Spring 2019 SMPA Courses


Graduate Courses »
 

Media in a Free Society (SMPA 1050.10). Taught by Sean Aday.

The role of mass communication in democratic political systems: informational requirements of democracy, sources of political information and the role of news media and other channels in creating and disseminating it; issues relating to propaganda and public information; and the interaction between information flows and democratic political culture. Not open to SMPA majors.

Forensics Practice (Debate) (SMPA 1225.10). Taught by Lee Huebner.

Journalism and Mass Communication: Theory and Practice (SMPA 2101- multiple sections). Taught by Silvio Waisbord.

An overview of theories and key issues in journalism in the United States. News and democracy, the historical and social evolution of journalism, news values, journalism as an occupation/profession, technologies and changes in journalistic practices. Open only to SMPA majors.

Introduction to Political Communication (SMPA 2102.10). Taught by Steven Livingston.

Basic concepts and theories of political communication; development of a framework for analyzing political communication; applications in the United States, other countries, and the international system. Open only to SMPA majors.

Introduction to Newswriting and Reporting (SMPA 2110W – multiple sections). Taught by Michael Zuckerman, Alison Schafer, Keith Harriston, Richard Leiby and Stewart Powell.

Fundamentals of news reporting and writing, with emphasis on the print media. News judgment, information gathering skills, and crafting news and feature stories. Regular in-class and outside reporting and writing exercises. Directly admitted freshmen may enroll in their second semester; all other freshmen need departmental permission. (Open to non-majors: WID credit).

Advanced News Reporting (SMPA 2111W – multiple sections). Taught by Debbie Cenziper and Michael Doyle.

Reporting, writing, and computer skills for covering beats and developing in-depth news stories. Techniques in researching, observing, and interviewing to frame stories of public interest; outside and in-class reporting and writing assignments. Restricted to Journalism and Mass Communication majors or permission of instructor required. Prerequisite: SMPA 2110W. (WID credit).

Digital Media I: Introduction to Video Production (SMPA 2112 – multiple sections). Taught by Thomas Kelly, Jason Osder and Estel Dillon.

Introduction to digital media production with video shooting and editing, with emphasis on use in journalism and political communication. Open only to SMPA majors.

Digital Media II: Introduction to Web Production and Social Media (SMPA 2113 – multiple sections). Taught by Imani M. Cheers and Jason Osder.

Foundational introduction to digital media production. Web content and design; photography and audio applied to the web; and using social media. Emphasis on use in journalism and political communication. Laboratory fee. Restricted to Political Communication and Journalism & Mass Communication majors only.

Research Methods (SMPA 2151 – multiple sections). Taught by Jeremy Holden.

The process of inquiry within mediated communication. The concepts of framing research questions, conducting literature reviews, developing a research of design, and interpreting results of cultural and social science research within a societal framework. Open only to SMPA majors. 

Data Analysis for Journalism/Political Communication (SMPA 2152 – multiple sections). Taught by Carmello "CJ" Libassi, Ethan Porter and A. Kessler.

Understanding, critiquing, and performing analysis of data sets with applications to journalism and political communication; using data to tell stories and answer questions. Analyzing A/B tests and field experiments; basics of visualizing data; regression. Laboratory fee. Prerequisites: STAT 1051 or STAT 1053 or STAT 1111 or STAT 1127.

Media Law (SMPA 2173 - multiple sections). Taught by Michele Kimball and William Youmans.

The changing laws of journalism and mass communication, including defamation, privacy, reporting access, obscenity and indecency, media ownership, intellectual property, advertising and electronic communication.

Media History (SMPA 2177.10). Taught by Janet Steele.

American media from colonial times to the present, set against a backdrop of ongoing political, social, and economic developments. The development of press, radio, television, cable, satellite, and the Internet; government regulation and media relations; journalistic rights and responsibilities.

Journalism Ethics (SMPA 3150 – multiple sections). Taught by Lee Huebner and Steven Roberts. 

Principles of media ethics; application to contemporary and developing issues and challenges in journalism. Restricted to juniors and seniors only. Prerequisite: SMPA 2111W.

Media and Peacebuilding (SMPA 3194.10). Taught by Babak Bahador. 

While the media are often blamed for inflaming the passions of war, they can at times also be a force for peace and reconciliation. This course examines how the mass media, social media and mobile telephony can play a positive role in preventing and mitigating violence during conflict and promoting reconciliation between former enemies after wars end. The first part of this course introduces students to various theoretical approaches to the study of media and peace. The second critically examines a number of case studies in which the media is alleged to play a constructive peacebuilding role. This section of the course also involves engagement with a number of the Washington D.C.-based media peacebuilding organizations, allowing students to interact with practitioners in the field.

