Journalism class to examine media

By Chelsea Irving

Students interested in the mass media and its effects will be able to get general education credit this fall in an introductory class on the subject.

Journalism 150, Introduction to Mass Communications, was approved this summer as a general education credit course.

During the past year, the journalism department submitted course content, structure and objectives to the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee and the University Curriculum Committee before getting approval from the General Education Committee.

The course is not yet listed in the schedule under general education courses, but students who enroll will receive credit in the Interdisciplinary Studies area.

Journalism Department Chair Daniel Riffe said this has been a nationwide trend. “It is essential that we (NIU) have a mass media literacy program,” he said.

According to Riffe, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale has included a similar class in its general education curriculum for about 20 years.

Riffe described the course as examining the functions and disfunctions of the mass media, including public morals and issues involving television, radio and newspapers. He said the class will make students better consumers by teaching them how the media works.

Professor Abraham Bass, journalism undergraduate studies coordinator, enthusiastically supported the transformation.

“We think the issues facing the mass media should be of concern to every citizen,” he said. “Students should have an understanding of how they are being informed and manipulated (by the media).”

The course will be taught by Professor Angela Powers, who has taught the class for a number of years. It is offered from 9:30 to 10:44 on Tuesday and Thursday and is open to all students regardless of their major.