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Summary of Changes Effective Fall 2011

New Department Chair

  • Nancy Cheever

Communications

College of Arts and Humanities

Department of Communications

Bachelor of Arts

Advertising/Public Relations Option

Journalism Option

Media Studies Option

Minors

Advertising

Communications

Subject Matter Preparation Program

(for requirements, refer to the English section in this catalog)

Faculty

Nancy Cheever, Department Chair

Sharon Sharp, Edd Whetmore

 

Department Office: SAC-1166,
(310) 243-3313; FAX (310) 516-3779

Emeriti Faculty

David Safer, James Sudalnik

Mission Statement

The mission of the Communications Department is to prepare professionals who will successfully compete in today's marketplace in the areas of mass communications, public relations, advertising, and telecommunications. Additionally, the department strives to increase skills in writing, journalism, presentation, research, and media production including full utilization of the world wide web.

Program Description

Students dedicated to building professional careers in print and online media, film, television, and the closely related fields of public relations and advertising, as well as those interested in pursuing graduate work, will find degree programs designed by the Communications Department to meet their needs and to challenge their skills and interests.

Departmental curricula are designed to prepare students to pursue careers as communications professionals in the media-rich communications industries and corporations. As such, students will be expected to be adept at basic language and oral communication skills. They also should be aware of professional responsibilities, ethical practices and laws governing the mass media.

Students from other disciplines, seeking to improve their communications skills and knowledge about the media and their impact upon society, will find a variety of course offerings.

Advertising/Public Relations

The department offers the Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an option in Advertising/Public Relations. This program is designed for students interested in careers in public relations, advertising, integrated communications, and the related field of marketing.

Government, civic groups, nonprofit organizations, corporations and educational institutions all require the services of public relations and advertising practitioners to manage their communications programs and to help determine public policy. This process, sometimes defined as strategic problem-solving through communications, encompasses everything from counseling top management to the preparation of communication strategies and campaigns. It includes the entire gamut of informational media materials such as audio and video programs, employee publications, brochures, newsletters and annual reports; surveying and analyzing public opinion; speech writing; lobbying; fund raising and the planning of special events. Students in this emphasis are encouraged to join the department-sponsored Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter.

Journalism Option

The Bachelor of Arts/Journalism Option is designed for students interested in print, online, and broadcast journalism careers. Students who graduate with a journalism degree are prepared for a wide variety of media-related careers, already armed with industry experience.

New technologies and media platforms have created many dynamic opportunities for journalism graduates who possess the skills, principles, and practices for a successful career in the diverse regional, national, and international job markets. We train students in the various practices of contemporary journalists, including news writing and reporting, feature writing, column and opinion writing, interviewing, broadcast journalism, video podcasting, editing, and blogging.

Taught by seasoned journalists from a variety of media outlets, the curriculum focuses on the knowledge, practices, principles, and strategies of successful journalism professionals. In addition to learning effective writing, information gathering, and production techniques, students gain an understanding of how media organizations operate through hands-on internship training and in our news and broadcast production laboratories. Students also develop a keen understanding of how to decipher and navigate through an unprecedented amount of electronic information through media literacy training.

Media Studies

The Bachelor of Arts/Media Studies option provides students with the opportunity to study the history, criticism, regulation, and economic practices of film, television, and digital media. Students in the option develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of various media texts and practices. While there is no production option, students are required to take one digital media production course and are able to take additional intermediate production courses in order to gain hands on skills in media production. Students in the option develop a complex understanding of media culture that prepares them for careers in the media industries and graduate studies.

Features

  • Our location in Los Angeles is at the heart of one of the nation's prime media centers. This enables the department to draw upon an unparalleled pool of industry professionals as guest lecturers and part-time instructors. Wide-ranging internship opportunities are open to our students, in addition to employment opportunities in one of the largest media markets in the world.
  • Small class sizes allow students to receive individual attention from instructors and advisors and obtain maximum hands-on experience and access to production facilities.
  • The department's state-of-the-art writing/graphics/research laboratory, and a photographic laboratory provide students the opportunity to sharpen their skills as writers, reporters, editors, researchers, graphic designers, photojournalists and media producers.

Academic Advisement

The Communications Department places a high priority on student advisement. Each student entering the department is assigned an academic advisor from among the members of the full-time faculty.

Students have ample opportunity to meet individually with their advisors to discuss academic and professional matters. All departmental faculty members, are dedicated to helping students in the essential process of acculturation to the professional practices and life styles of communications professionals.

