All posts by sbarnard

Blog Post #5: The New Media Frontier [DUE TUESDAY BY 11:59 PM]

You should now have a pretty good understanding of some of the major dynamics affecting the Media/Society relationship.  In light of this quarter-long conversation, it is now time for you to offer your final thoughts, questions, concerns, and/or predictions about the current and future state of the new media environment.  How will new media culture and technology influence the civic actions of you and your peers?  How will it affect the lives of your children?  How much will change or stay the same?  Don’t be afraid to include inside/outside material to support your argument.

Blog #4: Critically Evaluating Content

By now, we have discussed a number of key issues with media (mis)representations, and the assigned readings provide numerous examples of avenues for critical analysis.  Like it or not, there is practically an endless supply of more recent examples just waiting to be unpacked.  This is where you come in.

First, select a piece of online media content to focus on—it could be news, opinion, entertainment, advertising, or otherwise.  Then, write a brief, critical analysis of the text.  What ideologies underlie the text?  What stereotypes are reinforced or reinforced?  Are there other apparent problems?  What consequences does each of these have?  Be sure to link to (or better yet, embed) the content in your blog post so the rest of us can share in the fun

Blog #3: Examining Journalistic Action at the Gates–Due Friday 2/14 by 11:59 PM

As we have learned, the new media environment is quite different than it was just a decade ago.  The growth of the participatory web has created new avenues for “the people formerly known as the audience” (Rosen 2006) to be a significant force within the media world.  From Wikileaks and the Snowden files, to Facebook, Twitter and Upworthy, citizen-actors are a growing force in the media world.  Still, many of journalism’s traditional realities remain, including powerful social processes rooted in institutional norms.

Your task for this blog post is to contend with this issue through a brief analysis of a real-world example.  First, select an example—such as a major news event, notable information network, and/or citizen group.  Then, dedicate your blog post to unpacking the significance of traditional and new media influences.  Did your case of study include gatekeeping, gatewatching, and/or gatecrashing practices?  How so?  Are these forces conflicting or mutually reinforcing?  Are there challenges or resolutions made apparent?  (HINT: Do your best to support your points with evidence and links.)

Blot Post #2: You are the regulator

By now, we have discussed many of the core issues surrounding the regulation of American media, which remain heavily debated and in constant motion.  Our textbook breaks the regulation issues down into two main categories.  The first category is “Ownership and Control,” which includes debates over regulating ownership of media outlets, ownership of programming, and Net Neutrality, among others.  The second category is “Content and Distribution,” which includes debates over regulating for content diversity (i.e. the Fairness Doctrine), morality, ratings and warnings, among others.

First, select a category and subsequent regulation issue to focus on.  Next, identify the core issues and perspectives at stake in the debate.  Who benefits and who is constrained by the regulation?  How would that differ if the regulation was written by the ‘other side’?  Finally, weigh in on the issue given what you know so far.  Do you have suggestions for altering or synthesizing the regulation that you think are improvements?  Explain and provide support for your argument.

Blog Post #1: Mapping Media Ownership [DUE FRIDAY, 1/17 BY 11:59 PM]

In this assignment, explore a major media corporations, analyze its holdings, and comment on what you find. In addition to focusing on traditional media companies, you might also find it interesting to explore the growing media holdings of Web and technology companies such as Google and Facebook.

1. Choose a company to explore.

2. Use a search engine to find the company’s main Web site.  Visit the Web sites of the companies and carefully catalog both their media and non-media holdings.

3. Make an “ownership map”—a list of the companies and products owned by the two corporations, grouping the holdings by type of media.  (See the examples in Chapter 2 of Media/Society.  You do not need to create a fancy chart; a list by category is fine.)

4. Write a brief blog post that profiles your company, drawing upon the key concepts from your readings: conglomerate, concentration of ownership, vertical and horizontal integration, “synergy,” etc.  Don’t just repeat what you’ve cataloged in your “map.” (HINT: Many of the corporate Web sites include a recent company “Annual Report,” which can provide important insight into the company’s business strategy and view of their holdings. You might also benefit from the following resources: ; ; ; ;

5. Finally, reflect on what you’ve found.  Did you recognize some of the media outlets or products owned by your company?  Were you surprised by anything you found?  Explain.


Welcome to our class website.  This site will host the majority of our out-of-class interactions, including our thoughts and written assignments on issues related to media and culture.  Please take some time to get familiar with this site.  And if you’re looking for course announcements, readings, and other assignments, wander on over to our Blackboard page.