Technology, Media, and Communications

The TMaC specialization equips students for careers in today’s digital work place. We believe that understanding the policy implications of digital technology and having practical skills are essential. Digital technologies have transformed all the areas that SIPA students care about: development, advocacy, policy making, media, human rights, business and government so we offer courses that cut across disciplines.

Our skills courses teach data visualization, speech writing, data scraping and using social media for campaigning. Current digital production techniques and digital distribution channels have given organizations new communications strategies and we explore the technical and theoretical tricks, turns and pitfalls of this new 21st century paradigm. Many of our writing courses are taught by award-winning journalists who emphasize research and how to communicate clearly and effectively.

TMaC offers courses on design thinking, digital diplomacy, e-government, digital activism, and surveillance and the regulatory and policy questions surrounding digital technology. We consider the effect that the digital revolution is having on international affairs and government as well as the policies and practices that can help new technologies promote development, human rights and social change.

Students enrolled in the Technology, Media, and Communications Specialization are required to take three courses of their choosing but may take more if their schedule permits. We don’t have required courses or tracks because we know that our students are interested in a wide range of subjects. We tweak our course listings each year in response to what students, alumni and employers tell us is important for today’s work place.

TMaC Audit Form 2017-18.pdf

Anya Schiffrin, Lecturer in Discipline of International and Public Affairs; Director of Technology, Media, and Communications Specialization

Hagit Ariav, Lecturer in International and Public Affairs (part-time)

Christopher Booker, Lecturer in International and Public Affairs (part-time)

Claudia Dreifus, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs

Liza Featherstone, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs

Jason Healey, Senior Research Scholar in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs; Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs

Larry Heinzerling, Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs

Jim Holtje, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs

Nick Martin, Lecturer in International and Public Affairs (part-time)

Peter Micek, Lecturer in International and Public Affairs (part-time)

Jason Q. Ng, Lecturer in International and Public Affairs (part-time)

Laura Silber, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs

Dino Sossi, Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs

Mark Steitz, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs

Evagelia Emily Tavoulareas, Lecturer in International and Public Affairs (part-time)

Michael Vachon, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs

Alexis Wichowski, Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs

Minky Worden, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs

The Technology, Media, and Communications Specialization (TMaC) requires 9 points.

INAF U6046Global Media: Innovation and Economic Development3
INAF U6120Tools and Craft of Multi-Platform Storytelling3
INAF U6144Media Campaigning and Social Change3
INAF U6198Technology for International Crisis Response and Good Governance1.5
INAF U6202Communications Policy in the Digital Age3
INAF U6203Digital Activism1.5
INAF U6207Writing and Reporting on International Affairs3
INAF U6209E-Government & Digital Diplomacy3
INAF U6211Technology Solutions for Development & Social Change3
INAF U6212New Media in Development Communication3
INAF U6897Writing on International Affairs3
INAF U6921Magazine Writing with an International Dateline3
INAF U6924The Panama Papers3
INAF U6946Writing and Delivering Speeches for Politics, Private Sector & Non-Profits1.5
INAF U6948Writing on Policy3
INAF U8180Human Rights Skills and Advocacy3
INAF U8189The Politics of History and Reconciliation3
INAF U6382Technology, National Security & the Citizen3
INAF U6383Dynamics of Cyber Power and Conflict3
Non-SIPA Courses
JOUR J6010Journalism, Human Rights and Social Change3
BUEC B8210Media and Information Management3
INBU B8599International Media Business3
JOUR J6089Video for SIPA Students3
LAW L8173Law, Media and Public Policy2
POLS G8247Mass Mediated American and Global Politics3
MRKT B8699Seminar in Marketing1.5

INAF U6046 Global Media: Innovation and Economic Development. 3 Points.

Category: EPD:Economic, EPD:Political, TMAC

The world of media continues to change quickly. Legacy media outlets are struggling with their role in this new world and working to make more use of technology. Media starts ups find it hard to build audience, get sustained attention and establish credibility. Everyone worries about how they will be able to fund newsgathering and what future business models will look like. This course will explore some of the possibilities for innovation and discuss how new practices can help address some of the difficulties faced by journalists. We will consider what it takes to create new sites or tools that can actually find funding and we will meet different journalists and experts involved in some of the projects springing up around the world. By the end of this course, students will understand the basics of some media theory and scholarship and be able to speak knowledgably about the journalism climate in many different countries. Students will also be familiar with some of the changes brought about by technological innovation as well as how to analyze the successes and failures.  

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Spring 2018 001 81296 Anya Maria Schiffrin Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
418 International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6120 Tools and Craft of Multi-Platform Storytelling. 3 Points.

Category: TMAC

The web opens up exciting possibilities for interaction and new ways to tell stories. We'll introduce students to the world of multimedia storytelling and how it can be applied to organizations working in International Affairs and Development.

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Spring 2018 001 98096 Christopher Booker M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
418 International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6144 Media Campaigning and Social Change. 3 Points.

Category: EPD:Social, HRHP, TMAC

This course will examine the role that different kinds of media have played in raising awareness about human rights, labor issues and political change over time and across countries. We will look at how media, social media and NGOs can take on a campaigning role in raising awareness about social problems and holding governments accountable. We will plan and execute advocacy campaigns, write letters and op-eds and tweet about contemporary human rights problems. We will also discuss how to measure impact and spend time learning hands-on skills such as scraping data from social media to see the response to major campaigns. This semester our course will emphasize labor rights, media freedom and women in sports. Students can choose which of these subjects they want to focus on.

