Cool Course

Flash Forward | Winter 2018

Course number:
JMC 40095/JMC 60195

Title: Music, Movements and Media: Rolling Stone @ 50

Instructor: Stephanie Danes Smith, BA ’79, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC), College of Communication and Information (CCI)

Description: Special topics course offered the first five weeks of fall semester 2017, open to undergrad/grad students of any major. This one-credit course explores the history, authentic voices, visual storytelling, personalities, social impact and relevance of Rolling Stone

Guest speakers: Jacqueline Marino, BA ’94, JMC associate professor, on Rolling Stone’s seminal writers and journalistic forms; Jan Leach,
MA ’06, JMC associate professor and director of Kent State’s Media Law Center for Ethics and Access, on the ethical implications of Rolling Stone’s provocative reporting. (Jann Wenner — co-founder, publisher and majority owner of Rolling Stone—had agreed to Skype into the course, but he canceled the session after he announced in the media that he was selling his stake in the magazine.)

Readings: Articles from Rolling Stone, Time, American Scholar, NPR and the recently published book, 50 Years of Rolling Stone; selected song lyrics

Field trip: Exploration of the magazine’s iconic images and artifacts during a special, after-hours tour at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “Rolling Stone/50 Years” anniversary exhibit that ran through late November.

Projects: Three reflection papers on Rolling Stone writers, coverage of significant countercultures and the ethics of some of its controversial reporting; plus a final three-page paper for graduate students. In a NYT article about selling the magazine, Jann Wenner is quoted as saying, “I think it’s time for young people to run it,” so in a group paper the students offered specific suggestions for the magazine's future direction. Their manifesto, called “Being Jann Wenner,” was published on

Purpose: Pilot course for CCI’s “Media and Movements” new experiential learning initiative to help students apply their communication skills to significant social issues. The program officially launches in spring 2018 with a 15-week course that will focus on alleviating Ohio’s opioid epidemic (also taught by Professor Smith).

Outcome: Apply lessons learned from a scholarly examination of Rolling Stone to emerging intersections of media, popular culture and social movements.

Read the students’ manifesto and see media coverage from The Record Courier and Jobs & Hire.

Back to Flash Forward Winter 2018

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POSTED: Friday, February 9, 2018 - 2:33pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 2:19pm