JOUR 3771 Media and Communication History

About the Course

Because some celebrated contemporary analysts have made the claim that we are in the midst of the most significant communication revolution since the invention of print (and equally because many refute that claim), scholars in diverse fields have lent increasing recognition to the crucial role that has been played by media of communication in society and history.


There are two main objectives in this course. First, to provide students with a substantive familiarity and understanding of the history of communication media in America, and of the role these media have played in the larger history of America. There will be a special emphasis on the history of journalism and broadcast television, but we will also undertake to present a social and political-economic history of other important media as well.

The second main objective of the course is to help students develop a critical and theoretical perspective on the subject matter; to understand and analyze complicated arguments and claims concerning the role of media and other technologies in historical processes, past and present.

Grade Breakdown

Each unit in this course will include the following:

  • A Powerpoint presentation (or 2) to be viewed. (Note: Within these presentation, terms that are hyperlinked should be followed for additional information on the topic)
  • Tasks from the Powerpoint presentation to be turned in to the instructor
  • A reading assignment to be completed by the student
  • Learning objectives
  • Written assignments (tasks, short answer assignments and an essay) to be submitted for evaluation

Replies to other students’ work to be posted to the bulletin board

Each unit is be worth between 50 and 100 points. In most cases, those points will be broken down in this fashion:

  • Tasks from Powerpoint presentations 10-30 points
  • Short answers 20-30 points
  • Essay 30 points
  • Participation in discussion for that unit 10 points

Required Text

  1. Communication in History: Technology, Culture & Society, by David Crowlet and Paul Heyer (6th Edition).
  2. Media in America, A History, by William David Sloan (6th edition).

Instructor Contact


Professor Gillilan graduated with her doctorate from the Media Studies Program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado in May, 1999. Her minor was in Feminist Theory and her dissertation was an analysis of the community created and maintained by women fans of “masculine” television shows. She received her Masters degree (Media Arts & Contemporary American History) and Bachelors (American History) from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, where her minors included Biology, Women’s Studies and Creative Writing.

Professor Gillilan’s areas of academic interest include the following: the history of mass communication (specifically television broadcast history); television fans, their communities on- and off-line, and their fiction and other artistic products; the representation of the Vietnam War (and its veterans) in popular culture, 1980-present (and in particular the Vietnam drama “Tracers”); the representation of Native Americans in primetime action series; the framing and ideology of LGBTQ issues in news/talk programs; and the development and use of computer-mediated communities by marginalized groups in the 21st century.

In addition to teaching JOUR 3771 online, Cinda is once again a full time student in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. She also runs an amateur fan-fiction press and does freelance web design work.

Growing up in Nevada and California, Cinda is interested in American History from the Colonial period to the present, but she has a soft spot for the history of the Old West (1845-1890), and the social and cultural history of “the 1960s.” In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding whenever she can, road trips, and is an avid reader of fiction and a variety of non-fiction topics from Cultural Studies to Quantum Physics. She is a writer, editor and publisher for an amateur fan-fiction press, is trying her hand at a professional novel, and fills a variety of volunteer positions at her church. She is active in social justice issues, enjoys working out, watching television, listening to Irish and Celtic folk music, and playing with her rescue dogs. Cinda and her partner, Jody, have been together 24 years; they have no children except their furry, four-footed pooches.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado