January 12, 2015


David Carr, media columnist-turned Boston University communications professor, has posted yet another colorful syllabus online — this time for his class on media criticism.

Like most professors, he recycled some of his previous syllabus for this semester (the stricture against raising hands remains the same), but this version has a few characteristically salty additions that describe his attitude toward teaching and the media:

  • On listening: “I write about this stuff every week, so my job will be to, yes, share what I know, but then shut my piehole and find out what you know and think.”
  • Talking is required: “If you are not a talker, that’s going to be a bit of a challenge in this class. You have to be heard to be seen and graded in this environment. If that is not your thing, do your best to overcome shyness, or talk to me at the sidebar about other approaches.”
  • Students must read his column: “Each week you will be responsible for reading the column I write for Monday morning in the business section. It drops on the Web at 9 p.m. on Sunday nights and is in print following day. There are usually copies of the NYT in the lobby if you are behind the eight ball before class.”
  • Don’t ignore the readings: “Am showing mercy — no big tomes of media history or Marxist rants on media theory.”
  • Gender bias in news media leadership: “The leadership of most newsrooms has historically been a sausage fest, but that’s changing.”
  • Journalism’s diversity problem: “The underrepresentation of minorities in journalism is a chronic problem, but it often leads to journalistic shortcomings as well.”

Related: When Carr’s last syllabus was published online, Andrew Beaujon noted that Carr once said most journalism programs are “escalators to nowhere.”

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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