Mass Communication & Culture, MCOM 639

Spring 2016
Mass Communication & Culture, MCOM 639
Communication Management Master’s Program
6:30-9:10 p.m., Wednesdays
Instructor: Prof. Beth A. Haller, Ph.D.

Contact: bhaller@towson.edu
Office phone: 410-704-2442
Office location: Van Bokkelen Hall, Room 205B

Get to know me online:
CV: http://pages.towson.edu/bhalle/CV.html
Blog: http://media-dis-n-dat.blogspot.com

Course Materials:
Textual analysis, A Beginner’s Guide by Alan McKee (2003).
• Selected readings that I will provide on Blackboard or will be available as links.
APA Style Guide, which you can access online through Cook Library: http://cooklibrary.towson.edu/citing-sources

Course Description:
This course will teach students about mass communication and culture by studying media and communication texts. We will look at a variety of textual analyses of mass media that discuss race and gender, as well as representations of sexual orientation, economic class and people with disabilities. After an overview of textual analysis techniques, the bulk of the course will be based on the students’ own interests. Students will select media or communication content to analyze and conduct their own textual analysis research project.

Assignments & Grading:

Article presentations: First, you must sign up to summarize, present and lead discussion of one research article that use content or textual analysis as their methodology. I will provide the articles, which everyone must read. This involves putting together a typed summary (approximately 1 page in length) to be distributed to your classmates and instructor. You will be responsible for offering a polished presentation 10-15 minutes in length, which should not simply restate your written summary (or narrate the reading) but rather focus on explaining how the methodology was used and what the findings and conclusions were.

Textual analysis research paper: You will write a research paper that uses textual or qualitative content analysis as its methodology. In preparation for this paper, you will submit your literature review and a research proposal. The media or communication topic you examine should be considered against the backdrop of related scholarship, and your research should contribute to a larger understanding of the topic. Your research and analysis should be sufficiently unique as to (potentially) make a contribution to the existing literature.

Article presentation & class contributions: 15%
Research proposal (with beginning draft of theme list): 10%
Literature review (At least sources) 15%
Research paper & its presentation (18-24 pp.) 60%

Articles for presentation Student name
Walsh, K. R., Fürsich, E. & Jefferson, B.S. (2008). Beauty and the Patriarchal Beast: Gender Role Portrayals in Sitcoms Featuring Mismatched Couples. Journal of Popular Film and Television. Vol. 36, Issue 3
Compton, J. (2006). Serious as a heart attack: Health-related content of late-night comedy television. Health Communication, Vol. 19: 2.
Merskin, E. (2007). Three Faces of Eva: Perpetuation of the Hot-Latina Stereotype in Desperate Housewives. Howard Journal of Communication. Vol. 18.
Fink, J. S. & Kensicki, L.J. (2002). An imperceptible difference: Visual and textual constructions of femininity in Sports Illustrated and Sports Illustrated for Women. Mass Communication & Society. Vol. 5:3.
Lester-Roushanzamir, E. P. (1999). The global village in Atlanta: A textual analysis of Olympic news coverage for children in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 76: 4.
Greer, C. F. & Ferguson, D. A. (2011, May). Using Twitter for promotion and branding: A content analysis of local TV Twitter sites. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.
Waters, R. D., Tindall, N. T. J. & Morton, T. S. (2010). Media catching and the journalist–public relations practitioner relationship: How social media are changing the practice of media relations.
Sanderson, J. (2010). Framing Tiger’s Troubles: Comparing Traditional and Social Media. International Journal of Sport Communication, 3:438-453.
Billings, A. C. et al. (2015). The art of coming out: Traditional and social media frames surrounding the NBA’s Jason Collins. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.  Vol. 92(1) 142–160.
Painter, C. & Ferrucci, P. (2012). Unprofessional, Ineffective, and Weak: A Textual Analysis of the Portrayal of Female Journalists on Sports Night. Journal of Mass Media Ethics. 27:248–262.
Coleman, R. & Major, L. H. (2014).Ethical Health Communication: A Content Analysis of Predominant Frames and Primes in Public Service Announcements. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 29:91–107.

