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Academics

Surprise! Entertainment is Informative

Larry Pena, October 19, 2009
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If you've ever wanted to spend a class period watching the news or discussing current movies with one of the liveliest professors on campus, it's time for you to sign up for Rosemary Collins' Mass Media Communication.

One of the ground-level courses for new communication majors (and old ones who have been otherwise occupied), the course provides an introduction to the different forms of mass media-and how to think critically about the messages they provide. "For some students, this will be their first exposure to abstract thinking," says Collins.

"Students tend to choose media that are entertaining rather than thought-provoking or useful," says Collins. "Hopefully they will be able to become more discerning in their consumption of the media, and learn to become intelligent users, instead of just letting the messages wash over them without thinking about what's being said."

The class is mostly discussion-based, and topics so far this quarter have included the portrayal of morality in films, objectivity in television news programming, and current developments in the newspaper business. "I feel really good about what we've done so far," Collins says.

Her goal for the class is to help students develop an ear for messages. "I hope students who take this class will become better at interpreting messages accurately within the mass media, and will be able to send them out accurately if they become involved in mass media themselves," she says. "Students will see that entertainment often is informative, even though they might never have realized it before."