2014-2015, Hollywood in the Newsroom

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hollywood-and-us-media-histories-155-638 The Big Picture Mural

UPDATED February 3rd, 2015

This page will document the course program of study entitled HOLLYWOOD IN THE NEWSROOM as delivered at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Free University, Berlin. The course draws upon the book We, the media…(Peter Lang, GmbH)

“Contemporary concerns about corporate U.S.A understandably critique corporate influences on areas such as policy and the public sphere. This course will focus on that strand of growing media influences that, since the 1970s, have witnessed the incorporation of public news broadcasting within the wider corporate field (ABC/Disney; NBC/General Electric; CBS/Sony). More specifically, we will critically consider one sub-genre strand of Hollywood films that in this time has itself represented the querulous bind between leading private corporations andthe impact of their mergers on journalist practices and resultant news quality. Areas of critical enquiry of student essays and presentations can therefore range from media policy (the Fairness Doctrine), media ownership (Telecommunications Act of 1996), issues of free speech (Chomsky), and representations of gender and news working practices in Hollywood cinema since Network, 1976.”

(The course draws upon Dr. Taylor’s book publication: We, the media: Pedagogic Intrusions into U.S. Mainstream Film and Television News Broadcasting Rhetorics, Peter Lang, GmbH, enclosed).

WHERE? “The John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies is one of the most important centers in Europe for research on North America…The six different departments of the institute are simultaneously integrated into the departments of their respective disciplines. The library of the John F. Kennedy Institute, with roughly 790,000 media units, is the largest library in Europe that is specialized in North American studies…”

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AMBITIONS: “In a reasonable graduate seminar, you don’t expect students to copy it down and repeat whatever you say; you expect them to tell you when you’re wrong or to come up with new ideas, to challenge, to pursue some direction that hadn’t been thought of before. That’s what real education is at every level, and that’s what ought to be encouraged. That ought to be the purpose of education. It’s not to pour information into somebody’s head which will then leak out but to enable them to become creative, independent people who can find excitement in discovery and creation and creativity at whatever level or in whatever domain their interests carry them.” Noam Chomsky, The Salon, Friday, October 10th, 2014.

ORIENTATION

Research Advice – the Response Papers, as discussed in class:

  • Student research focus should move in the direction of vocational interests that can/should also include the ABV (work abroad requirement).
  • While the actual topic area is free of the student to choose, that topic should be generated from class discussions and the general focus of the course;
  • Papers should be in response to a quote – as distilled from research – and as profiled in the heading of the paper. The sub-heading should indicate a. the genre of your argument (discuss, exploration, analysis, argue) AND b. the theoretical frame/s that the student thinks appropriate for the subject (ie, political science, cultural theory…).
  • There is a warm-up November 4th presentation by each student and thereafter  there are in total 3 such papers and accompanying presentations (see schedule blue points below).
  • We are aiming towards a complete end paper of Feb 3rd, 2015 that will garner a significant % of the final grade (details to come).
  • So we are interested in developmental knowledge and understanding.
  • The word/page count? Paper 1: 2, 000 words/4, 5 sides; Paper 2: 4, 000 words/10,12 sides; Paper 3, 6,000-8,000 words/20 -24 sides
  • Credit across the response papers is awarded to that work which clearly indicates a developmental progress in the student, i.e –
    • critical thinking
    • emergent topic knowledge and understanding
    • powers of articulation on paper and in class
    • mature research skills – scope and depth

THE RESEARCH HUB

Contact: alan.taylor@fu-berlin.de

OUR FOUR STAGE PROGRAM

STAGE ONE – U.S MEDIA CORPORATIONS AND HISTORIES

Corporate Media pic

STAGE TWO – HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS, GENRES, SUB GENRES

EXTRA: November 13th and 14th

  • NOV 18 – Hollywood Overviews (see KINOWORDS GOES TO HOLLYWOOD) and Our Case Study Films 1970s – 1990s (Dr. Taylor lead)
  • Nov 25 – Summary Overview Discussions/Analysis – this is a pit stop that allows for general discussion, reflections and shared understandings. Folks undertaking response papers should use this opportunity to orientate and focus on their key concerns in preparation for next week’s presentations.
  • We will also be viewing sequences from the case study films from the 1970s and 1980s that represent the operations of television news broadcasting. While the range of responses are encouraged, one core feature of our study will centre upon the issue of inter-textual corporate rhetoric and gender representation across films that make up this sub-genre.
  • Dec 2 – Student Presentations and 1st Response Paper based on Stage 1 and 2
ABC reports on Star Wars. Both owned by Disney. Dec, 2014

ABC reports on Star Wars. Both owned by Disney. Dec, 2014

STAGE THREE – OUR CASE STUDY FILM, NETWORK (Lumet, United Artists, 1976)

The staging of the film will allow for shared discussion base on informed understanding of film narrative construction and Hollywood film style/rhetorics.

a. narrative conventions (enigmas, foreshadowing, plot points, subtext, character arcs…)

b. technical codes (blocking, lighting, frame composition, editing, mise-en-scene…)

  • Dec 9 Sequence viewing and staged analysis/discussion, part one.
  • Dec 16 – Sequence viewing and staged analysis/discussion, part two

CHRISTMAS, NEW YEAR (RESEARCH) BREAK

  • Jan 6 – Course Review, Update on Research Initiatives
  • Jan 13 Student Presentations and 2nd Response Paper

STAGE FOUR – THE 21ST CENTURY NEWSROOM AND ITS TERMINISTIC SCREENS

  • Jan 20 – Dr. Taylor (Oxon) leading on Kenneth Burke and New Rhetoric histories
  • Jan 27 – Viewing and Analysis Wag the Dog, part 1
  • Feb 3 SUBMISSION OF FINAL RESPONSE PAPER and PRESENTATIONS
  • Feb 10 – Remaining presentations and viewing and analysis, Wag the Dog, part 2.
  • And ADIOS.

WTM pic ALAN CV

END

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