CMNS 130-3

(W) Writing Intensive*



Catherine Murray                                                                                          Spring 2007

K9682                                                                                                                    Burnaby Day


Office Hours: Fridays 1-3.


Explorations In Mass Communication



This course introduces the basic structure, institutions and processes of the media and popular culture in Canada. Central controversies over the power of the media are explored. For non-majors, the intent is to introduce the debates between regulation and freedom of expression in the dominant commercial or public, not-for-profit realms today. For majors, this course will introduce the different theoretical approaches contained in policy, political economy, society and technology streams in the program. All students will be expected to master basic concepts in the study of mass communications, as well as the design of arguments and the organization of written proof in their short papers. *Note: This course is a university-designated writing course.


Required Text:

Catherine Murray. 2007. Custom Courseware. CMNS-130. Explorations in Mass Communication. SFU Bookstore.



Tutorial Participation                                                              25%

Tutorial Attendance (Weeks 2-13)                                    5%   

Written & Oral Tutorial presentations (2X 10%)              20%

Writing Assignments                                                              50%

Article Analysis (Week 4: February 1)                            15%   

Essay (Week 10: March 15)                                           25%

Commentary (Week March 29)                                      10%

Final Exam (in exam period)                                      25%   


The School expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades. In addition, the School will follow Policy T10.02 with respect to Intellectual Honesty and Academic Discipline (see the current Calendar, General Regulations section).




* Students who begin their degrees in Fall 2006 onwards must successfully complete at least two (W) courses, one of which must be upper division, preferably within the student’s discipline. It is strongly recommended that students take one (W) course as early as possible, preferably in the first 30 credits. Students are required to complete their first (W) course within their first 60 credit hours.



Reading Assignments:

This course assumes you will be doing 50-75 pages of reading a week before each lecture. Be prepared to respond to in-class writing exercises and to tutorial activities.


Writing Assignments:

Consult the CMNS 130 Guidelines for Writing Assignments 2007 for Full Descriptions (to be handed out in week 2). There are FIVE writing assignments in total. Due dates are listed in the schedule below.


Final Examination Requirements:

There is no midterm exam. No exemptions from the Final Exam are allowed without medical documentation. 48 hours notice is required. The Final Exam is not to be missed.


The final exam is based on lectures, films, readings and tutorial work. It is closed book with three parts. The first is a point-form answer series based on defining key concepts drawn from throughout the term. (Five answers are required from a choice of 15). Use the DIE rule. (DIE=Define, Illustrate the use of the term in the sentence and Elaborate, or explain why it is important, or what contending views may argue.)  The second part is two longer (250 word) essays where you provide a short exposition of a topic.  The third part is the longest single (500-up word) answer on a " big" review question, integrating theory and examples on major themes from the entire course.


There will be an optional review tutorial in the first week of the exam period.


Lecture Topics and Readings:


1.   January 11: Introduction: What is Mass Communication?  (Reading Count: 55 pp).


      1. CC.  R. Lorimer and M. Gasher. 2004.  “Mass Communication and Modern Society” in Mass Communication in Canada. 5th edition. Don Mills; Oxford. pp. 28-53 of 324. ISBN 0-19-541804-2.


      2. CC. L. Grossberg, E. Wartella, DC Whitney, 1998.  “ Media in Context” in MediaMaking, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage. Pp. 3-32. Of 441.  ISBN 0-7619-1177-4. 


No Tutorials in the First Week





2.   January 18:  From Oral to Electronic Culture: Modernity and the Rise of Mass Media (Reading Count: 53 pp)


      3. CC. L. Grossberg, E. Wartella, DC Whitney, 1998.  “ Narratives of Media History” in MediaMaking, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage. Pp. 33-58. Of 441.  ISBN 0-7619-1177-4. 


      4. CC:  Mary Vipond, 2000. “ The Media and Canadian Nationalism: 1920-1950” in The Mass Media in Canada 3rd edition, Toronto: Lorimer. Pp. 25-44. Of 186.  ISBN 1-55028-714-1


TUTORIALS: Practicum: A Survival Guide to 130.



