Weekly Syllabus

Fall 2014

Course Information
MMJ 211 Introduction to Multilingual Media

Dates: August 29 to December 19, 2014

Online Course
Instructor: Jonah Brucker-Cohen

Email: bruckercohen.jonah @ lehman.cuny.edu

Class Blog: http://www.mmj211.coin-operated.com


Course Description. Introduction to print and electronic multilingual media. Focus on the growth and diversity of these media; the role they play in the lives of those who use them. Comparison between mainstream and ethnic media.

Prerequisites, Co-requisites: None; this is a required component of the MMJ major in the Department of Journalism, Communication and Theatre.

 Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to provide training in a range of essential skills as well as a broad understanding of the subject matter. We will compare mainstream media to ethnic media. The objective and goal of the course is for students to gain an understanding of the role multilingual and ethnic media have on the people who use them and to understand the impact they have upon mass media.

The course is based on the use of technology for research and data analysis using the internet.

Classroom Design
This is an online version of the course run on a WordPress Blog. We meet only on the blog throughout the semester. You should follow this syllabus to know what is due on what day. The course involves research projects, some fieldwork, as well as discussions with active participation of all students.

Books and Materials

The main bibliographical sources will be the newspapers themselves and a few books. In the Links section of this site I have included a selection of websites which will prove essential in your research. Media kits from media outlets and newspapers must be obtained by the students.

Selected readings:

The following texts are highly recommended and will be useful in discussing the different areas of the course and in writing your assignments:

John Edwards, Multilingualism. Routledge, New York: 1994. Additional information and updates of this text will be found online.

Pete Hamill. News is a Verb. Publishing Group: New York, 1998. Still an insightful and valuable text today for the role of media in a multicultural society

AP Style Book. Latest Edition

A good English dictionary. There are many to chose from.

Course Outline

The course is divided into three units. Each unit will be divided into two sections:

a) Research and posts

b) Class participation via the Blog.


Weekly Schedule


ASSIGNMENT 1 – Part 1 due on September 15th and Part 2 due on October 10th.

Write a 1500 word post that compares three newspapers. Select one mainstream newspaper in English and two ethnic newspapers, preferably published in this country. The ethnic newspapers can be written in a foreign language, bilingual or in English. Do not select two ethnic newspapers from the same ethnic group; i.e. El Diario/La Prensa and Hoy.

Explore the editorial content of these newspapers. Read their local, national and international news; their columns and editorials; and their special sections, including Entertainment, Sports, Features, Food, etc.

If you don’t know the foreign language, ASK for help from anyone you can – friends, relatives, fellow students, professors, the foreign newspapers’ editors (they are usually very helpful). Take advantage of the many internet sources on this subject.

Address the following questions:

a.) What kind of news do they report? For example, do they put more emphasis on local vs. national or international news? Are they more interested in sports than entertainment; in opinion than news, etc.?

b.)  Compare mainstream and ethnic newspapers and determine what they could learn from each other.

c.) What is interesting or different in the way they cover sports, culture, entertainment, etc.

Part 1 due September 15, 2014

By this date you should write an 150 abstract to your longer written piece and post at least 5 sources from your bibliography on the class blog.(wikipedia does not count as a source)

Part 2 due October 10th, 2014

By this date you should post your longer written piece that compares and contrasts the papers as outlined above.

Written Post: About 1,500 words


ASSIGNMENT 2 Due on November 7, 2014

(For this assignment you do not have to use the same newspapers you selected for unit 1. In fact, you will find more classified and advertising in print newspapers than online ones)

In comparing the three papers, what kind of corporate advertising and classified section you see? Corporate advertisers are for the most part big businesses (Ford, Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, etc. In the classified section you’ll see usually small businesses and readers who are looking to buy or sell goods and services.

Do you see any difference in terms of culture, readership (papers chosen here at random) between The New York Post, El Diario/la prensa and India Times?

Are advertisings translated into foreign language?

Is the lay-out of the advertising generic for all newspapers or is there an effort to custom make them to accommodate the different cultures?

Give examples.

When researching the classified sections, do you see similarities and differences in terms of type of goods and services? Do Hispanics buy and sell goods and services like other ethnic and mainstream newspapers?

Give examples

Written Post: Write a 1,500-word blog post on what you find.

Posts must include:

A 150 word abstract which highlights your findings.

Include bibliography in APA format


ASSIGNMENT 3 Due on December 19th, 2014

a) Research: Reading and research assignment covering a specific subject.

b) Written Post: About 2,000 words


Develop a plan for your own weekly 24-page newspaper (Should you want to produce one with more pages, you can do  that.) You may also decide to produce an online version of your newspaper.

