Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blogging for Extra Credit

Blogging is one of the ways you can earn extra credit in COMM 480. Posts must be relevant to the topics being covered in a specific week or unit and should be at least 200 words in length. They should also reference class readings and/or offer thoughtful reflections on news stories or popular culture examples of the intersection between media, religion and culture. Below is an example...

In the last 2 months there has been much debate within the news and online media regarding Obama's views about religion and personal faith. Recent polls conducted by the Pew foundation found many American believe Obama is a Muslim or are at least quite unclear about his religious background.  This claim  can be traced back to reports circulated on the Internet by pundits during the 20072008 election campaigns which were was revived  this summer surrounding discussion of the "ground zero community center/mosque". and Obama's support of these efforts. The Washington Post in a recent article The ignorance factor: Obama, religion and the media  posed an interesting question, "How have journalists failed to adequately communicate that the president is a Christian? Or does it no longer matter what we report if people choose to believe something with no basis in fact?" According to discussion in various news sources it seems both a case of the news media not doing an adequate job of verifying their sources and not clearly communicating the complexity of some of the public debates on these issues, as well as a public inundated with information from news and online sources being unable to discern Internet fact from fiction. This raises important questions of how the media construct reality and shape our understanding of what is truth.  It also highlights the need for critical literacy of the new media world, where personal blog and independent web sites are often viewed by the public as reliable news sources (though not subject to the same journalistic standards a news outlet would be).

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