CUL493 - What in the World is Going On?

Outline info
Last revision date May 15, 2020 12:16:32 PM
Last review date May 15, 2020 12:16:32 PM

Subject Title
What in the World is Going On?

Subject Description
News stories confront us with people, places, issues, and crises from around the world. An understanding of background issues helps us make informed judgements. This course focuses on the main news stories of the day and looks for your critical interpretations.

Credit Status
One General Education Credit in the Arts and Humanities category.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Critically analyze the mainstream news media (MSM)
2. Identify the essential worldview of mainstream journalism
3. Explain how worldview bias has skewed the coverage of important issues such as global warming, racism, homelessness
4. Understand and explain the reasons why the MSM often fails to provide fair and balanced coverage
5. Utilize a range of alternative resources from weblogs, to websites, to books, videos, radio, and television which provide critical checks and balances
6. Consume news skeptically, realizing that it all comes with a spin

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

EAC149 or equivalent

Topic Outline

  • What is bias?
  • Environmental reporting
  • Homelessness
  • AIDS
  • Racism
  • Targeting men
  • The Homogenous Newsroom
  • How money and entertainment shape news
  • The war on terror
  • Latchkey children

Prescribed Texts
Please see professor's addendum for specific texts.

Reference Material
All students are required to use the following Research Guide for their assignments: Seneca Libraries. Guide to Research & Citation MLA Style. 5th ed. [Toronto]: Seneca Libraries. 2015.  This is no longer available in print.  It can be found at the following link.

Required Supplies

Student Progression and Promotion Policy

Grading Policy

A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

You must achieve a grade of 50% or more in order to pass this course.

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.(

Modes of Evaluation

2 Reflections (10% total)

3 Quizzes (35% total)

4 Assignments (55% total)

Approved by: Amanda Nowensky