Schedule • COM 371

Here’s the schedule for the semester. As always, this is subject to change if things come up in the news or if we get a little behind.

There is a number next to each set of readings (for example “1.”). Please put this number in your reading responses.

Jan. 19 – Intro

Case study: The Redemption Project

Extra-credit opportunity: Charles H.F Davis will speak about his work, social movements and the transformative work of young people on college campuses. 5 p.m., Campion Banquet Hall North.

Jan. 21What we’re talking about here

1. (Put this number at the beginning of your response, due on your Google doc two hours before class)
• Ethan Zuckerman, New Media, New Civics? My Bellweather lecture at the Oxford Internet Institute.
• Peter Levine, What is the definition of civic engagement?

Case study: Student Debt. What is the issue and how are people responding and organizing? Strike Debt!, Rolling Jubilee, The Debt Collective, Occupy Student Debt,

Jan. 26Origins of civic media 
2. (due on your Google doc two hours before class)
• Jurgen Habermas, The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article
• Jon Katz, The Age of Paine (article from Wired magazine)

In your response: Briefly summarize the two readings and briefly explain the difference between a “representative public sphere” and a “bourgeois public sphere.” In the Paine article, explain this: “Such freedom was, to Paine, one of the fundamental rights of mankind. And it was the essence of media.”

Scott Berkun – Why and How to Give an Ignite Talk 

In-class case studies: David Walker’s Appeal; Committees of Correspondence; A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Black People, During the Late Awful Calamity in Philadelphia, in the Year 1793: And a Refutation of Some Censures, Thrown Upon Them in Some Late Publications”; 17th-18th century Native American captivity narratives; execution sermons.

Jan. 28Origins II – Abolitionism, Progressivism
• Ian Angus, Emergent Publics, Ch. 1 (pdf) Emergent Publics – Ch. 1

In your reading response … in addition to a summary, explain what he means by a “public.” Is it just people gathered together in a place?

Case studies (Ignite talk,”Enlighten us, but make it quick”): Ida B. Wells, The Liberator, The Women’s Journal, Jacob Riis, slave narratives 

Feb. 2Media and the Civil Rights Movement

Civil rights movement
• Angus, Emergent Publics Ch. 2-3 (pdf)Emergent Publics – Ch. 2 Emergent Publics – Ch. 3 
The Montgomery Story comic book (pdf)

Why do you think organizers chose to publish Martin Luther King’s Story and “The Montgomery Method” (this was released in 1957) in comic book form?

Case studies (Ignite talk): Nixon-Kennedy Debate; “The Whole World is Watching”; Charles Moore; Emmett Till; WDAS.

Feb.4 – The Digital Turn – Journalism

5. Watch Page One (watch on Hulu or rent at Amazon for $2.99 or do whatever you do)

Reading response: How has digital media and the internet changed journalism? What does that mean for the public sphere?

From a lecture to a conversation. Lean back to lean in.

Case studies (Ignite talk): Collateral Murder, Josh Wolfe, “ambient awareness,” “Black Twitter,”

Feb. 9  – The Digital Turn – Social Movements
• Watch documetary  Tweets from Tahrir
• Watch Zeynep Tufekci, Online Social Change: Easy to Organize, Hard to Win

Reading response: What are your impressions of the documentary? Why is it difficult to maintain social movements, according to Tufecki?

Case studies (Ignite talk): We Are All Khalid Said, The Zapatistas, The Silent Stand

Feb. 11 – The Networked Public Sphere
Issue/conversation mapping online
Background on SOPA/PIPA from The Verge
• Watch Yochai Benkler , ‘The networked public sphere’: framing the public discourse of the SOPA/PIPA debate

This is not a class about PIPA and SOPA, so don’t spend time talking about this in your reading response. That first reading was just for background. Spend time talking about the “networked public sphere” as Yochai Benkler describes it. What is it composed of? What role do mainstream media play? Likewise, what role do individuals play? NGOs? What does he mean by “attention backbone”?

