Media, Nature, and Apocalypse
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Course Number: NCOM 3023
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
What can we learn from comparing media coverage of environmental disasters with fictionalized representations of such apocalyptic scenarios? This class examines media responses to natural disasters and environmental catastrophes including mainstream coverage of the BP oil spill, Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy as well as the historical Titanic sinking and global disasters in Japan, Sri Lanka and Haiti. We evaluate the impact of disaster journalism alongside that of citizen-driven media advocacy around climate change via Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook. Analysis of both the film and book versions of Cormac McCarthy's The Road contrasts the fictional treatment of environmental apocalypse with nonfiction and other media treatments (video games, TV series, artistic projects). Assignments invite students to practice interviewing, gathering footage and building a social network advocacy campaign of an environmental issue in their own neighborhoods.