Television Studies



Media and Society



Intro to Media Studies (seminar 1)



Global Media Winter 2107.jpgRadio Studies Winter 2017.jpg



Media and society, Fall 2016, Trent in Durham



Intro to Media Fall 2106 Durham Seminar #1


Television Studies Fall 2016 Durham

Television Studies  Durham Fall 2016.jpg


Intro to media studies Winter 2016 (Trent in Durham) seminar group #1



Television Studies Fall 2015 group 1

Trent in Durham – Television Studies – Fall 2015 – Group 1

Edge of Darkness book is on 3-day reserve at Trent in Durham Library

Stephen Lacey on THE COPS – BBC 2 (1998-2001) produced by Tony Garnett

Media & Society 2015-16 Trent in Durham

Trent in Durham – Media & Society – FW 2015-16

Melanie, Adrian, Merna, Aaritah, Cheryl Celeste, Tevon, Michael Amanda, Patrick

Emily, Katie, Amanda, name, Dane, Matthew, name, Connor

Media & War Trent in Durham Fall 2015

Trent University in Durham – Mass Media & War – Fall 2015

Jillian, Emily, Emma, Brendan, Emily W., Stephen Ashley, Tristan, India, name, Haroon, Trent, Rabiah, name, Katrina, Brtiney, Thilina, Tharsan, Sheryl

Deanna, Chris, Billie, name, Erin, Mel

Homer Bigart, “A Month After the Atomic Bomb,” New York Herald Tribune, Sept 5, 1945.  Homer Bigart on Hiroshima

Raymond Williams, “Distance” (1982) Raymond Williams on Falklands War

CUST 1535H: Introduction to Media Studies

Trent in Durham

Professor: Alan O’Connor

Calendar Description

CUST 1535H is an introduction to media studies that starts with students’ own experiences of contemporary media. It seeks to give students an understanding of these media and how they emerged. The course leads into second-year courses in the history and theory of media, in changing media practices, and in digital culture.


Course evaluation 

Seminar: attendance 5% and participation 5% (total 10%).

Media Diary: Write down all your uses of media for 24 hours. Then write a 200-word introduction commenting on your diary (due week 2 – 20%).

Research on mobile phones: Summarize the Pew Research Center findings about on how people use mobile technology. Then write 200 words about what you find interesting or surprising. Online at: (due week 4 – 20%)

Article Review: Write a summary of the argument of a scholarly article* on this course outline. Then write 500 words to explain why you agree or disagree with the reading (due week 6 – 20%).

Essay: Write a 1,000 word essay starting from one of these books, but going on to discuss what you think are the central issues raised by the book (due week 12 – 30%). All are available online:

Week 1: Introduction: media as experience, technology and industry. Evgeny Morozov, “Socialize the Data Centres!” New Left Review 91 (Jan-Feb 2015). Online at:

Week 2: Breaking up on Facebook *Ilana Gershon, “Unfriend my Heart,” Anthropological Quarterly 84(4) Fall 2011. Trent Library e-journal;  Ilana Gershon, The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media (2010);  Danah Boyd, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (2010)

Week 3: Youth and mobile phones  Leslie Hadon, “Young people’s diverse use of multimedia mobile phones” (2008). Online at  Manuel Castells, Mobile Communication and Society (2009). Ch. 4 “The Mobile Youth Culture.”  Pew Research Center, U.S. Smart Phone Use in 2015. Online at:

Week 4: Twitter and the riots James Ball and Paul Lewis, “Twitter and the riots, The Guardian Dec. 11, 2011. Online:  The Guardian / London School of Economics, Reading the Riots. Online at  *Rob Proctor and others, “Reading the riots on Twitter,” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 16(3) 2013. Trent Library e-journal; *Farida Vis and others, “Twitpic-ing the riots: analysing images shared on Twitter during the 2011 UK riots.” in Katrin Weller and others eds. Twitter and Society (2013). Online at:  *Eszter Hargittai and Eden Litt, “The tweet smell of celebrity success: Explaining variation in Twitter adoption among a diverse group of young adults.” New Media and Society 13(5) 2011. Online at

