TV, Communication & Media in Milan

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 


Additional student cost: 



Communication and media have always been an interesting theme to be studied and also to be analyzed. Media are characterized by a sort of common way of behavior and a common goal; recently, in spite of “mass media”, “target media” is preferred to stress the idea that products and messages are directed to a particular group of people, not to everyone, indifferently. This course will take into consideration two different points of view to talk about communication and media.  First of all, it will stress the explanation of what communication is and what it has meant and means today, in a world characterized by relationships and connections. It is not possible to deny or ignore the influence media exert on people, not only from an industrial and commercial point of view, but also, and above all, from a human and social one. It will be useful to study the values and ways of life television and advertising offer the audience and to get information about the producers of television programs and tv commercials that people love or hate. The course, moreover, will focus on different media fields that characterize Milan: journalism and news making, advertising industry, television and music industry. Every theme will be studied and analyzed both from the point of view of history and theory and from a practical and productive one. Some of them will be developed through lectures, discussions and field studies dedicated to visit newspaper offices, television studios and the headquarter of a major ad agency based in Milan.

Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including 2 excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course. Furthermore, an absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the power of media in the human communication
  • Cnsider the local, cultural-social-economic context in which Italian media operate
  • Analyze different ways in which different media work in presenting news and programs
  • Discuss the purposes of Italian national and commercial television and radio networks
  • Explain how advertising communication differs from basic human communication
  • Understand the various roles of persons working in an advertising agency
  • Analyze che creative process of an advertising campaign
  • Compare Italian and international TV commercials
  • Describe how various media could work to communicate music
Method of presentation: 

Lectures and discussions on assigned readings and documents; field studies and documentary videos to be analyzed.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm Exam - 25%
  • Final Exam - 35%
  • Written Presentation of Research Work - 20%
  • Attendance and Active Participation (through discussion, reading, and writing) - 20%

Students are expected to attend lectures and to keep up with the readings. Mid-term and Final examination will be based on a true/false questionnaire, a multiple-choice questionnaire and on essay questions. In-class tests and the Mid-term exam will serve to prepare students for the Final. A list of topics for research papers will be given to students after the Mid-term exam. They will be required to choose one topic and to search for materials from major newspapers, Internet and the IES Abroad and Milan-based university libraries.

  • A 100-93; excellent performance
  • A- 92-90; very good performance
  • B+ 89-88; good performance
  • B 87-83; nearly good performance
  • B- 82-80; more than adequate performance
  • C+ 79-78; more than adequate performance
  • C 77-73; adequate performance
  • C- 72-70; not completely adequate performance
  • D 69-60; inadequate performance
  • F 59 and below; really unsatisfactory performance 

After completion of the Midterm exam, students will receive information on their grade breakdown, and (on request) they'll discuss it with the professor. Participation to field studies and conferences taking place during class time is mandatory.

Week Topic Content 
1 Communication and Media: the Italian scenario

Introduction to the course and its contents. Basics of communication. Old and new media. The geography of media production in Italy.

2 News as a basic component of the world of communication

News and newsmaking: what news and news values are. Traditional and new sources: from news agencies to citizen journalism. Information and newsmaking in Italy: newspapers, magazines, websites.

3 News as a basic component of the world of communication

Newsmaking on Tv: codes and conventions. Analysis of the Italian Telegiornali.

4 Music and its communication

Field study: visit to the newsroom of a newspaper or of a Tv channel. Recorded music as a product: what placement, press release, promotional touring are

5 Music and its communication How radio, TV, music videos and strategic marketing work to communicate music. General rules and Italian peculiarities. Simulation of the Midterm Exam.
6 Midterm Exam  
7 History and relevance of television in Milan

A brief history of Italian Tv from the ’50s to the present day. What television is and how it works: genre, narrative, schedule. Compared analysis of program schedule in the most popular Italian TV networks. Tv production: types of programmes. The different phases and the different roles in Tv production. 

8 Television as a very powerful medium of communication

Field study: visit to the production set of a Tv programme.

9 Advertising or how to communicate a product

What advertising is and types of ad’s classification. Marketing, target and media as basic elements of ad’s communication and strategy. The advertising agency: what people in agency do. Creative strategy and creative process. Analysis of international tv campaigns and commercials.

10 Advertising or how to communicate a product Field study: meeting with a creative team of an Italian ad agency. Analysis of an ad campaign from conception to production. A brief history of italian Tv commercials from the ’60 to the present days.
11 Advertising or how to communicate a product

AD role game: are you an art director or a copywriter? Music supervising of tv commercials. 

12 Music & Ads

SoundLab: How to select a soundtrack for a Tv commercial. General revision of course contents

Final Exam    


Required readings: 

The course package will contain selected pages of the following books:

  • AA.VV., Television studies. The Key Concepts, Routledge, 2002
  • Anderson C., Bell E., Shirky C., Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present, Columbia Journalism School, 2012
  • Arens William, Contemporary Advertising, McGraw-Hill, 1999
  • Bignell Jonathan – Orlebar Jeremy, The Television Handbook, Routledge, New York, 2005
  • Dominick Joseph, The Dynamic of Mass Communication, McGraw-Hill, 2009
  • Fenton Natalie, New Media Old News, Sage Publications, 2009
  • Foot John, Milan since the Miracle, Berg, 2001
  • Forgacs David - Lumley Robert, Italian Cultural Studies. An Introduction, Oxford University Press, 1996
  • Holland Patricia, The Television Handbook, Routledge, New York, 1997
  • Hutchinson Tom - Macy Amy – Allen Paul, Record Label Marketing, Focal Press, 2010
  • Klein Bethany, As Heard on TV; Popular Music in Advertising, Ashgate, 2009
  • McQuail Denis, Mass Communication Theory, Sage Publications, 2010
  • Rodman George, Mass Media in a Changing World, McGraw-Hill, 2008
  • Stovall James Glen, Journalism. Who, what, when, where, why and how, Pearson, 2005
  • Watson James, Media Communication, Palgrave MacMillan, 2008