Students are urged to meet with faculty members as soon as questions arise. High academic standards of the department require that all communications majors and minors pass all required and prerequisite courses with grades of "C" or better. All Communications majors must complete a minor in a subject other than Communications.

Preparation

The ability to use the English language effectively is crucial to the success of the communications professional. Therefore, students are urged to take at least four years of college preparatory English.

The Communications Department deals primarily with the theory and process of communication, and the tools and techniques used to deliver messages composed of words, symbols, music, sound, nonverbal signs and visual elements. Message content, on the other hand, is derived from substantive knowledge of other disciplines – such as the political or behavioral sciences, economics, science and technology, sports, business management or public administration.

Students interested in communications careers should, therefore, prepare themselves by completing a broad spectrum of studies designed to increase their knowledge and awareness of facts, trends and developments in the many disciplines mentioned above.

Undergraduate Research Program

The year-long CSU Dominguez Hills Communications Undergraduate Research Program is one of the most rigorous in the nation. All Communications majors must complete it by enrolling in COM 400 and COM 490. These courses cannot be taken concurrently. Work in COM 400 culminates with an approved original research proposal. In COM 490, students complete a detailed five-chapter thesis that reports their findings.

Typically, these projects involve marketing and consumer behavior, social or ethical issues, the effects of mass communication, or some other appropriate topic. Students are required to choose their own thesis topics and often these reflect their career interests. In addition to providing a sample of student work for a prospective employer, these theses offer the student a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty to improve their written and oral communication skills.

Career Possibilities

The field of communications offers a vast number of challenging and rewarding professional and technical job opportunities.

Recent breakthroughs in information processing, including the meteoric rise of web-based distribution, have sparked new employment opportunities. The steadily increasing influence of the mass media and the growing interest of business and industry in journalism, public relations, advertising, in-house video communications and production also have opened a variety of new job opportunities.

Advertising/Public Relations

Account executive, account planner, public relations/advertising manager, marketing communications, advertising media analyst, corporate communications, public information officer, advertising copy writer, advertising designer, publications editor, product promotion and speech writer.

Journalism

Reporter, editor, features writer, freelance writer, columnist, correspondent, new broadcaster, editorial writer, news director, blogger, video podcaster, media management, researcher and photojournalist.

Media Studies

Critic, writer, producer, director, editor, media management, media distributor, researcher, and broadcasting/webcasting management.

Student Organizations

The Communications Department has sponsored a chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) since 1979. The Chapter's Mission is: (1) to serve its student members by enhancing their knowledge of public relations and providing access to professional development opportunities; and (2) to serve the public relations profession by helping to develop highly qualified, well-prepared professionals. PRSSA cultivates a favorable and mutually advantageous relationship between student members and professional public relations practitioners. The CSUDH Chapter is highly active, holding monthly meetings and sponsoring various on- and off-campus social and professional activities.

We are also an institutional member of the Broadcast Education Association. Additionally, students can be recommended for student membership in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Our students have been named recipients of Local Area Emmys, Student Emmys, and various other awards.

Student membership in these organizations is highly recommended.

Graduation With Honors

An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with Honors in Communications provided he or she meets the following criteria:

  1. A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills;
  2. A minimum grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements in the major;
  3. In addition, the student must be recommended by the faculty of the Communications Department.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Communications

Total Course Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree

See the "Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree" in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements. A minimum of 40 units, including those required for the major, must be upper division.

Elective Requirements

Completion of elective courses (beyond the requirements listed below) to reach a total of a minimum of 120 units.

General Education Requirements (55-62 units)

See the "General Education" requirements in the University Catalog or the Class Schedule for the most current information on General Education requirements and course offerings.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

See the "Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement" in the University Catalog.

Major Requirements (48 units)

Students must select one of the emphases listed. The following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, are required of all candidates for this degree.