Ethics in Political Communication (SMPA 3194.11). Taught by Peter Loge.

Audience Development (SMPA 3194.80 & 3195.81). Taught by Ari Bevacqua.

Students will learn how to manage the vast range of audience development opportunities available to reach and engage readers. Students will learn essential audience development how-tos and analytics, including optimizing for mobile, search, social for both reach and engagement. How do you know if promotional tactics are working? What do you do when it is not working? What do you do when something is going viral? Students will learn how to set audience goals and measure them across platforms. We will also explore the various analytics interfaces of social media, site traffic and A/B testing. This data and analysis will then be fused by students into reports and presentations designed to communicate the most important learnings to stakeholders. The course will also be experiential — students will apply their learnings by auditing the digital presence of a local institution and also visit The New York Times Washington bureau for a Q&A with journalists.

Qualitative Research (SMPA 3194.81 & 3195.82). Taught by Michele Kimball.

Qualitative research can explore the whys and hows of an issue, providing a deeper context of a phenomenon being studied. This course will provide an introduction to qualitative research methods, beginning with conceptualizing research design and determining the most effective and ethical methods of data collection. Students will have the opportunity to experience methods while learning about them, such as observation, interviews, focus groups and content analysis.

Science Journalism (SMPA 3194.82 & 3195.83). Taught by Karen Kasmauski and Bill Douthitt. 

Science Journalism examines current trends and challenges in communicating science developments through mass media. Classic and modern techniques for explaining complexity to the public will be explored, as will tensions in the triangular relationship between scientists, journalists and audiences. This is not a craft or skills course. Emphasis is on understanding historic and contemporary conflicts between scientific findings and personal beliefs in areas where scientific data and projections are challenged. We will investigate the challenges of communicating complex issues, considering major areas of scientific investigation, communication techniques and social conditions that affect critical thinking and scientific literacy. Discussion will focus on successful methods of communicating science, with emphasis on the rise of digital information delivery.

Globalization & the Media (SMPA 3195.60H/61H). Taught by Lee Huebner. 

This is a short-term study abroad course with an overseas component in Paris, France. Register for this course through the Study Abroad office. Instructor approval required to register.

Entrepreneurship in New Media Industry (SMPA 3195.80). Taught by Richard Ducey.

Decades-old media business models are being upended by changing audience and advertiser patterns across traditional and digital media; Internet technologies supporting innovative, scalable and engaged user services; and challenging economics on who pays for content. Based on a grounded understanding of the digital media ecosystem, we will analyze what is happening; why; where the media industry is headed and career opportunities for those entering this industry. We will explore the role of entrepreneurship in a period of fast change and the degree to which this is accepted in the market and institutionalized by the financial, policy and media communities. We will consider how traditional media companies try to evolve and evaluate their relative success in doing so by identifying critical change factors. Each student will prepare their own entrepreneurial business plan. Open only to juniors and seniors.

Independent Study (SMPA 3196.10).

Internship (SMPA 3197.10).

Broadcast News Writing (SMPA 3235W - multiple sections). Taught by Jonathan Ebinger.

This course will teach you basic reporting and news writing for radio and television. You will learn the fundamentals of writing and reporting news and feature stories. You will also be exposed to some basics about oral and visual presentation, as well as distinctions between local, network, and cable news. In addition, you will learn to understand and apply broadcast techniques to think critically about what you see on the news, as well as the work of others. By the end of the semester, you should be able to produce scripts suitable for air at a collegiate level. Prerequisite: SMPA 2110W. (WID credit).

Investigative Reporting (SMPA 3242.10). Taught by Debbie Cenziper.

From Watergate to Walter-Reed, investigative journalism has exposed wrongdoing, held individuals and institutions accountable and helped shape the course of history. This class is an introduction to the craft in both theory and practice. No matter the format or the medium, great investigative projects share at their core amazing reporting told in a compelling manner. Students will learn the fundamentals of investigating, writing and publishing in-depth journalism projects. Coursework will include: mining documents and computer records for leads, developing sources and interview techniques, focusing and refining material, legal and ethical issues, organizing a project, and condensing complex facts into clear stories. Prerequisite: SMPA 2110.

Feature Writing (SMPA 3243W.10). Taught by Steven Roberts. 

Learn to frame, research, and write a wide range of feature articles, including profiles, interviews and personal memoirs. Weekly writing assignments and a major final project are discussed and scrutinized in a workshop setting. Prerequisite: SMPA 2110.

Editorial and Persuasive Writing (SMPA 3245W.10). Taught by Michael McGough.

