Prerequisite: Lower Level Core Completion
MW 1-2:15 ADM 203

Professor: Dr. Ecarma Office Hrs:MW12-1,TR2:30-4:15
Office: MC108, Phone: 977-7139 Web site: Twitter:

Main Text

Pember, D.R. & Calvert, C. (2009). Mass Media Law, Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

Other Required Material

Handouts from professor
Van Geel, TR (2009). Understanding Supreme Court Opinions. NY: Pearson


Visit then scroll on the left side until you find legal sites

Advertising Age
Broadcasting & Cable
Radio Business Report
Electronic Media (weekly magazine)
The New York Times (Monday’s Business Section-Media News)
The Wall Street Journal (periodically covers media industry)
USA Today (Media News Section)
World magazine
Many other periodicals are on the Mass Communication Dept. Reading Shelves in SCI-103

Journal of Radio Studies
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media (PN1991 .J6)
Journal of Media Economics (P96.E252 U645)
Journal of Communication (P90 .J6)
Critical Studies in Mass Communication (P87 .C94)
Journal of Applied Communication Research (HM258 .J67)
Journalism Quarterly (PN4700 .J7)
Journal of Mass Media Ethics
Media Studies Journal


This course is designed to instruct the advanced mass communication student to:
1. Recognize the current legal issues and cases in mass media law.
2. Understand how current mass media legal issues developed from various worldviews.
3. Analyze how Christian, constitutional and philosophical underpinnings influenced current laws.
4. Build skills in using legal research resources from both the library and computer networks.
5. Apply court decisions to a variety of mass media situations through case study applications.


Grades will be based upon the following criteria: Quizzes (7 @ 50 pts each) 350 pts
Reaction paper (2) 100 pts
Legal Brief (2) 200 pts
650 pts

The following grading scale will be used for the final course grade:
637-650 98% A+ 507-519 78% C+ F (below 390)
598-636 92% A 468-506 72% C
585-597 90% A- 455-467 70% C-
572-584 88% B+ 442-454 68% D+
533-571 82% B 403-441 62% D
520-532 80% B- 390-402 60% D-

A Grade of I “Incomplete” will be given only to a student whose previous work in the course has been satisfactory, and only for reasons beyond the student’s control. In no case may an “I” be used to allow a deficient student extra time to avoid failing a course.
Class attendance is required! Only university-sponsored or medical emergency absences are excused, however, excessive absences will affect the final grade. Four unexcused or excused absences will be allowed without penalty. The univeresity’s XF policy will also be enforced after four absences. All cell phones and pagers need to be turned off before entering class. Leaving class to answer either will be considered an absence. Group projects will be dependent upon YOU. Class participation is required. A portion of the final grade is based on various aspects of class participation. We can learn just as much from your observations and experiences.


Promptness and punctuality are evidences of a personal discipline that is essential to future mass communication employees and managers. Assigned work will be expected when due. Assignments will be reduced by one grade level for each day late. Late assignments will not be accepted beyond the week in which they were due. Make-up exams or quizzes will be allowed only in the case of extreme illness or emergency when documentation is provided. This make-up privilege will be allowed only once during the semester and must be accomplished upon return.


Violations of the Student Conduct Code such as cheating plagiarism will result in sanctions deemed appropriate for the offense. Possible sanctions include:
1. Assignment failures: a grade of “zero” for the assignment involved.
2. Course failure: a grade of “F” for the course in which the offense occurred.
3. Forced withdrawal: withdrawal without credit from the college for a period of one semester.
4. Expulsion: termination of student status for an indefinite period of time.
Apply biblical, Christian and ethical standards in all that you do.

Format of Papers

Papers are to be stapled. Do not put papers in binders, report folders or paper clips. Document all sources using APA style (manuals should be available in the library or at a bookstore). Grading will include grammar, spelling and punctuation.