Common Core Requirements (24 units)

A.  Lower Division Required Courses (9 units):

COM 100. Media and Society (3)

COM 110. Introduction to Digital Media Production (3)

COM 250. Writing for the Media (3)

 

B.  Upper Division Required Courses (15 units):

COM 302. Law of the Mass Media (3)

COM 379. Media Industries (3)

COM 400. Communication Theory and Research (3)

COM 490. Senior Seminar (3)

COM 496. Internships (3)

Advertising/Public Relations Options (48 units)

A.  Common Core Requirements (24 units)

 

B.  Option Requirements (12 units):

COM 342. Advertising Strategy and Copywriting (3)

COM 365. Introduction to Public Relations (3)

COM 366. Public Relations Writing (3)

COM 467. Integrated Communications Management (3)

 

C. Electives (12 units):

COM 130. Introduction to Film (3)

COM 206. Photojournalism (3)

COM 305. Overview of Interactive Media (3)

COM 306. Online Media Production (3)

COM 308. Television History (3)

COM 333. Electronic Journalism (3)

COM 344. Advertising Media Analysis (3)

COM 346. News Gathering and Reporting (3)

COM 348. News Editing and Design (3)

COM 352. Feature and Critical Writing (3)

COM 355. News Production Workshop (3)

COM 358. Communication Graphics (3)

COM 360. Public Affairs and Editorial Writing (3)

COM 381. Screenwriting (3)

COM 385. Intermediate Media Production Workshop (3)

COM 386. Electronic Media Editing (3)

COM 387. Documentary Film (3)

COM 396. Workshop in Video/Electronic Media Production (3)

COM 494. Independent Study (1-3)

COM 495. Special Topics in Communications (3)

Journalism Option (48 units)

A.  Common Core Requirements (24 units)

 

B.  Option Requirements (12 units):

COM 333. Electronic Journalism (3)

COM 346. News Gathering and Reporting (3)

COM 352. Feature and Critical Writing (3)

COM 355. News Production Workshop (3)

 

C.      Electives (12 units):

COM 130. Introduction to Film (3)

COM 206. Photojournalism (3)

COM 305. Overview of Interactive Media (3)

COM 306. Online Media Production (3)

COM 308. Television History (3)

COM 342. Advertising Strategy and Copywriting (3)

COM 344. Advertising Media Analysis (3)

COM 348. News Editing and Design (3)

COM 358. Communication Graphics (3)

COM 360. Public Affairs and Editorial Writing (3)

COM 365. Introduction to Public Relations (3)

COM 366. Public Relations Writing (3)

COM 381. Screenwriting (3)

COM 385. Intermediate Media Production (3)

COM 386. Electronic Media Editing (3)

COM 387. Documentary Film (3)

COM 396. Workshop in Video/Electronic Media Production (3)

COM 467. Integrated Communications Management (3)

COM 494. Independent Study (1-3)

COM 495. Special Topics in Communications (3)

Media Studies Option (48 units)

A.  Common Core Requirements (24 units)

 

B.  Option Requirements (12 units):

COM 130. Introduction to Film (3)

COM 308. Television History (3)

COM 381. Screenwriting (3)

COM 387. Documentary Film (3)

 

C.      Electives (12 units):

COM 206. Photojournalism (3)

COM 305. Overview of Interactive Media (3)

COM 306. Online Media Production (3)

COM 333. Electronic Journalism (3)

COM 342. Advertising Strategy and Copywriting (3)

COM 344. Advertising Media Analysis (3)

COM 346. News Gathering and Reporting (3)

COM 348. News Editing and Design (3)

COM 352. Feature and Critical Writing (3)

COM 355. News Production Workshop (3)

COM 358. Communication Graphics (3)

COM 360. Public Affairs and Editorial Writing (3)

COM 365. Introduction to Public Relations (3)

COM 366. Public Relations Writing (3)

COM 385. Intermediate Media Programming Production (3)

COM 386. Electronic Media Editing (3)

COM 396. Workshop in Video/Electronic Media Production (3)

COM 467. Integrated Communications Management (3)

COM 494. Independent Study (1-3)

COM 495. Special Topics in Communications (3)

 

 

Minor in Advertising (18 units)

COM 342. Advertising Copywriting (3)

COM 344. Advertising Media Analysis (3)

ART 344. Design Practices I (3)

MKT 350. Principles of Marketing (3)

MKT 352. Marketing Communications (3)

MKT 355. Consumer Behavior (3)

Minor in Communications (12 units)

A.  Lower Division Required Courses (6 units):

COM 100. Mass Media and Society (3)

COM 250. Writing for the Media (3)

 

B.  Upper Division Required Courses (6 units): Select two upper division Communications elective courses.

 

Course Offerings

The credit value for each course in semester units is indicated for each term by a number in parentheses following the title. For course availability, please see the list of tentative course offerings in the current Class Schedule.

Lower Division

COM 100         Media and Society (3).

A critical overview of media culture including newspapers, magazines, film, radio, television, popular music, advertising, public relations, and the Internet.  Focuses on building critical media literacy skills by developing a concrete understanding of media history, media analysis, the structure of media industries and their major players and products.

