Media/PublicsO.O.P.S.

Blogs, Social Media, and the Future of the News

A Spring 2017 OOPS Course

GPUB5070: Blogs Social Media and the Future of the News

During the semester, we will investigate the contemporary history, and the future, of social media, a set of practices and technologies that are, and are not, distinct from professional journalism. “Web logs,” born in the 1990s, became a popular phenomenon in the 21st century. Often a place to tell personal stories, social media has swiftly expanded the capacity of citizen-journalists to tell unmediated stories on the Internet at a time when news organizations have limited resources. Often political and highly partisan, blogs reflect a long tradition of anonymous self-publication and dissemination of the news, extending from the pamphleteers of eighteenth century North America, London and Paris to the local `zine cultures of late twentieth century de-industrialized cities. Soon self-appointed web journalists were breaking key stories political stories, such as the Monica Lewinsky Affair, and Trent Lott’s private speech praising segregationist Strom Thurmond, that mainstream news organizations were reluctant to touch. With the advent of Web 2.0 in 2004, free blogging software, as well as platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, began to transform journalism itself, as reporters and editors have adapted to, and adopted, social media tools that reach new audiences and promote narrative storytelling. Coursework will emphasize critical reflection on social media, as well as learning to write and think in social media environments.

This seminar is taught by Professor of History Claire Potter and sponsored by the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism graduate program at the New School for Social Research.

Week 1 | January 23 | Introduction

Week 2 | January 30 | Getting the News

Media Journal Assignment is due in Canvas

Week 3 | February 6 | Guest: Ryan Girdusky | 4:15 start

Our class this week is organized around Ryan J. Girdusky, a senior writer for the conservative political blog Red Alert Politics. A graduate of Queens College, Ryan is a native New Yorker. He started his professional career working on political campaigns for local, state, and congressional candidates including Councilmember Helen Sears, Sen. Thomas Libous, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Congressmen Thomas Massie and Bob Turner. Ryan joined RedAlertPolitics.com in May 2015 and quickly became the sites most read journalist. He has previously written for The Federalist, Townhall.com, Human Events, The American Spectator, and The American Conservative. He has been featured on dozens of talk radio shows, CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, as well as a political expert for Newsday, and AM New York.

Readings:

  • David Tewkesbury and  Jason Rittenberg, News on the Internet, 3-62.
  • Michael C. Munger, “Blogging and Political Information: Truth or Truthiness?” Public Choice 134 no. 1/2, 125-138.
  • Lauren Collins, “The Oracle: The Many Lives of Arianna Huffington(Links to an external site.),” The New Yorker, October 13 2008.
  • Oliver Darcy, “The man who could have stopped Donald Trump,” Business Insider, July 18, 2016.

Week 4 | February 13 | News Platforms

  • David Tewkesbury and Jason Rittenberg, News on the Internet, 63-178.

Blog Review Assignment due on Canvas

Presidents Day | February 20 | No Class

Week 5 | February 27 | Knowing What’s Real on the Internet

  • Howard Rheingold, Netsmart

First Public Seminar Post Due

Week 6 | March 6 | Guest: Xarissa Holdaway

Xarissa Holdaway is a writer and reporter who works in a digital environment. She was a web editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education, where she created and managed the Blog Network, and she has written for Al Jazeera AmericaThe AwlThe New Inquiry, and Religion and Politics. She is currently the Deputy Editor for Digital at The Charlie Rose Show where she managed the redesign of charlierose.com, and the creation of a digital archive.

  • Kovach and Rosensteil,Blur, 1-93.
  • James Fallows, “Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media,” The Atlantic (April 2011)

Week 7 | March 13 | Finding the Story

  • Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, Blur, 94 – 210.

Spring Break | March 20 | No Class

Week 8 | March 13 | Getting the Story Right

  • Borel, The Chicago Guide to Fact Checking.

Week 9 | April 3 | Guest: Christopher Bonanos

Chris Bonanos is Senior Editor at New York Magazine, and the author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid (2012). As a writer and editor, Chris has participated  in every aspect of publishing business as it has evolved into a digital-print hybrid format over the past several decades. He has written and edited special issues, print features, packages, infographics, entire sections, columns, photographic stories, digital features, blog posts, slideshows, listings. In his won words: “I’ve hired people, copy-edited, proofread bluelines on Thanksgiving morning when everyone else had left town, tested out new content-management systems, wrangled celebrities, had a column of my own, and Tweeted about a lot of this.”

  • Charlie Beckett, “Nine Things You Need to Know About the Future of News,” Medium, February 29, 2016.
  • Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson, “The Reconstruction of American Journalism,” The Columbia Journalism Review, November-December, 2009.
  • Daniel J. Solove, The Future of Reputation, 1-104.

Week 10 | April 10 | Weaponizing the Internet

  • Solove, The Future of Reputation, 105 – 206.
  • Kelly Stout, “How Guilty Should I Feel?” Gawker, August 22, 2016.
  • Hamilton Nolan, “What Was Gawker?” Gawker, August 22, 2016.
  • Peter Thiel, “The Online Privacy Debate Won’t End With Gawker,” The New York Times, August 15, 2016.

Second Public Seminar Post Due

Week 11 | April 17 | Student Option

  • Readings TBA

Week 12 | April 24 | Guest: Jacob Weisberg

Jacob Weisberg is chairman and editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, a unit of Graham Holdings Company devoted to developing and managing web-based publications. Weisberg joined Slate shortly after its founding in 1996 as chief political correspondent. He succeeded Michael Kinsley to become Slate’s second editor from 2002 until 2008, when he handed the job over to David Plotz. Before joining Slate, Weisberg wrote about politics for magazines including the New Republic, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. His most recent book, “The Bush Tragedy,” a New York Times bestseller in 2008. He is the co-author, with Robert E. Rubin, of “In an Uncertain Work” (2003). He is also the author of the 1996 book “In Defense of Government,” the 2000 eBook “The Road to Chadville” and the “Bushisms” series.

Jacob Weisberg is chairman and editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, a unit of Graham Holdings Company devoted to developing and managing web-based publications. Weisberg joined Slate shortly after its founding in 1996 as chief political correspondent. He succeeded Michael Kinsley to become Slate’s second editor from 2002 until 2008, when he handed the job over to David Plotz. Before joining Slate, Weisberg wrote about politics for magazines including the New Republic, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. His most recent book, “The Bush Tragedy,” a New York Times bestseller in 2008. He is the co-author, with Robert E. Rubin, of “In an Uncertain Work” (2003). He is also the author of the 1996 book “In Defense of Government,” the 2000 eBook “The Road to Chadville” and the “Bushisms” series.

Week 13 | May 1 | Leaking the News

  • Micah Sifry, WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency

Week 14 | May 8 | Social Media as News

  • Joe Trippi, “Vermont: Fish, Chicken Dinners and the Deanie Babies,” The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet and the Overthrow of Everything,xx-xx.
  • Alice Marwick and danah boyd, “To See and Be Seen: Celebrity Practice on Twitter,” Convergence: the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies v. 17 no. 2, 139-158.
  • Amanda Hess, “How Trump Wins at Twitter,” Slate, February 18, 2016.

Week 15 | May 15 | Student Option

  • Readings TBA
  • Third Public Seminar Post Due

 

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