All papers turned in for a grade should be typed and proofread with any errors corrected. Double space, type on one side of the page only and number each page. Use 1-inch margins around the page and 12-point type. The title page should be the first page of the paper and labeled with the following information centered each vertically on the page: name, assignment title, Mass Media Law, semester, year. Finally, your paper should follow the requirements that are to be communicated in class.

Learning Disabilities

Any student having an identified learning disability or other handicap that might affect academic performance should complete the form available in the Learning Disabilities Liaison Office. Instructors who suspect that a student has a disability should advise the liaison’s office in Foster Student Center.


Work in this class can be used for inclusion in a portfolio (required in MCOM 4395-Mass Media Capstone) and for a prospective employer or graduate school.


Assignments to be handed in should be clear in form, content, spelling, and grammar. Papers should be proofread after a spell checker system is used. Failure to meet these expectations will result in a lower than expected grade.


1. You will need a formatted disc to save your work. You will also need access to a computer with internet access and a CD-ROM drive.
2. All assignments WILL BE TYPED in approved format/criteria and will contain a reference list based on APA and/or professor’s criteria.

What is the ultimate purpose of each student? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever (Wesminster Catechism). How? Based on the Bible and through Christ, “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt

CLASS SCHEDULE (Schedule and Syllabus Subject to Change)

Wk 1 Introduction, Course Overview, Syllabus, Handouts forReadings Historical Documents
Wk 2 American Legal System: Biblical, Historical Documents; WorldviewsDiscuss Geel Ch. 1-2 Ch.1, Geel Ch. 1-2
Wk 3 The American Legal System: Contemporary Issues, Current Process; Discuss Quiz #1 (& future quizzes); Discuss Legal Brief #1 Ch.2
Quiz #1 over Historical documentsDiscussCh.2 The First Amendment:  The Meaning of Freedom Ch.3Geel Ch. 3-4
Wk 4 Discuss Geel Ch. 1-2; Ch. 3 First Amendment:  Contemporary Problems; distribute Olasky handout Read Olasky handout;Study for quiz #2
Quiz #2 over Chs. 2-3; Overview of Libel; Discuss Olasky handout Ch.4; Geel Ch. 5-6
Wk 5 Read Ch. 4 Libel; Geel Ch. 5 or Guest Speaker See www.worldmag.comCh.5
Read  Ch. 5 Libel:  Proof of Fault; Geel Ch. 6 Ch.6
Wk 6 DiscussCh.6 Libel:  Defenses and Damages; Legal Brief discussion and sign-up Ch.6
   Wk 7 Chs. 4-6 Quiz (#3); Legal Brief final discussion & sign-up

Movie: Absence of Malice Movie continued (reaction paper  related movie with Olasky info (6 pgs minimum)

Library Legal/Historical Research
Wk 8 Legal Brief #1 Due (over chapters 1-6) Ch. 7
Ch. 8; Geel Ch. 8-9
Wk 9 Reaction paper #1 due; Review Geel, Ch. 8-9; discuss ch. 7-8 Invasion of Privacy Ch.9; Geel Ch. 8-9
Wk 10 Quiz #4 over ch. 7-8; discuss Ch. 9-10  Gathering Information Ch.10
Quiz #5 over Ch. 9-10; Provide Dean Titus handout Ch.9-10
Wk 11 Discuss a Christian view of obscenity law and history Read Dean Titus info
Continue Ch.13
Wk 12 Discuss Ch. 13 Regulation of Obscene material
Discuss Legal Brief #2 Due Overview of Titus and Pember views:
Wk 13 Library/legal research and writing
Legal Brief #2 Due; DiscussCh.15  Regulation of AdvertisingVideo: Merchants of Cool (discuss about Copyright) Ch.15; also read aboutCopyright
Wk 14 Quiz(#6) overCh.15DiscussCh.16 Telecommunications Regulation  Ch.16
Wk 15 Quiz #7 overCh.16; Exam review

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