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Framed: The Media and the Marginalized


The Media and the Marginalized

Stereotypes. Coded language. Unconscious bias. How do these concepts factor into the media search for truth? How might they stand in the way of public understanding of social difference? Clearly, the media affect the way we see one another across social boundaries established by such characteristics as race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. How do the perspectives formed by this “mediated reality” ultimately affect our decisions on public policy in such areas as political participation, equal rights and criminal justice? These and other considerations are central to professional journalism responsibility and enlightened public choice making. Without question, the media are vital to the effective operation of our democratic system by providing information that should be free of the kind of bias that can distort the public participation process.

Through discussion of principles of media professionalism and ethics, and an examination of some of the hot topics featured in today’s headlines, this course will set a framework for recognizing and analyzing media narrative framing, as well as the representation of traditionally marginalized groups within that narrative frame. Ultimately, we will develop a deeper appreciation of media responsibility. Just as important, we will expand our sense of media literacy in considering a path forward—whether as professional journalists or engaged citizens—as we navigate the challenging terrain of an increasingly diverse society, one in which we all can appreciate the value of social difference and multiple perspectives.