2017-2018 Catalog

WRD 287 Rhetorical Fault Lines: Journalism, Persuasion, and Propaganda

Rhetorical Fault Lines: Journalism Persuasion and Propaganda-- This course will inspire critical thinking about the role of journalistic persuasion and its often conflicting relationship with public relations publicity marketing and branding while probing the effects of increasingly sophisticated communications techniques on individuals and democratic institutions. We will explore ethics and semiotics through scholarly and popular interpretations of communications theory such as George Lakoff's seminal Don't Think of an Elephant Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent and A Rhetoric of Motives by Kenneth Burke. Students will write and critique persuasive journalism -- editorials op-eds blog posts letters to the editor -- as well as public relations messaging in press releases speeches native advertising video visual design and digital and paid media. Taught by a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has served as an editorial writer columnist Opinion page editor and most recently Communications Director for the Sierra Club America's largest and most effective environmental organization the course will offer an inside perspective on the forces that shaped public opinion and the decisions behind some of recent history's most significant issues including climate disruption education immigration and war


4 units