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COM 638 Strategic Communication for Global Audiences

Note: the following is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as course and student needs change over time.

Course Description

In this course, we study communication in a mediated and globalized context as a strategic process that utilizes soft power, propaganda and technology to achieve certain goals by state and non-state actors. This process has been subject to a set of market forces, such as free trade, consolidation, deregulation and privatization that have had an impact on the political economy, management and functioning of transnational media corporations. In this course, we will adopt theoretical and pragmatic approaches to investigate the organizational strategies of transnational media corporations and their role in a globalized context. We will also look into how issues of media imperialism, international advertising, public relations, and public diplomacy affect the functioning of global media corporations.

Topics of Study

Normative Press and Media Management Theories in a Mediated Postcolonial Context

Questions to consider:

  • What is a theory?
  • What is the value and purpose of theory in general and in mediated communication in particular?
  • What are the limitations of normative theories?
  • What is the most pragmatic theory of the four theories of the press?
  • What are the pros and cons of the modernization theory in a mediated context?
  • How do postcolonial theories affect our understanding of new media technologies?
  • Are theories of transnational media management, leadership and organizational culture useful in assessing the role and performance of multinational media corporations?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Describe the theoretical frameworks needed to critically analyze the political role of mainstream and alternative media.
  • Evaluate the differences between modernization theories and post-modern/postcolonial approaches to studying global communication.
  • Integrate/apply the normative press models and/or the theories of transnational media management and organizational culture.

The Economics and Management of Transnational Media Corporations

Questions to consider:

  • What are the pros and cons of TNMCs' deregulation?
  • What is the impact of digital convergence on the ownership and content of TNMCs?
  • What are the motivations behind TNMCs' mergers and acquisitions strategies?
  • Is media consolidation good or bad for the media consumers?
  • What are the common media strategies employed by today's TNMCs? And how do these strategies impact the free marketplace of ideas?
  • What are some of the responsibilities and obligations of today's TNMCs in dealing with the general public and the nations in which they operate?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Identify the system and role of a transnational media corporation.
  • Describe the rules of a free market trade and transnational media ownership - namely mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances.
  • Evaluate the impact of TNMCs' economic consolidation, particularly vertical and horizontal integration on the free marketplace of ideas.

Globalization and Globalization of International Media Systems

Questions to consider:

  • What is meant by division of labor in a globalized media context and a global economy?
  • What are the origins of the center-periphery media concept from the days of the British imperial telegraph network and highlight whether/how this concept has evolved?
  • What are the differences between the developed and the developing countries' approaches to transborder data flow?
  • Are there differences between the European Union and the U.S. markets with regards to media market competition? If so, what are those differences?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Define imperialism in a globalized media context.
  • Identify the components of "electronic imperialism."
  • Describe the geo-cultural factors that impact the global media flow.
  • Evaluate the impact of national and regional versus international media on global public opinion.

Media Imperialism in the Internet Age

Questions to consider:

  • What is the difference between the social and digital construction of reality?
  • Will the variance between national cultures be reduced thanks to media convergence?
  • Will separate cultural identities disappear and pave the way for a single identity called system homeostasis or equilibrium thanks to the Internet?
  • Is the Anglo-American identity prevailing in the online world?
  • Will the Internet make it more feasible for news agencies in developing countries to successfully compete worldwide with established Western news agencies? Why or why not?
  • Will collectivistic, communal cultures become more individualistic thanks to the Internet?
  • Can the Internet increase or reduce the digital divide? Can it facilitate an equitable flow of news between developed and developing countries? Why or why not?
  • What direction will news flow take in the future?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Define the digital divide between the developed and developing countries.
  • Describe the implications of media and cultural convergence on the global news flow.
  • Evaluate the global cultures in light of the structural model of the Internet.

Revisiting Media Imperialism in an International Broadcasting Era

Questions to consider:

  • What motivates governments to broadcast across their borders?
  • How has international broadcasting changed since the end of the Cold War?
  • Should global communication be democratized from above or from below? And why?
  • How have the forces of Americanization, modernization, secularization and commercialization contributed to homogenizing global media systems?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Define the Schiller's model and the Generic model of media imperialism.
  • Identify the core dimensions affecting media imperialism.
  • Evaluate the development of international broadcasting and its role in bridging the gap between the north and the south.

Global Communication: Between Propaganda and Public Diplomacy

Questions to consider:

  • What are the dimensions of public diplomacy?
  • What is political propaganda and how different is it from non-political propaganda?
  • What are the strategies of a propaganda campaign?
  • What is "soft power"?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Identify the difference between public diplomacy and propaganda.
  • Define "soft power" and its impact on political perceptions.
  • Describe the theory of political propaganda and its relevance to the "magic bullet" or "hypodermic needle" theory.
  • Evaluate political propaganda in light of the strategies of propaganda campaigns.

Global Advertising and Public Relations in a Digitalized Age: Between Nationalism and Globalism

Questions to consider:

  • What are the digital tools for public relations strategy?
  • What are the origins of PR and advertising?
  • What is the role and function of PR and advertising professionals in a globalized world context?
  • What does the term "public" mean and how has it developed in the digital age?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Identify the strategic management paradigm of PR in the virtual context.
  • Define the "public" as stakeholders in the social media era.
  • Describe the role of social media in enhancing public relations and advertising strategies in a global media context.
  • Evaluate the advertising and PR strategies of the global media conglomerates in the Internet era.
  • Assess the practice of PR and advertising in a global culture that is subject to forces of nationalism and globalism.

Cultural Communication: Diasporic and Hybridity Issues

Questions to consider:

  • What is culture?
  • How is culture transmitted?
  • Is there a Western domination in the production of culture?
  • What is the journalist's role in the production of culture?
  • Do media enhance hybrid cultures?

After completing this topic of study, students are prepared to:

  • Identify how mediated cultures are formed in a globalized context.
  • Define "culture industries" in the context of critical theory.
  • Describe the dimension of global cultural flow (ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes and ideoscapes.
  • Assess the role of transnational media in transforming the concept of the nation and the diaspora.
  • Evaluate cultural hybridity in a global context.

Note: the following is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as course and student needs change over time.