You do NOT have to write the 24 or more pages of he newspaper. What we ask is for a detailed description of your project. Start by explaining why you have chosen your newspaper and what do you want to accomplish with it


As with the other assignments, the final project posts will be posted on the blog.

Consider the following in your blog post and explain your choices:

1. Editorial content.

How many sections will it have?

Give percentage of total pages


a) (International, national, local news?)

b) Opinion, sports, entertainment, etc, etc. etc.?

2. Advertising/Classified

Give percentage of total pages

a) Corporate ads. What corporations would advertise in your newspaper?

b) Classified Section. What kind of goods and services (give examples)


3. General information:

Online version:

a) Who is your readership?

b) If ethnic, will it be written in the foreign language, in English, both?

c) How often will it be produce? Will it have daily updates?

 Print version:

a) Who is your readership?

b) If ethnic, will it be written in the foreign language, in English, both?

c) Where will it circulate?

d) What will your run be: 3,000; 5,000, more?

e) Will it be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, other?

Written Post: Write a 2,000-word blog post.

Posts must include a 200 word abstract which highlights your findings.  


Grading Policy

 There are no examinations in this course. They are replaced by writing assignments. Grading for this course depends upon the total number of points you accumulate for each assignment. The grading will reflect both the content and quality of your writing, the clarity of your ideas, the organization of your presentations, and the overall accuracy and correctness of your posts.

The breakdown of actual points will be as follows:

1.- Writing Posts.

Each writing assignment has a maximum of 30 points.

2.- Participation on the blog comments – you must comment on each other’s posts.

Each participation has a maximum of 30 points.

Grand total will be 180 points divided as follows:

Written Assignments:

30        points          = A

28-29  points           = A-

26-27  points           = B+

24-25  points           = B

22-23  points           = B-

20-21  points           = C+

18-19  points           = C

16-17  points           = C-

14-15  points           = D

Under 14 points       = F


30       points            = A

28-29  points            = A-

26-27  points            = B+

24-25  points            = B

22-23  points            = B-

20-21  points            = C+

18-19  points           = C

16-17  points            = C-

14-15   points           = D

Under 14 points       = F


Lehman Online Attendance Policy

Online students are subject to the same attendance policy and procedures as traditional students and instructors are required to record attendance to certify eligibility for financial aid. Please see the “Attendance Policy and Procedures” section of the Lehman Student Handbook. Individual instructors will often weigh online attendance and participation in determining grades. It is the student’s responsibility to ascertain the effect attendance may have on the grade in this course. However, participation will be defined in a different manner.

Student attendance in online courses is defined as active participation in the course as described in the individual course syllabus. Online courses will, at a minimum, have weekly expectations for student participation, which can be documented by any or all of the following methods:

Completion of tests.

Submission/completion of assignments (through the blog).

Communication with the instructor.


Class participation: We will explore ideas together and critique each other’s work. We will learn from fellow students comments and ideas. Active participation is essential

Honesty: Students who make up sources, quotes or descriptions or who plagiarize are fired; students who do that, fail

Deadlines: Journalism is a deadline business. If you are ill or cannot participate in the Blog for any other reason, I expect an email from you

Grades: I am here to help you succeed. No one who does his/her work will fail. However, please keep in mind that your final grade depends on the quality of your research, written posts and class participation


Policy Example: If you need a time extension for submitting the final paper, you must make a request for one before the proposal/paper/project(s) are due. The Instructor will not grant an extension requests made even a short time after the due date. We may grant a time extension of reasonable length if: (1) you have shown through prior contact with us during the course that you have been working on the proposal/paper/project(s) and are making progress; and (2) you make the request prior to the time the proposal/project is due.

Lehman Online Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy

The most common forms of academic dishonesty are cheating and plagiarism. Cheating is taking or giving help on a test: for example, using unauthorized books, papers, or notes during an examination; or procuring, distributing, or using unauthorized copies of examination. Plagiarism means the failure to give credit for the source of another’s words or ideas, or—as in the use of borrowed or purchased papers—passing off another person’s work as one’s own.
The full policy statement may be found in the Lehman Student Handbook. For more information refer to http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/student-affairs/documents /student-handbook-02.pdf

1 comment

  1. Ariel Landron

    Assignment #2

    As we know newspapers form part of our daily life since they inform us by giving a direct view of the events currently happening in the cultural, social, and political aspect of today’s society. There are many interesting sections within each publisher, from which each offers a different point of view in subjects such as politics, sports, economics, and violence. All of them can provide the reader with an idea of to which kind of public it is intended to, by the way the information is presented, and the type of language is used to describe the event. However, the section within each newspaper that may actually provide you with a bigger picture of to whom its content is directed to, culturally, is the classified section as well as the advertisements all over the pages. Most of the section within each individual newspaper differs on its structure, but uses the same socio-cultural approach to make this section a bit more attractive to the type of reader it is intended.

