Making the Grade
College Faculty Recognized for Excellence
Joshua Meyrowitz still remembers how his parents were among the last in the neighborhood to buy that new-fangled gizmo called “television.” And the set they did finally buy was a lemon, broken as often as it worked. As a result, Meyrowitz became very aware of how different the world seemed to a child with TV and to one without.
Meyrowitz was captivated by the startling, transformative power of this new medium and in how it changed what children knew about adults, what boys learned about girls (and vice versa), and how average citizens experienced their leaders. He's still fascinated by how changes in media alter “who knows what about whom.”
In his award-winning book, No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior, Meyrowitz argues that television is a “secret exposing” machine that breaks down barriers as it challenges traditional views about race, class, sex, age, politics, and society.
A professor of communication, Meyrowitz has been kindling a passion in his students for media analysis since he came to UNH in 1979. As undergraduates over the years have embraced new technology and a blinding swirl of emerging sources for news and entertainment, Meyrowitz still revels in challenging them to think carefully about the forms of communication that they often take for granted.
Meyrowitz gives his students tools to develop a critical eye for media, prompting healthy debate with core questions, such as: When and how does the use of new media reach a tipping point that leads to significant social change? Why do supposedly “independent” news organizations often report (and ignore) similar stories? How does advertising shape and limit what gets communicated through commercial media?
Watch a video portrait of Joshua Meyrowitz.
It’s heady stuff. And Meyrowitz warns students at the outset that his courses demand a good deal of research, long hours outside class, and active participation in classroom discussion. Yet, he has that rare distinction of receiving reviews from students who say his courses are at once the most demanding they have ever taken and the most rewarding.
One student wrote of his course with Meyrowitz, “Hands down, this was the most informative and enlightening course I have ever taken. It should be required of every college student…it’s the best course I’ve ever taken, and probably ever will.”
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