MFJS2210 Schedule & Assignments

Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10

What do we need to turn in & what is it worth? Grading

Wikipedia assignment


The video essay assignment
Tutorials for Scripting & Editing

Final Reflection Paper

This page is for students enrolled in Media, Film, & Journalism Studies 2210: Introduction to Media & Culture. We use this page to share insights related to class readings and presentations.

The course schedule follows.

MS = Media/Society

GN = Good News

http: = a reading available from a website

BB = links to Blackboard where the reading is downloadable in pdf form


T: 9/13 Introductions & Syllabus

Group problem solving

Presentation on the attention economy

Th: 9/15 Teaching and Learning Media and Culture

BB: Cathy Davidson, “Chapter 3: Project Classroom Makeover,” and “Chapter 4: How We Measure,” in Now You See It: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work, and learn. New York: Viking, pp. 62-104 & 105-131.

Blog #1: Reflecting on these readings (and citing at least one thing from each chapter), write about the most fun and/or memorable learning experience you’ve ever had (in or out of school).   How did this learning experience help you to develop either your critical thinking ability or your ability to judge quality?  Did technology or communication play a role, and if so, what role?  What do you think would be an appropriate boss-level challenge for this class?  350 words.  Due by midnight Wednesday for Thursday class.

Group project work (wiki due in 2 weeks)


T: 9/20  Social Inequality and Media Representation

MS: (also BB) Ch 6, pp. 185-215

Quiz 1

View: Segments from Class Dismissed

Th: 9/22 Media and Ideology

MS: Ch 5 (also BB), pp. 153-184

Blog #1: Using ideological analysis, answer the questions raised on the bottom of p. 167 in relation to the film or television program of your choosing.  You can use one mentioned in the chapter or a different one.  Be sure to add at least one link to a review of the film in your blog. 350 words due by midnight Monday.  Be prepared to show a clip and discuss.

Group project work on Wikipedia assignment: Select your partner and your topic; familiarize yourself with wiki code; establish a Wikipedia account and begin writing your entry; develop subheads according to entries covering similar topics; enter initial data (or write it in word and plan to work on the technological end later).

Homework: Gather background research over the weekend. You may wish to utilize institutional websites, newspaper reports, news reports from home institutions, or reports on events. Dig deep to find materials that may not appear on an initial google search. (reminder: blog on chapter 4 due midnight Monday)

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Week III

T: 9/27  The Media Professions

MS: Chapter 4: Begin with the section, “Decision making for profit.” Pages 116-150.


Discussion on media professions

Group project work on Wikipedia project: Bring a copy of your entry to class and work on modifying it with your partner. You should have most of the project completed by this point, as you will need to spend some time adding links and making corrections to get it to look as you’d like. There is no blog due Thursday; work with your partner to get things finalized and ready to show me and Kathleen on Thursday.


Th: 9/29  Group project Wikipedia entry due

12 – 1:00 Special Guest: DU alumnus and former producer of TV’s Candid Camera, Peter Funt

1:00 – 1:50 Finalize wikipedia entries

Wikipedia entry must be completed by the end of the day. If you finish early, you need to join another group and help them by working on editing their entry.

For next time: read your assigned entries and fill out the rubric. Each individual person will be turning in two rubrics. Take into consideration whether or not they modified or created the entry from scratch. Write a brief justification for why you will assess them as you will. You will also do additional background research on the entries you’re reviewing, and they’ll do research on yours. Rubrics to be turned in Tuesday; you will not show these to the people who created the sites, but you’ll want to bring notes to share about how they can improve their site.

