Communications and Media Studies, Tufts University

Communications and Media Studies, Tufts University


Communications and Media Studies- Tufts University

The Communications and Media Studies Program at Tufts University

Office of the Communications and Media Studies Program at Tufts University

Communications and Media Studies (CMS) at Tufts University is an interdisciplinary program designed to educate Tufts students about mass media and communications within a liberal arts curriculum. Nearly 30 years after its inception, the program continues to focus on the role of media in the United States and internationally. In an era in which knowledge about people and events comes primarily from mass media, responsible citizens increasingly need to understand the historical, social, and cultural significance of film, print, digital, and electronic media.

Through its three minor degrees, its core courses, internship program, campus events, and support of related courses in other departments, the program stresses an interdisciplinary understanding of the impact of mass communications on individuals, institutions, and cultures. It promotes critical thinking skills, media literacy, the relationship between media use/creation and active citizenship, and exposure to a wide range of perspectives on media and society[1].

CMS Minors

CMS Courses

Among CMS’ signature media courses[2]:

  • Producing Films for Social Change
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • Media Literacy
  • Digital Democracy in the 21st Century
  • Race, Social Justice and the Moving Image
  • 21st Century Television; Media in the Age of Facebook, Youtube and MP3s
  • Social Marketing
  • Public Relations and Advertising: Unraveling the Spin
  • Multimedia Journalism

Student Internships

CMS Student Jessica Byrnes interned at Rodale Inc., publisher of Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Al Gore’s book An Inconvenient Truth.

Communications and Media Studies grants credit for internships at communications organizations (television and radio stations; newspapers, magazines, and book publishers; advertising, marketing communications, and public relations agencies; graphic and web design firms; and multimedia, photography, and film production companies). Each academic year, nearly 100 students receive credit for internships in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, D.C. and other cities in the U.S. and abroad. For more details on specific internship sites click here[3].

Occasionally, students are able to turn internships into job placements after graduation. All students gain a greater degree of self-confidence, increase their knowledge of media as a possible career path, and make valuable contacts.

Past internship sites include, among others: ABC News Nightline, The American Cancer Society, Arnold Worldwide, Atlantic Records, BBC Worldwide Americas, The Boston Ballet, The Boston Globe, CBS News, CNN Pentagon Unit, The Colbert Report,, Comcast SportsNet, Conde Nast, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Focus Features, Forbes Magazine, Harvard Common Press, Hill Holliday Advertising, The Jim Henson Company, The Los Angeles Times, Hardball with Chris Matthews, National Geographic, New Line Cinema, O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, PBS International, Radio Disney, and USA Today.

Capstone Senior Project

CMS offers students the opportunity to do a special in-depth project of their own design during their senior year at Tufts. This project is meant to be a “capstone” experience, tying together diverse classes, internships, and experiences while seeing/hearing/participating in a media culture[4].

Projects can be films, screenplays, advertising or PR campaigns, websites, multimedia projects, media literacy campaigns, photojournalism essays and more. Some of our recent senior projects include:

  • An analysis of “green marketing” in home cleaning products
  • An original film noir murder mystery
  • An original script for a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy
  • A photojournalism essay about Iraqi immigrants in the Boston area
  • A children’s magazine about ethnic neighborhoods
  • A blog about food
  • A website designed to provide news for high school students
  • A documentary film about a local sustainable farming project
  • A PR campaign for a high profile Tufts alumni event honoring people who work in the media and entertainment fields
  • A thesis about the role of media in bringing sports news to Latino communities

You can find a complete listing of other recent senior projects by clicking here.

Prominent Tufts Alumni in Media Fields[5]

  • Hank Azaria (A85)- Actor and voice actor, The Simpsons, The Birdcage, and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
  • Matt Bai (A90)- Political Journalist, The New York Times.
  • Albert Berger (A79)- Film Producer, Little Miss Sunshine, Election, and Cold Mountain.
  • Rob Burnett (A84) - Producer and writer, The Late Show with David Letterman, President/CEO of Worldwide Pants.
  • John Davidow- Executive Editor, New Media, WBUR/NPR Boston
  • David Faber (A85)- Financial journalist, CNBC.
  • Adam Felber (A89)- Political satirist and radio personality, NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me.
  • Micheal Flaherty (A90)- Entertainment executive, President and Co-Founder of Walden Media.
  • Peter Gallagher (A77)- Golden Globe and SAG award-winning actor, American Beauty, Covert Affairs, and The O.C.
  • Leslie Gelb (A59)- Author and foreign policy correspondent, Council on Foreign Relations, formerly correspondent for The New York Times.
  • Jeff Greenstein (A84)- Television writer and producer, Desperate Housewives and Friends.
  • Cary Granat (A90)- Entertainment executive, Co-Founder Bedrock Studios, Co-Founder of Walden Media.
  • William Hurt (A72)- Actor, Robin Hood, Syriana, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Body Heat.
  • Kara Kennedy (J83)– The late television producer and filmmaker.
  • Brian Koppelman (A88)- Screenwriter, novelist, director, producer, Ocean’s Thirteen, The Illusionist.
  • Lisa Lax (J86) and Nancy Stern (J86)- Filmmakers and producers at Lookalike Productions, All My Children, Lost, Good Morning America, and Emmanuel’s Gift.
  • Jon Levin (A75)- Talent agent
  • Andrea Nelson Meigs (J90)- Talent agent
  • Ameesha Patel (J97)- Bollywood Actress
  • Oliver Platt (A83)- Television and film actor, The Big C, Lake Placid, and 2012.
  • Shari Redstone (J75) - Entertainment executive, National Amusements, CBS Corporation, Viacom.
  • Joshua Seftel (A90)- Film and Television producer, director, and writer, Queer Eye, War Inc., Taking on the Kennedys.
  • Neal Shapiro (A80)- Entertainment executive, President and CEO of the PBS station WNET/WLIW New York City, former president of NBC News.
  • Ben Silverman (A92)- Entertainment executive, founder and CEO of Electus, former Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.
  • Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. (A74)- Publisher, The New York Times.
  • David Sutherland (A67)- Documentary Filmmaker, Country Boys, The Farmer’s Wife.
  • Jonathan Tisch (A76)- Co-Founder, Walnut Hill Media.
  • Steve Tisch (A71)- Film and television producer, Risky Business, Forrest Gump, American History X.
  • Courtenay Valenti (J85)- Entertainment executive, Warner Brothers Pictures.
  • Meredith Vieira (J75)- TV show host, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and formerly Today.
  • Gary Winick (A83)- The late Producer and Director, 13 Going on 30, Alias, Tadpole.

Signature CMS Events

File:Couric at the Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism at Tufts University 2011.jpg
News anchor Katie Couric addresses Tufts students at the Murrow Forum 2011

In addition to hosting a number of career panels, film series, lectures, and discussions throughout the year, CMS sponsors the following events on a regular basis:

Annual Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism

The Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism is an annual event held at Tufts University. Dedicated to illuminating aspects of the many contributions Edward R. Murrow made to journalism and public diplomacy, the forum brings together interdisciplinary panels to reflect on Murrow’s legacy and relate it to contemporary issues in journalism. The forum debuted in 2006 and has featured prominent news personalities and business professionals, including Ted Koppel, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, Chris Matthews, former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, producer Arnie Reisman, Co-Founder of Walnut Hill Media Jonathan Tisch, Janet Wu of WCVB-TV, Executive Director of Synergy Learning Casey Murrow, and author Lynne Olson[6].

File:Activist's Study, 3-9-10 015-1.jpg
Amy Goodman, Co-Host of Democracy Now! speaks at Inside the Activist's Study 2010.
File:Bill Cosby at the 2011 Eliot-Pearson Awards at Tufts University.jpg
Bill Cosby accepts the 2011 Eliot-Pearson Award for his excellence in promoting children’s media as a vehicle for education, empathy, equity, friendship, and family.

Inside the Activist’s Study

This discussion series brings together prominent journalists, actors, filmmakers, and a wide array of activist leaders to explore how the media can play a role in bringing about positive social change[7].

Past panelists have included Bill McKibben, environmentalist, activist, founder of and author of 12 books including The End of Nature, Eaarth, and other titles, as well as Alan Khazei, Co-Founder of City Year, and Amy Goodman, Co-Host of Democracy Now.

Eliot-Pearson Awards for Excellence in Children’s Media

The Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children’s Media honors outstanding contributions in the burgeoning field of children’s media. The award is co-sponsored by the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development and the Communications and Media Studies Program at Tufts University. In recognition of the fact that media plays a significant role in the lives of children, this award honors commitment to innovation, diversity, non-violence, and developmentally appropriate media. The award is given to organizations, individuals, or companies that have made important inroads in the world of children’s media[8].

Past recipients include Bill Cosby; Alvin Poussaint, child psychiatrist and The Cosby Show consultant; Executive Producer of Arthur Carol Greenwald; Producers of Dora the Explorer Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh Valdes, and Cathy Galeota; Craig Bartlett, Executive Producer of Hey Arnold!; activist Peggy Charren; software producer and MIT professor Mitchel Resnick; Walden Media President Micheal Flaherty; and Linda Ellerbee of Nick News among others. The 2012 award ceremony will honor LeVar Burton, actor, writer, producer, and host of the award-winning show Reading Rainbow.

P.T. Barnum Awards for Excellence in Entertainment

The P.T. Barnum Awards for Excellence in Entertainment is an annual awards ceremony honoring alumni of Tufts University for their exceptional work in the field of media and entertainment[9].

The award began as a 2005 collaboration of The Hill to Hollywood Network of the Los Angeles Tufts Alliance, the Tufts Communications and Media Studies Program, the Tufts Department of Drama and Dance, and the Tufts Office of Alumni Relations in celebration of P.T. Barnum’s love of entertainment and creativity, and the desire to honor members of the Tufts community for their advancement of and success within the media and entertainment industries.

Past recipients include Hank Azaria, Meredith Vieira, and Steve Tisch among others.

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