Week 5: YouTube Jean Burgess and Joshua Green, YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (2009) Ch. 3. Online at   *Janet Wasko and Mary Erickson, “The Political Economy of You Tube,” in The You Tube Reader. Online:

Week 6: The Daily Show *Geoffrey Baym, “The Daily Show,”  Political Communication 22: 259-276 (2005). Trent Library e-journal;  *Geoffrey Baym, “Political Interviews on The Daily Show,” The Communication Review 10: 93-114 (2007). Trent Library e-journal;  *Baumgartner and Morris, “The Daily Show Effect,” American Politics Research 34(3) 2006. Trent Library e-journal.

Week 7: Online games Cory Doctorow, For the Win (2010). Teen fiction available online;  *Lin Zhang and Anthony YH Fung, “Working as playing? Consumer labor, guild and the secondary industry of online gaming in China,” New Media and Society 16(1) 2014. Trent Library e-journal;  Tom Boellstorff, Coming of Age in Second Life (2008). Trent Library printed book; Krystina Derrickson, “Second Life and the Sacred: Islamic Space in a Virtual World” (2008). Online at

Week 8: Watching TV William Uricchio, “The Future of a Medium Once Known as Television,” in The You Tube Reader. Online at     *Matt Hills, “From the Box in the Corner to the Box Set on the Shelf,” New Review of Film and Television Studies 5(1) 2007. Trent Library e-journal.

Week 9: Listening in the car  *J. Martin Daughtry, “Acoustic Palimpsests and the Politics of Listening,” Music & Politics (Winter 2013). Online at:–acoustic-palimpsests-and-the-politics-of-listening?rgn=main;view=fulltext  *Richard Berry, Will the iPod Kill the Radio Star? Profiling Podcasting as Radio. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 12(2), 2006. Online at:

Week 10: Surveillance Alan Rusbridger, “The Snowden Leaks and the Public,” New York Review of Books, Nov 21, 2013. Online at:  Lauren Regan, “Electronic Communications Surveillance,” Monthly Review, July-August  2014. Online at:  Ronald J. Deibert, Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet (2013)


Week 11: Nice work Margaret Talbot, “Stealing Life: The Crusader behind The Wire, New Yorker Oct 22, 2007. Online:   *Andrew Ross, “The New Geography of Work: Power to the Precarious?” (2008). Online:  Shawn Micallef, The Trouble with Brunch (2014). Trent Library e-book.

Week 12: Conclusion: Why study media? Emilie Bickerton, “Culture after Google,” New Left Review 92 (March-April 2015) . Online at:

Radio Studies lecture 12

March 30, 2015

Radio Studies lecture 12

Radio is not dead. We’ve come to understand that very clearly.

Canadians listen to about 17 hours of radio a week. In addition, about 20% of Canadians stream an AM or FM radio station online. There is some evidence that younger listeners have become more selective in what they listen to, sometimes turning to music streaming services for background music and to podcasts for specific spoken word programs. But rather than seeing this as the end of a technology (radio is dead) it makes more sense to see it as a response to repetitive playlists and insistent advertising; made worse by the deregulation of commercial radio in the 1980s and 1990s. I had a blast on Friday afternoon, listening to CJLO Concordia University Underground Radio, streaming on iTunes.


Many smart phones have an FM receiver but it is turned off

Music for Wilderness Lake

Charles Dickens in Dombey and Son describes the train flying though the countryside:

… with a shriek, and a roar, and a rattle, from the town, burrowing among the dwellings of men and making the streets hum, flashing out into the meadows for a moment, mining in through the damp earth, booming on in darkness and heavy air, bursting out again into the sunny day so bright and wide; away, with a shriek, and a roar, and a rattle, through the fields, through the woods, through the corn, through the hay, through the chalk, through the mould, through the clay, through the rock… (Quoted by Hendy p. 216)

Industrial factory sounds

At first, about 1900, radio signals were a kind of magic. But by the 1930s radio was an ordinary part of everyday life. Radio sets played in cafes and bars, in homes and apartments. The listening habits of one family were observed by researchers from the BBC in 1938. There is music on the radio, a woman is sewing while waiting for a later program that she prefers, the father and son are having a row, and other family members drift in and out of the room. Neighbours drop by. The one person who was actually listening to the music is in despair. But nobody wants to turn the radio off: it is background, meaningless noise, but still wanted (Hendy, p. 292-3).

