—James Carey, 1997
—Thomas Edison, 1922



MONDAY 6-8:50 p.m. Fall 2008

Bettina Fabos, Ph.D.; Kate Elliott, GA
342 Lang Hall, office hours T, Th: 8:30-11 319 273 5972
Kate's Email Class Email
Mailbox: 326 Lang Hall 









UNI Catalog Description

Course Description

"Survey of basic mass communication processes, including history and structure of media and media-related industries and sales, audiences, effects, careers and future directions."  No prerequisites.

This course combines discussions about the media, history and culture, and focuses on how the media industries and audiences respond in creating our shared culture. The core ideas of this course: a diverse media is essential to democracy, culture is an ongoing and cyclical process, and media convergence is the future of mass communication.





Jan 10

Introductions/Course Themes; aAss Communication: A Critical Approach; The Critical Process/The Public Sphere

CH 1 PPT-- available for download on WebCT

  • Profile Form Assignment: Download form and instructions
  • ORAL HISTORY Assignment: Download Assignment
  • See an example of ORAL HISTORY best practices

Jan 17

HOLIDAY: Martin Luther King Day

UNI MLK Tribute: Visit the Center for Multicultural Education to hear Dr. Dwight Watson, dean of the College of Education, as we celebrate and the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. A reception follows Dr. Watson's address. 7:00pm - 9:00pm
  • Profile Form DUE in Office Mailbox--Fabos, 326 Lang Hall--by Jan. 18 (lose 1 pt. off your grade if it's late)
  • Ch. 1
  • Ch. 1: 1-page Review questions (DUE Jan. 24)
Jan 24

Information and New Technology

CH 2 PPT- available for download on WebCT

Jan 31

Sound Recording and Popular Music

CH 3 PPT-- available for download on WebCT


Feb 7

Popular Radio and the Origins of Broadcasting 

CH 4 PPT- available for download on WebCT.

Feb 14

Television and the Power of Visual Culture

CH 5 PPT-- available for download on WebCT

  • Ch. 5: pp. 143-156 (until "TV Enertainment: Our Comic Culture") and pp. 162-181.
  • Ch. 6: pp. 183-190 (really just the history section, until "Cable Comes of Age")
  • Ch. 5 + 6: 1-page Review questions DUE
Feb 21

Exam 1

Movies and the Impact of Images (introduced)


Julie Dash, award-winning filmmaker, discusses her body of work. With the debut of “Daughters of the Dust” in January 1992, she became the first African American woman to have a full-length general theatrical release in the United States.
Feb 28

CH 6PPT-- available for download on WebCT
A Wired vs. a Wiredless World

Ch. 7 PPT--available for download on WebCT

  • Ch. 6 pp. 190 (from "Cable Comes of Age")--209
  • Ch. 7 pp. 211-223 (until "The Development of the Hollywood Style")

     Ch. 6 + 7: 1-page Review questions DUE

March 7

Movies and the Impact of Images

CH 7PPT-- available for download (and easy printing) on WebCT

Ch. 10 PPT (Also available for download on WebCT)

  • Ch. 7 pp. 223-245
  • Ch. 10 pp 313-330
  • Ch. 7 + 10: 1-page Review questions DUE

    Come listen to award-winning filmmaker Andrew Jenks from MTV's "World of Jenks" as he gives a perspective, as only he can, on young success and the changing youth culture through media. Preceding his presentation, Jenks will sponsor a bone marrow donor registration. Jenks uses clips from his work to present this one-of-a-kind story. This event will be held at 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, in Lang Hall Auditorium.
March 21

Books and the culture of print
CH. 10 PPT (available for download on WebCT)

Ch. 8 PPT (Also available for download on WebCT)

Magazines in the Age of Specialization
Ch. 9 PPT (Also available for download on WebCT)


March 28

Exam 2

Courtney E. Martin, senior correspondent for "The American Prospect," will dicuss her book "Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists" in which she profiles eight young people doing social justice work on the ground.
April 4

CH 14 PPT (Also available for download on WebCT)

Advertising and Commercial Culture
CH 11 PPT (available for download on WebCT) Video notes: Sell & spin

April 11

Advertising (Continued)

Public Relations and Framing the Message
VIDEO: Toxic Sludge is Good For You

CH 12 PPT (available for download on WebCT)

April 18

Media Economics and the Global Marketplace

CH 13 PPT (available for download on WebCT)