This course will explore the art and science of writing opinion columns for a daily newspaper. Students will learn how to find and evaluate topics, how to build the most effective lead, and how to blend fact and emotion to structure a persuasive argument. They will analyze the work of Op-Ed columnists and learn to compare and contrast the techniques each writer uses to build his or her voice. Students will write one column a week, due each Monday, on a subject of the student’s choice. The first half of each session will be devoted to analyzing the style, voice, viewpoint and persuasiveness or lack thereof of columnists like Kathleen Parker and George F. Will. The second half will be devoted to class-wide critiquing of one another's latest work. Prerequisite: SMPA 2110W. (WID credit).

Big City Reporting (SMPA 3246.10). 

An enterprise news reporting course for student journalists with a drive to dig into D.C. government and report on issues of significant importance to residents and policymakers. Students will work together using advanced reporting and research techniques to report one significant enterprise story based in the nation's capital, with an eye toward publishing. Together, the class will practice shoe-leather reporting, interviewing families in some of the poorest parts of town. You will work together to dig up court records and corporate records, background the rich and powerful, scour public records and study local laws. The class will produce a hard-hitting enterprise story with the potential to prompt reform in the District of Columbia.

Documentary Production (SMPA 3247). Taught by Imani M. Cheers. 

This course is eligible to be taken for the Journalism and Mass Communication capstone requirement in spring 2019 and is worth 4 credit hours. Prerequisite: SMPA 2112 and SMPA 3479 or permission of instructor.

Public Diplomacy (SMPA 3350.10). Taught by Karl Stoltz.

The theory and practice of public diplomacy: informing, influencing and establishing dialogue with international publics and institutions. A conceptual and historical examination of public diplomacy, current practices and contemporary issues, including international information dissemination, educational and cultural exchange, and international broadcasting.

Principles of Public Relations (SMPA 3352.10). Taught by Frank Maisano.

Principles, problems, ethics and law of public relations for government, private concerns, educational and other public institutions,

Strategic Political Communication (SMPA 3353.10). Taught by Ethan Porter.

Origins of strategic approaches to political communication; techniques. Use of strategic communication by individuals, groups, organizations, and governments in both domestic politics and policymaking and in the international system. Prerequisite: SMPA 2102 or permission of instructor.

Political Speech Writing (SMPA 3357W.10). Taught by Lee Huebner.

The emergence of speechwriting as an independent discipline is a fairly recent phenomenon. This course will help students develop their own skills as writers of effective speeches, while also exploring the role of the speechwriter and the political and social issues it presents. Writing well for a speaking situation (writing for the ear) is different from writing well for a reader (writing for the eye). This course will discuss these differences—as well as the requirements of different speaking situations. Each class member will prepare three speeches of varying types, and both the class and the instructor will critique each effort. (WID credit).

Strategic Practicum (SMPA 3358.80). Taught by Peter Loge.

Students will apply their knowledge to design prototype strategic campaign. Students will be required to research the issues and actors associated with specific campaign settings, to identify the critical points in the decision-making process and the key constituencies with interests in each issue, and to develop theory-based communication strategies which they regard as most likely to achieve the stated objective. At the beginning of the semester, students will be assigned to teams. Each team will be responsible for selecting a cause or issue objective and for designing a strategic plan to achieve it. Departmental approval required to register. Prerequisite: SMPA 3353.

Media in the Developing World (SMPA 3471.80). Taught by Janet Steele. 

Contemporary views of media roles in developing nations. The role of the press and electronic media in economic, social, and national development, including media as agents of modernization, development journalism, and post-colonial responses to Western “cultural imperialism.” Media and Islam; role of the Internet; and theories of media and globalization.

Television News Workshop (SMPA 4181.10). Taught by Jeffrey Blount.

Instructor approval required to register.

Special Honors Research Seminar (SMPA 4198.10). Taught by Kimberly Gross. 

Open only to special honors candidates in political communication in the senior year. Prerequisite: SMPA 4199 and departmental approval.

Senior Seminar (SMPA 4199 - multiple sections). Taught by David Karpf and William Youmans.

Make sure to sign up for the appropriate section for your major. JMC Senior Seminar focuses on ethical issues facing media practitioners. PCM Senior Seminar preference is given to fall graduates and special honors candidates. If you plan to pursue special honors you must register for the fall senior seminar.

 

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GRADUATE COURSES

Speech Writing (SMPA 6201.10). 

Open only to SMPA graduate and ESIA global communication students.

Social Media (SMPA 6201.11). Taught by Lauren Glickman. 

Open only to SMPA graduate and ESIA global communication students.

Developing Digital PR Skills (SMPA 6201.12). Taught by Alexandra Dickinson. 

