Course Description:

This course examines the theoretical and actual role of mass media, including social media, in the United States: the structure of the media industry, news production, effects on political and social views, and regulations. Every day, we are bombarded with hundreds of news items through dozens of channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google, blogs, text messages, webcasts, podcasts, radio, television, the printed press, and more. It is difficult enough to endure and process the information stream, but citizens must also make up their minds not just about what to consume, but also whom to trust and what to believe. The diversity of available angles, voices, and worldviews has never been greater. The rapid and radical changes we witness in our news and information environment makes public and private decisions even more difficult. Yet, in a democratic society, so much hangs in the balance on how well-informed the citizens are.