Research Proposal (5-7 pp.): The proposal should explain the nature of your topic, identify your research question(s), and discuss how your research contributes to existing literature. You will also detail the content/texts you will analyze and outline the relevance of that material for your project. Additionally, you should attach the beginning draft of your theme list, as well as examples of the text(s) and/or media content you plan to analyze.

Please note that you will not be allowed to change your topic after turning in your research proposal.

Literature Review (5-8 pp): You will prepare the lit review section of your paper in advance of your final paper. The lit review should have a minimum of 20 sources. These should be primarily peer-reviewed scholarly articles, as well as related articles from industry publications. Your literature review should be concise but also comprehensive. Do not simply summarize each article but take an analytical approach to discuss how the literature relates to your research project. Explain any consensus or controversy about the articles. The lit review and the final paper should be cited in APA style, as well as have a full reference list in APA style. You will drop this literature review into your final paper, after you have revised it based on my feedback. This website has additional information on lit reviews, as well as some examples: http://www8.esc.edu/esconline/across_esc/library.nsf/3cc42a422514347a8525671d0049f395/46c31e3773d8747b852570ad00700699?OpenDocument

Research paper (18-25 pp.): This paper should contain:

(1) An introductory section (not longer than 2-3 pp.) that presents your thesis (main argumentative point) and explains how this thesis will be explored through your textual analysis.
(2) A literature review section (5-8 pp.), which frames the questions/problems addressed by your paper within a larger scholarly discussion. This section should provide the reader with a context for the significance of your research project.
(3) Method section (2-4 pp.). Discuss how you are applying the McKee book in your paper. Explain how this methodology fits your project. Discuss how you developed your theme list.
(4) Findings (10-15 pp.): In this section, you should report what your analysis discovered. How do your findings support your thesis? Give examples from the content or text you analyzed as evidence of how what you found does or doesn’t support your hypothesis. (Be sure to cite text examples in your references.)
(5) Conclusion (about 1-2 pp): Do not simply summarize your analysis! Instead, you should draw out the significance and implications of the thesis demonstrated within the body of the paper and relate your findings to the contribution you’re making to the literature.
(6) References: Your paper should cite 20 or more sources you included in the final paper, including any content or text examples used in the finding and conclusion sections.
(7) Theme list attached.

You will be expected to turn in your research paper on the day they are due. Any delay will result in a 5% grade deduction per each day of delay (not per each class meeting). I do not allow make-ups for presentations if you are not present during the originally scheduled time for them. Exceptions are made only for the following situations: illness, jury duty, religious observances, family emergency, and participation in University activities at the request of an authority of the University. Each case must be documented accordingly. If you must miss class on a day when an assignment/test is due, please contact me in advance, if possible.

Final grades will be calculated on the basis of points scored in each evaluation activity. The following scale will be used:

A = 93% and above A- = 90% – 92.9%
B+ = 87% – 89.9% B = 80% – 86.9%
C = 73% – 79.9% D = 63% – 72.9%
F = below 63%

General Grading Criteria:

C = Your work is essentially accurate, follows most instructions, applies APA style correctly and provides relevant examples, but (1) lacks a clearly stated thesis or research questions/hypothesis, (2) lacks a comprehensive literature review, (3) is not unique and adds little to the existing literature, OR (4) does not follow the methodological structure discussed in class.

B = Your work is accurate, follows directions, is well-organized, applies APA style and has a clear thesis, research questions/hypothesis and analysis. However, your paper does not elaborate enough on why your analysis and findings are particularly interesting or important from a communication perspective.

A = In addition to the virtues of a B assignment, your work uses multiple examples from your content or text analysis. Your projects’ analyses and your paper’s conclusions are especially compelling, insightful, and creative.

D = Your work contains many APA style, grammatical, mechanical or spelling errors; it reflects minimal effort, but there is some evidence that you have done the assigned readings.

