Schedule • TTh 12:30-1:45 section

Week 1 – Civics, media and the new Normal

Aug. 25

Aug. 27

Reading 1. (for your reading notes)

Rights vs. responsibilities, participation, engagement,

Week 2 – Social capital and the public sphere

Sept. 1


public sphere, counterpublics, subaltern

Transit ethnography assigned

Sept. 3


Robert Putnam, Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America

Clay Shirky, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable

social capital, social trust, associational membership

Transit ethnography assigned

Here is an example from a couple of semesters ago.

Week 3 – Newspapers and their (dis)content

Sept. 8


Topic proposal discussion. In your reading notes for today, list three issues that interest you. Think broadly about this. Issues can range from mass incarceration to blight to improving education.

Here are some possibilities: death penalty, child abuse, Dream Act, equal pay, felony disenfranchisement, gentrification, health care disparities, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, human trafficking, hunger, poverty, teen pregnancy, veterans’ issues, prison reform, minimum and living wage, migrant worker issues, gun violence, fair housing, juvenile justice, mass transit.

Sept. 10

5. Watch: PBS 13: Journalism in Crisis

Topic proposal assigned, groups selected

So here are the groups I came up with base on the interests that you noted in your reading notes. There are 20 people in the class, so I went with 2 groups of 4 and 4 groups of 3. Some people got their top choice, some didn’t, but I think they are all interesting topics. Of course, these topics will become much more refined as you move through the semester. Here they are:

Human Trafficking
1. Katie Mac, Rebecca, Sophia
2. Maggie, Ryan, Cait??

Hunger/Food access
Audrey, Abby, Molly, Kristin

Immigration/Migrant issues
Aileen, Tudetso, Mary Mad

Juvenile justice/gun violence
Holly, Noelle, Cat, Mike

Teen pregnancy
Piper, Trisha, Katie

Week 4 – Mapping grassroots media

Sept. 15 – Class cancelled for today. Reading notes are still due though.


Jamilah King, #backlivesmatter: How three friends turned a spontaneous Facebook post into a global phenomenon, California Magazine.

Jay Caspian Kang, “Our Demand is Simple: Stop Killing Us.” New York Times Magazine.

Case study: #blacklivesmatter

Sept. 17

In class – Stakeholder mapping your issue.

Transit Ethnography Due

Week 5 – The Digital Citizen

Sept. 22


• Chris Wells, The Civic Organization and The Digital Citizen: Communicating Engagement in A Networked Age (required book) Ch. 1 – “Young Citizens and the Changing Face of Information”


civic information, civic information paradigms, civic information styles, 

Based on this first chapter, what do you expect this book to be about?

Sept. 24


• Wells, Ch. 2 –“ Two Paradigms of Civic Information”

In class – Stakeholder interviews assigned

Week 6 – Civic orgs and new media

Sept. 29


• Wells, Ch. 3 – “Civic Organizations In the New Media Environment”

Oct. 1


• Wells, Ch. 4 – “Civic Organizations’ Communications on the Web”

In-class – Proposal formally assigned

Week 7 –

Oct. 6

Today we will work on the final proposals. The reading for today is pushed to Thursday.

• Wells, Ch. 5 – “Civic Organizations’ Communications Through Facebook”

Case study: #PHLED

Oct. 8


• Wells, Ch. 5 – “Civic Organizations’ Communications Through Facebook”

Case study: #PHLED

Extra-credit opportunity

Come to this panel before class and you will get 5 points added to your mid-term grade.

Never poster
(click to enlarge)

Week 8 – Media Advocacy

Oct. 13 – Fall Break, No classes

Oct. 15

Wells – Ch. 5 and 6

“Take-home” mid-term. The mid-term will be posted on this site after class and will be due on your reading notes Google doc by 5 p.m. on Friday.

Week 9 – Collective Action and DIY Citizenship

Oct. 20

12. • Center for Healthy Communities, Communicating for Change: Making the Case for Health with Media Advocacy (pdf)

Case study: Health communication

Case study: New Media Advocacy Project

Oct. 22

• Matt Ratto and Megan Boler, “Introduction” from DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media pdf: DIY Citizenship Intro

Week 10 – Fan Activism

Oct. 27

13. • 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

Stakeholder interview due.

Oct. 29

• Meetings on proposals

Week 11 – Storytelling, narrative and activism

Nov. 3

SPECIAL TO THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW--FILE--Whites pour sugar, ketchup and mustard over heads of sit-in demonstrators at a restaurant lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi June 12,1963. (AP Photo/Jackson Daily News /Fred Blackwell)

14. • Francesca Polleta, “It was like a fever…”: Narrative and identity in social protest

Polleta – It was like a fever

Terms: narrative, frames, free rider, emplotment.

How do these relate to the sit-ins? What is Polleta’s point in this article?

Nov. 5


15. • Sam Gregory, Transnational Storytelling: Human Rights, Witness and Video Advocacy (PDF)

Gregory – Transnational Storytelling

Case study: Witness

Week 12 – Politics, media and campaigns

Nov. 10

16. • Watch: Frontline: The Digital Campaign

Nov. 12

• Ron Fournier, The Outsiders: How Can Millenials Change Washington if They Hate it?

Week 13 – Counterpublics, cute cats and the Arab Spring

Nov. 17


17. • Wael Ghonim, “Kullena Khaled Said” from Revolution 2.0. pdf: Kullena Khaled Said

“sales tunnel approach,” silent stand

Nov. 19


18. • Ethan Zuckerman, The Cute Cat Theory Talk at ETech

This article was written in 2008. What is the theory and does it still hold up?

Week 14

Nov. 24

• In-class: Proposal work

Nov. 26 – Thanksgiving Break, no classes

Week 15

Dec. 1

• In-class: Proposal work

Dec. 3

• Proposal Presentations

Final – Dec. 11 – 1 p.m.

Proposals due


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