Courses | School of Journalism & Mass Communication | Kent State University


Media Power and Culture 

is included in the university’s list of courses for the Kent Core and has been designed as a domestic diversity course. The purpose of this course is to help students become more knowledgeable and critical consumers of mass media. This requires some knowledge of the evolution of mass media into their current forms; the legal constraints upon and rights of mass communicators; the social, political and economic forces that play a role in shaping mass media and the content of their messages; and the theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence regard mass media effects on the individual consumer. It is impossible to become a critical consumer of the mass media in abstract. Critical thinking skills can be developed only through direct interaction with the mass media and their messages. As part of this course, students are required to stay abreast with current media issues. 

Other courses with a diversity perspective include:

African American Media

This class introduces consumers of mass media to the historical, political, ideological, artistic, cultural and economic role of African American media in American and world society. This class evaluates and examines the African American media within and against the behemoth American mainstream media.  Only a few African American individuals and institutions are given recognition in most college level mass communication courses. This course sets out to change this limited presentation and perception.  The form and function of African American newspapers, magazines, books, recorded music, radio, television, motion pictures, the Internet, advertising and public relations will be studied as well as the practices of media ethics and communication law.

Managing Media Diversity

Almost all types of media and communication companies that produce content, engage in advertising, public relations and marketing efforts, or conduct audience or consumer research increasingly need professionals who are better prepared to deal with the changing demographic and cultural realities in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.  Companies constantly seek employees who are knowledgeable about the history, culture, values and notable achievements of people of diverse national origins, ethnicities, social classes, religions, sexual orientation, age, gender, and/or physical/mental abilities.

This course serves as an introduction to such matters, but focused primarily on media management. During the semester, students will learn about and hopefully better understand some of the complexities related to diversity, as well as how diversity is intrinsically interconnected to the dynamics of the changing media environment in local, national and international settings. Succeeding in this course can thus enhance students’ employment opportunities.

Students enrolled in this class should know that the whole semester will be dedicated to discussing and learning about diversity matters.  Also, this class, which will be taught as a seminar, has three required components: (a) the learning from the readings and lectures, (b) writing critical original assessment essays, and (c) work on group projects. 

Record Promotion

The goal of this class is to critique, select, promote, publicize,
and sell with success, original recorded music on the local, regional, national and
international level.  In addition to the presentation of an academic curriculum, the class will contribute to GTB Entertainment. The class will approach the marketing and selling of music from both traditional and non-traditional models. Students will have the opportunity to focus on areas of operation within a record company: artists and repertoire, promotion, artist relations and artist development, sales, marketing, advertising and media relations. Students are expected to have current knowledge of the artistic, technical, social and economical challenges and trends that face the recorded music industry.

Black Hollywood

This redesigned course will investigate how the imagery, poetics, and politics of race have played out, and panned out, in the history of American film and television. The focus will be African American cinema, which can be loosely defined as films written and/or directed by African Americans, but the course will also consider the unique contours of its texts against the larger backdrop of Hollywood‘s representation of African Americans. African Americans have regularly encountered dramatic disrespect in their treatment in American film history. As Thomas Bogle indicates in his definitive book on the topic, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks, white filmmakers have employed racial distortions, caricatures, and stereotypes to represent African Americans in demeaning ways. The course will view and discuss dramatic examples from such pioneering African American directors as Oscar Micheaux, Gordon Parks, Melvin Van Peebles, Spike Lee, John Singleton and others. Students will also view and analyze several examples from the African American documentary film tradition. Among many other themes, the class may, if time permits, examine the portrayals of African American gays and lesbians through such films as "Tongues Untied" (Marlon Riggs) and others. Because no one-quarter class can possibly cover the depth of the African American film, students will be encouraged to pursue their individual interests in the field after the course.