F = Your work contains numerous APA style, grammatical, mechanical and spelling errors; it reflects minimal effort; OR there is no evidence that you have read or understood the assigned readings.

NOTE: Compliance with the guidelines of the APA style manual (most recent edition) will be included in the grading of your assignments. This includes but is not limited to cover sheet, margins, formatting, in-text and reference list citations. If you are unfamiliar with these guidelines, please familiarize yourselves with them as soon as possible.

The Structure of the Course:

I hope this course will be a participatory, collaborative learning experience. As it will be discussion-oriented, please come to each class with questions, comments or critiques of the assigned readings.

Some class discussions and activities will cover material not in the assigned readings, so you will need to attend all classes and be ready to discuss the readings with me and each other. Attending class and doing the readings are the BEST things you can do to master the course material. Just showing up does not count as active participation and is not enough to earn you points for class contribution. To earn points for class participation you will have to demonstrate that you have read the assigned texts by contributing to our class conversations and voicing your ideas and opinions. If you consistently arrive late or leave early, you will receive no class participation credit at the end of the course.

Attendance Policy: Attendance and active participation are expected. You are allowed a maximum of two undocumented absences. If you accumulate more than two undocumented absences, your final score will be decreased by 5% per each additional absence. If you leave early or arrive more than 10 minutes late you will receive an absence. As per Towson policies, I will accept documents for absences only in one of the following five situations: sickness, religious holidays, family emergency, jury duty, and traveling for university purposes. (Please bring supporting evidence).

Some General Course Policies:

Laptop Policy: You are welcome to take notes on your laptop while attending class. However, please use your laptop only for class purposes. Web browsing or other non-class related activities will result in a class participation deduction.

Cell Phone Policy: Please make sure to switch off your cell phone before coming to class. The vibrate mode is still too disruptive to be acceptable. If you have an emergency and must leave your cell phone on during class time, please let me know before the beginning of the course period and use vibrate mode.

Academic Dishonesty: Please familiarize yourself with the University policy on academic integrity by accessing the following link:
http://wwwnew.towson.edu/studentaffairs/policies/academicintegrity.asp. Several types of behaviors constitute academic dishonesty and are not acceptable. Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, which involves but is not limited to presenting other people’s words and ideas as your own, submitting essays or portions of essays written by other people as your own, improper source citation, no source citation, or using materials posted on websites without acknowledging the source. Additionally, using fictitious sources also counts as academic dishonesty. Should you behave dishonestly, you will fail the course. If you have any questions or doubts about this issue, feel free to consult with me.

Sexual Harassment: The University specifically prohibits sexual harassment in any form. Please consult the University’s policies on this issue.

Disability Statement: If you have a disability which will affect your performance in this class, please notify the Disability Support Services. That office will contact me directly so that I can make appropriate accommodations. To access the website for Disability Support Services, please access the following link: http://wwwnew.towson.edu/dss/.

Course Schedule & Readings

January 27: Overview and syllabus review 

Read these short research articles before this class and we will discuss this method and you will use it for your own projects in this course.

Austin, L.L. (2010). Framing diversity: A qualitative content analysis of public relations
industry publications. Public Relations Review. (Blackboard).

Borah, P. (2009) Comparing Visual Framing in Newspapers: Hurricane Katrina Versus Tsunami. Newspaper Research Journal.  (Blackboard).

Gibson, K.L. (2009). Undermining Katie Couric: The Discipline Function of the Press. Women & Language. Vol. 32, No. 1. (Blackboard).

Feb. 3: Why mass media content matters; framing theory

McKee, A. (2003). Chapter 1. What is textual analysis & Chapter 2. Does it really matter how people make sense of the world?

Shoemaker, P. & Reese. S. (1996). Analyzing media content, in Mediating the Message. (Blackboard)

Wright, C. R. (1986). Cultural content of American mass communication. Mass Communication, A sociological perspective. NY: Random House. (Blackboard)

Review of framing theory and Goffman’s Frame Analysis

Feb. 10: Textual/content analysis as methodology

Haller, B. (2010). Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media. Chapter 2. Researching media images of disability: How content analysis provides a method for assessment. (Blackboard).

