Journalism 5 Syllabus

College of the Redwoods Syllabus for Introduction to Mass Communication Instructor: Dave Silverbrand 

This is intended for those who are taking College of the Redwoods Introduction to Mass Communication or those who are contemplating doing so.

Course Purpose: 

With ever-changing technology, mass communication has become far more complex than ever.  From radio, television, newspapers and magazines, the media has expanded to Internet outlets such as Facebook and Myspace as well as Weblogs and now Twitter.  Since we depend so much of our daily lives on mass communication outlets, we need to understand them as never before.  This course examines the media, how it works, how we can understand it better and how we can participate in it.  In fact, you, as students will have a chance to participate.

This course is intended for those who want to enter the media profession and those who simply want to understand it.

About the Instructor: 

I have 35 years and counting in the media industry.  I have been a reporter, news director and now manager of a television station.  I am also author of two books and a weekly columnist for the Times Standard in Eureka.


The college provides for failure of a class with 6 unexcused absences (those which do not have an instructor’s pre-approval or a note from a doctor.  I do provide for an opportunity to make-up missed material.  (It is not a good idea to ask me what you have missed.)

Grading System: 

I grade on a point system with the maximum achievable points being 2500 points.  It is broken down this way:

Attendance and Participation:  600 points.

Media Discussion Topics (see below) 400 points

Semester Long Project (see below)  1500 points

Media Discussion Topics:

Each student will be asked to bring in one of the following for group discussion:

Music: Choose a recording of any era, a song that is socially significant.  Bring in a playable copy of that song for discussion.  Be prepared to explain why you chose the song and what it signifies.

Weblog or other on-line or information service: Bring in copies of or a link to that site for our discussion.  We will examine that site’s editorial policy or philosophy, its purpose and its relevance to mass communication.

Movie Clip: Bring in a less than five minute clip from a movie, a film that you find socially significant.  Again, be prepared to discuss why you chose the film and what it signifies.  Often, clips or trailers from that film can be found on

Semester Long Project: 

CR News Magazine:  We produce the only monthly TV News Magazine in Northern California.  It airs on Access Humboldt Channel 12.  It is also available any time at  Then search for Access Humboldt/CR News.  You are not responsible for shooting or editing news magazine pieces but you can if you wish.  You can also supervise editing.  Your responsibility, then, is to arrange and conduct interviews for those stories.  You will also have an opportunity to host the program if you wish.  That would mean appearing on camera and introducing the video pieces.

CR Newspaper: Members of our class will be writing and contributing to the college newspaper.  While we, as a class, are not directly managing the paper or responsible for its content, I am providing credit in this class for participation in the paper.  To document that participation, you should keep a log-sheet of the way you spent your time and the amount of time you spent.  For example:  10/31   Conducted interview of biology instructor   2 hours.

Research Project: This is a project of your choosing related to media.  This can be job shadowing, working in the media or interviewing people in the working media.  You should write a paper based on your findings, its length to be 10 to 15 pages.  Information references do not need to be in college bibliography style.   However, information sources must be disclosed.

One Response to “Journalism 5 Syllabus”

  1. molly says:

    when does the cr news paper team meet?
    how can i submit a drawing, poem, or piece of writing, or some of my time to recieve credit in journ 5?
    i work in fortuna so it is hard to make extra trips for the CR news magazine and to mkae it to news paper meetings. please help! the semester is practically over and ive slacked but i am unclear as to how i can contrubute time or something else for credit. thank you for your help.

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