Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Building the Field of Digital Media & Learning

Posted by: PNNOnline on Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The MacArthur Foundation has announced plans to build the emerging field of digital learning, committing $50 million over five years to the effort. The Foundation will fund research and innovative projects focused on understanding the impact of the widespread use of digital media on our youth and how they learn.

“This is the first generation to grow up digital – coming of age in a world where computers, the internet, videogames, and cell phones are common, and where expressing themselves through these tools is the norm,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “Given how present these technologies are in their lives, do young people act, think and learn differently today? And what are the implications for education and for society? MacArthur will encourage this discussion, fund research, support innovation, and engage those who can make judgments about these difficult but critical questions.”

MacArthur’s approach is comprehensive, extending beyond the classroom to assess how digital technology may be transforming youth in both their formal and informal learning environments. The research will test the theory that digital youth are different because they use digital tools to assimilate knowledge, play, communicate, and create social networks in new and different ways. The Foundation’s efforts will connect people across a variety of academic, education, commercial, and nonprofit fields to assess implications and seed new collaborative projects.

Eighty-three percent of young people between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games regularly; nearly three-quarters use instant messaging. On a typical day, more than half of U.S. teenagers use a computer and more than 40 percent play a video game. Using websites like MySpace and Facebook, young people are sharing photos, videos, music, ideas, and opinions online, connecting with a large group of peers in new and sometimes unexpected ways.

MacArthur has released the first in a series of papers on digital learning topics. The paper, authored by MIT Professor Henry Jenkins, describes a participatory culture for young people and addresses the potential benefits and educational implications. In 2007, the Foundation will publish six books, online and in print, representing leading research and thinking on a range of digital learning topics. Topics will include credibility, unintended consequences of digital media, civic engagement, the ecology of games, race and ethnicity, and identity and digital media. Online public conversations, which have already begun, will help shape the content of these books.

MacArthur has already funded exploratory work in the field of digital learning:

A large-scale ethnography of young people that will provide a broad portrait of the digital generation: technology's influence on their social networks and peer groups, their family life, how they play, and how they look for information.

A software application that engages young people in creating games to learn about ethical judgment, aesthetic design, systemic thinking, and collaborative problem solving.

Research on media literacy, exploring ways to teach it in the classroom and through after-school activities.

Online discussions and a written essay competition for kids in which they describe their everyday use of digital media.

An examination of how digital learning may change social institutions and developing new designs for schools and libraries.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & The Birth of PR
by Larry Tye

Book review by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton

Today, few people outside the public relations profession recognize the name of Edward L. Bernays. As the year 2000 approaches, however, his name deserves to figure on historians' lists of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

It is impossible to fundamentally grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments of the past 100 years without some understanding of Bernays and his professional heirs in the public relations industry. PR is a 20th century phenomenon, and Bernays--widely eulogized as the "father of public relations" at the time of his death in 1995--played a major role in defining the industry's philosophy and methods.

Eddie Bernays himself desperately craved fame and a place in history. During his lifetime he worked and schemed to be remembered as the founder of his profession and sometimes drew ridicule from his industry colleagues for his incessant self-promotions. These schemes notwithstanding, Bernays richly deserves the title that Boston Globe reporter Larry Tye has given him in his engagingly written new book, The Father of Spin.

In keeping with his obsessive desire for recognition, Bernays was the author of a massive memoir, titled Biography of an Idea, and he fretted about who would author his biography. He would probably be happy with Tye's book, the first written since his passing.

The Father of Spin is a bit too fawning and uncritical of Bernays and his profession. We recommend it, however, for its new insights into Bernays, many of which are based on a first-time-ever examination of the 80 boxes of papers and documents that Bernays left to the Library of Congress. The portrait that emerges is of a brilliant, contradictory man.