McKee, A. (2003). Chapter 3. What’s interpretation got to do with it?

Fursich, E. (2009). In defense of textual analysis: Restoring a challenged method for journalism and media studies. Journalism Studies, Vol. 10, No 2: 238-252. (Blackboard).

Haller, B. & Becker, A. (2014) “Stepping backwards with disability humor? The case of NY Gov. David Paterson’s representation on ‘Saturday Night Live,’”  Disability Studies Quarterly.  http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3459/3527

Feb. 17: Textual Analysis – popular culture
Assignment Due: Email me a few sentences about what you thinking about for your final research paper

McKee, A. (2003). Chapter 4. How do I know what’s a likely interpretation?

Walsh, K. R., Fürsich, E. & Jefferson, B.S. (2008). Beauty and the Patriarchal Beast: Gender Role Portrayals in Sitcoms Featuring Mismatched Couples. Journal of Popular Film and Television. Vol. 36, Issue 3. (Blackboard)

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Compton, J. (2006). Serious as a heart attack: Health-related content of late-night comedy television. Health Communication, Vol. 19: 2. (Blackboard).

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Merskin, E. (2007). Three Faces of Eva: Perpetuation of the Hot-Latina Stereotype in Desperate Housewives. Howard Journal of Communication. Vol. 18. (Blackboard).

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Painter, C. & Ferrucci, P. (2012). Unprofessional, Ineffective, and Weak: A Textual Analysis of the Portrayal of Female Journalists on Sports Night. Journal of Mass Media Ethics. 27:248–262.

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Feb. 24: Textual analysis and news topics

McKee, A. (2003). Chapter 5 & 6. Can’t we make it a bit more scientific? & Is that it?

Fink, J. S. & Kensicki, L.J. (2002). An imperceptible difference: Visual and textual constructions of femininity in Sports Illustrated and Sports Illustrated for Women. Mass Communication & Society. Vol. 5:3. (Blackboard).

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Lester-Roushanzamir, E. P. (1999). The global village in Atlanta: A textual analysis of Olympic news coverage for children in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 76: 4. (Blackboard).

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Billings, A. C. et al. (2015). The art of coming out: Traditional and social media frames surrounding the NBA’s Jason Collins. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.  Vol. 92(1) 142–160.

• Student presenter______________________________________________

March 2: Textual/content analysis – social media and PR
Assignment: Email me 100-150 words on what you are considering for your research project by the time class begins.

Greer, C. F. & Ferguson, D. A. (2011, May). Using Twitter for promotion and branding: A content analysis of local TV Twitter sites. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. (Blackboard).

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Coleman, R. & Major, L. H. (2014).Ethical Health Communication: A Content Analysis of Predominant Frames and Primes in Public Service Announcements. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 29:91–107.

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Waters, R. D., Tindall, N. T. J. & Morton, T. S. (2010). Media catching and the journalist–public relations practitioner relationship: How social media are changing the practice of media relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 22(3):241–264. (Blackboard).

• Student presenter______________________________________________

Sanderson, J. (2010). Framing Tiger’s Troubles: Comparing Traditional and Social Media. International Journal of Sport Communication, 3:438-453. (Blackboard).

• Student presenter______________________________________________

March 9: Library research
Presentation by librarian Joyce Garczynski

March 13-20: Spring Break

March 23:

Sign up for individual meetings

Assignments due: Research Proposal Due

March 30:
Individual meetings with me — 20 min. meetings
Work on literature review/final research paper

April 6:
Individual meetings with me — 20 min. meetings
Work on literature review/final research paper

April 13:
Assignment Due: Literature Review due

April 20:
All your text/content should be analyzed by now.

April 27:
Additional individual meetings at student’s request; otherwise use the class time to work on your research paper.

May 4:
Assignment Due: Research paper presentations
~Students will present their final paper topics to the class in informal 20-minute oral presentations. The final paper need not be complete and won’t be turned in until May 11, the last class. You should present your paper’s content verbally with a few Powerpoint slides to illustrate your project.

