Instructor: Dr. Steve Macek Office Hours: MWF 10:30-12 noon;
Campus Phone: 630-637-5369 and by appointment.
Home Phone: 630-718-0836 Office: Pfeiffer Hall, Room 40
Though often overshadowed by
Illouz, Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of
Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture. (
You’ll also be asked to read a number of book chapters, essays and reports, some of which will be distributed in class and some of which will be available online.
Course Format. This course will emphasize class discussion. I will give a few prepared lectures and we will occasionally watch videos but most of our class time will be devoted to group discussion of course readings and particular media texts. We will also be making several class trips and will be visited by a number of guest speakers. For class discussion to flow well, you'll have to do the required reading and make an effort to participate. In class discussions, it will be my job to facilitate and keep the conversation flowing.
Class Trips and Guest
I’ve arranged four field trips related to the themes of the course and I expect
you to do your best to attend each one. We’ll be sitting in on a page one
meeting at the Chicago Tribune; visiting the Robert McCormick Museum in
Wheaton’s Cantigny Park; meeting with a representative from Chicago’s film
board (and then, for those who have the time, attending a screening at the
Chicago International Film Festival) and taking a tour of an exhibit on the
history of free speech struggles in Chicago at the Newberry Library. You are responsible for your own
transportation. I’ll be riding the train in from campus for the three trips
we’ll be taking into
also arranged for two guest speakers to come and speak to us, Larry Duncan of Labor Beat TV and Steve Jajkowski, a
leading authority on the history of television in
Written Assignments. In this class you’ll be
expected to complete three short papers and one long research assignment. In
your short papers (each roughly 2-3 pages long) you’ll respond to the arguments
of one of the required texts, to a guest speaker or reflect on one of our
trips. For the final paper (roughly 12-15 pages long with bibliography) you’ll
All writing assignments should be typed or printed in 12 point Times or New York font, double-spaced, have one-inch margins and be stapled together. They should also be relatively free of mechanical and grammatical error. If you write on a computer, be sure to back-up your work. Put your name, the date and the name of the class on all assignments. See the attached Guidelines and Standards for Written Work for more details about the writing assignments. Please note that I am always willing to give you feedback on rough drafts and outlines of your written work. This is especially true of your final papers.
Electronic Submissions. If you like, you may submit your writing assignments by e-mail. Electronic submissions should arrive in my in-box prior to the listed due date. Send them to me as attachments, preferably in the form of Microsoft Word files. Please don’t send Word Perfect files as I can never open them
Class Presentations. In addition to the four writing assignments, you will be asked to give a short (8-10 minute) oral presentation about the topic you researched for your final paper. This will be a good way for you to both share what you’ve learned with the class and sharpen your thinking about your topic as you put the finishing touches on your papers.
Class Participation and Attendance. It will be extremely difficult for you to do well in this course if you don't come to class. I expect you to attend class regularly, to participate in discussions, to be on time and to stay for the entire session. Your record of attendance and your contributions to class discussion will determine 10% of your final grade. To receive a high score for your participation, you should not only do the reading for class but also come prepared to say something. It might help if you came to class with a list of questions or a passage from the readings you'd like to discuss.
Grades. Your grade for the course will be based on your short papers, the final paper, your performance as a discussion leader and your attendance and class participation. Each of the short papers is worth 15% of your final grade, the final paper is worth 35%, your presentation counts for 10% and class participation counts for 10%. On my grading scale, an A is 93% to 100% of the possible points, 90 to 92% is an A-, 87% to 89% is a B+, 83% to 86% is a B, 80% to 82% is a B-, 77% to 79% is a C +, 73% to 76% is a C, 70% to 72% is a C-, 67% to 69% is a D+, 60% to 68% is a D and anything less than 59% is an F.
Below is a breakdown of the points for each assignment or final grade component:
3 short papers @ 150 points 450 points
1 final long paper @ 350 points 350 points
1 class presentation @ 100 points 100 points
Class attendance and participation 100 points
To figure out how you are doing in the course at any time during the term, simply divide the points you've earned so far by the number of points you could've earned.
Late Work. The due dates for each of the writing assignments are clearly listed on the schedule below. Grades on late work will be lowered one letter grade for each week the assignment is overdue. I will not accept late final papers.
Week 1. Intro, Overview of Chicago Media & The Tribune Co.
Sept. 14. Introduction to
Sept. 16. The Tribune, Robert McCormick and the
“Colonel Robert R. McCormick,” Robert Smith (online)
“The Colonel and the Lady,” Joseph Epstein (online)
The entries on “Chicago Tribune,” “Chicago Newspapers” and “Chicago Journalism” from the Encyclopedia of Chicago History (online)
Week 2. Tribune continued.
Tuesday, Sept 21. The Tribune Today.
Excerpts from James Squires’ Read All About It!: The Corporate Takeover of America’s Papers (to be distributed)
Tribune Company Annual Report 2003 (online)
Sept 23 Field Trip #1. Sit in on a Page One meeting at the Chicago
Tribune. Meet in the lobby at
Week 3. The Dissident and Ethnic Press.
Sept 28. Field Trip #2. Meet at
class to discuss Tribune visit and depart for trip to
Short Paper #1 due.
