Digital Media & Society

Course description: This course is organized around the broad question of what journalists should know about the way digital media are reshaping society. To answer this question, the course provides a series of foundational readings on the effects of new media on a number of domains of social life, including culture, politics, civility, social movements and journalism. #MemphistoMainz

Click here for syllabus.

Course Schedule

Class One: Introduction/Culture & Technology

Monday, 8 May 2017, 17:00-20:00

Watch (in class)

Beware of the Online “Filter Bubble”


Searchlights and Sunglasses: Field Notes from the Digital Age of Journalism

Are We Stuck in Filter Bubbles? Here are Five Potential Paths Out

Ideological Segregation Online and Offline

Political Polarization on Twitter


Class Two: Digital Journalism & Social Media

Wednesday, 10 May 2017, 9:00-12:00

Watch (In class)

Got a Smartphone? Start Broadcasting


Müller, Philipp; Schneiders, Pascal; Schäfer, Svenja. Appetizer or Main Dish? Explaining the Use of Facebook News Posts as a Substitute for Other News Sources, Computers in Human Behavior, 2016.

Valeriani, A., & Vaccari, C. (2016). Accidental exposure to politics on social media as online participation equalizer in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. New Media & Society, 18(9), 1857-1874.

Reuters Institute of Digital News Report

How Americans Encounter, Recall and Act Upon Digital News

Pew Research Social Media Update 2016


Class Three: Fake News in the Digital Age

Thursday, 11 May 2017, 9:00-12:00

Watch & Listen (In class)

How Fake News Does Real Harm

How Misinformation Spreads on the Internet


Berkowitz, D., & Schwartz, D. A. (2016). Miley, CNN and The Onion. Journalism Practice, 10(1), 1-17.

Berinsky, A. (2017). Rumors and Health Care Reform: Experiments in Political Misinformation. British Journal of Political Science, 47(2), 241-262. doi:10.1017/S0007123415000186

6 Tips to Debunk Fake News Stories by Yourself

FirstDraft News

The Hoaxes, Fake News and Misinformation We Saw on Election Day

From Headline to Photograph, a Fake News Masterpiece


Class Four: Digital Media and Activism

Monday, 15 May 2017, 17:00-20:00

Guest Speaker: Dr. Stephanie Madden, assistant professor University of Memphis

Watch (In class)

Social Media that Drives Change


Briones, R. L., Janoske, M., & Madden, S. (2016). 13 Hashtag Activism at Its Best?Social Media for Government: Theory and Practice, 159.

Madden et. al. Who Loves Consent?: An Analysis of Responses to the Culture Jamming of Victoria’s Secret. A paper submitted to the Public Relations Division International Communication Association Annual Conference 2015.

What’s the Difference Between Activism and Journalism?


Class Five: Digital Culture and Politics

Thursday, 18 May 2017, 9:00-12:00


Miller, J. M., Saunders, K. L. and Farhart, C. E. (2016), Conspiracy Endorsement as Motivated Reasoning: The Moderating Roles of Political Knowledge and Trust. American Journal of Political Science, 60: 824–844. doi:10.1111/ajps.12234

Dobson, K., & Hunsinger, J. (2016). The political economy of WikiLeaks: Transparency and accountability through digital and alternative media. Interactions: Studies In Communication & Culture, 7(2), 217-233. doi:10.1386/iscc.7.2.217_1

US Presidential Campaign and Social Media

How Social Media Influences Millennials’ Political Views

Byrd Lecture at ZDF 16:00


Class Six: Online Incivility and News

Monday, 22 May 2017, 17:00-20:00

Guest Speaker: Dr. Gina Chen, assistant professor University of Texas, Austin

Watch & Listen (In class)

The “Nasty Effect:” How Comments Color Comprehension

Sports Reporters Respond to Online Comments



Gina Masullo Chen & Shuning Lu (2017) Online Political Discourse: Exploring Differences in Effects of Civil and Uncivil Disagreement in News Website Comments, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 61:1, 108-125

Chapters from Chen’s forthcoming book—Online Incivility and Public Debate: Nasty Talk

Class Seven: Case Study Presentations

Wednesday, 24 May 2017, 9:00-12:00