Military sounds Humvee truck driving inside convoy assault ops

Add to the engine noise, the banter from other personnel inside the Humvee, noise from the street, and the general stress and tedium of military patrols in a hostile environment. Why would a soldier then add to these confusing layers of sound, programmed music from an iPod? The answer has to do with human agency: to try to wrest back some control in an overwhelming environment.

We are back in New York in Spike Lee’s film Do The Right Thing (1989). Or at least in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn. It is a long and hot Summer day. An undercurrent of  racial  and social-class tensions in the neighbourhood comes to the surface. Sal is proud that the local Afro-American kids have been raised on his Italian pizza, and he also provides a dead-end job as delivery boy to Spike Lee’s character. The tension emerges apparently over visual images: Sal decorates his pizzeria with photos of Italian sports heroes, but the local kids want some brothers up on the wall. (The Afro-American feminist, bell hooks had a few things to say about this.) It is apparently a dispute about about visual representation. But the conflict, when it finally breaks out, is all in sound. Sal shouts like a domineering Italian father and the kids respond with a loud radio that plays “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. The tension escalates, terrible things are said, violence is done, and then there is silence. But the silence is not peace. At this moment we would do anything to turn back the minutes and have the yelling and the protests and the loud radio. A murderous silence falls over the pizzeria. The police are called, a police officer kills a young black male, and Sal’s pizzeria will go up in flames. The silence, that moment of silence when the radio goes dead is not peace. Here, as elsewhere, silence is death.

Do The Right Thing  (9/10) Movie Clip


David Hendy, Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening (2013)

R. Murray Schafer, My Life on Earth and Elsewhere (2012)

Emily Thompson, The Roaring Twenties: An interactive exploration of the historical soundscape of New York City. Website at:

Jonathan Sterne, “Sounds Like the Mall of America:  Programmed Music and the Architectonics of Commercial Space,” Ethnomusicology (Winter 1997). Online at

Wayne Marshall, Review of How to Wreck a Nice Beach, by Dave Tompkins; and Sonic Warfare by Steve Goodman. Online at

Steve Goodman, Sonic Warfare (MIT, 2010). Online at:

Suzanne G, Cusick, “Music as Torture, Music as Weapon,” Trans (2006). Online at:

J. Martin Daughtry, “Acoustic Palimpsests and the Politics of Listening,” Music & Politics (Winter 2013). Online at:–acoustic-palimpsests-and-the-politics-of-listening?rgn=main;view=fulltext

Seminars Winter 2015

January 9, 2015

Mass Media and War Winter 2015

MASS MEDIA AND WAR  [back row] Alison Landry, Daniel Y Kim, Kashtin Callaghan, Sam Bianco, Bill Watkins, Lindsey Crymble, Kalynn Helmer, Augusta Vanhoof Veno, Colin Francey, Jack Smye, [front row] Cole Armitage, Josh Quantick, Ellen Andrews, Sam Reid, James Marshall, Chris Stipeters, David Ingenito, Christian Wigglesworth, Nathaniel Davidson, Lucas Bokla

Radio Studies Winter 2015

RADIO STUDIES  [back row] Olivia Kunzel, Chantel Atlema, Erin Crockett, Christine Jose, Daniel Koepfler, Esprit LeCunff, Shelbie Chamberlain, [front row] Brandon Wieser, Allison Landry, San Bianco, Tara Henley, Stelios Pappas, Alex Lamb, Cole Armitage


For an introduction to reportage see the radio program transcript at

Kemper Radio Lab Model K-5-2 c. 1927

1927 radio receiver

German playwright and author Bertolt Brecht writes “The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication” in 1926

“Radio is one sided when it should be two. It is purely an apparatus for distribution, for mere sharing out. So here is a positive suggestion: change this apparatus over from distribution to communication. The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him. On this principle the radio should step out of the supply business and organise its listeners as suppliers.”

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