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Wikipedia project:
You have been hired as a member of a team to provide a Wikipedia entry for an important organization or person that’s been doing quite well in recent years.  You will prepare or modify the existing Wikipedia entry on your organization or person. Every person will work in a group of two or three people.
The goals of this assignment are to:
1.familiarize you with Wikipedia from the perspective of a content producer
2.provide you with an opportunity to conduct in-depth research on a living person or current phenomenon related to media and culture
3.Give you experience working as a member of a small team
4.Give you experience judging and assessing research and writing that is considered to be of high caliber
5.Give you experience working collaboratively under a tight deadline
6.Give you experience providing helpful guidance to others so that they can improve their own work
See Rubrics for assessing Wikipedia entries

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Brand new possibilities: Feminist International Radio Endeavor, Adrienne Russell (writes on networks, new media, journalism), Renee Botta (has a cool project on health communication in Kibera, Kenya), Nicole Pinkard (runs a cool project on urban digital media), Heather Horst (writes on mobile phone use in disadvantaged communities), Peter Funt (DU grad and former Candid Camera producer), John Tomasic (local alternative media producer), S. Craig Watkins (writes on African American communities and media use), Sarah Grimes (writes on education and gaming and also policy), Leslie Shade (writes on Canadian media policies; could be interesting for comparison – to be written by Kendra).

Possible updates: Open Media Foundation (based in Denver), Michael Wesch, Nancy Baym.

Other updating choices: Facebook, MySpace, Digg, reddit, RSS, itunes, MP3, Kindle, Nook, Google,, Twitter, craigslist, ebay, Amazon, Verizon, AT&T, Android, Blackberry, IPhone, Wii, XBOX, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, YouTube, Vimeo.

You may also select a media organization or phenomenon not on this list.  Please do not select an organization that should be paying you (or someone else) to do this (e.g., tourist groups, ski clubs, sororities, etc.), although you’re welcome to do one of those for practice, or if you are aiming for no more than a C on this assignment.  You need to have a media/culture angle (e.g., needs to be a media company or personality or researcher) to receive full credit for this assignment.
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T: 10/4 Group Project Presentation: Getting to A (or B)

Go over media professions & organizations quizzes (in prep for Thursday’s quiz)

For today:
1. Turn in the rubrics for the two entries you reviewed.
2. Join your original team (those with whom you created the wikipedia entry). Have your original team join the first team you’re reviewing. Discuss your review of their entry as well as research you conducted on their topic, noting select additions or changes you recommend. At 1:00, switch to your second groups and serve as consultants for them. The goal is to help the bring their entry up to an A, and let them help you bring yours up to an A. As instructors, Kathleen and I reserve the right to make the final decision regarding grades and will provide justifications based on the rubrics. This will enable you to feel that you are a contributor but are not responsible for ensuring that your fellow students receive a high grade even if they believe they deserve it but perhaps you or others disagree.

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Group project:

Th: 10/6 The Economics of the Media Industry

MS: Ch. 2, pp. 31 – 70

Quiz 3

Discuss rubrics for crowdsource grading the midterm



T: 10/11 Political influence on media

MS Ch. 3: pp. 71-111

Blog #2: Write a blog on what Free Press is and what they do.  Cite at least one point in the chapter that helps explain why they do what they do.  Choose an issue that they’ve addressed and write a question that you’d like to ask the Free Press director about (hint: this question should begin with “Why” or “How”). Be prepared to raise this question after the lunch.


(free lunch included!)
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Th: 10/13 Take-Home Midterm

NO CLASS SESSION (although you can meet on your own to work on this)

This midterm will be “open book” and “open Internet.” You’re to write a letter to the FCC.  This letter can be about any aspect of media content or the Internet or regulation that you find troubling.  It can deal with a specific and urgent case (e.g., AT & T’s purchase of T Mobile) or a more general issue.  Defend the interests of the public or of certain publics (e.g., don’t defend the interests of corporations; they pay people to do that and for this assignment you’re being asked to be a member of a public, which you are).  In addition to the course materials, you’ll also find resources for doing this at the and at the Free Press site (there are also model letters at these sites).

