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Mass Communication

Kingsborough Community College
The City University of New York


COM 11: Mass Communication - 3 credits, 3 hours

Course Coordinator: Professor John Acosta

Course Description: Communications have had a global impact on everyone's life, personal and professional. Today's student must have a knowledge of print, film and electronic media, including the information superhighway. This course will provide an introduction to all areas of mass communication with an emphasis on improving listening and speaking skills.

College Now Description: Communications have had a global impact on everyone's life, personal and professional. This course will provide an introduction to all areas of mass communications and media literacy through the study of radio, television, film, newspapers, magazines, books and the Internet.

Explanation: There continues to be an explosion of communication through the mass media, and more recently the information super-highway. Current consideration of the mass media must recognize the global nature and impact of communications systems and uses of the mass media. Students also need to acquire greater skills in, and knowledge of, the areas of oral, written and mass communication if they are to compete and succeed in this ever-changing and expanding technological world.

Course Objectives:

  1. To increase students' understanding of the history of the various mass media and how they operate.
  2. To increase students' awareness of the personal communications skills required for effectiveness in the mass media.
  3. To improve students' appreciation of the ways in which the mass media affect everyday lives.

Topical Course Outline:

  1. The Communication Process

  2. Interaction of Society and Mass Communication
     a. Beginnings of Mass Communication
     b. Mass production and mass consumption
     c. The new mass culture
     d. Developmental stages of mass communication and mass society
     e. First amendment freedoms
     f.  Mass communication theories and their relationship to governments and citizens

  3. Print
     a. Origin of books
     b. Origins of newspapers
     c. Changing societies through the American press eras
     d. News wire services
     e. The electronic newspaper
     f.  History of magazines
     g. Decline of general interest magazines
     h. Specialized magazines and the popular culture

  4. Motion Pictures
     a. Technologies that prepared the way for the motion picture
     b. Social conditions and mass audiences
     c. From silent movies to the talkies
     d. Movies and changing moral values
     e. From home video to High-Definition Television (HDTV)

  5. Radio
     a. The development of sound through the air
     b. Ham radio operators - the early broadcasters
     c. The large corporations take over
     d. The switch to specialized formats and maintaining community responsibility

  6. Recorded Music
     a. The talking machine
     b. Recorded music and recent controveries
     c. Recent technologies

  7. Broadcast Television
     a. Yesterday's and today's genres
     b. Talk shows and tabloid television
     c. Impact of station and viewer preferences on programming, and the effects of such programming on society
     d. Television viewing and children
     e. Broadcasting in the public interest

  8. Broadcast Journalism and Public Affairs Programming
     a. Television news
     b. Television afternoon talk shows
     c. The radio call-in program
     d. Interviewing techniques and applicability to mass media and personal communication
     e. Community-access programming

  9. Cable TV
     a. Problems that gave rise to cable television
     b. Cable TV's development as a specialized service
     c. Interactive TV
     d. Community-access television
     e. Merging of computers, television, cable and satellite

  10. The Information Super Highway
     a. History of the Internet
     b. Use of the Internet for mass communication

  11. Advertising
     a. Advertising theories
     b. Propaganda devices - shaping and manipulating
     c. Motivational research
     d. Types of advertising media
     e. Children's advertising
     f.  Impact of TV advertising on consumer and political decisions

  12. Public Relations
     a. The purpose of public relations
     b. Corporate PR practitioners, media specialists, political press secretaries and consultants; who they are, what they do
     c. PR strategies (i.e., corporate, political and personal) and their impact

  13. Public Speaking as a Mass Communication Tool
     a. Techniques and exercises in delivery
     b. Speech preparation
     c. Listening habits and attitudes

  14. Impact of Mass Communication on Today's Culture
     a. Media ethics
     b. Theories about TV violence
     c. Regulations

  15. Mass Media in Other Countries
     a. How people from other countries are perceived
     b. How developing countries are portrayed in the media

