195 Propoganda, Media Ownership, & Citizen Responsibility

Spring 2015 Syllabus
Lecture A Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:40-11:30am Office Hours:  Tuesdays 8:00 - 10:00 am
Martin Luther King Lounge, Billings
Dr. L's Weekly schedule

Lectures Week 1 Jan 12-16, Lectures Week 2 Jan 21-23, Week 3, Jan 26-30, Week 4, Feb 2-6, Week 5, Feb 9-13, Week 6 Feb 16-20 EXAM, Week 7 Feb 23-26Week 8 March 9-13, Week 9 March 16-20, Week 10 March 23-27, Week 11 March 30 - April 3, Week 12 April 6-10, Week 13 April 13-17, Week 14 April 20-24Week 15 April 27   

Course Description
: This course will develop your critical thinking skills about news media.
  During our MWF 3-credit lecture course we will studying news media ownership, and the use of public media (print media, radio, television, cable, and the internet) to influence the public through various propaganda techniques.  Our course will cover the history of propaganda with special focus on the last ten years before the present.

General Course Goal: The overall goal of this Media course is to help you improve your critical thinking and analysis skills. 

Course Objectives: By completing this course you will:

1. Develop critical thinking skills through reading, reflection, discussion, oral presentation and writing.
2. Understand, use, and be able to critically analyze widely used rhetorical and propaganda techniques.

3. Understand the history of propaganda from the start of the 20th Century to the present.
5. Understand the Political Spectrum / Compass
4. Analyze a media company and present the results to the class.
5. Keep a personal media log during the course (What where when how long).
6. Understand issues of privacy with new media.
7. Understand and apply the principles of Journalism.
8. Understand the different types of media and classification (Verification, Assertion, Affirmation, Interest-group) as described in the textbook.
9. Apply critical thinking algorithms.
10. Listen and critique NPR's On the Media weekly radio show.

Required Text:
BLUR: How to know what's true in the age of information overolad by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. 2010. Bloomsbury.  ISBN 978-1-60819-301-1.

Presentation Recording: Your formal lab presentations will be recorded on a digital camcorder (Flip Camera).  

Attendance Policy: Unexcused absences from lecture result in at least a 1% reduction of your final course grade for each unexcused absence.  Attendance will be taken each lecture. This is not a class to cut and get notes from someone else. This is a class where you must come to lecture a few minutes early and be ready to participate for the entire lecture.  Athletes are excused only for Varsity Games (and work is expected to be made up within one week).  If you can not make a class, you must notify your instructor before the class.  Notification after the fact will result in a zero for that class and assignment.  If you miss a speaking assignment without notifying your instructor before the class or if you miss a speaking assignment because you were not prepared, you will earn a zero for that assignment. Only extreme legitimate prior-notification absences (death in the family, serious illness, or accident) will be made up.  For an excuse to be legitimate you must contact your college's Deans office (for CALS Deans Office Rose Laba, 656-0289, and they will notify Dr. Leonard.  This should be a very rare occurrence.  Dr. Leonard needs to hear from the Deans Office for an excuse to be legitimate.

Examples of unexcused absences:
- Family Vacation
- Wedding
- Plane ticket for flight during class
- Field trip for another class
- Overslept

Make-Up Policy: If you can not make a class, you must notify your instructor before the class.  Notification after the class will result in earning a zero for that class and assignment.  If you miss a speaking assignment without notifying your instructor before the class or if you miss a speaking assignment because you were not prepared, you will earn a zero for that assignment. Only legitimate prior-notification absences (death in the family, serious illness, or accident) will be made up.  This should be a rare occurrence.  In such circumstances, notify your college's Deans Office (CALS Deans office - Rose Laba,, 656-0289 who will contact Dr. Leonard with an official excuse), Dr. Leonard before missing class.   Dr. Leonard needs to hear from the Deans Office for an excuse to be legitimate.

Class Behavior:  Students are expected to have a positive attitude and to arrive to class a few minutes early and be in their seat when class time begins and stay for the entire class time.  Talking or texting on your cell phone during lecture is not permitted.  If you need to leave class early, notify the instructor at least a week BEFORE the class begins.  Only one person should be speaking during class at any time unless otherwise instructed.  You may be asked to leave the class and you will lose at least one percent of your course grade each time you: 1. continue to talk while the recognized speaker is talking, 2. fall asleep during class, 3. read or do other assignments not related to our class,  4. leave the class early without prior permission of the instructor,  5. text or talk on your cell phone during class,  6. are late for class.  Being late to class, leaving early without notifying the instructor, hurtful or strong negative criticism of others, is not appropriate or welcome.  Whining or excessive complaining about this or any other UVM course is not appropriate in class.

