Mass Media, Society, and Democracy

COMM 1A: Fall Quarter 2015-16

Location: Bldg. 300, Room 300
Time: MW 1.30-2.50

Instructor: Shanto Iyengar (
Office Hours: Tue 11-1, 440 McClatchy Hall

Teaching Assistants: Tobias Konitzer (, Soohee Kim (

Class website:

This course examines the role of the news media in contemporary society, with particular attention to how variation in the ownership and regulation of news organizations influences democratic governance and informed citizenship. We further consider the potentially transforming effects of technology on the media-politics nexus.

The requirements include two exams (100 points each), a research paper based on an original content analysis of news programming (140 points), and participation in the Communication Department Subject Pool (5 points). The course grade will also reflect student participation and engagement in discussion sections (25 points). The research design and methodology underlying the paper will be spelled out in your discussion section. The deadline for submitting paper proposals (2-3 paragraphs in length) is Nov 2.

Sep 21 – Introduction: Media as a Political Institution

Sep 23, 28 – Limits on Press Freedom; Ownership and Censorship

Sep 30, Oct 5 – The Press as Monitor

Oct 7-19 – The Public Sphere; Information Markets and the Commercialization of News

Oct 21 – Introduction to Content Analysis

Oct 28 – Midterm Exam

Nov 2 – Media Stereotyping: (a) Race

Nov 4 – Media Stereotyping: (b) Gender

Nov 9, 11 – New Media, Selective Exposure, Polarization

Nov 16, 18 – New Media and Collective Action

Nov 30, Dec 2 – Media in Election Campaigns