“Everyone’s a critic,” the saying goes. The advent of user-friendly online publishing venues has made this all the more true. Anyone can have an opinion on the media they consume, but standing out amidst this sea of opinions requires a distinctive, compelling voice with an incisive critical perspective. This course tackles how to write about popular media in this age of digital proliferation. It teaches the basics of formal, genre, and discursive analysis and introduces students to digital tools needed to create multimedia criticism. Throughout the course, we read and discuss theories of media analysis, then analyze criticism pieces on contemporary music, film, and television from a variety of online publishing outlets.
Because the best way to perfect writing is by practicing, every week we write short criticism pieces on the media of your choice. These weekly exercises serve as the basis for the two main assignments of the course: a long form criticism piece and a digital version of it in podcast or video essay format. Class meetings consist of discussing the assigned pieces and your own work, providing feedback to classmates, and talking about questions of style, tone, and audience. Finally, the second part of the course will include three workshops where we practice audio and video editing in preparation for the final project.