Apr 25, 2024  
2020-2021 Course Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POL 163 - News Media and Politics

Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 3
Lab Hours: 0
Practicum Hours: 0
Work Experience: 0
Course Type: General
This course will examine the role the news media plays in politics. Focus will be on the relationship among the voting public, the mass media, policy makers and elected officials. The current or most recent election cycle will be assessed. This course is designed for both political science and journalism students. Students may not receive course credit for both POL 163 and JOU 163 .
Competencies
During this course, the student will be expected to:

  1. Examine the relationship between the news media and the American political system.
    1. Outline the relevant historical background of political news coverage.
    2. Assess the development of political coverage by the news media based on modern technological innovations and formats.
    3. Evaluate the hierarchical structure of a news organization.
    4. Define media mergers, and investigate the political effects of such mergers.
    5. Evaluate modern campaign strategies and tactics toward media
    6. Outline the current political party structure in the USA
    7. Outline and discuss current party platforms, and the role of candidate selection in their development.
    8. Outline and discuss the role of third party movements in campaigns and media coverage.
    9. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of commercial news media           in covering political parties, campaigns and elections.
  2. Examine the relationship between reporters and prospective and elected public officials.
    1. Demonstrate an understanding of bias by reporters.
    2. Develop and implement a checklist to ensure balance and fairness in reporting.
    3. Demonstrate the construction of media manipulation by campaigns and by media gatekeepers.
    4. Analyze the relationship between the office of the president and White House reporters.
    5. Assess the academic contributions of selected news media professionals.
    6. Discuss the role of media in campaign imaging and commercial advertising.
  3. Examine the relationship between the news media and the public.
    1. Define informed (attentive public), mass public and media elites.
    2. Assess the media impact on public opinion in campaigns and elections.
    3. Define agenda-building.
    4. Define public journalism.
    5. Explain Graber’s four functions of the mass media.
    6. Define gatekeeping and the roles of media gatekeepers.
  4. Describe the role of political news within the news media structure.
    1. Develop and apply criteria for news judgment in editing and production.
    2. Analyze story placement.
    3. Define and explain the implications of “framing”.
  5. Assess the role of money in and the use of mass media in political campaigns.
    1. Review current status of campaign finance (reform) legislation.
    2. Discuss methods of avoiding campaign finance law in partisan           politics.
    3. Evaluate the connection between campaign finance and advertising.
    4. Correlate campaign spending with election winners.
    5. Evaluate the performance of lobbying organizations in election           outcomes.
    6.  Examine the key First Amendment decisions related to lobbying           (Citizen’s United).
  6. Investigate the power of the news media in political campaigns.
    1. Explain the structure and intent of a newspaper editorial.
    2. Analyze the effect of private sector endorsements in political campaigns.
    3. Explain the impact of polling, exit polling, and surveys by the news media.
    4. Assess candidate/office-holder dependency on polling data
    5. Create, field-test, report, and evaluate a poll (questionnaire)
    6. Analyze campaign advertising for ideological content, connotation, and socialization.
  7. Apply principles of journalism ethics in political news coverage.
    1. Examine policies regarding use of anonymous sources in political news.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of public records and Freedom of Information Requests.
    3. Analyze the political roles of the journalist.
  8. Illustrate the role of media regulation on political news coverage.
    1. Describe government regulations that affect political reporting.
    2. Trace the evolution of the fairness doctrine, and the political effects of its elimination.
    3. Analyze the media implications of the legal doctrines of prior restraint, “need to know” and reasonable suspicion.
  9. Analyze the role of new media in political news coverage.
    1. Explore the role of the Internet and electronic communication.
    2. Discuss the impact of motion pictures and video games as forms of political discourse.
  10. Evaluate the political news coverage of the most recent election.
    1. Apply news values of objectivity, fairness, accuracy to political stories.
    2. Evaluate the expression and maintenance of ideological balance.
    3. Examine the role of editorials in agenda-building and “commonality of thinking.”



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