SAMPLE SYLLABUS ONLY
(subject to change)
Journalism 350 – Mass Media Law
The First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
This course examines the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, press and expression. Topics consider how the First Amendment is stretched to meet the needs of a society that must balance freedom with authority. The course is lecture and discussion; participation is expected. Please come to class ready and eager to discuss the readings and assignments of the day. All questions and comments are important and if you have a thought on a topic, several of your classmates are probably wondering about the same idea. So go ahead and ask a question or make an argument!
Theme of the Course: How does the First Amendment fit into these ideas?
Thomas Emerson, leading U.S. theorist on the First Amendment, commented that the “theory of freedom of expression involves more than a technique for arriving at better social judgments through democratic procedures. It comprehends a vision of society, a faith and a whole way of life. The theory grew out of an age that was awakened and invigorated by the idea of a new society in which man’s mind was free, his fate determined by his own powers of reason, and his prospects of creating a rational and enlightened civilization virtually unlimited. It is put forward as a prescription for attaining a creative, progressive, exciting and intellectually robust community. It contemplates a mode of life that, through encouraging toleration, skepticism, reason and initiative, will allow man to realize his full potentialities. It spurns the alternative of a society that is tyrannical, conformist, irrational and stagnant.”
Mass Media Law, Newest Edition, by Don Pember (website: www.mhhe.com/pember).
Abbreviated and Complete Course Decisions, course reader available from the bookstore.
Access booklet available free from the Journalism Department.
The Pember textbook includes a CD-ROM that will be helpful in reviewing each chapter and regarding other relevant topics. However, the disc does not replace class discussions.
Case briefs assigned from the Abbreviated and Complete Course Decisions and other assignments are due at class time on the assigned dates. Late papers are not accepted unless arrangements are made in advance.
Grading: Midterm exam, 100 points. Final exam, 100 points. Case briefs are worth 10 points each for a total of 100 points. Spelling and punctuation errors cost points on the briefs. Each absence costs you five points from the final tally of scores. Total possible points is 300. You must have at least 210 points to pass with a C-. Students who regularly and actively participate in the discussions will be given the benefit of the doubt at the end of the quarter if their scores are on the line between two grades.