Liability Statement
“In all assignments, students must comply with all laws and legal rights of others (e.g., copyright, obscenity, privacy and defamation) and with all Towson policies (e.g. academic dishonesty). Towson University is not liable or responsible for the content of any student assignments, regardless of where they are posted.”
————————————————————————————–—————————-
TOWSON UNIVERSITY
College of Fine Arts and Communication
Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
Towson, MD 21252
410-704-3431

M E M O R A N D U M
TO: All Students in the Department Of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
FROM: Department Faculty
SUBJECT: PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING

Plagiarism

The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies adheres to the following policy regarding plagiarism:

1. Any words or images taken directly from another source (including the Internet) must be footnoted or cited and in quotation marks. Similarly, in oral presentations, attributions must be clear.
2. Any ideas derived from a source not in the public domain or of general knowledge must be clearly attributed.
3. Any paraphrased material must be footnoted or cited. In oral presentations, attributions must be clear.
4. All papers and presentations must be the student’s own work. Submission of papers or presentations authored by others, even with their consent, constitutes plagiarism.

Any student found plagiarizing in any of the above ways will receive an automatic “F” for the assignment and may receive an “F” for the course. Documented evidence of the plagiarism will be kept in the department office, and will be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs.

Any student discovered soliciting others to write a paper, speech, test, or other assignment for that student will receive an automatic “F” for the course.

There are ambiguities in concepts of plagiarism. Faculty will be available for consultation regarding any confusion a student may have.

Most students are careful to avoid blatant plagiarism, the unacknowledged copying of exact words of the source. However, students must also be aware that the concept of plagiarism extends not only to wording but to patterns or sequences of ideas. If you paraphrase without acknowledgement, using the same sequence or structure as the original author, then you are plagiarizing.

Students have the right to appeal a charge of plagiarism. An appeal starts with the chairperson of the department.
Cheating

The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies has adopted the following policy regarding cheating: ANY STUDENT CAUGHT CHEATING ON ANY QUIZ OR EXAM WILL RECEIVE A MINIMUM OF AN “F” ON THE QUIZ OR TEST AND A MAXIMUM OF AN “F” FOR THE COURSE.

Revised 1-11-05
——————————————————————
Civility Code Introduction
Revised (approved by COFAC College Council 11/8/2011)

All College of Fine Arts & Communication Studies students, staff, and faculty are committed to collegial and academic citizenship demonstrating high standards of humane, ethical, professional, and civil behavior in all interactions.

We must take responsibility for the relationship between our personal conduct and the quality of campus life. What we do and say always has an effect on others, whether we see it or not. Civility means more than respecting campus facilities and grounds. Civility means consistently treating people with consideration and respect. It means being courteous, polite, and fair. It means recognizing diversity and honoring differing points of view. When our behavior is guided by concern for others in our community, we are being civil. Practicing civility requires thoughtful behavior and checking our assumptions and perceptions of others’ race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, abilities, culture, belief systems and economic status.

Civility Code

COFAC places a priority on learning. We value the inherent worth and dignity of every person, thereby fostering a community of mutual respect. Students have the right to a learning environment free of disruptive behaviors. Faculty have the right to define appropriate behavioral expectations in the classroom and expect students to abide by them. Faculty have the responsibility to manage and address classroom disruption. Staff have the right and responsibility to define appropriate behaviors necessary to conduct any university activity free of disruption or obstruction.

We believe that in order to achieve these ideals, all COFAC students, staff, and faculty are expected to exhibit and practice civil behaviors that exemplify: (1) respecting faculty, staff, fellow students, guests, and all university property, policies, rules and regulations; (2) taking responsibility for one’s choices, actions and comments; (3) delivering correspondence – whether verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic – with respectful language using professional writing standards and etiquette; and (4) accepting consequences of one’s choices and actions.

The use of threatening or abusive language, writing, or behavior will not be tolerated and can lead to academic dismissal. Further information about civility can be found in Appendix F of the university catalog.

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