Department of Mass Communication

https://www.towson.edu/cofac/departments/mass-communication/

Media Center 114
Phone: 410-704-3431
Fax: 410-704-3656

Student Service Center
Media Center 005
Phone: 410-704-4917

Programs of the Department

The Department of Mass Communication offers the following programs of study:

Why Study Mass Communication?

Do you want to:

  1. Expand your understanding of the world and mass media and prepare to tackle the most complex global, cultural, political and business challenges?
  2. Pursue a career in traditional communication fields such as advertising, journalism or public relations or use your skills in healthcare, financial services, information technology, federal agencies and nonprofits?
  3. Learn to choose and use the most effective communication tools and strategies to promote messages, products and programs?

Then, Mass Communication may be the right choice for you.

The Department of Mass Communication offers students the opportunity to learn the structure, functions, responsibilities, effects, and practical application of the mass media. The objectives of the Mass Communication major are 1) to provide students with appropriate training for careers in mass communication and 2) to help students become more critical consumers of the media.

At the undergraduate level, the department seeks to contribute to a broad, liberal education for majors and non-majors. The program improves the students' communication skills and critical thinking abilities. The department provides the knowledge and skills needed for future employment in print and broadcast journalism, new media, advertising and public relations as well as in other areas such as law, government and education. In addition, students learn how the mass media influence social, political, economic and cultural existence.

The faculty members of the department are committed to scholarly research and/or creative productions in the department’s various areas of expertise. Many faculty worked professionally in the advertising, public relations and journalism fields, and bring their industry experience into the classroom. The department provides service to TU and to a larger community in a variety of ways, such as through the American Advertising Federation, Public Relations Student Society of America, Society of Professional Journalists, as well as faculty and student presentations, workshops and professional networking.

Internship Program Guidelines

The department strongly encourages students to participate in internships. Most Mass Communication majors complete one or more internships during their undergraduate career.

In order to receive academic credits for an internship, students must be admitted to the major and have obtained junior/senior status, met the minimum GPA requirement and completed the prerequisites.

Visit the department website for information on the internship application and approval process. All internship work sites must be approved by the appropriate internship coordinators.

Departmental Scholarships

The Department of Mass Communication offers its majors a number of scholarship opportunities.

The Patrick John O’Connell Memorial Scholarship is available for Mass Communication students with a special interest in broadcast journalism, journalism, advertising or public relations. Other scholarships include the Eddie Ballard Award for Journalism, the Chrystal Marie Clifford Memorial Scholarship, the Sam Lacy Sports Communication Scholarship, the Steven and Laura Murfin Scholarship, the O’Connor Radio Broadcasting Scholarship, the Jamie Parker Memorial Scholarship, the George F. Rogers Jr. Memorial Scholarship, the Elizabeth Wainio Memorial Scholarship, the Public Relations Society of America Scholarship and the Reg Murphy Scholarship. For scholarship information and deadlines, contact the department scholarship coordinator or visit the department website.

Student Organizations

The department supports the following student organizations: the TU Ad Club, TU PR Group and the student chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists.

Honors Program

The department recognizes students for academic excellence by participating in TU's honors program. Mass Communication majors with an overall GPA of 3.25 and a 3.50 in their major are eligible for the honors program. To graduate with honors in Mass Communication, students must complete at least 6 units from internships (MCOM 460 or MCOM 461), independent studies (MCOM 496), or honors thesis (MCOM 499) in Mass Communication. In addition, the student is required to make an oral presentation to the Thesis Committee, which is open to the public. At graduation, students will be recognized for honors both on the diploma and permanent transcript. Students interested in departmental honors should consult with the department’s honors coordinator no later than the first term of their junior year.

Graduate Program

The department offers a master's degree in Communication Management. Information regarding the master's program is included in the Graduate Catalog.

Students interested in becoming undergraduate Mass Communication majors must first become Pre-Mass Communication students (PMCO) and enroll in three required screening courses:

ENGL 102WRITING FOR A LIBERAL EDUCATION3
COMM 131PUBLIC SPEAKING3
MCOM 101INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION3

Students cannot apply for MCOM as a major until they have completed these courses.

Note: This requirement applies to incoming freshmen, transfer students, currently enrolled Towson University students and students working on a second bachelor’s degree.