Thursday, Sept. 30. News for the Rest of Us.
“A Paper for Those Who Toil: The Chicago Labor Press in Transition, ” Jon Bekken (online)
“A Forgotten Leader: Robert S. Abbott and the Chicago Defender from 1910-1920,” Alan D. DeSantis (online)
“Depression in the ‘Promised Land’: The Chicago Defender Discourages Migration 1929-1940,” Felecia Jones Ross and Joseph McKerns (online)
The entry on “Chicago Defender” from The Encyclopedia of Chicago History (online)
“’The most dangerous of all
Negro journals’: Federal Efforts to Suppress the
Defender During World War I,” Theodore Kornweibel Jr. (to be distributed)
Oct 5. Film in
on “Film in
Thursday, Oct 7. Kartemquin Films.
Explore: The Kartemquin website.
Screening: Excerpts from Hoop Dreams and The New Americans
Oct 12. Field Trip #3. Visit to
Oct 14. Radio in
on “WLS” and “WGN” in The Encyclopedia of
Explore: The Chicago Historical Society’s Studs Terkel website.
Tuesday , Oct 19 WCFL
Thursday, Oct 21 WCFL
Short Paper #2 due.
, Oct 26 Field Trip #4. Visit to Outspoken: Free Speech Struggles in
Thursday, Oct 28 Finish WCFL/ Begin TV.
Guest Speaker: Larry Duncan, Labor Beat TV
Nov 2. The
“Utopia Out of Place: Studs’ Place, Popular Front Culture and the Blacklist in Chicago Television,” Chad Raphael (online)
“The Puppet Master: Burr Tillstrom and Kukla, Fran and Ollie” from Ted Okuda and Jack Mulqueen, The Golden Age of Chicago Children’s Television (to be distributed)
Explore: Steve Jajkowski’s Chicago
Television site and Rich Samuel’s Broadcasting in
Screening: “Kukla, Fran and Ollie”
Nov 4 The Changing Face of
Explore: Steve Jajkowski’s Chicago Television site and Rich Samuel’s Broadcasting in Chicago site.
Guest Speaker: Steve
Jajkowski, creator of the “Video Veteran” Chicago Television website and
archivist for the
Week 9. Oprah.
Tuesday, Nov 9. The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Thursday, Nov 11.
Short Paper #3 due.
Week 10. Media Activism in
Tuesday, Nov 16. The WTTW study.
Reading: Read the executive summary and introduction of Chicago Media Action’s study “Chicago Tonight: Elites. Affluence and Advertising.” Skim the rest and look at the charts. Read the newspaper coverage of the study, WTTW’s ad kit and Jim Kirk’s “Running WTTW into the ground”(all materials online).
Thursday, Nov 18. Presentations
Tuesday, Nov 23. Final papers are due in my mailbox (or e-mail inbox) no later than 5 p.m.
Guidelines and Standards for Written Work
• All written work must be typed or printed in dark ink, double-spaced, stapled (not paper clipped) together, in 12 point Times or New York font with one inch margins and should have a title page. It must be responsive to all aspects of the assignment, including length, and should use the Modern Language Association (MLA) system of documentation and style.
• Written work should be relatively free of mechanical and grammatical error.
• Document every reference, including page numbers whenever possible. Refer to a writer’s manual if you need guidance about how to do this.
• Support claims not common knowledge with evidence and conclusions with argument. Take time to plan your papers and devote some time to rewriting them. Always keep a second copy of your work.
• Assume your reader has not taken this course. Define all terms whose definitions are controversial or obscure. Take time to explain the theories you are using. Include as much detail as you need to support your argument. Illustrations (diagrams, storyboards, photographs, photos of still frames, etc.) are always welcome.
• Avoid racist or sexist language and cliches.
• Grades: Failure to follow any of the above guidelines will result in a lower grade. Otherwise, here are my standards:
An "A" paper demonstrates that the writer has not only mastered the concepts of the course, but has applied them in an original, imaginative and incisive manner. The paper shows a command of the language that allows the writer to express ideas and observations clearly, effectively, in detail and with virtually no mechanical errors. The paper includes adequate documentation. "A"s are reserved for exceptional essays.
A "B" paper demonstrates that the writer has understood the concepts of the course and has applied them with some originality. The paper shows the writer can organize a coherent essay with few errors. The paper for the most part includes adequate documentation.
A "C" paper demonstrates that the writer has understood most of the concepts of the course but needs to pay more attention to reading or writing. Documentation is erratic.
A "D" paper demonstrates that the writer has only a minimal understanding of the concepts of the course. Significant gaps in the writer's comprehension indicate the need for more study. The paper shows the writer's basic compositional skills are below satisfactory. Documentation is unsatisfactory.
A "F" paper demonstrates that the writer has little, if any, understanding of the concepts of the course. Because of the writer's lack of skill or concern, the work includes gross errors as well as a lack of content. Documentation is negligible. The paper may also fail to address parts of the assignment.
A paper may combine characteristics of different levels of work. In that case, the grade will depend on the paper's overall demonstration of knowledge of the material and of college writing skills.
Please see me if you have questions about my standards or about any of your grades for the course.