    You are expected to come to class with a pen, pencil and notebook and to take notes by hand.   It is appropriate and acceptable to raise your hand and ask questions during class.  You may eat food and drink water during class.  
We will be using the Internet often during class.  You should bring your laptop and power cord (please charge your computer before class).

Religious Holidays:  (University Policy) Students have the right to practice the religion of their choice. Each semester students should submit in writing to their instructors by the end of the second full week of classes their documented religious holiday schedule for the semester.  Students have two weeks to complete the assignments missed due to religious holidays.  If assignments are not completed within the two week time period, students will earn no credit for the assignments missed.

Oral Assignments: Students who spend lots of time preparing and practicing for their oral presentations do much better than students who throw something together at the last moment or, worse yet, justwing it.”  Studying for this class is not passive (like reading a textbook or studying for an exam), instead it is active (practicing your presentations in front of friends and receiving feedback). It is required and expected that you will spend time practicing your presentation in front of others and get feedback.

Plagiarism: Students are expected know when to use quotations and references in writing.  A student caught plagiarizing at UVM will receive an XF for the class.

Academic Honesty: Students are expected to be familiar with the UVM Code of Academic Integrity

UVM Academic Integrity Standards:

1.       All ideas, arguments, and phrases, submitted without attribution to other sources, must be the creative product of the student.  Thus, all text passages taken from the works of other authors must be properly cited.  The same applies to paraphrased text, opinions, data, examples, illustrations, and all other creative work.  Violations of this standard constitute plagiarism.

2.       All experimental data, observations, interviews, statistical surveys, and other information collected and reported as part of academic work must be authentic.  Any alteration, e.g., the removal of statistical outliers, must be clearly documented.  Data must not be falsified in any way.  Violations of this standard constitute fabrication.

3.       Students may only collaborate within the limits prescribed by their instructors.  Students may not complete any portion of an assignment, report, project, experiment or exam for another student.  Students may not claim as their own work any portion of an assignment, report, project, experiment or exam that was completed by another student, even with that other student’s knowledge and consent.  Students may not provide information about an exam (or portions of an exam) to another student without the authorization of the instructor.  Students may not seek or accept information provided about an exam (or portions of an exam) from another student without the authorization of the instructor.  Violations of this standard constitute collusion.

4.       Students must adhere to the guidelines provided by their instructors for completing coursework.  For example, students must only use materials approved by their instructor when completing an assignment or exam.  Students may not present the same (or substantially the same) work for more than one course without obtaining approval from the instructor of each course.  Students must adhere to all course reserves regulations, including library course reserves, which are designed to allow students access to all course materials.  Students will not intentionally deny others free and open access to any materials reserved for a course.  Violations of this standard constitute cheating.

The principle objective of The University of Vermont policy on academic honesty is to promote an intellectual climate and support the academic integrity of The University of Vermont.   Academic dishonesty or an offense against academic honesty includes acts which may subvert or compromise the integrity of the educational process at The University of Vermont.  Offenses against the Code of Academic Integrity are deemed serious and insult the integrity of the entire academic community.  Any suspected deliberate violations of this code are taken very seriously and will be forwarded to the Center for Student Ethics & Standards for further investigation.

Graded Assignments

Out of class Assignments
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Media Inventory Log 5%
Analysis of Media Company Presentation 5%
Case Study of  Media Propaganda Presentation 10%
Text Book Exam 10%
Attendance and Participation 10%


Grading:  Students begin with no points (0), and earn points.  Students never lose points on an assignment; instead, they earn them.  Download Excel Grading Template Here.

Late Assignment Penalty: -10% the first week, -20% the second week, No credit (0) there after

Assignments in Detail 

Out of Class Assignments (20%): There will be occasional reflection papers or individual or group assignments to be completed outside of the lecture.

EXAMS (10%, 20%, 20%):  One exam will be on the textbook, and there will be two other exams of the material that has been covered up to that point in the course. 

