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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2006

GOV 370L • 14- News Media as a Political Institution

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39895 MW
4:00 PM-5:30 PM
PAR 203
Sparrow

Course Description

Upper-division standing required. Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary. Analysis of the role of the news media in American politics and the operation of the National government. GOV 370L (TOPIC 140 AND URB 350 (TOPIC: NEWS MEDIA AS A POLITICAL INSTITUTION) MAY NOT BOTH BE COUNTED. What role do the news media play in the American political system? Why does the United States receive the political news coverage that it does? This course looks at the systematic factors involved in the production of political news. By using an institutional perspective on political communication, it examines the structural reasons why individuals and organizations in the media behave as they do. Specifically, the readings address the fact that news production is a for-profit business, produced by trained professionals in large, complex corporations. The course begins by reviewing the characteristics of the U.S. media, and proceeds to an analysis of the new media as organizational actors and thereby showing how they report politicians, the government, and society. The course then addresses the role of the news media in public policy, discusses the new media, and looks at new directions in political communication. Course readings, lectures, and discussion will be supplemented by guest lectures and films. Students are expected to be able to come to class prepared to discuss the day's readings and may be called upon in class.

Texts

Bartholomew Sparrow, Uncertain Guardians (1999). William Haltom and Michael McGann, Distorting the Law. University of Chicago, 2004. Course Packet

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