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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I am journalism...and so can you

First newspaper in America, shut down after one issue, 1690
I asked earlier this year to teach a new class--history of journalism, which is no longer required and hasn't been taught in a few years--not my decision.
Our new chair, Dr. Mary Carver agreed, after I told her I'd teach anything else if it didn't "make." (We have to have 15 students for a class to "make.").
How do you make it "make"? History shouldn't be boring, so I have to make it compelling. I don't use an overpriced textbook (wait, that's redundant). There's so much available online today.
So I adopted the phrase from Colbert's book to help advertise this on an electronic poster in our building: "I am journalism...and so can you," to help offset the daunting "History of Journalism" course title.
But, I may have bitten off more than I can chew. There's so much to cover in such a short time (15 weeks, meeting twice a week for 1.25 hours.
In fairness to my students, many of them asked for the course when we were covering parts of history in other classes (Live from Baghdad, George Orwell, Ed Murrow, etc.). "We don't know this. We need this."
So I'm having to work some this summer to put it together, and that included putting it on Facebook for suggestions, which I got a load of ideas and inspiration from journalists, professors, former students and friends, both from UCO and OSU.
How to make it compelling and memorable?
Hint, it starts with a clip from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" about Hunter S. Thompson and the discussion begins with "Is this journalism? What is journalism?"
Then we go into the meat. With advice from friends and former students, very little time will be spent on traditional history, getting bogged down in the 1800s and early 1900s. Remember, the year 2000 is history to my students today.
So they need perspective, themes, influences, people.
Here's the first rough outline:

2.5 weeks--including syllabus /history outline, technology--themes
  • Fear and Loathing
  • what is journalism-Bon Jour
  • skim
  • Colonial
  • handset
  • public occurrences
  • printing press
  • Franklins
  • Thomas Paine
  • Federalist
  • Zenger
  • First Amendment--why?
  • roll of press in revolution
2.5  weeks--
  • party press
  • penny press
  • dailies
  • steam power
  • telegraph
  • wire services
  • Civil War
  • westward
  • Cherokee phoenix/advocate

2.5 weeks

  • Linotype
  • black press, suffrage press
  • Hearst and Pulitizer-business
  • yellow journalism/muckraking
  • chains
  • cartoons
  • photography
  • electricity
  • radio, Orson Wells
  • Depression--lang, et al
  • war correspondents--WWI, WWII
  • magazines
  • Oklahoma

2.5 weeks

  • TV,
  • red scare
  • Nixon /JFK debate
  • Civil rights
  • Supreme Court /Times v Sullivan
  • 'Nam/gonzo
  • underground
  • chains
  • Watergate
  • computers
  • space
4 weeks 
  • telecommunications act
  • Internet
  • cable--Turner, Murdoch
  • decline of papers and networks
  • wars
  • terrorism
  • phones
  • social/citizen journalism
  • student mini-reports

1 week flex time, tests

15 weeks, 2x a week

List of themes, discussion questions, writing-viewing assignments, student reports, terms, visuals and videos to come

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