COM 110         Introduction to Digital Video Production (3).

An introduction to the process of digital video production that provides basic skills in all areas of digital video production in preparation for a career in any communications or related field that might require these basic skills.  Skill sets include camera, lighting, sound, preproduction and production methodologies, and basic digital processes.

COM 130         Introduction to Film (3).

An introduction to the study of film as an aesthetic, historical, and cultural phenomenon, and to various methods of critical analysis.

COM 206         Photojournalism (3).

Instruction in the basic principles of still photography. Two hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week.

COM 250         Writing for the Media (3).

Instruction and practice in the basics of reporting and writing news for print, electronic and digital media.

Upper Division

COM 300         Organizational Communications (3).

Organizational theory and the role that communication plays in modern business, industrial and governmental organizations. Case studies and reviews of the literature in solving communication problems of complex human organizations.

COM 302         Law of the Mass Media (3).

Libel law, right to privacy, contempt of court, copyright, the right to print news of public affairs, the Freedom of Information Act, and other legal topics of concern to the media professional.

COM 305         Overview of Interactive Multimedia (3).

General overview of current topics and issues in interactive multimedia. Provides an introduction to interactive multimedia concepts, roles, products and systems. Explores the planning, prototyping, producing, testing, and distributing of multimedia products. Three hours of seminar per week.

COM 306         Online Media Production (3).

Prerequisite: COM 110 or equivalent.  COM 305, COM 385 are recommended.

Provides skill sets needed for mastery of methodologies of video/digital media postproduction and processes for embedding and streaming new media product, utilizing digital compression techniques.  Emphasis is placed on digital non-linear editing techniques for internet deployment of projects relating to the fields of journalism, adverting, public relations as well as general digital mass media.

COM 308         Television History (3).

Prerequisite: COM 100.

A critical survey of the history of American television, from the 1940's to the present.  Examines the interrelationships between programming forms, industry, regulation, technology, aesthetics, and culture.

COM 333 Electronic Journalism (3).

Prerequisite: COM 110 and COM 250.  COM 100 is recommended.  Corequisite: COM 306.

Analysis and practice of coverage journalism, with emphasis on producing stories for the Internet, radio and television broadcasts.  Examines theory and development of community journalism, including blogs and podcasts.  Two hours lecture, on hour activity per week.

COM 342         Advertising Strategy and Copywriting (3).

Prerequisites: ENG 111 and COM 250 or equivalent are required; ART 344 or COM 358 are recommended.

Planning, creating and preparing demographically and psychographically targeted advertisements for print, electronic, interactive, and out-of-home media.  Students will write copy for commercial and not-for-profit advertising campaigns.

COM 344         Advertising Media Analysis (3).

Analysis of the comparative advantages (cost and market impact) of various advertising media as a basis for time and space buying within the context of the creative advertising campaign with an emphasis on campaign planning and implementation.

COM 346         Reporting and Information Gathering (3).

Prerequisites: COM 250 and typing 30 wpm.

Theory and practice of information gathering for print and electronic media writing, including the art of interviewing. Identification, assessing and verifying published, computerized data base and "live" sources. Special emphasis on interview problems such as invalid inference and supposition. Two hours lecture, two hours activity per week.

COM 348         News Editing and Design (3).

Prerequisites: COM 250 and typing 30 wpm.

Principles, practice in copy editing, including review of grammar, spelling, punctuation, word use, organization, word flow, sentences, information verification, application of appropriate story forms; writing headlines, photo cropping and sizing, computer desktop page design and editorial judgment. One hour lecture, two hours activity per week.

COM 352         Feature and Critical Writing (3).

Prerequisites: COM 250 and typing 30 wpm.

Analysis and practice of preparing feature stories and critical reviews for newspapers, magazines, radio, television and video. Assignments include profiles, how-to pieces and news features. Critical reviews focus on theatre, film, music, fine arts and books. Two hours lecture, two hours activity per week.

COM 355         News Production Workshop (3).

Prerequisite: COM 250.  COM 346 is recommended.

Production of print and electronic forms of campus newspaper.  Practices include original story selection, writing, reporting, interviewing, and editing.  Repeatable course.  Two hours lecture, three hours activity per week.

COM 358         Communication Graphics (3).

Prerequisites: COM 250.

Learning methods for producing various forms of visual communications including fliers, informational graphics and logos, newsletters, magazines and newspapers in correlation with desktop publishing, page design, typography selection, copy fitting photo sizing and cropping. Two hours lecture, two hours activity per week.