Tye writes that "Bernays' papers . . . provide illuminating and sometimes disturbing background on some of the most interesting episodes of twentieth-century history, from the way American tobacco tycoons made it socially acceptable for women to smoke to the way other titans of industry persuaded us to pave over our landscape and switch to beer as the 'beverage of moderation.' The companies involved aren't likely to release their records of those campaigns, assuming they still exist. But Bernays saved every scrap of paper he sent out or took in. . . . In so doing, he let us see just how policies were made and how, in many cases, they were founded on deception."

In an industry that is notable for its mastery of evasions and euphemisms, Bernays stood out for his remarkable frankness. He was a propagandist and proud of it. (In an interview with Bill Moyers, Bernays said that what he did was propaganda, and that he just "hoped it was 'proper-ganda' and not 'improper-ganda.'")

Bernays' life was amazing in many ways. He had a role in many of the seminal intellectual and commercial events of this century. "The techniques he developed fast became staples of political campaigns and of image-making in general," Tye notes. "That is why it is essential to understand Edward L. Bernays if we are to understand what Hill and Knowlton did in Iraq--not to mention how Richard Nixon was able to dig his way out of his post-Watergate depths and remake himself into an elder statesman worthy of a lavish state funeral, how Richard Morris repositioned President Bill Clinton as an ideological centrist in order to get him reelected, and how most other modern-day miracles of public relations are conceived and carried out."

Many of the new insights that Tye offers have to do with Bernays's relationship with his family and his uncle Sigmund Freud, whose reputation as "the father of psychoanalysis" owes something to Bernays' publicity efforts. Bernays regarded Uncle Sigmund as a mentor, and used Freud's insights into the human psyche and motivation to design his PR campaigns, while also trading on his famous uncle's name to inflate his own stature.

There is, however, a striking paradox in the relationship between the two. Uncle Sigmund's "talking cure" was designed to unearth his patients' unconscious drives and hidden motives, in the belief that bringing them into conscious discourse would help people lead healthier lives. Bernays, by contrast, used psychological techniques to mask the motives of his clients, as part of a deliberate strategy aimed at keeping the public unconscious of the forces that were working to mold their minds.

Characteristically (and again paradoxically), Bernays was remarkably candid about his manipulative intent. "If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it," he argued in Propaganda, one of his first books. In a later book, he coined the term "engineering of consent" to describe his technique for controlling the masses.

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society," Bernays argued. "Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."

This definition of "democratic society" is itself a contradiction in terms--a theoretical attempt to reconcile rule by the few with the democratic system which threatened (and still threatens) the privileges and powers of the governing elite. On occasion, Bernays himself recoiled from the anti-democratic implications of his theory.

During Bernays' lifetime and since, propaganda has usually had dirty connotations, loaded and identified with the evils of Nazi PR genius Joseph Goebbels, or the oafish efforts of the Soviet Communists. In his memoirs, Bernays wrote that he was "shocked" to discover that Goebbels kept copies of Bernays' writings in his own personal library, and that his theories were therefore helping to "engineer" the rise of the Third Reich.

Bernays liked to cultivate an image as a supporter of feminism and other liberating ideas, but his work on behalf of the United Fruit Company had consequences just as evil and terrifying as if he'd worked directly for the Nazis. The Father of Spin sheds new and important light on the extent to which the Bernays' propaganda campaign for the United Fruit Company (today's United Brands) led directly to the CIA's overthrow of the elected government of Guatemala.

The term "banana republic" actually originated in reference to United Fruit's domination of corrupt governments in Guatemala and other Central American countries. The company brutally exploited virtual slave labor in order to produce cheap bananas for the lucrative U.S. market. When a mildly reformist Guatemala government attempted to reign in the company's power, Bernays whipped up media and political sentiment against it in the commie-crazed 1950s.

"Articles began appearing in the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Atlantic Monthly, Time, Newsweek, the New Leader, and other publications all discussing the growing influence of Guatemala's Communists," Tye writes. "The fact that liberal journals like the Nation were also coming around was especially satisfying to Bernays, who believed that winning the liberals over was essential. . . . At the same time, plans were under way to mail to American Legion posts and auxiliaries 300,000 copies of a brochure entitled 'Communism in Guatemala--22 Facts.'"

