Presentation Title

Who Sponsors Your Viewing? Political Economy for Critical Engagement

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Andrea Bergstrom completed her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2011) and is an Assistant Professor Communication Studies at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC. She teaches courses in communication theory and research methods as well as classes pertaining to media literacy and media studies. Dr. Bergstrom is the co-author of The O.C.: A Critical Analysis (2014) through Lexington Books with graduate school colleague Dr. Lori Bindig. In addition to media literacy, her research interests include media effects and media representations of gender, race, class and sexuality.

Type of Presentation

Individual presentation

Brief Description of Presentation

The researcher designed and piloted course materials intended to increase critical thinking within a communication course by focusing on the political economy of media through identifying and understanding media ownership patterns and the influence on media content consumed. Analysis of student assignments is in process to assess learning outcomes and teaching effectiveness.

Abstract of Proposal

In response to an assessment of student learning outcomes, the researcher designed and piloted course content to increase critical thinking within an introductory-level general education communication course. This exercise in the political economy of media was crafted to help students examine the connections between the corporate media system and the larger economic and political systems, and to examine the ways these systems create and reinforce social power and ideology in a capitalist society (McChesney, 2008). Using McChesney’s framework for understanding the political economy of media as a basis, course readings and lecture materials provided context for an assignment asking students to track their media usage patterns, documenting their exposure to all screen media and specific content viewed for three days. Using the list of content generated, students were then tasked with finding the producer/distributor for all content listed and to determine the corporate parent company for each. Students used this information to uncover the top three media conglomerates responsible for the production of the largest portions of their personal media consumption. Students then examined their conglomerates’ overall ownership patterns and holdings across media platforms. Using their research students were assigned to write a reflection addressing a series of questions regarding how the pattern of corporate media ownership may influence media content, embedded ideologies and societal views on issues and policies. Reflection essays were collected and are in the process of being qualitatively coded by the researcher for students’ overall demonstration of critical thinking and mastery of course concepts.

Start Date

2-24-2018 9:50 AM

End Date

2-24-2018 11:20 AM

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Feb 24th, 9:50 AM Feb 24th, 11:20 AM

Who Sponsors Your Viewing? Political Economy for Critical Engagement

In response to an assessment of student learning outcomes, the researcher designed and piloted course content to increase critical thinking within an introductory-level general education communication course. This exercise in the political economy of media was crafted to help students examine the connections between the corporate media system and the larger economic and political systems, and to examine the ways these systems create and reinforce social power and ideology in a capitalist society (McChesney, 2008). Using McChesney’s framework for understanding the political economy of media as a basis, course readings and lecture materials provided context for an assignment asking students to track their media usage patterns, documenting their exposure to all screen media and specific content viewed for three days. Using the list of content generated, students were then tasked with finding the producer/distributor for all content listed and to determine the corporate parent company for each. Students used this information to uncover the top three media conglomerates responsible for the production of the largest portions of their personal media consumption. Students then examined their conglomerates’ overall ownership patterns and holdings across media platforms. Using their research students were assigned to write a reflection addressing a series of questions regarding how the pattern of corporate media ownership may influence media content, embedded ideologies and societal views on issues and policies. Reflection essays were collected and are in the process of being qualitatively coded by the researcher for students’ overall demonstration of critical thinking and mastery of course concepts.