Students are eligible to apply for admission to the Mass Communication (MCOM) major after completing at least 30 units at Towson University or elsewhere, and earning a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) in the three courses named above. In addition, the student's overall GPA must be 3.0 (B) or above at the time of application. No more than one of the screening courses can be repeated for the purpose of determining eligibility.

Students should apply for the MCOM major by completing an online application on the department's website. The application deadlines are May 20, August 15, and December 20 each year. Students who are denied may re-apply once. Appeals should be addressed to the department chair in the form of a letter.

Courses

MCOM 100 USING INFORMATION EFFECTIVELY IN MASS COMMUNICATION (3)

Effective and ethical gathering, evaluation, application and presentation of information in the study of mass communication. Prerequisite: freshmen and sophomores only. GenEd I.B.

MCOM 101 INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION (3)

Issues, theories and structures of mass communication and careers in the mass media.

MCOM 102 HONORS INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION (3)

Issues, theories and structures of mass communication and careers in the mass media. Honors College course.

MCOM 214 PRINCIPLES OF ADVERTISING (3)

Review of contribution made by advertising to the United States economy and of the principles and practices as applied to mass media. Prerequisites: COMM 131/COMM 132 and MCOM 101/MCOM 102.

MCOM 253 PRINCIPLES OF STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS AND INTEGRATED COMMUNICATION (3)

History and development of the field as a profession; strategic management; research; legal and ethical issues; communication theories; strategies and tactics; global trends. Prerequisites: COMM 131 and MCOM 101.

MCOM 255 NEWSWRITING (3)

Newswriting from the standpoint of style, structure, and readability. Prerequisites: MCOM 101 and ENGL 102.

MCOM 256 WRITING FOR THE MEDIA (3)

Principles of good writing with emphasis on writing basics, research, and analysis to create effective communication in a variety of venues. Prerequisites: MCOM 101 or MCOM 102 and ENGL 102 or ENGL 190.

MCOM 257 JOURNALISM/NEW MEDIA I (3)

An introduction to writing skills required in print, broadcast, and online journalism, and emerging news media formats. Prerequisite: MCOM 101. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 258 JOURNALISM AND NEW MEDIA II (3)

Advanced skills in new writing, interviewing, reporting, and editing required in print, broadcast, and online journalism, and emerging new media formats. Prerequisite: MCOM 257. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 310 UNDERSTANDING DISABILITY THROUGH MASS MEDIA (3)

An overview of the ways that mass media frame disability for the general public through journalism, TV, film, advertising, photography, documentary, comic art and the Internet. Prerequisites: MCOM 101 or MCOM 102; junior/senior standing.

MCOM 323 ADVERTISING MEDIA PLANNING (3)

Application of advertising media principles to the development of a media plan that involves objectives, strategy, and execution of electronic, print and new media. Prerequisites: MCOM 214, majors only. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 325 ADVERTISING COPYWRITING (3)

Creative process and production of copy for various media including print, broadcast, direct mail, out-of-home, and new media. Prerequisite: MCOM 214, MCOM 256, majors only. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 327 EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN JOURNALISM AND MASS MEDIA (3)

Examines the current state of American journalism by tying today’s media environment to its historical roots. Focuses on the technological, political, economic, cultural and professional forces that have shaped the country's media system over the past 250 years. The course also explores various historical narratives that have come to dominate our understanding of the past and present. While the course primarily focuses on journalism, it examines the development of public relations and advertising as well. Prerequisites: MCOM 101 or EMF 140 or COMM 201 and sophomore/junior/senior standing.

MCOM 333 SOCIAL MEDIA AND STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION (3)

Examines the changing world of social media, strategic implications, and its usefulness to advertising, journalism, and public relations practitioners. Prerequisite: MCOM 214 or MCOM 253 or MCOM 257.

MCOM 341 DIGITAL PUBLISHING (3)

Computer technology to create publications for delivery in print and online. Prerequisite: MCOM 257. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 350 MEDIA LAW (3)

Examination of libel, slander, invasion of privacy and copyright. Legal considerations in reporting on judicial and governmental activities. Prerequisites: MCOM 101/ MCOM 102, majors only, junior/senior standing.

MCOM 352 MEDIA CRITICISM (3)

Theory and practice of media criticism intended for various audiences, including consumer oriented criticism, social criticism, and scholarly criticism. Prerequisite: MCOM 101 or EMF 140 or COMM 201.