Media Inventory Log (5%):  Students will record what media they consume over a weeks time.  Details include, what media, how long, and any comments about media type or coverage.

Analysis of Media Company Presentation (5%): Students choose a media company or organization.
Student presentations should include:
  -What the organization and product do, mission, vision, etc.
  -Demonstrate an example product
  -Characterize/Classify the organization using BLUR's classification system (if applicable)
  -Explain Who owns the company or organization
  -Explain Political leanings of company or organization
  -Explain the structure of company, and how they make money
  -Present a summary of company sales over time
  -Explain issues associated with the company

Case Study of Media Propaganda Presentation 10%:  Students will present a case study of a media propaganda situation.

Attendance Participation and Attitude (10%):

PowerPoint:  If you choose to use PowerPoint, use it mainly for images.  Use no text or keep text to an absolute minimum!  The focus of your presentation should be you the speaker, not the slides in the presentation.  Use blank BLACK slides in between images when you will be discussing and giving information.  It is essential that you try out your presentation in the room where you give your presentation ahead of time.  It is your responsibility to know how to use the audio-visual technology.  Source all images under each image.  Use the facilities scheduling link to find out when the room is free so you may practice many days ahead of your presentation date.

Have a Plan B:  Be prepared for technical difficulties.  If, for example, you planned on using PowerPoint and the computer is broken, be prepared to show your images from printed images on the document camera, or pass the printed images around the room.  One of the best fail-safe backup plans is a small flip chart.

Rubric for grading presentations

Spring 2015 CALS 195 Draft Schedule

Week Starting

Lecture Topic Outline

Reading Assignment Due 

Introduction, course overview, Human Nature - Critical Thinking Challenges
TED Talks: Michael Shermer 1, Michael Shermer 2,   Hans Rosling's How Not to be Ignorant,

Jan 19 (Martin Luther King Day) Media consumption inventory Log & reporting, Political CompassJonathan Haight Interview Principles of Journalism, Developing our own Critical Thinking Algorithm - questioning. BLUR Chapters 1-2 (thru pg 25)
Jan 26 Jonathan Haight Interview Principles of Journalism, Dangerous Memes - Moonies, Dan Dennett, Propaganda Techniques, Filter BubblesNoam Chomsky - BBC Propaganda Discussion ,Terms in the media & what they mean (1989),  How to spot a Lier,  Orwell Rolls over in his Grave - Criticism of Media.

Ten steps for propaganda analysis, from Propaganda and Persuasion by Jowett & O’Donnell

BLUR Chapters 3-4 (thru pg 75)
Feb 2 History of Propaganda WW I & II, WW I  - Willie McBride Song & Print Media : Posters  songs Germany,  World at War 1933-39, BBC's World at War - The Final Solution (0-7:00 in class) Part 1 & Part 2, Hitler takes power as Chancellor 1933 SpeechTriumph of the Will – 1934 Hitler (43:00-50:00) Greatest Story Never Told (21:23 - 25: 40) Class Divided Blue Brown Eyes,
BLUR Chapters 5-6 (thru pg 120)
Feb 9 History of Propaganda WW II 1980s-Gulf war.  Korean War, Vietnam, Silent Spring, Selling a War (1992 First Gulf War “Desert Storm” – Iraq invades Kuwait)  CBC production post 9/11: Iraq War, Hubris MSNBCFrontline Bush's War, BLUR Chapters 7-8 (thru pg 169)
Feb 16 (Presidents' Day) Exam 1 BLUR Chapter 9-end (thru pg 234)
Feb 23 MEDIA OWNERSHIP SECTION       Foley Short , FOLEY Introduction to Foley and Sound Effects, Sound as Propaganda Caoimhe Doyle explains, Willie Horton Ad - GHW Bush's Campaign,  The Persuaders PBS Frontline,
2012 Bill Moyers & Bernie Sanders Interview

March 2-6 Spring Break

March 9 Exam on the textbook BLUR.  Student Presentations

March 16 Student Media Company Presentations

March 23 Student Media Company Presentations

Will Potter's Non-violent Terrorist TED Talk
Issues of Privacy: WikiLeaks, Snowdon, New Media etc.Student Presentations

April 6 Student Case Study Propaganda Presentations
April 13 Student Case Study Propaganda Presentations
April 20 Exam 2
April 27 (April 29 last day of classes) Wrap-up

There will be no final exam