Methods of Teaching:

  1. Assigned readings
  2. Lectures
  3. Audio and video tapes
  4. Visitations to broadcast facilities


  1. Readings from text
  2. Readings from periodicals
  3. Viewing of and listening to specific media events
  4. Written assignments based on readings and/or research
  5. Trips to radio/television stations and broadcast museums
  6. Presentation of oral reports on specific media projects (individual and group)
  7. Performance-oriented projects (i.e., presentation of TV talk show; writing and/or voicing radio commercials)
  8. Preparation and presentation of an effective speech

Method of Evaluation:

  1. Class attendance
  2. Student participation
  3. Written assignments
  4. Oral assignments
  5. Mid-term exam
  6. Final exam

Required Reading:

Baran, Stanley J. Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture, 8th edition. (Boston:McGraw Hill 2015). ISBN: 978-0-07-750798-5

Baran, Stanley J. Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture, 6th edition. (Boston:McGraw Hill 2011). ISBN: 978-0-07-728640-8

Teacher Resource Materials:

  1. Test Bank for Mass Communication, 6th edition (Book or Diskette)

  2. "CNN Video for Mass Communication, 6th edition," (26 segment video that corresponds to course textbook)

  3. Various Videotapes from "Mass Communication On Video" (Insight Media) 2162 Broadway; New York, NY 10024
    Phone: (212) 721-6316; FAX (212) 799-5309

     a. Learn to Use the Internet - 45 min/1995/#J0414
     b. Exploring Broadcast Television - 27 min/1995/#J0359
     c. The Media and Presidential Politics - 12 min/1988/#J0206
     d. Images - 15 min/1994/#J0390
     e. First Amendment Freedoms - 30 min/1989/#J037
     f. Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death? - 50 min/1994/#J0405
     g. Teach the Children - 56 min/1992/#J0252
     h. The Making of a Newspaper - 28 min/1988/#J0119
     i.  The World of Magazines - 30 min/1990/#J0362
     j.  How a Radio Station Works - 26 min/1989/#J0401
     k. Hollywood, The Golden Years - 58 min/1988/#J0354
     l.  Invisible Persuaders: The Battle for Your Mind - 22 min/1994/#J0260
    m. Newer Alternative Media - 20 min/1994/#J0264
     n. Communication: Negotiation and Persuasion - 30 min/1989/#JJ0202


Bullock, Penelope L. The Afro-American Periodical Press, 1838-1909. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981).

Buxton, Frank. The Big Broadcast, 1920-1950. (New York: Viking Press, 1972).

DeLong, Thomas A. The Mighty Music Box: The Golden Age of Musical Radio. (Los Angeles, California: Amber Crest Books, 1989).

Diawara, Manthia, Ed. Black American Cinema. (New York: Routledge, 1993).

Emery, Michael, and Edwin Emery. The Press and America. (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1988).

Fletcher, Alan D., and Thomas A. Bowers. Fundamentals of Advertising Research. 4th ed. (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing, 1991).

Harris, Jay S, Ed. TV Guide - the First 25 Years. (New York: New American Library, 1980).

Marshall, Richard. The Golden Age of Television. (New York: Exeter Books, 1987).

Mast, Gerald. A Short History of the Movies, 5th Ed. Revised by Bruce A. Kawin. (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1992).

Middleton, Kent R., and Bill F. Chamberlain. The Law of Public Communication, 3rd Ed. (New York: Longman, 1994).

Nourie, Alan, and Barbara Nourie, Eds. American Mass Market Magazines. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990).

Sterling, Christopher H., and John M. Kittross. Stay Tuned: A Concise History of American Broadcasting. (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1990).

Sturcken, Frank. Live Television: The Golden Age of 1946-1958 in New York. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co., 1990).

Szatmary, David P. Rockin' in Time: A Social History of Rock and Roll, 2nd Ed. (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1991).