Jack Ehn-How American News Organizations Cover China
How American News Organizations Cover China
Instructor: Jack Ehn
Course: 32 hours, academic credit
Starts: June 26
Ends: July 11
Meets: Daily, every weekday, from 8 a.m.-10:40 a.m.
Language: In English, except for Chinese news reports, which will be in Chinese
Textbooks: None required. Students will get handouts and view American news reports projected on the big screen.
Course description: If you were to read and watch American news reports every day, what would you discover that Americans know about China? What kind of picture are most Americans given of the Middle Kingdom through their media? How does this picture compare with your understanding of what’s going on in your country? This course will challenge you to analyze current American news coverage to help you answer such questions. The course, taught by a professional American journalist and college journalism professor, also will give you insights into how American news organizations work. Your experience analyzing American news reports can help you better understand how ordinary Americans see China politically and culturally, through the lens of American media, rather than through official U.S. government pronouncements.
Thursday, June 26
Introduction to the class and to American news organizations and how they work. Using specific examples from news organizations, and exercises from American journalism textbooks, we’ll explore how the most common criteria of newsworthiness and accessibility affect what news outfits cover. We’ll also discuss differences in coverage between smaller and larger news organizations.
Friday, June 27
Introduction to analyzing news publications and broadcast. We’ll run through several real examples of news coverage in general and of China in particular to get a feel for the sorts of things we can look for. We’ll divide the class into working groups. We’ll also choose Chinese news organizations whose coverage we can compare with American coverage.
Monday, June 30
Today we’ll start a week-long series of analyses of current American news products. Every day for a week, we will follow the coverage of a large newspaper such as the New York Times, a large broadcast organization such as ABC News, and a local paper and TV broadcast, probably the Albuquerque Journal and KOAT-TV. We will compare these reports with what Chinese news outlets report. Will China be discussed in any of them? We’ll have to see.
Tuesday, July 1
Second in a series of analyses of current news reports. We will be amassing data and looking for patterns. Discuss. Ask questions.
Wednesday, July 2
Third in a series of analyses of current American and Chinese news products. Discuss. Ask questions.
Thursday, July 3
Fourth in a series of analyses of current American and Chinese news products. Discuss. Ask questions.
Friday, July 4
Last in a series of analyses of current American and Chinese news products. We will assemble preliminary statistics and observations and discuss possible perspectives. We will prepare for writing a response paper. Discuss. Ask questions.
Monday, July 7
Write a paper responding to your analytical observations of the previous week. Then: The news organizations we analyze may or may not pay a lot of attention to China, depending on the current circumstances. However, news organizations broadly considered do pay attention to China. Today we will look at news aggregating outfits such as Google News, look up “China” and see what kinds of stories are being written. We’ll make an initial analysis. Discuss. Ask questions.
Tuesday, July 8
More analysis of “China” stories from Google News. We’ll compare this coverage with our Chinese news sources. Prep for a paper on issues raised by analysis of news-aggregating sites. Discuss. Ask questions.
Wednesday, July 9
Feedback on your first response paper. More analysis of Google News. Write your second paper. Discuss. Ask questions.
Thursday, July 10
End of class activity. Possibly a movie such as “The Paper.” Possibly emailing or posting responses to news organizations agreeing or disagreeing with coverage. Discuss. Ask questions.
Friday, July 11
Feedback on your second paper. Concluding discussions and observations.