Communication and Media Studies 513

COMS 513: Political Communication

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and instructor's permission

Credit Hours: (3)

Contemporary theories and practices of political communication. Examines the structure and function of political messages, the strategic dissemination of political messages, and the effects of those messages on corporate, social, professional and cultural institutions.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The general purpose of this course is to introduce students to a variety of communication concepts as they relate to the political arena. The topics included are:

1. Defining political communication
2. Politics, Communication and Society
3. The professionalization of political communication
4. A functional analysis of communication in political campaigns
5. The nature of administrative rhetoric
6. The role of media in politics
7. Political communication and executive leadership
8. Political speechwriting
9. Political communication and the courts
10. Political communication and the legislative function
11. The role of ethics in political communication


Detailed Description of the Conduct of Course

This course is conducted using an informal lecture/discussion approach. Periodically, throughout the semester, students are assigned report topics which become the basis for additional discussion.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. Students will demonstrate understanding of communication theories relevant to the political arena
2. Students will demonstrate understanding of basic research tools and methodologies used in analyzing political communication
3. Students will demonstrate understanding of analytical skills necessary for entry to and advancement in politically related professions
4. Students will demonstrate an awareness of the pervasiveness of political messages so that the student might become a more knowledgeable consumer of those messages


Assessment Measures

Students are assessed on the basis of the quality of their work in a group report, the quality of five typed research summaries on specific topics, an analysis of a specific political campaign and its communication components/or a review of a book relevant to the course, and on two written examinations.


Other Course Information

Specific topics of discussion and specific topics of group reports and research summaries vary from semester to semester given current events. For example, during an election year, topics may change to reflect the nature or character of that election or a specific political campaign.


Review and Approval

April 1999 Course number change David Dobkins, Chair