This is an intentionally wide-open assignment.  You should draw upon specific concepts and arguments you’ve reviewed in your book (cite them using footnotes so that your colleagues and I can find/identify what you’re working with).   Keep in mind that we’re going to crowdsource grade them on Tuesday.  You can work alone or with a partner; you will need to justify your individual contribution if you do work together, and you’ll want to have a stronger letter then.  You can earn an A, B, or C on this assignment, or an F if you decide not to do it at all.
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The Video Essay

Your work on your video essay begins here.

Overview: making a video essay

What is a video essay?

A video essay is a 2 to 3-minute video that accomplishes some of the same things a written essay does. A good video essay has some of the same elements as a written essay: it has a thesis (or an argument to make), it has evidence that supports this thesis in a persuasive way, and it has a clear beginning and end.

However, instead of using words to describe the evidence that supports your argument, with a video essay, you need to support your argument through visuals, sounds, music, and sometimes narration.

Most good video essays start as print essays. Therefore, you’ll start this process by writing about which media theory is most intriguing or important to you.

You’ll then move from writing an essay to writing a script.

At this point, your task will be to find a way to convince your viewers that you’ve chosen a relevant and important topic, and you’ve supported your argument creatively, with appropriate depth and facts or ideas that are organized with the video viewer in mind (e.g., this usually means you need to consider using text and images on the screen instead of long narration, and you need to streamline facts as well as consider how long the viewer needs to see them to process them).

You’ll see examples of many video essays on this very blog. You’ll see that some are more successful than others – and that in many cases, these videos might be more successful in some things than in others (e.g., good at creativity and entertaining, but not so good technically; or great technically, but perhaps too much or not enough information; or compelling in evoking emotions, and surprisingly low-tech). As you work on this assignment, you’ll discover that it’s difficult to get it right the first time, so be prepared to edit and reedit.

To see examples, just go to the tag cloud on the right and select “videss” to see what students before you have produced.

Ready for your first assignment toward completing a video essay? The first step is to read, reflect, and discuss your ideas in relation to the four approaches to media and culture.

T: 10/18Four approaches to media and culture: (1) Media effects on individuals and on politics (media effects on cognition and behavior – note: this topic is well-covered in existing videos and therefore it is hard to get above a B); (2) Active audiences and the construction of meaning (how fandom and media use contribute to unexpected positive outcomes); (3) Media ecology & cultural studies (how media change the way we are human and are in relationship with one another); (4) Media economics (how media economics limit culture in negative ways, aka the Free Press message)


Ch 7: pp. 219-237 (stop before social movements)

Ch 8: pp. 255-284

Joshua Meyrowitz, “Medium Theory: An alternative to the dominant paradigm of media effects,” Ch. 34 in Robin L. Nabi and Mary Beth Oliver, Eds., The Sage Handbook of Media Processes and Effects, LA: Sage, 2009.

Blog #3: Which of the theories outlined in these chapters is most compelling to you, and why?: media effects (silver bullet, minimal/agenda setting, political socialization, cultivation), active audience (interpretation, social context of use, pleasure and resistance), media ecology/cultural studies, or the approach of media economics discussed in chapters 2 & 4? You can choose a subtheory or the whole approach, but be sure to justify your choice in relation to both what it explores and how it accounts or compensates for weaknesses in other approaches. Reflecting back on our work from the first half of the term, decide which of the four approaches is most compelling to you (media effects, active audiences, media ecology, media economics), and make an argument as to why. Up to 500 words.

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Class, Pt I: Discussion of Free Press & the media economics approach, and how this approach differs from the other three approaches to understanding media and culture

Th: 10/20 Four approaches to media and culture, pt II: (1) Media effects on individuals and on politics (media effects on cognition and behavior – note: this topic is well-covered in existing videos and therefore it is hard to get above a B); (2) Active audiences and the construction of meaning (how fandom and media use contribute to unexpected positive outcomes); (3) Media ecology & cultural studies (how media change the way we are human and are in relationship with one another); (4) Media economics (how media economics limit culture in negative ways, aka the Free Press message)
DUE: first draft of script (maximum 300 words; can be in storyboard form)
Class: Writing workshop with Matt & John, Writing Center
Discussion on last quarter’s video essay projects

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T: 10/25

DUE: Final script for video essay (reminder: this is 20% of your grade) Please email me a copy by midnight Monday. If you think you want to begin shooting and would like feedback more quickly, you can email me the script earlier. You can also take the script to the Writing Center for more help.