Case study: School funding in Philadelphia – stakeholders, media actors, online leaders In class we will map funding issue in preparation for you mapping your own issue.

Feb. 16 – Defining and mapping your issue. 

We will begin mapping the issue you chose in class much the way we did with Philly education last week. This process includes: identifying the “attention backbone,” stakeholders and digital media platforms and strategies.

In class we will talk about a “social ecological” model of examining the conversation about an issue.

Feb. 23 – Interviewing

Preparing for the Changemaker profile and interview (this needs to be really, really good. So we’ll practice.)

You will need to sign up for a 10-day free trial of for class this week.
Watch Foundations of Video: Interviews

Listen: Interviewing with your skeptical brain

• Introduction
• Audio
• Shooting

Simple questions:

• What are some things you have to keep in mind when you are positioning your subject?

Media changemaker profile assigned

Feb. 25 – Interviewing, continued

Watch Foundations of Video: Interviews
• Making people look good
• Preparing and conducting the interview
• Editing preparation
• Conclusion

March 1 – Engaging the digital citizen

11. Read:

Chris Wells, “Two Eras of Civic Information and the Evolving Relationship between Civil Society Organizations and Young Citizens,” Non-Profit Quarterly.

Something appears to be wrong with the link. Here’s a pdf:

Two Eras of Civic Information and the E…d Young Citizens | Nonprofit Quarterly

Reading response: Explain in what ways civic organizations and citizens (particularly young ones) have changed in response to the rise of digital media.

March 3 – Work in class on changemaker profile and issue mapping.

March 8 – Spring Break

March 10 – Spring Break

March 15 – Fan Activism: The intersection of cultural and political participation

12. How might research on fandom and participatory cultures inform our understanding of contemporary forms of civic and political action?

• Henry Jenkins, “Fan Activism as Participatory Politics: The Case of the Harry Potter Alliance” pdf: Jenkins – Fan Activism as Participatory Politics
• Watch: Jenkins NYED Ted Talk

Case studies (Ignite talk): #myhungergames, Not in Harry’s Name, Racebending, The Deathly Hallows Campaign, Hunger Games in Thailand

March 17Public art as civic media

13. Watch “Restorative Justice” from the Mural Arts Program:


A city uses mural arts to bridge differences,The New York Times

March 22 – Art as civic media

Mural Tour –  Your are required to go on one of the mural tours of West Philly (either Tuesday or Thursday) that I will lead during class time.

March 24 

Mural Tour – Your are required to go on one of the mural tours of West Philly that I will lead during class time.

Marshall_Ganz_speaking_at_Occupy_Boston.jpegMarch 29 –  Narrative, storytelling and social change – The story self, the story of us, the story of now

14. Read Marshall Ganz, Narrative, Collective Action and Power (pdf)

A little background on Marshall Ganz (pretty awesome guy).

Response: In Ganz’s “head, heart, hands” model, what is the role of what he calls “public narrative?” Explain using an example.

March 31 – Narrative, storytelling and video activism

15. • Watch Mark Horvath, Breaking Boundaries

• Read Mark Horvath, My First Night Homeless

April 5 – Narrative, storytelling and social media

16. • Neil Shea,  How to Tell Powerful Narratives on Instagram, Nieman Reports

In your reading response, pull an image from Shea’s work and talk about why Instagram is a particularly good medium – if you think it is – to tell the story. What is his reasoning?

• Humans of New York

April 7 – Aerial videography as civic media

Drone Project Brainstorming

April 12 Drone project, location scouting

April 14Drone Project, location scouting

April 19 – Drone Project, shooting

Today we’re going to talk about and get some experience flying the DJI Phantom 3, which is a popular drone used for basic aerial cinematography.

First have a look at this video:

April 21  – Drone Project, shooting

April 26 – Production

April 28 – Production

May 9 – Final presentation