MCOM 356 FEATURE WRITING (3)

Researching and writing journalistic articles for publication in newspapers, magazines, and other media. Requires grade of C or better to fulfill Core or GenEd requirement. Prerequisites: ENGL 102 or ENGL 190 and (MCOM 255, MCOM 256, or MCOM 258). Core: Advanced Writing Seminar or GenEd. I.D.

MCOM 357 PUBLIC RELATIONS WRITING (3)

Composing, editing, and producing media materials for both internal and external audiences. Requires grade of C or better to fulfill Core or GenEd requirement. Prerequisites: ENGL 102 or ENGL 190; MCOM 253; MCOM 256. Core: Advanced Writing Seminar or GenEd I.D.

MCOM 358 NEWS EDITING (3)

Practice in editing and headline writing for print and online media. Prerequisites: MCOM 257 and majors only. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 381 BROADCAST JOURNALISM I (3)

Theory and practice of broadcast journalism. The gathering, writing and presentation of news for audio-only and audio-visual media. Ethical standards for broadcast journalism will be analyzed. Prerequisites: MCOM 258; junior/senior standing. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 383 NEWS REPORTING (3)

Experience in reporting. Coverage of specific news beats on and off campus and general assignment work. Consideration of news-gathering techniques, including direct and participant observation, use of survey research data and use of official records. Prerequisite: MCOM 258.

MCOM 385 MASS MEDIA AND SOCIETY (3)

Seminar on current issues and effects of mass communication. Prerequisite: MCOM 101/ MCOM 102 or EMF 140.

MCOM 390 MASS COMMUNICATION RESEARCH (3)

Survey of methods and uses of research in mass media fields. Prerequisites: majors and junior/ senior standing only. Not open to students who have successfully completed MCOM 490.

MCOM 391 PHOTOJOURNALISM I (3)

Photography for the mass media. History, aesthetics and ethics are covered. Prerequisite: MCOM 258 or consent of instructor. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 402 SPORTS WRITING (3)

Researching and writing news and feature articles and opinion columns focusing on local, state, and national sports. Prerequisite: MCOM 356.

MCOM 407 MULTIMEDIA REPORTING CAPSTONE (3)

Research and create multimedia news and feature articles incorporating hypertext, graphics, photographs, audio and video elements. Capstone course. Prerequisites: MCOM 341, MCOM 356 and majors only. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 409 LITERARY JOURNALISM (3)

Literary technique and dramatic structure for print and online journalistic media. Prerequisite: MCOM 356.

MCOM 411 COMMUNICATION PROCESS (3)

Prominent theories and research on mass media and human communication. Prerequisites: COMM 131/COMM102 and junior/senior standing.

MCOM 415 MASS MEDIA GRAPHICS (3)

Communication potential of design elements in a variety of graphics using computer technology. Prerequisite: MCOM 101/MCOM 102 and junior/senior standing.

MCOM 419 CORPORATE COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT (3)

A survey of practical theories and applications that are related to corporate communication practices. Topics include group and individual behaviors in corporate environments, managing conflict, culture, change, and innovation; and leadership/management communication. The particular emphasis will be placed on advertising, public relations, or brand communication organizations. Not open to students who have successfully completed COMM 419. Prerequisites: major standing, junior or senior standing, MCOM 253, MCOM 357, and MCOM 390.

MCOM 431 PUBLIC OPINION AND THE PRESS (3)

Journalistic aspects of public opinion and propaganda; the impact of mass communication media on the formation of public opinion. Techniques of polling and testing public opinion. Prerequisites: MCOM 101/MCOM 102 and junior/senior standing.

MCOM 433 MEDIA ETHICS (3)

Ethical principles, issues, dilemmas in mass communication; professional codes; personal, interpersonal, small group, organizational, and societal factors affecting ethical mediated communication. Prerequisites: MCOM 101/ MCOM 102, majors only, junior/senior standing.

MCOM 440 ADVERTISING MEDIA SALES (3)

Procedures for selling media space and time; strategy, training, and preparation. Prerequisites: MCOM 214 and junior/senior standing.

MCOM 443 INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (3)

Role of advertising and public relations in the world marketplace. Consideration of global and local perspectives, key decisions in agency operations, creative aspects and media. Prerequisites: MCOM 214 or MCOM 253 and junior/senior standing.