3.   January 25: Theories of the Media and Democracy: Ideology and the Media

      (Reading Count: 80 pages)


      5. CC: Mark O. Dickerson and Thomas Flanagan. 1994. " Ideology" and "Liberalism" in An Introduction to Government and Politics: A Conceptual Approach. 4th edition. Scarborough: Nelson Canada. pp. 85-120. Of. 450. ISBN 0-17-6040225-3.


      6. CC: Lawrence Grossberg, Ellen Wartella, D. Charles Whitney.1998. "Normative Theories of the Media" in MediaMaking: Mass Media in a Popular Culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pp. 375-396.Oof 441. ISBN 0-7619-1177.


 TUTORIAL:  Practicum: What is the social responsibility theory of                      the press?


      7. CC: Nick Russell, 2006. “ The Role of the Media” in Morals and the Media, 2nd ed., Vancouver: UBC Press. Pp. 30-48. Of. 303. ISBN 13: 978-7748-1089-0.





4.   February 1: Propaganda, Persuasion and Democracy  (Reading Count: 100 pp).


      Film: “Control Room” (excerpts)


      8. CC: Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky.1988. "A Propaganda Model" in M.G. Durham and D.M. Kellner, eds., Media and Cultural Studies: Key Works. London: Blackwell, 2001. pp. 280-317 of 626. ISBN 00-060798.


      9. CC: Stephen Brooks, 2000.  “The Media” in Canadian Democracy, 3rd edition. Don Mills: Oxford University Press. Pp. 239-261. Of 393. ISBN 0-19-541503-5.


 TUTORIAL: What are the main Propaganda Techniques used today?


      10. CC: Randal Marlin. 2002. “Propaganda History and Propaganda Technique ” in Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion. Toronto, Broadview Press. Pp. 95-136. Of 33.

      ISBN 1-55111-376-7. 


Hand in First Written Assignment (Article Analysis) February 1 in tutorial.





5.   February 8:  The Media and Canadian Politics (Reading Count: 57 pp.)


      Film: “30 second democracy” (excerpts)


      11.CC: Fletcher Frederick J. and Everett , R. 1999. "The Media and Canadian Politics in an Era of Globalization "in Canadian Politics in the 21st Century, M. Whittington and G. Williams eds, Toronto: Nelson. 381-402. Of 423. ISBN 0-17-616676-9


      12. CC: Jonathan Rose and Simon Kiss, 2006. “ Boundaries Blurred: the Mass Media and Politics in a Hyper-Media Age” in Mediascapes 2nd d., Paul Attalah and Leslie Regan Shade, eds. Toronto: Thomson Nelson. Pp. 332-345. Of 393.


TUTORIAL:  Debate:  Aspergate Harms Citizen’s Right to Fair News.


      13. CC:  Leslie Regan Shade, 2005. “ Aspergate: Concentration, Convergence and Censorship in Canada” in D. Skinner, J.R. Compton and M. Gasher, eds., Converging Media, Diverging Politics.  Lantham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield. ISBN 0-7391-1306-2. Pp. 101-116. Of 400.




6.  February 15:  Making News:  (Reading Count: 60 pp).


      Second hour: Liaison Librarian Sylvia Roberts on library resources for success in 130-W


      14. CC:   Stuart Allen. 1999.  “ Making News: Truth, Ideology and Newswork” in NewsCulture.   Bellingham, Open University Press. Pp. 48-82. Of 218.


      15. CC: Nick Russell, 2006.  “ Manipulating the Media” In Morals and the Media, Vancouver, UBC Press.  ISBN 13: 978-7748-1089-0.  PP.  86-100. Of 303.


TUTORIALS: Decoding the News


      16. CC. Gill Branston and Roy Stafford. 2002. "Case Study: News" in The Media Student's Handbook. 3rd edition. London: Routledge. 134-147. Of 526. ISBN 0-415-25611-9.





7.   February 22:  Advertising and Selling of Consumption ( Reading Count: 55 pages)


      17. CC: L. Grossberg, E. Wartella, DC Whitney, 1998.  “ Media and Money” in MediaMaking, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage. Pp. 89-117. Of 441.   ISBN 0-7619-1177-4. 


      18. CC:  Russell Johnston, 2006. “ Advertising in Canada” in Mediascapes: Second Edition. Paul Attalah and Leslie Regan Shade, eds. Toronto: Thomson Nelson.  Pp. 196-212.  ISBN 0-17-640652-2.



