ONE-PAGE PAPER (50 points or 5% of the course grade)
For this assignment, I want you to watch “Generation Like,” an episode of the highly acclaimed
television journalism program Frontline. It is only about an hour long, and you can view it for free
online at following link:
After you have watched the program, I would like you to write up a short, one-page response to the
following two questions: What surprised you the most about this program, and why did it
surprise you?
Please answer these two questions as clearly and concisely as you can in only a single page of text.
Also be sure to focus on your grammar, spelling and word usage so that this is as excellent an
example of writing as you are able to produce. It should be clear, clean, concise, creative and
I am going to use this assignment as a diagnostic tool to assess your writing, but it is also as much
about following directions as it is about your writing. You must follow the following format
 Your name should be at the top of the page. I do not need a date, or the section number, or
the course number, or a clever title. Just put your name at the top.

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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

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Your one-pager must be only one page long. I will not even bother grading any one-pager
that has even a single word on page two.
Your one-pager should be typed and double-spaced. Do not use spacing that is less than
Your one-pager should use a normal font like Times New Roman or Arial, and normal oneinch margins. Do not stretch or shrink your margins.
A hard copy of the paper must be turned in on the due date. No email submissions will be

Failure to follow any of these format guidelines will result in a zero for the paper. The paper is
worth 50 points total, or 5% of your total grade for the class, and will be graded based on how
well it is written as well as how well it answers the two questions. This assumes, of course, that you
have followed the above guidelines.
The paper is due on Monday, January 26 at the start of class. No email submissions will be
accepted. Papers handed in on the same day but after the start of class will automatically lose 10
points, and papers turned in after the due date will lose 25 points for every day they are late. If a
student cannot be in class that day, and cannot get a friend or classmate to turn in their work for
them, only documented excuses due to illness or approved university business (i.e. on a sports team)
will be considered, and documentation cannot come from parents.
Students may earn up to a maximum of 20 extra credit points, which will be added to the overall
point total at the end of the semester. Extra credit is offered only at the discretion of the instructors,
who cannot guarantee the availability of many opportunities. Students can earn extra credit points
only by participating in the following activities:
1) Attending lectures by instructor-approved guest speakers on campus (who are speaking about
communications-related issues) and writing up a brief (2 page double-spaced maximum) reaction to
what you saw. Each write-up is worth up to 5 points and due within two class periods. Each
reaction paper is “graded” on a ✓–(worth 1 point), ✓ (3 points), ✓+ (5 points) basis.
2) Participating in an instructor-approved graduate student or faculty communication research
project. Verification of participation (from the researchers) is worth 5 points.

Laptops and tablets are NOT allowed in class. During lecture, you will only require a notebook,
a writing implement. Cell phones should be silenced and put away during the class. Think of the
classroom as a professional environment, and therefore any interactions with your professor and
classmates should be respected in nature. Text messaging, checking Facebook, or other activities
not connected to class are considered unprofessional and it will impact your grade.

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Special needs policy: Students with disability-related academic needs must register with the
Office of Disability Services (804 University Avenue, Room 309, 443-4498). Then bring us a
current Accommodation Authorization Letter from ODS so we can review those
accommodations together in my office.
Get this done quickly so we can make
accommodations because none will be provided retroactively. Further information is on the
ODS website, and they can be e-mailed at The Telecommunications
Device for the Deaf is reachable at 315-443-1371. Our community values diversity and seeks to
promote meaningful access to educational opportunities for all students.
Religious Observances: SU’s religious observances policy can be found at SU recognizes the diversity of
faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty
and staff to observe religious holy days according to their tradition. Students will be provided an
opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirements that may be missed due
to a religious observance provided they notify the instructor before the end of the second week
of classes. Students who plan to observe a religious holiday this term must use the online
notification process on MySlice, available only the first two weeks of classes. These notices will
then be forwarded to faculty.
Academic dishonesty and plagiarism: Don’t do it. It is your responsibility to attribute all
sources whether they are quoted word for word or paraphrased. You may not submit any work
that has been previously or is simultaneously being submitted for credit in another class.
Do not EVER make up quotations, sources, “facts,” or any other material. Put all material you
quote directly in quotation marks. Provide a source for all such material, whether paraphrased
or quoted. Be prepared to provide a source for every quotation or fact that might meet with
Footnote material drawn from the Internet, just as one would footnote material drawn from
books, magazines, newspapers, personal interviews, and so on. The Internet is not the public
domain. See a good Writer’s Manual available in bookstores, Bird Library’s site, or look at online sites for correct ways to cite sources, if you are unsure of how to do so.
SU’s academic integrity policy can be found in the current SU Student Handbook or at The Newhouse School follows the SU Academic Integrity
Policy, which holds students accountable for the integrity of any work they submit. The policy
governs the integrity of work submitted on exams and on assignments as well as veracity of
signatures on attendance sheets verifying participation in class activities.

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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

Spring 2015
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On the following pages are the topics we will discuss in class, and the reading assignments to be read
before each session. Please try to stay current with the reading so that you will have a context for
the lectures.

Spring 2015



COM 107 Course Timeline

M 1/12 Introduction of the course
W 1/14 CEQ1
Why study media? Communication, media and
culture; Eras in communication
M 1/19 MLK Day (no class)
W 1/21 CEQ 2
Understanding the tug-of-war over free
expression in the United States
M 1/26 Libertarian Theory of the Press and the First

Camp. Ch. 1

Camp. Ch. 16
Camp. Ch. 16

One-page paper due


1/28 CEQ 3
Journalism overview; the culture of journalism:
values, ethics, democracy
2/2 What is news? Newsworthiness; objectivity vs.
2/4 CEQ 4
The theories of media effects; agenda-setting,
framing, cultivation, the third-person effect, and
uses and gratifications
2/9 Exam 1

Camp. Ch. 14


2/11 The economics of the media system; the growth
of the major media conglomerates

Camp. Ch. 13


2/16 The business model for media and advertising

Camp. Ch. 11


2/18 CEQ 5
How Google changed advertising; advertising in
the digital age
2/23 Advertising, creativity, and the commodification
of culture

Camp. Ch. 11

2/25 Strategic communication and public relations;
What PR people do

Camp. Ch. 12







Camp. Ch. 8
Camp. Ch. 15

Camp. Ch. 11

Paper due


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Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

Spring 2015
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3/16 Television and the Internet; from mass to niche
3/18 CEQ 7
Netflix, streaming, and TV viewership
3/23 Exam 2


3/25 Newspaper industry in the age of screens


3/30 Online journalism; innovation in journalism









Public relations and crisis communication; the use
of social media in PR practices
Broadcasting history and radio; industry in the
digital age
Spring Break (no class)

Camp. Ch. 12
Camp. Ch. 5

Camp. Ch. 6

Camp. Ch. 8

Paper hand-back

Camp. Ch. 9
Magazines in the digital age; webzines and tablets
4/6 Comparing and contrasting characteristics of
Camp. Ch. 2
traditional versus digital media
4/8 CEQ 9
Effects and implications of social media use; social
media for communicators
4/13 The music business and the Internet; copyrights,
Camp. Ch. 4
piracy, and streaming services

Rewrite Due





4/15 CEQ 10
Video games and interactivity
4/20 Film Industry: Rise and fall and rise again
4/22 CEQ 11
More on the film industry: franchises and the
digital distributions
4/27 Study guide for final exam
4/30 Final Exam: 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

COM 107
Professors Ji Won Kim & Stephen Song

Camp. Ch. 3
Camp. Ch. 7
Camp. Ch. 7

Spring 2015
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