Return to class resources.
Go to class assignments.
COMM 421, History of Journalism (online section)
Instructor: Ross F. Collins, North Dakota State University, Fargo.
Instructor: Ross Collins, professor of communication, Department of Communication, Box 2310, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105-6050 USA. Tel (701) 231-7925, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The online undergraduate-level course is designed to offer a general survey of the development and impact of the mass media in the United States. The course is divided into eight sections. The instructor covers newspapers and magazines, television, radio, advertising, public relations and photography using an unusual “archeological model,” beginning with the Gulf War of 1991, and working back to colonial press. Students have the opportunity to complete several short written assignments, and one longer term paper.
Required text: William David Sloan, ed., The Media in America. A History. Eighth Edition. Northport, Alabama: Vision Press, 2011.
About the instructor
Ross F. Collins holds a Ph.D. in journalism history (University of Cambridge, 1992). He combines academic background in history with a decade of media experience, work in media writing, photojournalism, design and public relations. He is also department director of graduate studies for the master's program. His research interests include World War I journalism history, French journalism history, and United States frontier journalism history. He is former treasurer of American Journalism Historians Association. For a complete vita and other student resources, visit his web site: www.rossfcollins.com
Assignments and examinations
The online version of this course is divided into eight sections, beginning with contemporary mass media history, and ending with colonial and European journalism history. Students complete readings, activities, and writing assignments as indicated for each section. The course's capstone requirement is a historical term paper. Course grade will be based on the assignments, the term paper, and a comprehensive final exam. The final for online students is "open-book." The sections are outlined below.
Activities and assignments, 115 pts.
Reflective essays, 200 pts.
Research paper: 150 pts.
Final exam: 150 pts.
Total possible points: 615.
Grading will be on a standard percentage: 90-100 percent=A; 80-89=B, etc.
Note for students enrolled during the 16-week fall or spring semester:
This course is generally not self-paced. Students are expected to finish within one semester, 16 weeks. Assignment deadlines associated with the sections below are Fridays of the weeks indicated. Students who are more than a few days late must realize the instructor will deduct one point for each day of delay. He hopes this slightly draconian rule will dissuade on-line students from the temptation of procrastination.
Note for students enrolled during the eight-week summer session:
This course is generally not self-paced. Students are expected to finish within one semester, eight weeks. Students who are more than a few days late must realize the instructor will deduct one point for each day of delay. He hopes this slightly draconian rule will dissuade on-line students from the temptation of procrastination.
If you have extra time, you may submit assignments before their due dates. However, they will be graded and returned to you after their due dates.
Summer session due dates (assignments are due Friday of the week indicated):
Section One activity and reflective essay: Week Two.
Section Two assignment and essay, Week Three.
Section Three activity, assignment, and reflective essay: Week Four.
Section Four reflective essay, Week Five.
Section Five and Section Six activities, Week Six.
Final exam may be taken during final exam week, or before, after the other assignments and research paper have been submitted. It is due 5 p.m. Friday, the last day of summer session.
Final paper DUE: end of Week Eight, last week of summer session.
Regular 15-week session due dates (assignments are due Friday of the week indicated, unless indicated otherwise on BlackBoard):
Section One: Introduction; the media today; war and propaganda
1. Introduction: history as archeology.
2. Where we are today.
3. Wars, protest and propaganda.
Assignments: Section One activity, due Week Two. Section one, reflective essay, due Week Three.
Section Two: Television; the media and contemporary political history
1. Television and the presidency
Assignments: Section Two assignment, due Week Four. Section Two, essay, due Week Five.
Section Three: Radio and jazz journalism; development of “celebrity.”
1. Development and power of radio.
2. Changing philosophies.
3. Growth of entertainment industries and mass media.
4. Introduction: how to write a research paper.
Assignments: Section Three activity and assignment, due Week Six. Section Three reflective essay, due Week Seven.
Section Four: Advertising and Public Relations
1. Development of public relations.
2. Origins and growth of advertising.
Assignments: Section Four reflective essay, due Week Eight.
Section Five: An eruption of change: the Civil War, new journalism, yellow journalism, and technology.
1. Journalism and control in the U.S. Civil War.
1. New journalism, 1870-1900.
2. Yellow journalism and New York City.
3. Technological revolution.
Assignments: Section five activity, due Week Nine.
Section Six: Photography and photojournalism.
1. Development of photojournalism, 1925-present.
2. Beginnings of photography, 1839-1900.
Assignments: Section Six activity, due Week Ten.
Section Seven: From polemical to penny press: beginnings of a new nation.
1. Development of the Penny Press and the “common man.”
2. Antebellum press.
3. Importance of political/polemical press in early United States evolution.
Assignment: Continue work on your historical paper. Submit a partial draft if you wish, for critique (non graded). Paper is DUE end of Week 15, the week before finals week.
Section Eight: Origins of colonial journalism: respect to revolt.
1. Influence of journalism in the American Revolution.
2. Origin of the press in colonial America.
Final exam may be taken during final exam week, or before, after other assignments and research paper have been submitted. Must be completed by 5 p.m. on the last day of finals week.
If you need accommodations for learning or have special needs, please let the instructor know as soon as possible.
The academic community is operated on the basis of honesty, integrity, and fair play. NDSU Policy 335, Code of Academic Responsibility and Conduct, applies to cases in which cheating, plagiarism, or other academic misconduct have occurred in an instructional context. Students found guilty of academic misconduct are subject to penalties, up to and possibly including suspension and/or expulsion. Student academic misconduct records are maintained by the Office of Registration and Records. Informational resources about academic honesty for students and instructional staff members can be found at www.ndsu.edu/academichonesty.