COM 107: Communications and Society
All incoming Newhouse students will take the introductory COM 107: Communications and Society course together in the fall semester. We hope this will help us build a strong sense of community from the very first day.
In order to teach all of you this fall in groups of moderate size, eight faculty members will each teach a section of COM 107. Each section will be slightly different in tone and content, given the varying professional and scholarly interests of the instructors. However, each section will cover the same basic material and use the same books and assigned readings. Paper assignments will be the same across all sections, and all students will have the same number and type of exams. The faculty members who will be teaching COM 107 want you to undertake some summer reading, viewing, and listening that will prepare you to do well.
Please regularly visit any reputable news website, particularly those run by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (you will be able to get free digital subscriptions to these two news sites through the SU library). You might also visit the websites of foreign news producers such as the BBC or China Daily, Al Jazeera, Jerusalem Post, or sites from a particular part of the world. Stretch yourself. Go to news sites curated by professional editors exercising professional news judgment, and make sure to pay attention to the difference between journalism and opinion. Think about how contemporary news sites sustain themselves economically. Go where you have not previously gone in your web surfing.
Listen on occasion to “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and “Weekend Edition” on your local National Public Radio station or online. Listen not only for content, but particularly for how sound is used to tell the story effectively to audiences who only hear the news.
Notice how effectively (or not) your local news organizations cover your community and reflect its diversity in print, online and on TV or radio. Follow events in the media industries by reading the Business section every Monday in The New York Times (or read it online). Pay particular attention to the media stories, of which there are many.
University students all over the world are familiar with social media–TikTok, Twitter, Instagram. Facebook, Snapchat, etc. Their impact on societies has been revolutionary. If you use a different international media networking site, like Weibo, consider how it may be similar to or different from these U.S. examples. This unique information will be an asset to our class discussions and to your career development.
Read a variety of magazines (in both hard copy and online), not just those from the mainstream media, but also those in the alternative press such as Wired, National Review, The Nation, or Mother Jones. Look online at sites such as vice.com, slate.com, colorlines.com, salon.com, FoxNews.com, vox.com, blavity.com; at fact-checking sites such as Factcheck.org and PolitiFact.org and at the multimedia pieces on mediastorm.org. Compare and contrast how they are covering the key issues and events unfolding this summer.
We want you to get into the habit of knowing what is going on in the world around you. If you get to campus and you don’t know much about how the Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy are potentially prolonging the pandemic; how the 50-50 split in the Senate affects President Biden’s legislative agenda; how investigations into the January 6th insurrection may impact the 2022 elections; how tensions with China may impact trade concerns; how the actions of prominent athletes are focusing attention on mental health issues following the pandemic; and how nations are dealing with extreme weather brought about by climate change, then you are not paying enough attention to the news.