MCOM 445 CORPORATE INSTITUTIONAL ADVERTISING (3)

Techniques used by corporations to develop institutional messages for public presentations. Prerequisites: MCOM 214 and MCOM 253.

MCOM 447 ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS (3)

Application of advertising principles and practices to the development of campaigns and the preparation of a plan book. Prerequisites: MCOM 323; MCOM 325; MCOM 390; majors only.

MCOM 451 PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS (3)

Fundraising and development, implementing and evaluating public relations campaigns for nonprofit organizations. Prerequisite: MCOM 357.

MCOM 453 STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS & INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGNS. (3)

Research, planning, implementing and evaluating programs and campaigns. Prerequisites: MCOM 357 and MCOM 390; majors only.

MCOM 457 PHOTOJOURNALISM II (3)

Color photography for the mass media including electronic imaging. Prerequisite: MCOM 391.

MCOM 458 MAGAZINE PUBLISHING (3)

Examination of the principles, practices, problems and trends in magazine publishing through tracing the process of a magazine from copy to bindery. Steps in periodical production stressing emphasis on layout factors. Intensive analysis of magazine markets and case studies of magazine publishing problems. Prerequisites: MCOM 341 and MCOM 358; majors only.

MCOM 459 PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS AND INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS (3)

Technical, managerial, legal, ethical and accreditation issues and concerns involved in the practice of public relations and integrated communications. Prerequisite: COMM419 or MCOM453 or MCOM447.

MCOM 460 INTERNSHIP IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (1-3)

Students works as interns with a professional in the field of advertising or public relations. Graded S/U. Students are allowed to repeat internships. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 units, but only 6 units may be counted toward the major. Prerequisites: junior/senior standing; cumulative GPA of 2.75 and 3.00 in the major; completion of appropriate courses determined by the department.

MCOM 461 INTERNSHIP IN JOURNALISM AND NEW MEDIA (1-3)

With approval from the department and under faculty supervision, students work as interns with a professional in the field of journalism. Graded S/U. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 units, but only 6 units will apply to the major. Prerequisites: junior/senior standing; cumulative GPA of 2.75 and 3.00 in the major; completion of appropriate courses determined by the department; majors only.

MCOM 477 SPECIAL TOPICS IN JOURNALISM (3)

In-depth study of a selected area within journalism, dependent upon faculty and student interest. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 units provided a different topic is covered. Prerequisite: junior/senior standing or consent of instructor.

MCOM 478 SPECIAL TOPICS IN ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (3)

In-depth study of a selected area within advertising and public relations, dependent upon faculty and student interest. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 units provided a different topic is covered. Prerequisite: junior/senior standing or consent of instructor.

MCOM 479 SPECIAL TOPICS IN MASS COMMUNICATION (3)

In-depth study of a selected area dependent upon faculty and student interest. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 units provided a different topic is covered. Prerequisite: junior/senior standing or consent of instructor.

MCOM 481 BROADCAST JOURNALISM II (3)

Advanced news and feature writing, interviewing, reporting, and editing for broadcast and new media. Prerequisites: MCOM 381 or (EMF 373 with consent of instructor). Lab/Class fee will be assessed.

MCOM 496 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN MASS COMMUNICATION (1-3)

Directed study through readings, projects, papers, or seminars. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 units.

MCOM 499 HONORS THESIS IN MASS COMMUNICATION (3)

Intensive research paper or media production project in the areas of newspaper/ magazine journalism, photojournalism, public relations, advertising, or new media as chosen by the student in consultation with the thesis adviser. Restricted to candidates for Departmental Honors in Mass Communication. Prerequisites: 3.50 GPA in major, 3.20 GPA overall, and junior/senior standing.

Faculty

Professors: Beth Haller, Kwangmi Kim, Jung-Sook Lee (Chair), Thomas Lieb

Associate Professors: John Kirch, Sandra Nichols, Stacy Spaulding, Lingling Zhang

Assistant Professors: Melanie Formentin, Pallavi Guha, Hyang-Sook Kim, Kyongseok Kim, Sushma Kumble, Timothy Penn, Elia Powers, Eun Soo Rhee

Senior Lecturer: Lester Potter

Lecturers: Jennifer Atwater, Barbara Benitez-Curry, JoAnne Broadwater, Maggie Lears, Diane Meyers