His efforts led directly to a brutal military coup. Tye writes that Bernays "remained a key source of information for the press, especially the liberal press, right through the takeover. In fact, as the invasion was commencing on June 18, his personal papers indicate he was giving the 'first news anyone received on the situation' to the Associate Press, United Press, the International News Service, and the New York Times, with contacts intensifying over the next several days."

The result, tragically, has meant decades of tyranny under a Guatemalan government whose brutality rivaled the Nazis as it condemned hundreds of thousands of people (mostly members of the country's impoverished Maya Indian majority) to dislocation, torture and death.

Bernays relished and apparently never regretted his work for United Fruit, for which he was reportedly paid $100,000 a year, a huge fee in the early 1950s. Tye writes that Bernays' papers "make clear how the United States viewed its Latin neighbors as ripe for economic exploitation and political manipulation--and how the propaganda war Bernays waged in Guatemala set the pattern for future U.S.-led campaigns in Cuba and, much later, Vietnam."

As these examples show, Tye's biography of Bernays is important. It casts a spotlight on the anti-democratic and dangerous corporate worldview of the public relations industry. The significance of these dangers is often overlooked, in large part because of the PR industry's deliberate efforts to operate behind the scenes as it manages and manipulates opinions and public policies. This strategy of invisibility is the reason that PR academic Scott Cutlip refers to public relations as "the unseen power."

Bernays pioneered many of the industry's techniques for achieving invisibility, yet his self-aggrandizing personality drove him to leave behind a record of how and for whom he worked. By compiling this information and presenting it to the public in a readable form, Tye has accomplished something similar to the therapeutic mission that Freud attempted with his patients--a recovery of historical memories that a psychoanalyst might term a "return of the repressed."

Published in PR Watch, Second Quarter 1999, Volume 6, No. 2

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

David Hockney's Secret Knowledge

David Hockney claims many famous paintings were traced using camera-like devices.


NEW YORK—From the moment David Hockney began to suspect that the Old Masters had created many of their paintings with the help of lenses—in effect tracing their subjects— he insisted he was not saying they cheated.

"Optical devices certainly don't paint pictures," Hockney said. "Let me say now that the use of them diminishes no great artist."

Yet as he studied prints of five centuries' worth of paintings on a "Great Wall" in his Los Angeles studio, there was an unmistakable gotcha to his mission. He knew that many art historians would be horrified at what he was suggesting.

Did Vermeer use a lens to help him capture the intricate patterns in the folds of a tablecloth? Or Caravaggio, to re-create a curving, foreshortened lute? Even Rembrandt fell under Hockney's gaze. He could not have been looking through a lens while creating his haunting self-portraits. "But," Hockney said, "he might have for the helmets and armor."

Before long, Hockney was wearing a T-shirt blaring, "I Know I'm Right."

This weekend gave him a chance to see if others agreed. Two dozen artists, museum curators and scientists were invited to the Greenwich Village campus of New York University to debate Hockney's theory about the Old Masters.

Weekend Conference in-N.Y. Gets Heated

The subject may seem obscure, but it drew overflow crowds for two days as essayist Susan Sontag, painter Chuck Close and others got to tell the 63 year-old British artist whether his account—detailed in a newly published book, "Secret Knowledge"—was nuts or, in the words of one art Web site, his "latest stroke of genius."

Sontag mocked Hockney's protestations that his theory doesn't diminish the Old Masters. "If David Hockney's thesis is correct, it would be a bit like finding out that all the great lovers of history have been using Viagra," she said.

In what was not the only barb over an often-contentious two days, she added: "What David Hockney does is start from the position of a practicing artist. 'I couldn't draw like that.' Therefore the presumtion is they couldn't do it."

