Monday, October 26, 2009

Good Night, and Good Luck

This film recounts the Cold War-era confrontation between CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow and anti-Communist witch-hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy on a series of historic TV broadcasts. Do the events the film portrays reflect the recurring traits of the news media identified by Rodger Streitmatter in his book, Mightier Than the Sword? (Refer to the last chapter for a summary list of the traits.) Are there analogous events in the history of American journalism, including recent history? Do you believe such events are typical or exceptional for the press (that is, which traits seem to dominate -- courage or cowardice, public service or self-interest)? Explain why.

Your response should take the form of a two-page essay sent to me as a Word or rtf attachment before class on Monday, Nov. 23.

Mightier Than the Sword

What, in reading about the history of American journalism, surprised you the most? A particular incident? A particular personage? A particular development or trend? Briefly explain why (but in more than one hurried sentence). Please post your response by 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cult of Amateur 3

In the final chapter of his book, Keen proposes solutions to the problems he perceives with Web 2.0. Please evaluate his proposed solutions. Do you agree with them? Are they workable? Do you have other and better ideas? Your response is due by 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cult of Amateur 2

By 4 p.m. Wed, Oct. 21, each group should post a link that illustrates their assigned position -- that the Web is a bane to culture or that it is a benefit. The group should also explain how the link illustrates their position. Lastly, each group should be prepared to briefly present their case to the class on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cult of Amateur 1

In his book, Andrew Keen complains about "a flattening of our culture." What do you think he means by that phrase and why does the phrase -- or, more precisely, what it represents -- seem to scare him so much? Please respond by 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 11.