Also: Please bring to class the laptop you’ll use for editing your video essay, and any images that you want to use in your final video. We will have an editing workshop and you can begin to work on editing your video. Also bring your camera as we will have time for filming during class time if needed. Here are tutorials for scripting and editing.

Guests in class today: Pete Ellis, MA student and film prize winner
Group work: Moving from script to shooting
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Th: 10/27  

Editing workshop after initial group time for catch up/delegation of work (as needed). We’ll have two levels for this workshop: one for beginners, one for advanc

Guest in class today: Jesus Sierra, MA student and film prize winner



Crowdsourcing the video essays with your “theory” groups. You’ll be asked to review and offer suggestions to others in your group. You will have one final opportunity to make changes to your video after this consultation and before the showing Thursday.

Background to South High; prepare for Thursday

Th: 11/3 Digital Media Literacy Day at South High: . You will be screening your videos here. Be at the front entrance by 12:05 and bring a photo ID. Class will end at 1:45 although you are welcome to stay longer if you’re able. South is at 1700 East Louisiana (corner of E. Louisiana & Franklin, on the other side of I-25 – you’ll see the South tower across I-25 from the northernmost point of campus). We will carpool from Sturm as needed. Lunch will be provided.


T: 11/8 Media in a Changing Global Culture

MS Ch 10

Guest speaker: Danny Simon, ’74 DU graduate in international film distribution
Blog #6: How does our interaction at South High relate to trends in globalization?  What did you learn about cultural imperialism, the “global village,” local cultures?  What do you think about the politics of information, global media regulation, and other issues raised in this chapter?  Does your experience make you want to change your video essay? Why or why not?

Time in class for discussion of experience at South and video essay repair work (if needed)

TH: 11/10 Media and Social Movements

Read Good News: Local Journalism that Makes a Difference Read chapters 3 to conclusion
Guest via conference call: Eesha Williams
LAST Blog!: Which of the stories in this book is most compelling to you and why? What question would you like to ask Eesha Williams about his analysis that could help you clarify your own approach to the problems with media today? (remember to think in terms of questions of “how” or “why”)

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T: 11/15 Denver media & National/International: Wikileaks
No homework; in class work only
Guest speaker: Auna Journayvaz, 5280 magazine (& formerly with Denver magazine)
What is Wikileaks? How does it relate to issues of economics, new technologies, regulation, and prior restraint?

Watch segments of The Pentagon Papers

Class discussion: Do you think the government should have more or less power to exercise prior restraint and block publication of material it feels might hurt national security interests?

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TH: 11/17 FINAL CLASS: Promote your video essay
No homework; in class work only
Research communities that share your interests.  Use Linked In, Twitter, Google Plus, and more to find and build those communities.

F 11/18:LAST ASSIGNMENT: Final Reflection Paper Due by Midnight

This is your opportunity to review all that you wrote and created and that we discussed in this class. Using the books, discussions, and other materials, reflect on what you think the central issues are in relation to media and our society, and reflect on how you drew upon various sources within the class materials in the construction of your final video essay.  YOU MUST CITE AND COMMENT UPON 4 READINGS (CHAPTERS) from the class (you can use APA format or MLA for citations) AND REFERENCE AT LEAST FOUR THINGS THAT HAPPENED OR THAT YOU LEARNED DURING CLASS TIME.  Finally, articulate the big questions that will remain with you after this class and the tools (e.g. especially how to think about things related to  media) that you will take from this class into other learning experiences. You can email this paper to me. 6 – 8 pages double spaced.

