Media in Democracy

Course NameMedia in Democracy
Course CodeJRN220
DescriptionThis course aims to analyze the complex relationships between people, power, and information – or rather, citizens, democratically elected governments, and media outlets. Starting out as nothing more than distributors of religious pamphlets and government propaganda, news media outlets have become, in the last 30 years, a global force of once unimaginable scale and power. We will review their assumed role as the people’s watchdog and the protector of the informed citizen, against a backdrop of private interests and rising corporate oligopolies. It is our aim, therefore, to understand mass media power and how it relates to the idea of maintaining democratic values. We will continue by looking at the seismic impact the internet has had on information dissemination; namely: social media, open source content, blogging and podcasts, fake news, and the impact of algorithms on the polarization of political opinion. With such a plethora of knowledge at our fingertips, are citizens of democracies today more able than ever to exercise their people-power, or are these notions of democratic empowerment nothing more than illusive ideals?
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students will be able to:
– Understand the history of ideas related to and general foundations of the concept of democracy;
– Understand the history of print media and mass information dissemination;
– Be able to define the triad relationship between, democratic governments, democratic citizens, and a free press;
– Think critically about the growth in the power of the mass media since the 1980s;
– Explain the paradoxical relationship between democratic governments and media regulation;
– Explain how the expansion of the internet has affected the dissemination of information worldwide;
– Draw conclusions.
SchoolSchool of Journalism, Media, and Visual Arts
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS