Intro to Comm Interns: Fall 2021

Assignment 2C: Annotations

The IDH has become increasingly concerned about the use of algorithms in employment decisions.  (I.e., they got robots deciding who does -- or doesn't -- get hired for a job.)  The IDH Research Division has already started this project -- with NCU Prof. Marci Exted and Creighton University Prof. Tom Freeman -- but we want to know what you all think.  (And create some community education videos and assets.) 

For Assignment 2C: Start researching the problems with employment algorithms in the context of (a) factual unreliability; (b) bias (race, class, gender, ability, age); or (c) the problems with replacing human hiring decisions with algorithmic decision-making.  Give us the five best annotations you can make – from five different articles – that we can use to create materials for our legal researchers.

Note: The IDH will be delighted if someone figures out how religious discrimination could be a factor in employment algorithms.

Here is an example of assignment 2A:


Here is an example of assignment 2C:

Once completed, your TA will put the class's Assignment 2C submissions here so you can use them with the Kairos Project Assignment.

Kairos Project Assignment

The IDH has two existing clients -- Indiana University and the Anti-Defamation League -- who want educational content on algorithmic discrimination.  (One for high school students and one for communities.) 

You are going to assist us with 2 video assets: An infomercial segment and a Robot Court segment. Both will be about employment algorithms.

Follow the instructions provided on Moodle.  Please remember to keep it in the genre of an informercial testimonial.  (Look back at the examples in the Axis of Facts, Bias, and Storytelling videos.) 

Here's two good examples from the on campus class.  (But they are re-shooting to make them sound more "infomercial-ly."  Remember to say "Thank you IDH" or "Thank you Axis of Facts," etc.")


Informercial Example One   Example Two:





Robot Court:
Follow the instructions on Moodle.  But --- to help you out -- the Media Law students are also giving you their employment AI research.  That stuff is here.



  • Make sure you've watched the Robot Court video.  

  • We make some of these funny (for high school students) and some serious.  Either way is fine.  Just pick you tone and stick with it.

  • The campus students suggest that you use talking points instead of a script.

  • Be sure to cite 1-2 pieces of evidence.

  • An example is here.

  • Robot Court Zoom backgrounds are here.

  • Instructions/Advice on Robot Court backgrounds and recording is here.

Teams: Your Professor/TA Will Set These Up

  • Round One:

    • Arguing Against Employment Algorithms (Axis of Facts): 

    • Arguing For Employment Algorithms (Axis of Facts): 

  • Round Two:​

    • Arguing Against Employment Algorithms (Axis of Bias):

    • Arguing For Employment Algorithms (Axis of Bias): 

  • Round Three:​

    • Arguing Against Employment Algorithms (Axis of Storytelling): 

    • Arguing For Employment Algorithms (Axis of Storytelling):

Week Four: Pathos

Extra Credit Assignment 4A: Annotations

Follow the Assignment 4A instructions on Moodle.  For your assigned question, submit 4 annotations (from Strossen's book) to answer four of the questions below,.



  • How do hate speech laws – designed to protect minorities – sometimes hurt minorities?

  • Do hate speech laws create liberal “snowflakes”?

  • How have hate speech laws backfired in other countries?

  • Explain why Strossen rejects the liberal arguments that hate speech “hurts” people (psychologically, politically, and/or physically)?


  • Why is “viewpoint neutrality” important when thinking about hate speech laws?

  • Why, for Strossen, are vagueness and overbreadth a problem with hate speech laws?


  • Why is counter-speech better than censorship?

Here's an example of this assignment:

Assignment 4B: Case Study

The background for this assignment (i.e. why you are doing it) is on the Moodle.

But the gist -- keeping it simple -- is this:

In Assignment 4B, the IDH is just trying to verify that you can

  • (a) brief and analyze a case using FIRAC (i.e., what you learned in the Handbook this week) and

  • (b) that you understand how to apply the rules from Schenck and/or Chaplinsky to a "new" case.

Simple, right?

So here's your case, IDH Interns:

Read this article on Steve Bannon recently getting banned from Twitter and YouTube.  Then -- using Schenck or Chaplinsky -- analyze whether (according to those cases) you think he should have been banned (because of the bad tendency, clear and present danger, and/or fighting words rule).  

Pro Tip: Just pick Twitter or Youtube.  Don't waste time talking about both.  But think about how -- as a mode of digital communication -- saying something on one of those platforms is different than saying it on the other.  (i.e., do words on Twitter work different than algorithmically targeted video on YouTube?)


Here's an old example of an Assignment 4B in case that helps.:

Assignment 4C: Pathos Project Concept Draft

Same drill: The Moodle page provides background on this Project -- like what a zine is and why the IDH uses them -- but let's keep these instructions simple.

Overview of Why We Are Doing This:
The IDH partners with local colleges and communities to create "zines" on tricky post-digital issues.  We have requests in for zines to facilitate free speech debates with a local (liberal-leaning) university.  So you are going to help us by creating zine pages on a particular free speech controversy to show your audience how the IDH methods (listed below) work. Because the graphics themselves are labor-intensive, we want your to submit a "concept draft" this week so your professor can make sure you are on the right track.  Here's what he is looking for:


  • Do you understand FIRAC?  And can you organize your concept draft with FIRAC?

  • Can you analyze your case study using the "theory and cases" you learned in the LTP Pathos chapter?You got three options here.  Some kids use all three.  You need to use at least two.  

    • Schenck v. U.S.​

    • Chaplinsky v. N.H.

    • Zizek's 3 Categories of Violence.  (Note: Almost every kid ends up using this.  Start here,)

Step One: Research your case study. 
Listed below you will see the case studies you can choose from.  Pick any one that you want.  Give yourself some time to think about your answers.  Take notes. 

Step Two: Figure out your argument.  (Pathos Concept Proposal.)
The whole point of the Pathos Concept Proposal is to have you tell us -- exactly -- what text will be on each of your zine pages. Remember: You are NOT making the actual zine pages this week.  Just the draft.


  • Pro Tip #0: Look at the Zine examples (on Moodle) before you start.  (Duh,)

  • Pro Tip #1:  Zines are short.  Not many words.  Your concept draft should be 1-2 pages.

  • Pro Tip #2: The analysis section is where we see if you understand or not.  And it's the only really interesting part.  It needs to be the most developed so your professor can give you feedback.

  • Pro Tip #3: Tell us what visuals you are considering for each page.  That lets Dr. Paul give you feedback before you start making your zine pages next week.

And, because we like you, here's a cheat sheet on how to layout your concept draft (and zine).  Notice that we are -- duh -- using FIRAC to tell you exactly what information goes where and in what order on your zine pages.  This is not an accident: All design, video, and web work for the IDH uses FIRAC (or the policy debate method from Week 2).  Your zines use FIRAC because they analyze a specific case.

  • Facts:

    • What are the specific relevant facts of your case.

    • 1 zine pages max.

  • Issue:

    • What is the exact question you are answering?

    • 1-2 pages max.

  • Rules:

    • What legal/rhetorical rules are you applying?

    • 1-2 zine pages max

    • Pro Tip: Here are all of your possible rules to use:

      • Schenck (clear and present versus bad tendency)​

      • Chaplinsky (fighting words and/or real versus ideal audience)

      • Zizek (symbolic, systemic, and subjective violence)

  • Analysis:

    • Apply the correct rule(s) to your particular case.

    • As many zine pages as you need.

  • Conclusion/Judgment:

    • Did your case study violate free speech? Why?

    • 1 zine page max.

    • Pro Tip: You can quote Nadine Strossen's Hate book here if you want. (See Assignment 4A).

Case Studies for Fall 2021.  (With some hints about cases to use. When applicable, do some light research on the mentioned events on your own. It can add some depth -- and strength -- to your arguments.)

  • Read up on the Pelosi Home Invasion (Here's another starting point). Note that Mr. Depape, the accused, maintained an online presence filled with far-right rhetoric and conspiracy theories. Using what you've learned about Free Speech, Hate speech, and the first amendment, do Mr. Depapes online posts count as protected free speech? Do his actions (and the charges filed against him) change anything?

  • During the IDH's international juried art show last fall -- "Digital Rights are Civil Rights" -- artist Xavier McFarland (who is African American) made this piece about racist facial recognition technology (which the IDH helped ban in Minneapolis the day before because it wrongly identifies, and jails, African Americans.)  Some partners (white and BiPOC) thought we should cancel the piece (because it uses blackface to make its argument) and FB's algorithm flagged it.  Does that violate McFarland's free speech?

    • Hint:  You'll need Zizek.  And probably bad tendency versus clear and present danger. 

    • NOTE: if you are making a zine with this one, contact your TA to get the image with the artist's name and title on it.

  • Should a high school in your town use this violence prevention algorithm
    to monitor its students' social media?  Or does that violate free speech?


    • Hint: You'll need Schenck and Zizek

  • Watch and research the Will Smith Slap from the 94th Academy Awards. Setting aside Will Smith's assault of Chris Rock, was Chris Rock's joke about Jada Pinkett Smith considered protected speech? Does it matter if the joke was about a medical condition/disorder that Jada Pinkett Smith had? How does the lack of in-moment action to protect Rock or detain Smith interact with the concepts of free speech you've learned thus far?

Two old Pathos Concept drafts are below if you need them.

Ethos Project Assignment

Privacy challenges emerge everyday and the IDH has been meeting with local, state, and national scholars and organizations this fall to think about our post-digital ethos.

On campus, our conversations about privacy in Fall 2021 -- in our media theory, media law, and journalism classes -- have focused almost entirely on how the public and federal government are using prior social media activity to assign guilt and intent to people allegedly involved -- or convicted of being involved -- in the 1/6 insurrection at the Capital.

So here is our advice:


  • If you want to review the implied author, we put the entire Ethos Unit lecture from Fall 2020 -- with Dr. McCormick and Dr. McKain -- into one 40 minute podcast here.

  • At the end of he conversation, we spend 10 minutes discussing what does or does not make a good privacy topic.  (We aren't using these topics in Spring 2021, but it is still useful for you to understand how we pick our topics.)

What you are doing for the Ethos Project Assignment:

So -- to reiterate the instructions from Moodle -- there are two parts of the Ethos Project Assignment in Fall 2021: A podcast and social media. 

Your focus will be people alleged or convicted of participating in 1/6/21
 because of their involvement.  This article gives you a case study you can use.  (Use those people, or feel free to find another example.)



  1. Step One: Research and Analysis: Review the case study or find another person who lost their job because of 1/6/21.

  2. Step Two: Complete Your Brief of the Case and an Outline of Your Podcast Script: Using FIRAC -- with the two competing rules of “implied author” versus “Brand You” -- provide a quick (one page) outline of your script.  Don’t write the whole thing out, just list out the “talking points” you think you will use.  (Use the examples on the website as a guide.)

    • Take your news article and use FIRAC to brief it.  (Explained in LTP Ethos: Plan.)  For instance, using Dr. McCormick's example above:

      • Facts: A Dean resigning over an anti-Biden Facebook post.

      • Issue: Should an academic's social media posts be used as evidence?

      • Rule: Brand You versus the Implied Author

      • Analysis: Your analysis of the Facts, using the Rule to answer the Issue.

      • Conclusion: What do you think should have happened


  3. Step Three: Record Your Podcast Segment: Using the instructional video provided on the website, record a 1 - 4 minute podcast segment on your topic.  (Note: We originally said 1-2 minutes.  Campus students thought 1- 4  minutes might be easier for some.)  Then upload it.

    • An instructional video is overkill, since you've already recorded audio for this class.  Just use your phone or a microphone and be clear. 

    • Here's an example of a -- long -- classroom podcast segment on the ethos case Dr. McCormick provided. (If you are stuck, listen to this.)

    • If you have audio questions, email your TA or our tech Roman Sawczak (

Social Media Campaign

  1. For part two of the Ethos Project Assignment, you will create 3 social media posts for the IDH's current privacy and digital ethics campaign.  

    • Take the case study from your Podcast and make three social media posts (Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter) to promote privacy awareness.

    • Creativity is the key.  If you want to just link to one news story, fine.  Multiple news stories, also fine.  No news stories -- but good information/branding on privacy -- also fine.  Be strategic.) 

Logos Project Assignment

Note: Your instructor and TA will upload your Logos Project Assignment one week prior to the Logos Unit week.  What follows is the Spring 2021 prompt.

February 2021 sure is weird, huh?

When we wrote the Logos Project Assignment, we assumed that the post-fact society -- the fact that we all live in our filter bubbles and don't agree about reality -- would be a problem.  But we never could have guessed that COVID, Qanon, George Floyd, and an insurrection would have happened.

Prompt: Analyzing the Capitol Insurrection

Here's how you do it.

(1) Let's use the Capitol Insurrection as our controversy

(2) Pick a couple of names off the list of people being prosecuted for their involvement in the Capitol Insurrection. Here is a link to the list. Figure out what data exactly is being used against them (e.g. phone location, pictures, videos, social media etc.).

