Tuesday, December 20, 2005

MCLA offers "Future of Journalism" course


Unprecedented change in America's news media and the potential threat to
the survival of traditional journalism are topics of a new, three-credit
evening course, which will meet Thursdays beginning Jan. 19 at the
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

"The rise of the Internet and the fragmentation of advertising undermine
the financing of in-depth and watchdog reporting by mainstream media,"
says Robert Bishoff, chairman of the English/Communication Department at
MCLA. "This course is designed to give students . and the public . the
opportunity to understand these changes and how they may affect
participatory democracy and community."

The course, "The Future of Journalism: Issues and Opportunities in a
Connected World," is being organized and taught by visiting lecturer Bill
Densmore, director and editor of The Media Giraffe Project with support
from the Hardman Family Foundation at MCLA. Besides traditional readings,
the 6:30 p.m.-9:15 p.m. sessions each Thursday will use films, video and
audio from contemporary websites as well as invited speakers and

"We're aiming for a lively mix of brief lectures, group participation
around readings, guest visits, panel discussion and viewing of web-based
multimedia materials from The Media Giraffe Project and elsewhere," says
Densmore. "We'll give participants a sense of options and tools for
participating in the new environment as citizen journalists."

Besides MCLA students, and Williams College students who may cross-enroll, the
sessions are open to Massachusetts citizens over age 60 at no charge.
Massachusetts residents under 60 may enroll by paying standard three-credit
tuitions and fees prior to the first session on Jan. 19.

For a detailed course description, planned materials and session topics, view
the course syllabus at: http://www.mediagiraffe.org/docs/syllabus.doc (or
syllabus.pdf). A weblog has been established for the course and will be a
resource for updates on assignments, planned class schedules, appearances and
discussions, reading and resource materials and links.

The Media Giraffe Project (http://www.mediagiraffe.org ) is a non-partisan
research effort, which finds and spotlights individuals making innovative,
sustainable use of media (old and new) to foster participatory democracy and
community. Its aim is to encourage .above the crowd. work by established
journalists, and detail unique services which citizens can use or emulate.

The Hardman Family Foundation at MCLA endows a lecture series, academic
research, a student scholarship and the MCLA archives in the name of the family
that formerly published The North Adams Transcript.

For more information contact:
December 1, 2005 Robert Bishoff, 662-5372 or
Bill Densmore (cell: 458-8001) wdensmor@mcla.edu


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