TUTORIALS Debate: Adbusters’ Buy Nothing Day is poor use of culture jamming as a technique.




8.      March 1:  Canadian Community and Identity ( Reading Count: 72)


      19, CC: Susie O’Brien and Imre Szeman, 2004. “ Identity and Community” in Popular Culture: A User’s Guide.  Toronto: Thomson Nelson. ISBN 0-7447-3744-1.  Pp. 199-236. Of.  345.


      20. CC:  John D. Jackson, 2001. “ Broadcasting: Centralization, Regionalization and Canadian Identity” in B. D. Singer, Communications in Canadian Society, 5th ed. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing. Pp. 80-88. Of 323. ISBN 1-55077-118-3.


TUTORIALS Debate: Nationality of identity of cultural content is irrelevant to citizens.


      21. CC: Szuchewycz, Bohdan and Sloniowski, J. eds., (2002) "Canadian Identity:  The Shifting Terrain?" in Canadian Communications: Issues in Contemporary Media and Culture, 2nd ed.Toronto: Prentice Hall. 49-67. Of. 402. ISBN 0-13-090584-4.



9.       March 8:  Media Minorities and Multiculturalism (Reading Count: 35).


      22. CC: Augie Fleras. 2003. “Media, Minorities and Multiculturalism”  in Mass Media Communication in Canada. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, pp. 278-309. Of 415. ISBN 0-7747-3783-2


      23. CC: Karim Karim, 2005.  “Globalization, Transnational Communication and the Diaspora”  in Mediascapes: Second Edition. Paul Attalah and Leslie Regan Shade, eds. Toronto: Thomson Nelson.  Pp. 284-301. .  ISBN 0-17-640652-2.


TUTORIALS:  Discussion: Canadian Media are Racist.


      Choose a dispute like the Danish publication of cartoons of Mohammed and make a case for or against this view.





10.  March 15:  Gendering the Media

      Film: “Killing Us Softly III” (excerpts)


      24 CC: Augies Fleras. 2003 “Gendered Media”. in  Mass Media Communication in Canada. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, pp. 278-309. Of 415.  ISBN


      25 CC:  Rebecca Sullivan, 2006. “ Women and the Media” in Mediascapes: Second Edition. Paul Attalah and Leslie Regan Shade, eds. Toronto: Thomson Nelson.  Pp. 114-126. Of 393 .  ISBN 0-17-640652-2.




Tutorial: Essay due in Tutorial March 15


Discussion: Advertising body parts promotes violence against women.


      26. CC: Cynthia Carter and C. Kay Weaver, 2003. “Advertising Body Parts” in Violence and the Media. Buckingham: Open University Press. Pp. 116-136. Of 196. ISBN 0-335-20505-4.




11. March 22: Pornography & Censorship versus Freedom of Expression in Canada (Final Essay due in tutorial)


      27. CC: Cynthia Carter and C. Kay Weaver, 2003.  “Pornofury” in Violence and the Media, Buckingham: Open University Press. Pp. 95-115. Of 196.  ISBN 0 335 20505 4.





Tutorial: Debate: Censorship of Pornography is inconsistent with liberal democracy.


      28.  CC: Leo Groarke and William Watson. 1994. "Is Censorship of Pornography Inconsistent with Liberalism?" in Contemporary Political Issues, 2nd ed. M. Charlton and P. Barker, eds., Toronto: Nelson. 366-392. Of 550. ISBN 0-17-604234-2.





12.              March 29.  Public Broadcasting and Alternative Media



      29. CC:  Catherine Murray, 2001. “ Wellsprings of Knowledge: Beyond the CBC Policy Trap”.  In Canadian Journal of Communication. Vol. 26. No. 1.


      30. CC:  David Skinner, 2006.  “Alternative Media” in Mediascapes: Second Edition. Paul Attalah and Leslie Regan Shade, eds. Toronto: Thomson Nelson.  Pp. 213-230. Of 393.  ISBN 0-17-640652-2.



Tutorial: Debate: Vlogs, Blogs and IPods: What is the utopic view of  new media?


      See the Spry site for Patricia Aufderheide’s 2007 lecture.


      Commentary Hand In to Tutorial





13. April 5:  Review: Citizens, Consumers and Democratic Communication in Canada






Final Exam: Thursday, 12 April, 12-3 pm, Room TBA