Courses I teach

Listed below are courses I typically teach in the SJMC at USC, and a short description of each. Click on the course title for more information about the course, examples of student work, and details about assignments in the course.

J-463A: Communication, Community and Culture

In this course, we will use communication to learn about communication. We will talk with our Jamaican host families and with people in the rural community of Petersville, Jamaica. Some of these conversations will lead to more formal interviews, which we will record. We will use video to record people and events. We will collaborate with classmates in order to create a 26-minute video.

While learning about communication, we will learn what it means to be a community. We will discuss how our class is a community, and during Spring Break we will be guests in a rural Jamaican in Westmoreland County, Jamaica.

We will also gain an understanding of Jamaican cultural values, beliefs, traditions, and perspectives. By learning about Jamaican culture, we will develop an understanding and appreciation of our own culture.
Instead of a lecture course, or seminar course, or independent study, this is a service-learning course. During Spring Break, we will “serve,” or work voluntarily, on a light construction project in “our” rural community in Jamaica.

J-463M: Munich Multimedia Maymester

This is a three-week Maymester course that students and two journalism school faculty members will travel to Munich, Germany, to experiment and produce multimedia communication for about two weeks. The class will be split into teams of diverse students (various college majors) who will pool their knowledge and skills to produce stories told in a variety of media. While in Germany the students will work in pairs and small groups collecting content in and around this large Bavarian city while being mentored by the faculty.

J-537: Advanced Photo-visual communication

You will continually work on improving your skills in taking and editing photographs so that you can create a portfolio of images. In addition, you will improve your storytelling skills by making an audio slideshow presentation. The assignments are demanding and I will critique and grade your work as if you are a professional so that upon graduation you can earn a living in the field of visual communications.

When you take a photo, and when I evaluate your photo, we should consider why someone would pay money for that photo. In other words, how much value was added when a trained photographer took the photo rather than an amateur photographer? You must do better than an amateur with same photography equipment but without your training. If there is no difference, then you’ve failed to demonstrate that you learned anything in this course (and other courses).

J-541: International Communications

Most of the Jour courses that you take are focused on journalism and mass communication in the United States. Courses that you take outside of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications may have an international component, but they probably are not related to journalism and mass communications. This course fills an important gap: it covers journalism and mass communication in countries other than the United States.

Why should you care about this topic? Will you ever work for an international news organization or an international advertising/public relations organization? Maybe; maybe not. Do journalism and mass communications industries and practices from other countries have any effect upon you personally? Yes. But even if the answer was “no,” isn’t it possible that you would be curious about how journalism and mass communications are practiced in other countries? I hope so.

J-749: Literature of Journalism

According to the catalogue, the description is: “A reading survey of important contributions to journalism letters.”

In my mind, you should be reading important books and articles in each of your graduate courses. Moreover, since some of you have a primary interest in public relations or advertising, I don’t think it serves your interests to read about journalism. This course, in other words, can better serve other purposes. Like all required courses for the M.A. degree, Jour 749 should prepare you to successfully complete a thesis. Other courses help you with two important chapters: Jour 701 will teach you research methods and Jour 702 will teach you theory. Another two courses will provide context for your thesis research and/or provide additional help with research methods: Jour 706 covers law; Jour 720 covers history. What you need, and this course will supply, is an understanding of how to find, use, and evaluate the sources you need to conduct a literature review, how to analyze and synthesize the information in those sources, and how to write an integrative literature review. An integrative review presents the state of knowledge concerning the concepts/relations of interest and it highlights important issues that research has left unresolved. It can be qualitative or quantitative (i.e. meta-analysis). You’ll also learn how to write the various parts of a research article or thesis, including hypotheses, purposes, titles, introductions, definitions, method sections, analysis sections, discussion sections, and abstracts.

Dissertation chairs & committee members

I have chaired or been a memember of several dissertation committees. Additionally I have served as an external reviewer for several others. Incuded here are abstracts of the research.

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