CCTP 635: Critical Studies in Journalism: The Role and Development of Journalism in Society

CCTP 635: Critical Studies in Journalism: The Role and Development of Journalism in Society

Dr. Michael Koliska


Journalism is gaining an increasingly critical role in societies across the globe as the news media are almost simultaneously being branded as liars and hailed as truth-tellers. Within such a contentious sociopolitical environment it is paramount to understand how journalism is critical for a free, informed and democratic society. This course provides an overview of journalism’s history, function and scope while considering the varying sociocultural and political contexts (both democratic and non-democratic) in which journalism is operating around the world. Topics covered in the course include discussions of globalization and the rise of the so-called global public sphere and global journalism. More specifically, students will learn how societal and technological changes have influenced the practice, values and ethics of journalism across time and space. Considering this sociocultural and historical backdrop, a core objective of this course is to develop a sociological understanding of the development and working of journalism in society.

Learning Goals:

This course meets four of the five CCT learning goals. The goal of Technology, Interdisciplinary Problem Solving and Thematic Focus are being addressed as students learn how technology has historically and continues to shape and influence journalistic practices and values, along with public perceptions of journalism. These goals are being assessed through in-class discussions and in three (7-10 page) papers that critically analyze the function and influence of technology on journalism’s primary norms, such as truth-telling, accountability, transparency and independence. This course also meets the goal of Theory to Practice, as students study sociological—specifically institutional—theories alongside real-world examples to develop skills in the critical analysis of journalism’s role, function and limitations within society.