2 February 2009

Warm up — Images of Michelle Obama. How is the news  media treating the First Lady?

Surface computing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoM4wuCZOms

Lesson for Level II —

Today we’ll begin using the camera. We will learn about viewing images in thirds, the basic angles, pans, tilts. We’ll also begin looking at iMovie and slowly step through the process of mastering the edit program. The process will take up the bulk of our class time. Before class ends, we will assign students to specific computers, which you will share, and where you will work together in teams.

Level I —

Before you left class on Friday, I told you to watch the news racks in stores, groceries, pharmacies, etc. to see whether (and how) the First Family is being treated in the media.

Next, I would like to call your attention to the “crisis in print journalism”: what does it mean? can electronic media substitute or take the place of newspapers and magazines? is television news enough? what is at stake in the decline of print media? can our Democracy function without reliable information? Thomas Jefferson was the chief writer and composer of the Declaration of Independence, and he was our third President. Here’s what  he said on the matter:

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”  –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

WALL.E showed us what happens when media is used to influence the public for selfish interests. Thomas Jefferson also said:

“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.” –Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632

Are we safe relying on the World Wide Web for information? How are we to distinguish truth from propaganda?

Closer — Rupert Murdoch — Georgetown U. lecture:  http://fora.tv/2008/04/02/Rupert_Murdoch_Seeks_a_Mass_Audience


30 January 2009

Today there will be a quiz. Following that, we will finish watching “Wall.E” and discuss it. The Academy Award nominee for BEST SCREEN PLAY, ANIMATION, MUSIC (in several catagories) will provide another opportunity to employ the template, the first time we will use it on a feature film. Be very thoughtful about the images, keep them clear, they reveal a great deal about the filmmaker’s fears about the dark side of Mass Communications.

29 January 2009

Quiz Tomorrow — See the tab marked “Study Guide”

Watch “Wall.E” — Explain how the film, nominated for an Academy Award, is a romance critical of the persuasive uses of Mass Communication.

28 January 2009

Current events — Discuss a key item appearing in the media

Opener —

Recall, we discussed Nick Negroponte and the MIT Media Lab, which he founded, and the One Laptop Per Child program, which he runs. Here’s a look inside the Media Lab with a robot that looks a little like the creatures we will see when we watch, “Wall.E,” the movie. Have a look at Nexi.


The Template:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeOaTpYl8mE&feature=PlayList&p=6338659DB465FF3B&playnext=1&index=2 or



MIT Media lab’s Negroponte was on 60 Minutes — Here is the outcome, at the end of last year…



27 January 2009

Remember the quiz on Friday. Remember to look at the “Study Guide” for test preparation info. Do it!

Warm up —


The Template in Action

We are working with the template — description, interpretation, analysis, evaluation, research. We will watching the film excerpt below. We will then discuss  the template  — not the video — and then divide the class into groups.


Each group will take on the whole template but then “present” their views on only one aspect of the template: description, for instance, or evaluation. One person from each group may use a computer to research any question that comes up during this process. The designated research er will use their personal sign-in to the computer and the local password, which is masscomm. After each presentation, I will explore the presenter’s answers, along with questioning members of the group. Presentations will be made by the entire group.

History –

We saw Negroponte in the “60 Minutes” introduction to his product. Here’s his actual product as it goes out to children in Colombia:


We have to begin thinking about Google — here are the creators, central figures in modern mass comm —


26 January 2009

There will be a short quiz on Friday. Please review the study guide by clicking the tab at the top of this page.

The lesson plans for Level I and Level II will remain the same throughout this week. After that, or soon after that, Level II will move on to production for the first report period and distribution in the second report period. Recall, the  purpose of merging Level I and Level II for now is to acquaint Level II with the wider meaning of Mass Communication,  to make clear the significance and breadth of the mass media.


Discuss Final Film for last semester. And/or alternatively, if the system does not support it, discuss —


1. How do you feel about Iran after seeing this film?

2. What did the “crawls” say about the writer?

3. Has this film changed your views of Iran?

4. What if I told you Baghdad was more modern than the Iran pictured here before the war on Saddam Hussein?

5. What was wrong with the images we saw?

6. Weapons of Mass Destruction and George Bush —

Sunni/Shiite, nuclear, terrorist support, Hezbollah — The role and responsibility of research

Key to Mass Comm: The Template

o – “If man were a fish, the last thing he would discover would be water.” If applied to the media, as we discussed last week, how would this statement/aphorism help us to determined truth from fiction, reality from illusion, bias from candor when we are saturated by media? Discuss

o – Discuss the elements of the template: describe, interpret, analyze, evaluate… research each element…

– The class will be divided into different parts and each assinged one of these elements of description, interpretation, etc. as we review the following video:


Sites to be aware of:

48 hour film project — Watch some films; read the rules; get the concept. Discuss


Current — How is this site different from YouTube?



History of Mass Communication through the study of key figures:

Who is Tim Berners-Lee:




23 January 2009 – Lesson plan… Level I and II

Opener – Rive

Opener – Kevin Kelly

(with thanks to “The Ad and the Ego”) – We live in a consumer culture. The space around us is either for sale or available for advertising, even here in school, at the ball fields, on the walls. Our clothes become walking advertisements. Advertising affects us in subtle and not so subtle ways, always promising to improve our lives. Do the things we see advertised really affect our lives for the better? About how many advertisements do you think you are exposed to in the course of a day?

Do material goods improve our lives?
Are we more attractive?
Are we smarter?
If you can’t afford – or your family doesn’t want to pay for – some of the really cool stuff you see advertised, where does that leave you?
Are you less of a person, less cool?
What is cool?


Class activity – the class divides into groups of threes – each group a magazine. The group must choose one or two advertisement(s) from the magazine and say why they think it is the best ad. Each person must give their own opinion of the specific ad.