New Media Business Syllabus for Spring 2009

I continue to teach New Media Business classes at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Tuesday will be the first day of a new semster and new students. In September, the school opened this graduate school course to upperclassmen, too. It was oversubscribed last semester, with students turned away. So, this semester I have agreed to teach two classes of it, a total of 39 students. In generally, I’ve collected the students whose majors are newspapers, magazines, broadcast journalism, television, radio, film, public relations, or public diplomacy into one class and the majors in advertising or media management in the other. The weeky-by-week topical agenda will be the same for each class, but my emphases during each topic will be different for the ‘content producers’ than for the ‘revenue producers’. Each 90-minute class meets twice weekly.

I’m introducing each classes by telling students:

Not only do you live during the greatest change in the history of media but you’re about to graduate as it crests the barricades and overthrows many traditional media theories, practices, companies, plus a lot of what the Newhouse School and other media schools have traditionally taught.

This three credit-hour course teaches the new theories and practices of journalism, entertainment, and persuasive communications that arise directly from New Media, and the modes of online, interactive, and mobile media – even including new forms of print and broadcast – that are now supplementing or supplanting traditional forms of media. The course will explain, as best as humanly possible, the dynamics that underlie New Media; the history of it; how and why New Media fundamentally differs from traditional forms (hint: multimedia and convergence aren’t the differences); how it varies around the world; and how to operate and support media businesses from it.

Because the course’s students come from the full spectrum of Newhouse majors, plus some from other SU schools, it will not focus on any one media discipline or major. Rather the class as a multi-discipline group, similar to a company, will study the theory of New Media; the industrial changes, crises, and opportunities that New Media spawns; its revenue and business models and their technologies and practices; and its evolving future. The course aims to give students the conceptual and basic business knowledge they’ll need to work in 21st Century media.

Here is my planned topical schedule for the class. No 13-week course can possible teach students everything they need to know about the New Media Business for media practioners. I therefore teach just the basics.

  • January 13 – Course Introduction and Syllabus: We’ll discuss our backgrounds, the students’ expectations, and the instructor’s requirements for this course, its grading, assignments, etc.
  • January 15 – Embracing Change: Why this is an exceptional time in millennia of media. Why you’ll almost certainly not do what this school trains you to do. What do confederate widows, Eddie Rickenbacker, the instructor, and the class’s students have in common. What is the one skill that students will need to learn?
  • January 20 – Crisis: Put the students in the shoes of media companies’ executives today. General Trends & Creative Destruction in the media industry. What are the challenges that media companies face? What, if anything, can be done? If you have to think ‘Outside the Box’…?
  • January 22 -The Future is Here; It’s Just Unevenly Distributed: Change is neither smooth nor contemporaneous. How to discern between fads and trends? What are the long-term trends in media?
  • January 27 -A World Tour: Cultural and Geographic Variations in New Media worldwide. That there actually are New Media outside the U.S. and what can be learned from them? Who has the best Web sites in the world and why? Who has the best mobile media and why? Who uses what parts, where, and why?
  • January 29 – Internet Timelines & Versions: A brief history of the Internet, its parts, who invented it, and how it works. What are Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, and Web 3.0? Why each is significant and what effects they have.
  • February 3 – How New Media Differ Legally from Traditional Media: How laws governing publishing, broadcasting, marketing, and advertising in New Media differ from those governing traditional media. COPA. CAN-SPAM. Spyware. Cybersquatting. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Webcast royalties. Digital Rights Management. Personal jurisdiction/foreign jurisdiction. ‘Safe harbors’, etc.
  • February 5 — How New Media Differ Economically from Traditional Media: Conflations of daily and monthly. Behavior versus Demographics. Eyeballs versus Actions. Why it takes 50 to 100 online users to make up for the revenue lost losing one traditional media user?
  • February 10 -Paid Content, Permission, and Personalization: Why information doesn’t necessarily want to be free. What will people pay for online content, when, and why? The three criteria for paid content. ‘Personalization’ & Individualization of content and advertising. Permission Marketing.
  • February 12 — Digital and Interactive: Why the true definitions of those terms matter in a world of hype. What is digital and how do its technologies work? What characteristics and capabilities make it different than traditional forms of media? What is interactive and why true use of that term matters?
  • February 17 — What is/are New Media? (Part A): The four common characteristics of successful New Media business plans. ‘Bits not atoms.’ Digital addressability. A quantum shift in control over media. Why Open triumphs over Proprietary systems.
  • February 19 — What is/are New Media? (Part B): The Theories of New Media. Is it anything put online? Is it only things that are not associated with traditional media? What new dimensions, if any, does New Media give to media? Potentials & Opportunities.
  • February 24 — Social Media & Virtual Words: How to publish and broadcast and manage in Social Media. How to market and advertise in Social Media. A tour of text, chat, and virtual world sites.
  • February 26 — Streaming Media: Webcasting, podcasting, vodcasting, peer-to-peer, BitTorrent, YouTube, etc. Why Blue-Ray’s victory over HD DVD will be moot. New forms of broadcast that are unique to New Media.
  • March 17 — Alphabet Soup & Metadata: How not to sound stupid in discussions of New Media: What is XML, Exif, NewsML, AdML, Mash-ups, etc.? How and why metadata controls content distribution in the 21st Century?
  • March 19 — Metrics & RSS: Server logs, clickstreams, analytics, new Phorms, Really Simply Syndication, and the gaps in the world’s most accountable form of media.
  • March 24 — Banners & ‘Rich Media’ Advertising: Clickthroughs and banners. Landing pages. What is ‘Rich Media’ advertising. Targeting by demographics, context, behaviors, geography, affinity, or purchases. Dayparting. CPM versus CPC versus CPA.
  • March 26 & 31 — Search Engines Marketing & Optimization: Why more than half of all online advertising today is about Search Engine Marketing. How does SEM marketing work? How to optimize content for search engines?
  • April 2 — E-Mail Marketing: Why electronic mail is still the ‘killer application’ despite spam. How e-mail publishing/marketing works and what are its metrics.
  • April 7 – Mobile & Wireless: Publishing or broadcasting to mobile phones, game consoles, and other mobile devices. WiFi, WiMax, 2.5G, 3G, 4G, and 5G.
  • April 9 — E-Paper & Print: Portable Document File editions, electronic paper, Kindles, OLEDs, and digital presses. The 21st Century revenge of paper.
  • April 14 – The Future: Change and Resolution. Future New Media.

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