POLS 306: Mass Media in American Politics 
(Fall 2002)

1. Instructor 
2. Objectives
3. Readings
4. Grades & Requirements
5. Attendance
6. Topical Outline & Reading Assignments
7. Announcements
8. Links

1. Instructor: Prof. James Schubert
  Office address and phone: ZU 306/ 753-9675
   Office Hours: T, TH 1-2
    [ Last updated by J. Schubert on August 25, 2002.]


This course broadly examines the role of mass media in modern American politics. Mass media include newspapers, radio, television and the worldwide web. We pay special attention to the dramatic effects of television on the quality and conduct of politics over the past 50 years and will be concerned with the effects of the web over the coming decades. Very current questions, for example, involve the effects of the rise in negative political advertising and campaigning on the decline in voter turnout in national elections or the effects of television on the role and importance of political parties and their national 
conventions. In addition to concern for how media affect the attitudes and behavior of the public (e.g. stereotyping), we shall also be concerned with how mass media have helped transform the process of government in the presidency and administration, the legislature and the courts. Finally, we consider the power of the media and efforts to regulate and/or restrain the exercise of free speech through the mass media. 


Two textbooks provide most of the required readings for this course. 
(1) Doris A. Graber (2002)  Mass Media & American Politics.  CQ Press
(2) Doris A. Graber (2000) Media Power in Politics. 4th Edition.
A few additional articles may be placed on library reserve.


Grades in the course will be based on three exams (25% each), a term paper (20%), and assigned exercises and class participation (5%). The term paper topic will be selected with my consent and the paper will be approximately 10-12 pages, word processed, spell checked, and double spaced. 


Attendance is expected and, needless to say, is a factor in class participation. Substantially different material is presented in lectures and the readings and both sources will be thoroughly covered by the examinations.

1. 8/27-29 I.  Role of Media in Politics 1 .
2. 9/3-5 -- Media Effects, Power & Control 2 1,5
3. 9/10-12 II.  News, Press & Politics 3,4 2
4. 9/17-19 III.  Mass Media & Agenda Setting 5,6
5. 9/24-26 Exam1 9/26 7,8
6. 10/1-3 IV. Effects on Attitudes & Behavior 7 23,24
7. 10/8-10 10,17,29
8. 10/15-17 V.  Campaigns & Elections 8 13,14,16
9. 10/22-24 tba: APSR
10.10/29-31 Exam2 10/31 or 11/5
VI.  Presidency & Congress
11. 11/5-7 19,21,22.
12. 11/12-14 VII.  Media & the Courts 10 12
13. 11/19-21 VII.  Mass Media & Foreign Policy 11 20,36
14. 11/26 26,27
15. 12/3-5 VIII.  New Technologies. 12. 36
16. Final Exam Exam3 12/10 2-4pm . .


Undergraduate Writing Awards

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis,
outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level
political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be
political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are
expected to attend the Department's spring graduation ceremony where they
will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by
students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department
secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages -- one
with the student's name and one without the student's name. Only papers
written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.
However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for
the following year's competition even if the student has graduated.

Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to
making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.
Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their
coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the
Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the
Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate
accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and
instructors be informed of disability-related needs during the first two
weeks of the semester.

Department of Political Science Web Site 

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a
regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and
staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and  accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and
activities. To reach the site, go to:  http://www.niu.edu/acad/polisci/pols.html