First-Year Seminar: Images of Race and Ethnicity in the American Media

FYS Learning Objectives:

  1. Students will demonstrate an ability to develop and present a logically convincing written argument, accurately utilizing source material as persuasive evidence to support their thesis. They will present their ideas clearly, employ an assigned citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.), and follow the conventions of standard written English usage and mechanics.
  2. Students will be able to develop a research question; to identify potential sources; to evaluate the selected sources for currency, relevance, authority, and purpose relative to the research questions; to provide citations using the appropriate citation style and mechanics.
  3. Students will become familiar with some of the out-of-class learning tools and resources available at Hood College.

Course-specific objectives

This course explores images of minority communities in the mainstream news media and how those communities have fought to tell their own stories.


Students will learn:

  • To analyze the key elements of a news account, including weight of evidence, credibility of sources and of context, to judge its reliability.
  • To distinguish between news and opinion and analyze the logic/rhetoric employed in opinion journalism.
  • To use primary sources to examine news coverage of racial and ethnic communities
  • To assess the impact of digital information technologies, including Facebook and Twitter and place them in their historical context.
  • Write and present original research that examines how the news media have covered racial and ethnic communities

Required Books:

  • News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media by Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres
  • They Say, I Say with Readings, 4th, by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein and Russel Durst

Additional Readings

The instructor also will assign readings on Blackboard and on the Web. Required apps or websites:

  • Fox News
  • CNN
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Others may be assigned or suggested.

Course Format:

This is a seminar and we will spend most of our time talking about the readings as we explore the way the news media have covered the minority communities. Students are expected to read assignments before coming to class. Frequently, the class will begin with a brief writing assignment in which you summarize or reflect on what you have read or what we have discussed in a previous class period.

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