This morning, in three classes on the Colorado Christian University campus, more than 100 students will begin a five-week exploration of news media practices, history and biases as part of their COM 212 course in persuasion.
They follow a first group of 100 students, who took that material in the fall of 2011, when the project was initiated as part of “News in the 21st Century,” a project of the Centennial Institute at CCU.
What have the students learned? You can see for yourself in recent blog posts on this website, which were condensed from news critiques that the students in the fall completed as part of their classwork. Some took on media reporting of the Greek debt crisis, of President Obama, of the Israel/Iran conflict, and of Occupy protestors.
Several students analyzed the media coverage of former presidential candidate Herman Cain.
“There seems to be an idea that CNN leans towards the left and Fox News leans towards the right,” wrote Aaron Nickerson. “I would argue that both news networks lean towards over-sensationalism.”
The 10 classes over five weeks, alternately taught by Jay Ambrose and myself, attempt to provide the students the tools they need to critically examine the news business, journalism and social media from the inside out.
The goal “is to equip CCU students and all Coloradans to be knowledgeable consumers of, and participants in, today’s mass media of news and opinion – for the preservation of liberty, the restraint of journalistic malpractice, and the renewal of citizen self-government with the ‘Don’t tread on me’ spirit of America’s founders,” wrote Centennial Institute Director John Andrews last year.
There is much more to come, including the March 2 conference at CCU, “Media Fairness in the 2012 campaign.”