But to Close, who paints from photographs of faces, it was self-evident that any artist would use every tool possible to make the job easier—even if art historians don't want to believe it. "What did we learn?" Close would ask by the end of the weekend. "That some people are amazed that their artist heroes have cheated."

It wasn't all talk, either. The experts and hundreds of New Yorkers also got to see, and try out, the same sort of lenses and black-draped booths that Hockney contends were used, centuries ago, by Van Eyck, Velazquez and many others.

Hockney's near-obsession with optics goes back three years, boosted by several "eureka experiences." The first came when he visited the Ingres exhibit at the National Gallery in London in January 1999 and was struck by the French artist's small but "uncannily accurate" drawings of visitors to Rome during the 1820s. Ingres' works were completed quickly, and Hockney couldn't help but wonder, "How had he done them?" Then he realized the lines reminded him of the tracings Andy Warhol did to create his silk-screened portraits, lines "made without hesitation, bold and strong."

The key in Ingres' case, he theorized, was a camera lucida. A small prism atop a stick, it enabled an artist to look straight ahead at a bowl of fruit and also look down through the ~prism and see its image superimposed atop his sketch pad.

It took six months of practice with the camera lucida, Hockney said, but he was then able to lay down in two minutes the key lines and points on a face. Then he had to sketch for only two more hours, "eyeballing" the subject, to complete portraits that had an Old Master flavor.

When experts wanted independent evidence that Ingres, or others, worked this way, Hockney would respond, "the pictures are the evidence." It did not surprise him that Ingres left no record of the technique. "People hide things," he said, especially artists "Trade secrets."

He then looked further back in time, to use of the camera obscura—a large box with a pinhole in it or a darkened room with only a lens looking out. Brightly lit objects or landscapes on the outside project their images inside—upside down—on the back wall. Some scholars had already theorized on Vermeer's use of one, but Hockney did not limit his search to the 17th century Dutch artist.

In early 2000, Hockney found a new booster for his theory—and a reason to expand it—when he began corresponding with University of Arizona physicist Charles Falco, an expert in optics In what became 1,000 pages of faxed notes between the pair, Falco mentioned that artists might not have needed actual lenses to project images—concave mirrors could do it too.

So Hockney tried that with his shaving mirror, placing it inside a darkened room to catch the image coming through the peephole. When-it worked—projecting the folds on his assistant's shirt on the wall—Hockney called that a "Eureka Eureka!!" experience. It meant artists could have used such techniques before the 1600s, when lenses were introduced.

But Hockney knew not to expect a chorus of "eurekas" when he arrived Saturday morning for the start of the NYU conference, which was arranged by the New York Institute for the Humanities.

Anticipating his critics, he downplayed the gotcha, saying the lenses were "only a tool." He seemed more interested in developing his broader theory about the impact of the modern camera. With the old lensed devices, the artists hand was needed to record the image. But once chemical processes made photographs possible, the lens became "a problem," producing the counter-reaction of artists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh, whose impressionistic works no lens could duplicate.

Hockney left it to Falco to lay out their proof that lenses were used in "portions" of many paintings, such as a 15th century work whose changing perspective lines suggested that a mirror apparatus had been moved and refocused. "Vanishing point, vanishing point, vanishing point!" he said. "The guy's guilty!"

Question of Lighting Debated

Then the skeptics had their turn. Keith Christiansen, a curator of Italian paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said he'd bought a concave mirror at the drugstore and tried Hockney's experiment, projecting the view from his seventh-floor apartment onto drawing paper. "A bummer," he called it. "It's upside-down and sort of fuzzy. Tracing would have been something of a guessing game."

He showed a slide of a Caravaggio painting, of Bacchus holding a goblet in his left hand—one of several Hockney claimed were right-handed subjects inverted by a mirror. Christiansen pointed instead to the ripples on the surface of the wine "to suggest the movement of God's hand.... This isn't an effect Caravaggio can have traced from a projected image because the ripples don't stop moving and the bubbles pop," he said. "No lens here."