April 25

Legal Controls and Freedom of Expression


5-6:50 pm, MONDAY, May 2

Exam 3



Oral History Project
This assignment requires you to interview a person age 60 or older about sound recording, film, radio, TV and cable use in the 20th century.  You can find project details and parameters
Exam 1 (lectures, readings, Ch. 1-5) 20%
Exam 2 (lectures, readings, Ch. 6-10) 25%
Exam 3 (lectures, readings, Ch. 11-14, 16) 25%
1-PAGE REVIEW QUESTION PAPERS. Answer questions about the chapter readings for the week they are due (See schedule) and hand them in DURING CLASS. 10 papers are due throughout the term. You have 12 chances to hand in 10 papers: in other words, you are allowed "two misses." You must NOT plagiarize from the textbook to write these papers: you must use your own words at all times to articulate the assignment questions.
Ownership Project
A critical analysis of your media collection: to what extent does your music, radio channels, movies, magazines etc. extend from dominant media corporations and what does this mean?
Attendance + Participation 5%
The final course grade is on a standard 100-point scale with 10-point grade intervals and plus/minus.
For all work, assume that average work merits an average grade -- "C."  Work should be better than average to merit a grade in the "B" range, and excellent/exceptional to merit a grade in the "A" range.

To do well on the exams:

  • Come to class, listen attentively, and take good notes.   Draw pictures to help you remember what is being discussed. Make your notes as interactive and memorable as possible. PPT slides will be available before class.
  • Read the book. Read the assigned chapter before the corresponding lecture, but it may also work to read the chapter immediately after the lecture.  In any case, you should re-read assigned chapters, or key elements of these chapters, right before the exams.
  • Complete the 1-page review question papers. These are due at the beginning of every class.
  • Take notes on all the videos screened in class.
  • Find a study mate. Make friends with someone else in class, or establish a study group with three or four peers. If you do miss a class, find good notes from your friend or group, but also have them talk through their notes (don't just photocopy your friend's notes and expect to have all the information covered in class--it's likely you won't understand key elements). NEVER ASK YOUR PROFESSOR FOR NOTES.
  • Know, in detail, every element listed on the study guides.  
  • Go over the review questions in the back of each textbook chapter.
  • Know each bolded term in every chapter.
  • Visit the web site to use the review resources and take the sample tests.  The questions on these tests are much more simple than you will find on the exams, and are only meant to be one more way to help you get to know the material covered in this course.
  • Take the exams. If you don't show up for an exam, you've missed the opportunity to take it.  If there is an emergency, you also have to provide notification (e.g., phone, email) in advance.  For example, if there is a funeral that you have to attend, email your obligation immediately, before the exam.  Makeups will not be granted unless you satisfy these requirements.
  • PLEASE NOTE: There will be no extra credit assignments offered, so take each exam seriously, read the book chapters and outside readings, complete the two projects, attend class, and provide thoughtful comments in class.
  • Posting and Calculating Your Grades: Grades will be posted in the classroom one class period after the exam.
    Do not ask for your grade in advance. I will leave it up to you to calculate your grades before the end of the term.

Attendance is not mandated, but it is tracked, and it figures into your overall grade.  An attendance sign-in sheet will be circulated in the beginning of each class.  Attendance over the entire term will be evaluated, based on unexcused absences. 

  • 0-1 absences=A,
  • 2-3 absences=B,
  • 4-5 absences=C,
  • 6-7 absences=D,
  • 8 or more=F. 

It is not a good idea to have someone sign for you if you are not in class. It is always in your best interest to come to class.

Class participation and involvement is highly rewarded.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no extra credit assignments offered, so take each exam seriously, read the book and outside readings, complete the two projects, complete the 1-page review papers, attend class, and provide thoughtful comments in class.


Plagiarism and Cheating
All work should be your own; use of published material should be documented as such with citations and/or quotes. Do not, for example, plagiarize from the textbook for your 1-page papers. Plagiarism and/or cheating will result in an "F" for the assignment, and may also result in a failing course grade and university disciplinary action.  See the 2004-2006 Catalog, Academic Ethics Policies, for more information.

Disability Services
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from illegal discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities.  Students requesting instructional accommodations due to disabilities must arrange for such accommodation through the Office of Disability Services.  The ODS is located at 103 Student Health Center, phone number: 273-2676.

Academic Learning Center's Free Assistance with Writing, Math, Reading and Learning Strategies
The Writing Center offers one-on-one writing assistence open to all UNI undergraduate and graduate students. Writing Assistants offer strategies for getting started, citing and documenting, and editing your work. Visit the Online Writing Guide and schedule an appointment at 008 ITTC or 319-273-2361.
The Math Center offers individual and small-group tutorials especially helpful for students in Liberal Arts Core math courses. No appointment is necessary, but contact the Math Center at 008 ITTC or 319-273-2361 to make certain a tutor will be available at a time convenient for you.
The Reading and Learning Center provides an Ask-a-Tutor program, consultations with the reading specialist, and free, four-week, non-credit courses in Speed Reading, Effective Study Strategies, PPST-Reading and -Math, and GRE-Quantitative and Verbal. Visit this website and 008 ITTC or call 319-273-2361