(3) Write the Buzzfeed article (or film a newscast) using implied author, algorithmic discrimination, or any free speech rules/cases that we've discussed in class. You can write this using one of the methods that you used in the previous weeks (Policy Debate, FIRAC, etc.), but don't label your sections

(4) If you are filming, just use our IDH Zoom "news background."  (Located here.)

(5) Submit to Moodle.

Make sense?  Holler if you have questions.  You'll do great.


Internship Openings for Spring 2021

IDH Internship Postings
Spring 2021

The IDH is seeking interns for Spring 2021.

These can be “on call” or five hour a week appointments.
(“On call” appointments means that we put you on a list of people to reach out to with project work.  You accept or decline.  But you can only claim resume credit for completed projects.)
Scheduling is flexible. 
But: Two strikes and you are out.
(When working with outside clients, there isn’t time for ghosting.  If you miss two assignments, we have to let you go.  But you can always re-apply.)

To apply:
Submit a brief (1 page max) cover letter explaining your qualifications for the position.
Reference the portfolio materials indicated on the specific job opening.
Additional materials can also be submitted.

Label your application materials:
“Last Name, Specific Job Posting, Cover Letter.”  



Social Media Intern(s)

The IDH is seeking a social media intern to assist with curation and expansion of its Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram channels. This intern reports directly to our Director of Public Relations and SECA Marketing team. 

For Spring 2021, the already known campaigns are: An art exhibition (on race and technology) with local partners, community education materials on post-COVID mental health, and a social media campaign focused on facial recognition, predictive policing, and privacy.

Necessary Qualifications: 
Strong writing ability, understanding of translating information to diverse audiences,  policy debate method, and axis of unreliability.  For Instagram, basic visual argumentation ability.


Portfolio Items to Reference in Cover Letter:

  • Policy debate and axis of unreliability: One video from Kairos Project

  • Social media examples: Two posts from Ethos Project

  • Graphic Design: Two zine pages from Pathos Project


Put your submissions here: Social Media Submission Folder

Research (and Writing) Interns

The IDH is seeking a policy analyst intern for Spring 2021 to (a) assist with the curation of news stories on free speech, algorithmic discrimination, and digital privacy issues and (b) help with the writing of web, academic, and public articles.  This intern reports directly to our Director of Research.

Necessary Qualifications:  Strong writing ability, understanding of translating information to diverse audiences,  policy debate method, legal analysis method, and axis of unreliability.

Portfolio Items to Reference with Cover Letter:

  • Policy debate and axis of unreliability: Any assignments or project from Kairos

  • Legal analysis: Any assignments or project from Pathos unit that shows FIRAC.

  • Translating information: Any assignments or project from Logos unit.

Put your submissions here: Research and Writing Submission Folder

How to Submit Portfolios

Congratulations on completing 175 (and the IDH intern training)!

Now we want to see how you did.  Not on your first try.  (First draft.)  But when you had a chance to think and work.

To do this, put all of the polished, final versions of your project assignments --


the Kairos Project Infomercial and Robot Court

the Ethos Project podcast and social media

the Logos Project article or video
the Pathos project zines --


Name all the documents: "Last Name, [Kairos, Pathos, Ethos, Logos] Project."

(if your project has multiple parts or files, number them
i.e., McKain, Kairos Project, Robot Court or McKain, Pathos Project, Zine 1).

Dr. McCormick's Reflection Piece


A former professor for this class -- a Dr. Paul McCormick -- added a reflection assignment to this course. The IDH really liked this assignment, and decided to keep it as part of the course. The assignment is as follows:


In your Final Portfolio, include a document of at least 300 words reflecting on what you're taking away from COMM 175. In that document, you may choose to answer any of the following questions. These particular questions are just options, not requirements. Please do not try to answer all of them--choose a few that make sense to you.


  1. As a communications professional, what media skills do you want to continue to work on? Which assignment are you most pleased with as an example of your skill as a media specialist, and why? Which assignment represents a skill that you'd still like to improve, and why? (In other words, reflect on your technical skills, including audio, video, and written arguments in any way that makes sense to you.)

  2. What did you learn about algorithms in the class, their potential and their limitations? (You could refer to theoretical discussions in Big Data, for instance, or you could talk about algorithms you discussed in your assignments.)

  3. What did you learn about legal practice (e.g. FIRAC, writing briefs) or the basics of constitutional law (e.g. court cases involving free speech or privacy issues) that seem worth remembering?

  4. As a Christian, how can you imagine using some of the skills you learned in your future professional and faith-based life?

  5. Anything else you would like to share!