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COMM 291

Inquiries into Communication

Designated topics in communication and theatre are explored. May be repeated with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

Kevin Howley

291B: Tps: Histories of the American Press

American journalism is at a crossroads. Rising public mistrust of the profession, coupled with the advent of digital technologies and, most ominously, government persecution of journalists and their sources, represent a unique challenge to the Fourth Estate. This course places the contemporary crisis of journalism in historical context. Specifically, this course examines the role of journalism in recording as well as shaping US history. As such, the course tells the story of the democratization of American society. In addition to covering the standard history of US news media, the course explores the long but often neglected history of advocacy and activist journalism in US social, political, and cultural life. Furthermore, by calling critical attention to the untold stories of journalism practiced by racial, cultural, and political minorities, this course examines the relationship between "alternative" and "mainstream" journalism.

Meg Kissinger

291C: Tps: Muckrakers, Scandals and Scamps

At its best, journalism comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. It holds the power to set innocent prisoners free and bring presidents to their knees. But what happens when all that power goes to their heads? The class will explore journalism's greatest triumphs and most cringeworthy failures. We'll review work of the Muckrakers of the late 1800s to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, Walter Reed, WikiLeaks and the NSA. And we'll examine what happens when reporters "break bad:" Janet Cook, Stephen Glass, Jason Blair, Brian Williams.

Expect weekly quizzes, a mid-term paper and a final paper.