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300-Level Interdisciplinary Course  
UI-382      History and Philosophy of American Mass Media
Catalog Description

An historical investigation of American mass media and the philosophies and concepts underlying their development from colonial to present times.

Course Content

This course examines American mass media development and history as a product of the social, cultural, historical, and political environment unique to America. The course incorporates analysis and discussion of significant events, personalities, and issues affecting mass media's development as well as its role in reporting those events. The course outline is as follows:

  1. The Media in Early America
    1. British Roots of the Colonial Press
    2. Colonial, Revolutionary, and Party Presses
    3. The Philosophy of Press Freedom
    4. Penny Press and Early Magazines
  2. The Media in an Expanding Nation
    1. Sectional, Abolition, and Civil War Presses
    2. The Frontier Press and Manifest Destiny
    3. The Press and Industrial America
    4. New Journalism, Pulitzer, Hearst, and Ochs
    5. Reform Journalism: The Muckrakers
  3. The Media in a Modern World
    1. The Film Industry
    2. Radio
    3. Advertising
    4. Magazines
    5. Public Relations
    6. Television
    7. Newspapers
    8. Internet
    9. Satellites
Nature of Course

This course is taught primarily through the lecture/discussion methods. Emphasis throughout the course is placed on weaving the mass media's growth and changes into the fabric of the nation's development as a democracy and as a diverse and culturally-rich society. Whenever possible, the course utilizes primary sources (newspapers, magazines, audio and videotapes) from the periods and events under investigation to encourage students to critically evaluate the media in their proper context. Students engage in historical research using primary and secondary sources for some assignments.

Student Expectations
  1. Attend class regularly.
  2. Complete all of the assignments.
  3. Participate actively in group activities.
  4. Complete research assignments using primary and secondary research.
  5. Complete all regularly scheduled exams, including the final exam.

Completion of 45 hours.



Credit Hours 3