Open only to SMPA graduate and ESIA global communication students.

Web Essentials (SMPA 6201.13). Taught by Sean Moran. 

How do you leverage the web from the perspective of business strategy to create value? What do you need to understand within the sphere of web technologies to apply what the modern web has to offer? We'll learn the practical basics to the many effective uses of the web in today's business landscape. This class meets for only part of the semester. The course may be taught online during the last five weeks of the term. Departmental approval required to register. Open only to SMPA graduate and ESIA global communication students.

Communication Strategy (SMPA 6201.14). Taught by Daniel Kaufman. Open only to SMPA graduate and ESIA global communication students.

Media Relations (SMPA 6201.15). Taught by Frank Walter. Open only to SMPA graduate and ESIA global communication students.

Strategic Political Communication (SMPA 6204.10). Taught by Peter Loge.

Theory, techniques, and implications of strategic communication as employed by individuals, groups, organizations, and governments to advance their interests; applications to non-electoral politics and policymaking; use of political, psychological, sociological, and other processes; methodological considerations; domestic and international applications. Open only to SMPA graduate students.

Politics and PR Fundamentals (SMPA 6208.10). Taught by Jake Rubin.

Basic knowledge of the skills to design, implement, and evaluate public relations activities. Case studies of public relations applied to politics. Techniques and tactics used by public relations professionals. Open only to SMPA graduate and ESIA global communication students.

Strategic Practicum (SMPA 6220.80). Taught by Peter Loge.

Design of strategy for an information and influence campaign. Research on issues and actors, identification of critical decision-making points and key constituencies, development of communication strategies more likely to achieve stated objectives of a campaign. Prerequisite: SMPA 6204. For students doing a strategic communication capstone project, this course replaces SMPA 6297.

Principles and Methods of Documentary Filmmaking (SMPA 6230 - multiple sections). Taught by Nina Seavey and Sam Sheline. 

Analytical and practical exploration of the elements of documentary filmmaking. The genres of nonfiction filmmaking; fundamentals of film conceptualization, documentary screenwriting, story structure, and production theory; and basic practical elements of production. Admission by permission of instructor.

Analytics and Data Analysis for Strategic Communication (SMPA 6242.10). 

This course covers the basics of how to collect, analyze, and visualize data. It includes the analysis of field experiments and A/B tests, and the fundamental principles of data visualization. Students will learn multiple regression, with a focus on the microtargeting techniques and predictive analytics that are crucial to messaging in the digital age.

Entrepreneurship in New Media Industry (SMPA 6250.80). Taught by Richard Ducey.

Decades-old media business models are being upended by changing audience and advertiser patterns across traditional and digital media; Internet technologies supporting innovative, scalable and engaged user services; and challenging economics on who pays for content. Based on a grounded understanding of the digital media ecosystem, we will analyze what is happening; why; where the media industry is headed and career opportunities for those entering this industry. We will explore the role of entrepreneurship in a period of fast change and the degree to which this is accepted in the market and institutionalized by the financial, policy and media communities. We will consider how traditional media companies try to evolve and evaluate their relative success in doing so by identifying critical change factors. Each student will prepare their own entrepreneurial business plan.

Communication in Modern Diplomacy (SMPA 6270.11). Taught by Patricia Kabra.

Targeting and Voter Contact (SMPA 6270.12). Taught by Jim Green.

Media in the Developing World (SMPA 6270.80). Taught by Janet Steele. 

Contemporary views of media roles in developing nations. The role of the press and electronic media in economic, social, and national development, including media as agents of modernization, development journalism, and post-colonial responses to Western “cultural imperialism.” Media and Islam; role of the Internet; and theories of media and globalization.

Qualitative Research (SMPA 6270.81). Taught by Michele Kimball. 

Analysis for Public Diplomacy (SMPA 6270.O10). Taught by Thomas Miller. 

Before jumping into action, public diplomacy professionals need to analyze the audience and context carefully in order to avoid doing more harm than good. The key to effective public diplomacy, then, is understanding the narratives which compromise the identity of potential interlocutors. Students will learn how to win the battle of the narrative, analyze relevant communication models, study how the communication environment shapes effective messaging and learn how state and non-state actors tap psychological universals for maximum effect. Examples will be drawn from extremist propaganda, Russian disinformation and fake news in social media. All lessons combine academic theory and current events that illustrate theory in practice.

Directed Readings and Research (SMPA 6296.11). Independent research with SMPA faculty member. Must be approved in advance by supervising professor and director of graduate studies

Capstone Project (SMPA 6297.10 and 6298.10) 

Thesis Research (SMPA 6998.10 and 6999.10)

 

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