MSS at Newseum

Media, Self and Society

The impact of media and technology on the world

Introduction

Print, televised and social media impact every facet of our lives. Yet to what extent are we aware of how they affect us and our view of the world?

Media, Self and Society analyzes the role that various forms of media play in society, prioritizing critical thinking about media production and consumption. Students assess the source, message and meaning of different modes of media, examining:

  • The effects of social media on our self-perception, relationships and beliefs;
  • Viral deception and misinformation online; and
  • The ways in which news and entertainment media represent—or misrepresent—marginalized communities.

Students take part in discussions; create media, ranging from TikTok videos to infographics, that focus on self-exploration and civic engagement; and learn from working journalists, media experts and other guest speakers. The goal: to become active, rather than passive, in our interactions with media.

The Media program welcomes students of all majors and provides critical thinking and analysis skills fundamental to all career endeavors.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • Media transformation: The disappearing newspaper
  • The psychology of advertising
  • Media and violence: The role of video games
  • Technology and the music industry

I have had the opportunity to explore my interests through hands-on experiences while also developing my communication skills. I am so grateful to be a part of a community that not only encourages me to be myself but also challenges me to be the best version of it.

Rebecca Lin
Rebecca Lin '23

Other Learning Opportunities

Students get a real-world perspective on the media—both what it’s like to work in the media and the impacts of the media on society—through:

  • Field trips to media outlets and cultural sites, such as NBC4 Washington studios, NPR headquarters and the National Museum of African American History and Culture;
  • Visits to various news studios and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum during our annual trip to New York City; and
  • Guest speakers, particularly working professionals in journalism, advertising, technology and public relations.

During their sophomore year, students fulfill a practicum requirement, which allows them to gain professional experience in their chosen fields. Past Media students have:

  • Written for The Diamondback campus newspaper;
  • Broadcast sports games with WMUC, the campus radio station;
  • Worked on a political campaign; and
  • Interned at Microsoft.

In all cases, students were able to apply the analytical skills they learned in the program and assess the role that various media played in that organization.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete 2 supporting courses, totaling 6–8 credits, that will count toward their Media Scholars citation. In most cases, these will also fulfill General Education requirements. Note that your Scholars courses—colloquium, practicum and supporting course(s)—will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The following table represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the Media Citation Checklist.

SEMESTER COURSES CREDITS
Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Academic Writing 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 12–15 credits
Sophomore Fall Analyzing Media Practice through Theory 3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 12–15 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum (if not already taken in the fall) 1–3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course if not already completed) 12–15 credits

Residence Hall

Cumberland Hall

Office Address

1122 Cumberland Hall

Office Phone

301-405-3013

Staff

Portrait of Alison Burns

Alison Burns

Program Director, Media, Self and Society
Portrait of Kelly Brower

Kelly Brower

Program Coordinator, Media, Self and Society/Public Leadership

Media, Self and Society News

  • Media Scholars Director, Known for her Care of Students, Steps Down

    Following a year’s leave of absence, Kalyani Chadha has stepped down from her position as director of the Media, Self and Society Scholars program. Alison Burns, interim director of the program during 2019–2020, will be her replacement, starting immediately. The appointment was made by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Chadha, only the second director of Media, Self and Society, had headed up the program since 2004. During that time, she oversaw a gradual shift of the program’s focus from primarily popular culture to issues of particular resonance in society today.

  • College Park Scholars Awards First Ken Joseph Scholarship

    College Park Scholars has awarded the inaugural Kenneth A. Joseph Memorial Endowed Scholarship, to first-year Media, Self and Society Scholars student Amanda Hernández. “Affording college was always something that I worried about, especially when I was trying to decide where to enroll,” says Hernández. “This scholarship is not only helping me on that front but has also inspired me to do more. I’m incredibly grateful for being chosen and hope to represent College Park Scholars more in the future.”

  • Journalist Alison Burns Appointed Interim Director of Media, Self and Society

    Broadcast journalist Alison Burns has been appointed interim director of College Park Scholars’ Media, Self and Society program. She takes over from Kalyani Chadha, who will be on leave during the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 academic years. Burns’ appointment was made by the University of Maryland (UMD) Philip Merrill College of Journalism, which sponsors the Media, Self and Society Scholars program.