    This socio-cultural approach is reflected on advertisements that populate each and every section of newspapers, some of which belong to business with well-known names such as “Macys”. In the “New York Times”, this name stands up on most of the advertisements on this publisher; it offers goods such as watches, jewelries, luxury clothes from brands such as “Prada” and “Gucci”. Macys, also has advertisements in other newspapers such as the “Dailynews”, and the “New York Post”, however, they are not as well presented in detail to its readers, in both of this newspaper there wasn’t but one ad from Macys which in fact was the someone that shown on the Times for sport clothes. This is one of the clues within the New York times that reflects to whom it is directed to since most of the goods are expensive, which may lead to the conclusion that this ads are directed to the wealthy, business people, with some education, and taste for luxury.

    Unlike the “Times”, the “Post” and “Dailynews”, have other type of readers, which is mirror in the way they present the goods as well; both of these publishers, offer their public sales on cars, furniture, home appliances, and perfumes at a price that they can actually afford. Ads from “Models” are shown on both papers in a simpler format, which shows the clothes and its variety in colors as well as the prices, something that isn’t done by the times. It uses color as well to attract the reader’s attention, in contrast to the times, which is all black and white, as a way to show exclusivity and uniqueness of the item in question; both of these papers are intended to a public with same education, with less income, or those within the minority.

    Furthermore, another type of advertisement that supports my argument would be entertainment, since each publisher presents announces about, movies and theater. The “Times” for example has a big section of plays, Broadway shows, as well as operas, which in a sense reflects its intention to get the attention of readers with college education that might have been able to develop appreciation for art. The “Times” movie ads section, is smaller since it only shows movies that are base ether real stories, classics, or social issue from which its public can learn more about the subject. In Contrast to the “Times”, the “Post” and “Dailynews” have a wider selection of ads that are within the entertainment category, it has a more extensive movie ads section, as well as ads about night clubs, casinos, and hot lines, which is presented to a more liberal adult public.

    Moreover, the “Post” as well as the “Dailynews”, give their biggest clue of to whom their content is directed to, in ads about education. Nurse, and technician certified trainings are offers as a way for the reader to know what options they have to get a better job, get some education, and have a better income, unlike the “Times”, which does not have ads about education, since it is already published for the wealthy and educated. Information from schools such as “APEX” and their financial aid options are a great example of how the Post and the Dailynews intention to reach the minority. Another example would be a single ad about healthcare which is only on the pages of the Dailynews. It shows that this paper, out of the three in question, intents to connect to in a way to accommodate the different cultures, within the minority.

    In addition, all three newspapers use a cultural approach to get the public’s attention and in a way allow the reader to see some of their cultural identity illustrated in many of the ads on each publisher. The “Times” , for example as we mentioned, uses colorless pictures to show a bit more of the items uniqueness and elegance, which is mostly use in a business environment, since presentation says a lot about the way that a professional business or wealthy person carry themselves. Ads about clothing brands such as, “Prada”, and “Gucci”, also illustrates how the “Times” tries to make readers from a higher social group feel comfortable while reading a newspaper that understand their way of life and customs. On the contrary, the “Post” and “Dailynews”, uses ads from retail companies such as “Models”, to connect with readers from a lower income group, interested in sports such as “Latinos” and “Afro-Americans”, and example that supports this idea is the way the ad is designed with colorful images, and the price gives a sense of how much the item will cost; unlike “Times”, which assumes the reader is wealthy and does not show a price on the items.

    Furthermore, even though each paper has its own type of reader, they all have something in common. The section called “classified” holds may of the similitudes shared by papers analyzed on this essay. This section has jobs openings, services, and even people selling their cars. In the “Times”, however, this section and has only job openings for people with ether college education or some kind of training related to the area of The job opening. On the other hand the “Post”, illustrate general jobs which also offer trainings as well as trainings for people who haven’t finished college, and services such as psychics that relate cultural belief of ethnic groups that are part of the minority. In addition, The “Dailynews”, uses a different approach on this section, even though it has jobs openings, people selling “hot dogs tracks”, and vacation packages. It also, uses the idea of the “American Dream” of owning a house, by having a section called “Home Classified”, which sells houses at a low price, and provides information as well about certified training, that will help readers to get job, and allow them to fulfill this dream.

    To conclude, all these newspaper, have different approach to the way the present news to the public, or the advertisements they post on their pages. However, their mission is to make the reader feel welcome and comfortable while they are reading or just looking at different advertisement and the content within them. Some focus on a specific ethnic or social group, which is what really drives them to have a specific format and content within their publications.


    2014, November, 06. New York Times.

    2014, November, 06. New York Post.

    2014, November, 06. DailyNews.

Leave a Reply