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Mass Communications and Media Discourse

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
4-й курс, 1-3 модуль


Course Syllabus


Mass Communication generally implies dissemination and exchange of information within large groups of people. This information flow has been considerably facilitated by recent advances in communication technologies. A study conducted by the Zenith Optima has revealed that people spend an average of eight hours a day interacting with the currently available forms of the Mass Media. Their daily ‘media diet’ may include watching a news program on TV, browsing through original content on YouTube, playing video games through Stream, leafing through their favorite magazines, reading e-books, listening to music through Spotify, or enjoying a wide variety of podcasts, often in the ‘media multitasking’ mode. This media exposure has changed not only people’s lifestyle, but the very core of their existence contributing to the emergence of a new type of human being, Homo Informaticus, whose life revolves around producing and consuming information. To paraphrase C. Wright, we now live in a second-hand world: we get and process terabytes of information related to events that are beyond our immediate grasp and are delivered to us through multiple and constantly developing channels. This delivery inevitably involves formatting the original information, imbuing it with certain meanings and making it serve a certain purpose. By doing so, the Mass Media largely form our mental images of the world, shape our outlook and spur us to take certain actions. The main objective of the course is to teach students to approach the media content critically, to be able to deconstruct the media text and detect hidden, ideologically loaded messages. The course is based on the most up-to-date theories, methodologies and explanatory models. It involves working with authentic media materials and using different approaches to their analysis. The students’ progress is mainly assessed through their participation in in-class activities and research projects.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to help students form a systemic view of the modern Mass Media, their role and functions in society
  • to lay firm theoretic foundations for conducting research in Media Linguistics through teaching specialist terminology and familiarizing students with the most relevant research methods
  • to increase media literacy through developing skills of analyzing media products
  • to enhance professional discursive skills
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • to demonstrate the knowledge of the history of the Mass Media in the English-speaking countries within a broad social context
  • to demonstrate the vision of the media landscape in the modern world
  • to demonstrate the knowledge of the conceptual apparatus of Media Linguistics
  • to demonstrate the comprehension of contemporary theories of Mass Communication and the scope of their practical application
  • to demonstrate enhanced critical thinking skills; research and presentation skills
  • to demonstrate the knowledge of the most relevant methods of media text analysis
  • to demonstrate skills of media text analysis
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to the Media. The Mass Media in the Modern World
    Information as a phenomenon, types of information. Types of communication. The concept of Information Society. The phenomenon of Mass Communication. The main models of Mass Communication (the Effects Model, the Uses and Gratifications Model, the Cultural Ratification Model, the Ritual Model, etc.). Cognitive, emotive, aesthetic and moral aspects of Mass Communication. The notion of the Mass Media. The role and functions of the Mass Media in the contemporary western culture. Types and kinds of the Mass Media. A brief history of the Mass Media in the English-speaking countries. The current state of the Mass Media, the most relevant trends in their development, the role of globalization in the evolution. Media clusters of modern metropolises. Quality of the media products and media ethics.
  • Media Linguistics as a Discipline
    Media Linguistics as an interdisciplinary line of research. Its main principles, approaches and methods. Media text and its types. Classifications of media texts. Media Discourse and its components. Features of discourse practices in the media sphere. The main features of the media language, the main approaches to its analysis
  • The Printed Word
    The role of the printed media in the society. Systemic characteristics of the printed media. Classification of the printed media, their specialization. The most influential printed media in the modern English-speaking world: their politics, content, target audience, ways of presenting information, etc. Sensational journalism and the yellow press phenomenon. Classification of newspaper articles. The typical structure of a newspaper article. Features of headlines. The use of visuals in articles. Types and kinds of magazines. Genre specificity of magazine articles. Features of magazine texts. General features of the printed media language.
  • Electronic Media
    The media of ‘sound and motion’: radio, television, the Internet. Their impact on the production and consumption of information. Presentation of information in the electronic media. The timeliness and trustworthiness issues. The evolution of electronic media. The contemporary online culture. Blogs, vlogs, memes and other elements of contemporary online culture.
  • Media Literacy
    The notion of media literacy. Components of media literacy. Language, discourse and ideology. Manipulative techniques employed in media texts. Methods of media text analysis. Content Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, Actor Analysis.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Class work
    “Class work” presupposes participation in group discussions, brief oral presentation of theoretical sources, problem-solving, participation in in-class creative assignments, etc.
  • non-blocking Presentation
    “Presentation” refers to an individual or group presentation of a theoretically valid issue with the use of visual aids (PowerPoint, Adobe, scribing, a poster presentation, etc.).
  • non-blocking Project
    “Project” refers to individual or group research into a certain issue. “Projects” include analyses of media content (Critical Discourse Analysis of a particular newspaper article, Actor Analysis of a particular news report, a comparative analysis of techniques used by different authors when presenting the same social issue, etc.) and their presentation.
  • non-blocking Written Exam
    The examination includes analysis of a newspaper article out of the bank of materials that the students are provided with a week prior to the examination date. The students are supposed to choose the most relevant method of analysis (Semiotic Analysis, Sociological Analysis, Media Stereotype Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, etc.) and present the material in a logical and consistent way with the use of adequate terminology. Экзамен проводится в письменной форме (опрос по материалам курса). Экзамен проводится на платформе Skype (https://www.skype.com/). К экзамену необходимо подключиться согласно расписанию ответов, высланному преподавателем на корпоративные почты студентов накануне экзамена. Компьютер студента должен удовлетворять требованиям: наличие рабочей камеры и микрофона, поддержка Skype. Для участия в экзамене студент обязан: поставить на аватар свою фотографию, явиться на экзамен согласно точному расписанию, при ответе включить камеру и микрофон. Во время экзамена студентам запрещено: выключать камеру, пользоваться конспектами и подсказками. Кратковременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается нарушение связи менее минуты. Долговременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается нарушением 10 минут и более. При долговременном нарушении связи студент не может продолжить участие в экзамене. Процедура пересдачи подразумевает использование усложненных заданий.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.2 * Class work + 0.2 * Presentation + 0.2 * Project + 0.4 * Written Exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Dahlberg, L., Palgrave Connect (Online service), & Phelan, S. (2011). Discourse Theory and Critical Media Politics. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=405606
  • Fang, I. E. (1997). A History of Mass Communication : Six Information Revolutions. Boston: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1553377
  • Johnson, S. A., & Milani, T. M. (2010). Language Ideologies and Media Discourse : Texts, Practices, Politics. London: Continuum. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=344278

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Baker, P., McEnery, T., & Gabrielatos, C. (2013). Discourse Analysis and Media Attitudes : The Representation of Islam in the British Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=529653
  • Joseph Turow. (2019). Media Today : Mass Communication in a Converging World. [N.p.]: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=2240046
  • Sparks, C. (2007). Globalization, Development and the Mass Media. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=283680
  • Zappavigna, M. (2012). Discourse of Twitter and Social Media : How We Use Language to Create Affiliation on the Web. London: Continuum. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=593118