SOC319/WWS 334

Media and Public Policy

Professor Paul Starr

Spring 2020. Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 p.m..


Where to find the readings:

February 4. Should the law allow media to publish classified documents, hacked emails, or other information that may have been illegally disclosed? And when should journalists publish, or not publish, that information? From the Pentagon Papers to Wikileaks

February 11. What do journalists face today in investigating people with money and power? What if the media themselves are implicated in misconduct and corruption? How journalists broke the Harvey Weinstein story.

February 18. Should the law make it easier to sue the press for libel and invasions of privacy?

February 25. Have the tech giants (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft) become too powerful in the marketplace and public sphere and, if so, what should be done?

March 3. How has new digital environment affected journalism, and how can the news media adapt? What will survive of local news? How has the new environment affected inequality in news and knowledge between communities and individuals?

March 10. Popular culture, politics, and the business of news: Has the culture of entertainment compromised the news media, or can entertainment do the work of news?

Second Half: Online Classes

March 24. Media, political communication, and the covid-19 epidemic: Are we also facing an info-demic?

March 31. How did the freedoms of communication (free speech, a free press, freedom of information) develop in the United States? What does the guarantee of those freedoms require of a democratic government? What have been the limits of our constitutional guarantees?

April 7. How have the media changed the presidency, and how have presidents changed the media?

April 14. Are online and social media more susceptible to lies and extremism than traditional media?

April 21. The international crisis in journalism: Why is freedom of the press and online under siege in so many parts of the world?

April 28. Paper presentations

Last modified, March 18, 2020.