COM 360         Public Affairs and Editorial Writing (3).

Prerequisites: COM 250, COM 346, and typing 30 wpm.

Reporting, writing and editorial interpretation of public affairs events and issues, including on-site coverage of local governments, civic affairs, schools, police and courts. Utilization of public documents, enhancement of interviewing techniques, with emphasis on accuracy, clarity and social responsibility. Two hours lecture and two hours activity per week.

COM 365         Introduction to Public Relations (3).

Public relations practices and principles
as applied to government, education and industry.

COM 366         Public Relations Writing (3).

Prerequisites: COM 250 and COM 365 and type 30 wpm.

Public relations writing; message and audience analysis. Creating effective forms of public relations communications, producing print and video press releases, public service announcements, media fact sheets and alerts, executive letters, press kits and brochures and newsletter copy. Two hours lecture, two hours activity per week.

COM 379         Media Industries (3).

Prerequisite: COM 100.

Analyzes contemporary media industries offering a comprehensive overview of how the industries work, their historical roots in relations to how they operate today, and their cultural influence.  Examines how the relationships between various cultural, industrial, regulatory, and economic elements set the conditions by which media industries create cultural texts.

COM 381         Screenwriting (3).

Prerequisite: COM 250.

Practice in script writing for TV and film. Development of writing styles suitable for each of these media. Emphasis on formal distinctions between aural and visual media.

COM 385         Electronic Media Programming Production (3).

Prerequisites: COM 383.

Emphasis is placed on news, information and persuasive programming in both studio and field production environments. Production focus will be varied covering categories such as news, informational, persuasive, instructional, public affairs and corporate formats and programs as production assignments.

COM 387         Documentary Film (3).

Prerequisite: COM 100.

A critical survey of the schools, styles, and purposes of documentary film as an aesthetic and cultural form.

COM 400         Communication Theory and Research (3).

Prerequisites: COM 100 and COM 250.

Provides an overview of mass communications from a theory and research perspective. Explores how audiences receive and use messages and how the research on these activities affects the way mass communication is generated.

COM 467         Integrate Communications Management (3).

Prerequisites: COM 250, COM 365, COM 366.

Analysis and development of strategies for planning/implementing integrated communications campaigns and preventing/solving integrated communications problems.  Emphasis is placed on both individual and team case studies, incorporating strategic planning and writing techniques previously learned.

COM 490         Senior Seminar (3).

Prerequisite: COM 100 and COM 400; senior standing.

Integrative studies and in-depth analyses of the mass media and their role in society. Preparation of major thesis paper and the sharing of research findings during seminar discussions. Three hours of seminar per week.

COM 494         Independent Study (1-3).

Independent study in any relevant subject area under the direction of a member of the Communications Department faculty. Repeatable course.

COM 495         Special Topics in Communications (3).

An intensive study of an issue or concept in communications that is of special interest to both the faculty member and the students, such as press and social issues or sports in the media. Repeatable course. Three hours of lecture per week.

COM 496         Internships (3).

Prerequisites: Senior standing and/or approval of the department is required; completion of a minimum of 27 upper division units in the major is recommended.

Directed work experience in the communications field—print or electronic journalism, public relations or advertising, film, broadcasting, or telecommunications. Ideally, such work provides a practical bridge linking the student's academic studies with the world of work. A minimum of 10 hours a week of supervised work experience under the direction of a professionally-qualified mentor.

Infrequently Offered Courses

The following courses are scheduled on
a "demand" basis. Students should consult the department office for information about the next schedule offering.

COM 386         Electronic Media Editing (3).

Prerequisites: COM 101, COM 383, or COM 384. COM 385 is recommended.

Exploration of the role of editing in the video production and post-production processes of traditional and new media, using both analog and digital formats. Emphasis on digital non-linear editing techniques. Six hours of activity per week.

COM 396         Workshop in Video/Electronic Media Production (3).

Prerequisites: COM 383 and/or COM 384 or COM 385.

Engagement in broadcast video and non-broadcast multimedia productions. Students write, produce, direct projects, and crew for others. Successful projects mastered/ported to university's cable channel/CD-ROM workstation/Web Server. Repeatable. Three credits toward major. Six hours of activity per week.

COM 425         Management in the Mass Media (3).

Prerequisites: COM 100 and COM 250.

Emphasizes management of the electronic media industries, the most heavily regulated in the field of mass communications. Covers organizational theory, principles of management, functions/style of the manager, programming, sales, promotion and community relations.