100 points:
40 Discussion includes each book/reading, relating to central issues we discussed, you read, or you reflected on (note: you can relate these to one another or to class sessions in some way)
40 Discussion includes 4 class sessions relating to central issues we discussed, you read, or you reflected on
10 the remaining big questions
10 creative organization and appropriate writing of paper

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Wikipedia rubrics:
Suggested Rubrics for Assessment Group members:
Content (70 points): Wikipedia entry:
Does the entry present material in a manner that is thorough?
Is the entry comprehensive, answering key questions about the phenomenon or person?
If there are controversies associated with this person or phenomenon, are they covered adequately and fairly?
Is the discussion supported with at least eight different external links and at least eight different internal links?
If the entry existed prior to the group’s work, does the new material meet the qualifications above (e.g., eight additional external and eight additional internal links, etc.)? Does the new entry significantly improve the overall quality of the entry?

Organization and appearance: (10 points)
Are there at least three subheads?
Is there a separate introduction that clearly summarizes the entry?
Is there a photo or other graphic (optional for new entries; required for modified)?
Are there at least two external links?

Writing: (10 points)
Is the writing clear?
Does the entry read like other entries that cover similar topics?
Does the entry avoid conjectures, libel, grammatical and spelling errors?
Are there a minimum of 800 words? (or 800 new words added to an existing entry?)

Total points:
Your justification:
Your suggestions offered to improve this entry:
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Wikipedia teams

Here is my suggestion re: teams for review. Each team will consist of a group #1, #2, and #3. The group in the #1 slot reviews #2’s entry, those in #2 review #3’s entry, those in #3 review #1. For the second review, reverse: #2 reviews #1, #3 reviews #2, #1 reviews #3.
REMINDER: When you are reviewing, you will want to look at the button on the right hand side of the wikipedia entry marked, “View history.” This will help you to see what your classmates created and edited and what others may have deleted or added.

Team Open Media Foundation, Nichole Pinkard, Mac Miller
#1: Goldenberg, Krall, Perry (Open Media Foundation)View this version
#2: Tilton, Harper, Estrada (Nichole Pinkard)
#3: Stroup, Kessler, Wetzler (Mac Miller)View this version

Team itunes, Adrienne Russell, Nancy Baym
#1: Bradburn, Ettinger (itunes)
#2: Duraj, French (Adrienne Russell)
#3: Pettinato, Eldridge, Boyd (Nancy Baym)

Team Renee Botta, Craig Watkins, Leslie Shade
#1: Diamond, Proehl (Renee Botta)
#2: Weldon, Hamilton, Pederson (Craig Watkins)
#3: Smiley, Coleman (Leslie Shade)View this version

Team Peter Funt, Heather Horst, DU Theater, Sarah Grimes
#1: Levy, Ouelette (Peter Funt)
#2: Zeng, Yao (Heather Horst)
#3: Blaettner, Smith (DU Theater)
#4: Vendryes, Norris, Neely (Sarah Grimes)View this version
(in this team, #3 reads #4 and #4 reads #1)
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Grading: What’s due, and what’s it worth?
Wikipedia 10%
Blogs & Quizzes 10% (graded pass/fail; pass all for an A; miss one for B+; miss two for B-; miss three for C)
Midterm 20%
Script 20%
Video Essay 20%
Promote 5%
Final reflection 15%

Miss 3 days of class: grade lowered one letter; miss 4: lowered two letters; miss 5: drop the class or receive an F.

Go to Blackboard


What is IMovie (lots of ums but if you’re brand new, this is the beginning of a series of tutorials so it may be worth it and it’s only 1:19)
How to edit video in iMovie
How to import photos into iMovie
How to import video into iMovie
How to publish your iMovie on YouTube or Vimeo

Troubleshooting: If you’re running into a problem, you can look at a forum devoted to Apple, IMovie, Final Cut, etc. Try using google and typing in the problem, e.g., “can’t upload video to YouTube.”

General rule: Video editing takes longer than you think it will. Every minute of finished video will take you about 4 hours of editing time. This is why it’s a good idea to aim for 2 minutes.

Good luck!

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