On Saturday afternoon, an intellectual food fight broke out when a Stanford optical expert, David Stork, ridiculed the theory by speculating on the conditions necessary to re-create one of Rembrandt's paintings with a camera obscura. Stork asked the audience to look at a sample device set up in another room, which had movie type lights illuminating a still life. Rembrandt's studio would have needed "a lot of candles," he said, drawing laughter by showing a graphic with hundreds of them.

A fuming Falco had to wait for a comment period to reply that the lights in their display were, in fact, "about one-quarter the brightness of outdoors." Hockney called out from his seat, "What kind of light was it, if it wasn't the sum?"

On the same panel, a Boston psychologist, Ellen Winner, showed the remarkable drawings of autistic "savant" children, including one of a rearing horse done by a 5-year old retarded girl. "If they can do it . . . why can't the Renaissance artists?" she asked.

"I need a smoke," Hockney said after that panel, and out he went.

He gained more supporters, though, in the day's final session. While it included one skeptic about Vermeer's use of the devices, another speaker, British professor Philip Steadman, countered with the findings in his own recently published book, "Vermeer's Camera." And another Met curator said that small marks found on some Ingres drawings indicated he "most probably" did use a lens at times.

On Sunday, Close sought some common ground by arguing that art was "hard enough to make," and that Ingres' portraits were "wonderful things no matter how they happened."

When it was Hockney's turn to sum up, he did not claim any conclusive outcome. "The paintings I agree are absolutely magical," he said. "We will never actually know how they were done."

He seemed ready to let others figure that out. All the research had cost him not only money, but month after month away from his painting. "I now want to allocate my time back in the studio," he said.

Though his curiosity about the past was hardly dimmed—he mentioned the "drawing machines" some artists once used—he wanted to get back to his home of the last two decades in Los Angeles' Nichols Canyon.

"I want to paint my garden," he said.

Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

Monday, November 20, 2006

Notes based on Steadman's essay on the Camera Obscura

Notes based on Philip Steadman's book on "The Camera Obscura" from Vermeer's Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces. [Oxford University Press, 2001]

The term camera obscura was coined by the astronomer Johannes Kepler in the 17th century.

Definition - If a small hole is made in the wall of a darkened room, an image of the scene outside can be formed by light rays passing through the hole.

Aristotle watched an image of the sun formed beneath a tree becominmg crescent-shaped during an eclipse. This led to the camera obscura's main application - watching solar eclipses without damaging one's eyes.

8th century Chinese philosophers studied how images are formed by light as it passes through small apertures.

The 10th century Arabic scholar, Alhazen, studied these types of image formations, which later influenced the 13th century English writers Robert Bacon and John Pecham and the Polish philosopher Witelo.

Pecham wrote about solar optics in his 1279 treatise Perspectiva Communis (Natural Optics).

The first published illustration of a camera appears in a book in the 16th century by the Dutch astronomer and mathematician Reinerus Gemma Frisius and shows an image of a solar eclipse he observed at Louvain in 1544.

Prior to this, the 1490 notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci hints possible use of the camera obscura.

In the 16th century glass lenses were introduced in place of pinholes. This created larger apertures and brighter images. Convex lenses used in spectacles for correcting long-sightedness can be traced back to the end of 13th century Italy.

Girolamo Cardano, a Milanese physician and natural philosopher, is sometimes credited with the earliest written description of a camera with a lens. Reference De Subtilitate, 1550. It was argued by Major-General Waterhouse that Cardano was referring to a concave mirror as opposed to a lens.

Soon afterwards, Daniele Barbaro, a Venetian patrician writes about cameras with convex lenses in 1568. Another Venetian, Giovanni Battista Benedetti, writes in 1585 about "a method for correcting the inversion of the image, by setting a plane mirror at 45 degrees to the direction of the light coming from the lens." This arrangement later appears in late 17th century portable box cameras.

