syllabus-journalism-and-american-democracy

Journalism and American Democracy
AMST 30188, JED 30119, POLS 30164
Professor: Josh Roiland
Office: Flanner Hall 1038
Email: jroiland@nd.edu

“No substantial famine has ever occurred in a country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press.”
—Amartya Sen, economist

Course Description
This course will explore the relationship between American journalism and American democracy. Historically, the press has been understood as a key source for inspiring political interest through the dissemination of timely and relevant information. This relationship is perhaps no more important than during an election year like this one. But the connection between the press and the citizenry is complex. The sociologist Michael Schudson has argued that journalism is but one part of culture, rather than the main influence on it. In this class we will take up Schudson’s claim and examine the evolving forms and styles of journalism and the various ways in which citizens encounter and utilize the news. We will examine philosophies of democracy and philosophies of journalism and interrogate their intersections. And we will explore these, and many other, questions: What are the obligations of citizens in a democracy? How do citizens use the press? How does public discourse respond to different styles of journalism? What influence does journalism have on social organization? How does the press affect voting? How does the press account for marginalized publics? What is the relationship between individual rights and the public’s right to know? In answering these questions, our class will not only take a historical look at the changing conceptions of democracy and the professional conventions of the press, it will also apply historical lessons to contemporary issues. Specifically, we will monitor the various forms of journalism—print, online, broadcast, radio—as they cover the 2012 election. Evaluation will be based on class participation, short papers, contributions to an election campaign blog, and a final project.

Required Texts
• Doris Graber, Mass Media and American Politics, 8th Ed.
• Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, 2nd Ed.
• Geneva Overholser & Kathleen Hall Jamieson, eds., Institutions of American Democracy: The Press

Course Requirements & Evaluation
• Mandatory daily attendance and class participation: 20%
• Four Reading Responses (700 words) 20% (total)
• Two Practice Assignments 20% (total)
• Campaign Blog Participation 10%
• Research Paper 30%

Reading and Writing Schedule

WEEK 1: Introductions & Definitions
Tuesday
Course Introduction
Thursday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “Making News” xiii-xxi
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “Defining Journalism” 3-7
Barbie Zelizer, The Press, “Definitions of Journalism” 66-80

WEEK 2: History of News
Tuesday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “Does News Matter?” 8-25
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “Media Bias” 26-56
Thursday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “Where News Came From…” 57-82
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “In Recent Memory…” 83-108

WEEK 3: Phantom Public or Great Community?
Tuesday
Walter Lippmann, “The Nature of News,” “News, Truth, & a Conclusion,” “The Appeal to the Public” from Public Opinion
John Dewey, “Search for the Great Community” from The Public and Its Problems
Thursday
C. Marvin & P. Meyer, The Press, “What Kind of Journalism Does the Public Need” 400-412

WEEK 4: Journalism and September 11
Tuesday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Reporting Extraordinary Events” 111-128
James Carey, “American Journalism On, Before and After September 11”
Thursday
William Prochnau, The Press: “The Military and the Media” 310-332
M. Stephens & David Mindich, The Press, “The Press and the Politics of Representation” 384-399

WEEK 5: The Public Sphere
Tuesday
Craig Calhoun, “Habermas and the Public Sphere”
Michael Schudson, “Was There Ever a Public Sphere?”
Thursday
James Curran, The Press, “What Democracy Requires of the Media” 120-140

WEEK 6: The Fourth Estate
Tuesday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Media Power and Government Control,” 1-26
W. Lance Bennett & William Serrin, The Press, “The Watchdog Role” 169-188
T. Glasser & M. Gunther, The Press, “The Legacy of Autonomy in American Journalism” 384-399
Thursday
Daniel Schorr, The Press, “Journalism and the Public Interest” 303-310

WEEK 7: News and the Marketplace (of Ideas)
Tuesday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “News in the Marketplace” 109-127
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Ownership, Regulation, and Guidance of Media” 27-45
Thursday
Robert G. Picard, The Press, “Money, Media, and the Public Interest” 337-350

WEEK 8: The Press in Practice
Tuesday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “News Sources” 127-146
Robert M. Entman, The Press, “The Nature and Sources of News” 48-65
Thursday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “News Making and News Reporting Routines” 75-110

WEEK 9: Fall Break
NO CLASS (Fall Break)

WEEK 10: Narrative Journalism
Tuesday
Jim Sheeler, “Final Salute”
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “News as Literature and Narrative”
Thursday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “The Media as Policy Makers” 129-158
Jim Sheeler Public Lecture (Mandatory Attendance)

WEEK 11: News and Political Campaigns
Tuesday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “The Political Culture of News” 147-160
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “The Struggle for Control…” 225-258
Thursday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Elections in the Internet Age” 193-224

WEEK 12: Election Week!
Tuesday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Media Influence on Attitudes and Behaviors” 159-192
Thomas Patterson & Philip Seib, The Press, “Informing the Public” 189-202
Thursday
Esther Thorson, The Press, “Mobilizing Citizen Participation” 203-220

WEEK 13: Freedom of the Press
Tuesday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “Law, Democracy, and News” 188-204
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Press Freedom and the Law” 49-74
Thursday
B. Sanford & Jane E. Kirtley, The Press, “The First Amendment Tradition and Its Critics” 263-276

WEEK 14: Underrepresented Publics
Tuesday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Covering the Justice System and State and Local News” 259-285
Pamela Newkirk, The Press, “The Minority Press: Pleading Our Own Cause” 81-91
Thursday
NO CLASS (Thanksgiving)

WEEK 15: The Future of News
Tuesday
Michael Schudson, The Sociology of News, “The First News Revolution…” 205-230
Thursday
J. Carey & N. Hicks Maynard, The Press, “The Future of News, The Future of Journalism” 415-432

WEEK 16: Imperiled Democracy?
Tuesday
Doris Graber, Mass Media, “Current Trends and Future Directions in Media Policy” 316-348
Thursday
Michael Schudson, “The News Media and the Democratic Process”

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