COMM 110: Media and Democracy

By Brittany Colvin, Communications Committee

For more than 10 weeks now, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed at 8 a.m. to slowly gather my materials for COMM 110, Media and Democracy, with Professor Michael Elavsky. Most students have experienced these early classes and therefore understand the repetitive inner conflict as to whether paying attention in the class is necessary, let alone attending. Regardless – every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning – I choose to continuously be present in the lecture, both physically and mentally.

From day one, Professor Elavsky tested his students in their beliefs, viewpoints and ability to challenge authority. He continuously plays devil’s advocate on pressing issues such as the 911 conspiracy theories, political campaigns and social media use across the world. Professor Elavsky forces students to think beyond the information being fed through mass media and politics, as well as learn to intellectually support their views on the world.

Sure, some could see this class as an “easy elective,” but it is so much more. COMM 110 requires students to consider all angles of social issues. People in society cannot talk about issues on an intellectual level until they have the full story.

So how does this class relate to Public Relations?

For one thing, the class forces students to be in tune with the news and world around them. Once college is over and students land jobs in the PR industry, they must be aware of and understand current world issues in order to decide how best to approach various clients and campaigns.

Similarly, this class brings up the issue of questioning authority. In public relations, we are responsible for promoting clients to the world in a positive light, but what if we run into a situation where we do not agree with a client? We must choose between getting the job done as we are told (if we want to keep our jobs) or standing up for what we believe is the right thing.

This is a challenge everyone will no doubt face in the future, be it turning down a respectable job that simply does not seem like a good fit or taking a risk to write a pressing story that challenges authority.

Everyone should take the risk and write the story if that is what they believe. But in order to do such a thing, you must be educated and willing to support your decisions.

COMM 110 helps prepare students for the workforce and encourages them to become active members of society. Everyone should be confident in making decisions corresponding and standing up for their principles, and this class helps you do it.

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