In the 16th century, a Neopolitan professor named Giovanni Battista della Porta wrote the compendius Magia Naturalis describes the camera obscura and the use of convex lenses and concave mirrors.

Around 1600 Kepler collaborated with Tycho Brahe, who used the camera obscura for astronomical purposes. In Kepler's writings, he discusses this use of the lens as well as surveying. Moreover, Kepler discusses the use of two convex lenses in a camera, "spaced a suitable distance apart."

"Sun spots" are mentioned in the 1630 treatise, Rosa Ursina sive Sol by Christopher Scheiner. These are discovered when combining a telescope with a camera obscura to create a "projecting telescope."

In 1620 in Linz, Austria, Kepler showed a portable camera obscura of his own design to the English diplomat Harry Wotton. This instrument was later described in a letter to Francis Bacon as he thought that "there might be a good use made of it for Chorography..."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

John Man's Book on Gutenberg

In his mid-thirties and single, Johann Gutenberg was under the "self-chosen, creative stress of an artist." In 1433 he settled in Strasbourg, Germany to be near his family and begin his quest for success. "Gutenberg already had plans, for which he needed all the money he could lay his hands on."

Shortly after his mother's death, Gutenberg got financial backing in writing from one of the three Mainz burgomasters. This promised Gutenberg that the three men would be personally responsible for his annuity payments. Gutenberg was owed about 310 gulden or 31,000 pounds. Niklaus von Worrstadt made good on his promise to Gutenberg and delivered the cash about two months later. The funds were delivered via Gutenberg's cousin, Ort Gelthus, who lived in Oppenheim.

Gutenberg received the money around Pentecost and began his work by employing Lorenz Beildeck and his wife as servants. He rented a place about two miles up the River Ill next to the St. Arbogast monastery. Gutenberg kept a well-stocked wine cellar, which contained about 1,500 liters of wine.

He had a brief affair with a young woman named Ennelin zur Yserin Thure. She was keen to marry the up-and-coming entrepreneur but Gutenberg had no intentions of ruining his business plans.

In Aachen, Germany lies the capital of Charlemagne. In the 1432 pilgrimage 10,000 people a day thronged the cathedral close. As proof of their visit, the religious pilgrims bought little metal badges as a memento of their visit. Moreover, the word spread that a badge with a convex mirror "would absorb the healing radiance of the holy relics." Mirrors made of glass were known as "ox-eyes."

In 1432 the goldsmiths and stamp makers of Aachen could not make enough supply to meet the demand. Gutenberg developed a plan to mass-produce some 32,000 mirrors for the 1439 pilgrimage. He was looking to charge 50 pounds each. Costs for the project were 600 gulden with a return of 16,000 gulden or a % 2,500 profit margin.

Gutenberg acquired three partners in 1438: Hans Riffe, Andreas Dritzehn and Andreas Heilmann. Unfortunately, the men became enamored by the idea of "Gutenberg's treasure" and the venture fell apart. The treasure was the invention of printing with "moveable type." Printing with moveable type was not only an intellectual leap but also a technical application.

Gutenberg: How One Man Remade the World with Words
By John Man
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002
320 pp., ISBN 0471218235

Seminar in Communications and Management Concepts

Manhattanville College
Purchase, NY

Spring 2007

Wed. Feb. 21, 28
Mar. 7, 14, 21, 28
Fri. March 9
Sat. Mar. 17

Adjunct Assistant Prof. Harlan Whatley

COMM 3060 Seminar in Communications and Management Concepts

An overview of the field of communications, oriented towards management applications, this course will begin by covering basic theories and models of communication. After briefly introducing such fields as speech, writing, nonverbal communication and interpersonal, group and corporate communication, the course will examine the use of various media in the service of mass communication. Historical context will be considered in examining media technology from the printing press and publishing to cinema, radio, television and new media such as the Internet. The course will consider professional ethics and the kinds of work in planning, leadership and operations undertaken by managerial professionals in fields of communication including media production, advertising and public relations.

Required Reading

Marketing Communications Management: Concepts and Theories, Cases and Practices by Paul Copley. Butterworth-Heinemann; New Ed edition (November 22, 2004) ISBN 0750652942

Suggested Reading(You are not required to purchase these texts)

Communication as ... Perspectives on Theory by Gregory J. Shepherd (Editor), Jeffrey St. John (Editor), Ted Striphas (Editor). Sage Publications, Inc.; New Ed edition (May 26, 2005) ISBN 141290658X

E-Marketing by Judy Strauss, Adel El-Ansary, Raymond Frost. Prentice Hall; 4th edition (March 4, 2005) ISBN 0131485199

A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet by Asa Briggs & Peter Burke. Polity Press; 2 edition (October 1, 2005) ISBN 0745635121

Attendance and Ground Rules

* It is expected that you will attend class regularly.
* If for some reason you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out any information that was discussed in class.
* Please make sure your cell phones, beepers and PDAs are off or on vibrate.
* If you are having difficulty, do not wait until the end of the semester to come talk to me.
* Please talk to me as soon as possible if you are having any difficulties.

Course Activities/Assignments/Requirements

Paper 1* 20%
Exam 20%
E-Project* 20%
Attendance 20%
Participation 20%

* Papers will be 8 to 10 pages (not including the title page or references)

All papers will be double-spaced, typed or word-processed, in a readable font, e.g. Times New Roman, Arial, etc. Topics are listed in the course calendar and will be discussed in class.


We will follow the Manhattanville College grading scale.


Wednesday, Feb 21

Introduction to the seminar

Discussion of source material and course material

Lecture: Basic theories and models of communication:

• Speech
• Writing
• Nonverbal communication

Assignment: Copley, ch. 1 & 2

Wednesday, Feb 28

Lecture: Basic theories and models of communication

• Interpersonal communication
• Group communication
• Corporate communication

Assignment: Copley, ch. 3 & 4

Wednesday, Mar 7

Lecture: Media in the service of mass communication

• Print
• Radio
• Motion pictures/film

Friday, Mar 9

*** Paper 1 due ***

Topic: Media Convergance

Communication and cultural theorist, Marshall McLuhan said:

“The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation,
we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the
most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror.
We march backwards into the future.”

We live in a world of converging media where YouTube allows you to watch video via the Internet, music is purchased and downloaded from iTunes to your iPod and your “cell phone” or PDA allows you to receive calls, send and receive e-mails and actually view video clips. Why buy a hardcover or paperback book when you can download an e-book? Why buy a newspaper when you can get it on-line and print the articles?

Write a paper describing the convergence of different forms of media and if you think the converging of the different mediums is better or worse and why? What are the ramifications for the masses? Discuss the social implications of convergence.

Lecture: Media in the service of mass communication

• Television
• Internet and e-mail
• Video

Wednesday, Mar 14

Spring Break – no class

Saturday, Mar 17

*** Exam ***

Lecture: Ethics and Media

Video Documentary: Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Assignment: Copley, Ch. 5 - 8

Wednesday, Mar 21

Lecture: Fields of communication
• Media Production
• Advertising
• Public Relations

Assignment: Copley, Ch. 12 - 15

Wednesday, Mar 28

* Conclusion
* Presentation of e-project to class

*** E-Project due ***


Compare and contrast the communication and media efforts, both internal and external, of a company or corporation, large or small. Expound on the planning, leadership and operations methods and techniques of managerial professionals and the different fields of communication utilized including media production, advertising and public relations. Feel free to comment on and discuss the ethics of these media efforts.

You may choose to complete this assignment as a traditional research paper with legitimate and well-researched sources or as a media project including actual examples from the different fields of communication, e.g. corporate identity (logos, slogans, etc.), print advertisements and press releases. The firm used may be either real or fictional.