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Fall 2017 001 62098 Anya Maria Schiffrin W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
402 International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6202 Communications Policy in the Digital Age. 3 Points.

Category: IMAC

In this course, we study the internet through the perspectives of vastly different stakeholders, including telecom companies, regulators, marginalized groups, ordinary users, governments, and social media companies. Governments have reached consensus that human rights apply online, but need to interrogate how laws, regulations, and norms should be updated for the digital age. Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights, but vary widely in their approaches, policies, and processes that mediate user experience online. The Sustainable Development Goals identify internet access as essential to development, and require smart internet and communications policy environments to extend connectivity to the “last mile,” speed economic development, and empower all users.


Students will devise principled and effective internet policy by studying: the basic workings of the internet & mobile technology; the forums most active in internet governance, at national and international levels; and how internet policy can impact rights, cultures, and economies, positively and otherwise. Hot-button issues like network neutrality, encryption, cross-border data flows, countering violent extremism, and universal connectivity will feature prominently. We’ll consider questions like, what should be the respective roles for corporations, governments, and civil society in governing the technical protocols, infrastructure, and operations of the internet? Is it possible to retain personal privacy online? And whose responsibility is it to police content?


We will focus on process as much as substance. Internet governance grew out of organic, horizontal institutions that prized the rough consensus of engineers and visionaries. How will institutions grow and mature while retaining that bottom-up, inclusive style that created the internet as we know it? Will governments allow internet governance decisions to be made without their intervention? This focus on process will be reflected in the classroom, as we nimbly role-play, break into small groups, and hone tech policy skills under time pressure. Expect to participate frequently, and learn to navigate the most pressing issues facing companies, governments, and technologists today.

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Spring 2018 001 83279 Peter Micek W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
501a International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6203 Digital Activism. 1.5 Point.

Category: IMAC
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This course will examine how people from around the world use the Internet and other digital media to promote political and social causes. We will read a mix of essays, news reports, first-person journalism, case studies, and research papers related to the issue of digital activism. How the Internet has changed activism and organizing—as well as how it hasn’t—will be a dominant theme, and individual classes will focus on particular events and regions where digital media technologies served a central role both as a medium and a source of contention. This course will also impart practical computer skills that are becoming more and more essential for activists or those who interact digitally with people working on sensitive issues. We will cover threat awareness, encrypted communications—both how it works, when to use it, and how to use it effectively—and anti-censorship/circumvention tools. At the end of this course, students will be familiar with the challenges facing activists and ordinary citizens who choose to use digital media for collective action and social change. Though the emphasis of this course will be on the netizen side of the story, we will also cover how authorities and companies around the world have responded to digital activists, and, in turn, the levers that activists have available to them to advance their causes.

INAF U6204 Knowledge, Technology and Development: Perspectives post Arab Spring. 1.5 Point.

Category: EPD, IMAC
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This course offers an analysis of the interplay between knowledge, technology and development, starting by a theoretical formulation and moving on to an empirical analysis of the issues as they pertain to Egypt and the Arab countries. The course touches on a wide span of topics ranging from the impact of intellectual property on development to the role of the Internet and new technologies in the recent uprisings in Egypt and the region.

INAF U6207 Writing and Reporting on International Affairs. 3 Points.

Category: TMAC

Exceptional writing is at the heart of effective communication. We'll study the special skill of foreign correspondents who produce reports on deadline about complex global issues, a talent also useful to anyone working for international organizations, government agencies and many NGOs, among others. This course works on two tracks. The primary focus is on the art of telling stories, or submitting reports, that are at once compelling, colorful, concise, balanced and carefully structured. The course also looks at how news is gathered internationally in an era of WikiLeaks,"fake news" and "alternative facts," as well as the philosophy of a free press, censorship, the ethical issues journalists face and the hostile environments in which reporters often work.

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Fall 2017 001 97747 Larry Heinzerling T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
402 International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6209 E-Government & Digital Diplomacy. 3 Points.

Category: EPD:Political, ISP, TMAC
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This course will examine changes across various computer-mediated communication platforms, including social media, web applications, and mobile devices. Students will develop a theoretical understanding of government and citizen communication dynamics with readings in political communication and public administration, as well as a basic understanding of the technical capabilities of various digital media platforms.

INAF U6211 Technology Solutions for Development & Social Change. 3 Points.

Category: EPD:Economic, EPD:Social, Management, TMAC

The aim of this course is to provide a theoretical and practical framework for students to understand participatory approaches to new media and information and communication technologies to address the advancement of the Millennium Development Goals and social change, with a special focus on low and middle income countries. Each session will include an introduction to basic theories that provide a critical lens through which mobile phone and computer-based applications and tools can be designed to solve problems in health, education, agriculture, small business development, and environmental sustainability.  Cross-cutting themes that will be explored include gender, public-private partnerships, and policy dimensions of information and communication for development (ICTD) as well as the newly emerging fields of mHealth, mLearning, mBanking, etc. Through the use of case studies and a term-long project, the technology project life-cycle will be explored in an applied setting.  Specifically students will be guided through the process of conducting needs assessments; applying ethnographic research methods to understanding work, communication, and information flows; participatory program and application design; systems development and local adaptation; testing and usability assessments; implementation; and evaluation. Applications that will be reviewed in more detail during the course include: RapidSMS (Project Mwana and others) and ChildCount+, Mangrove, Ushahidi, EpiSurveyor, FrontlinSMS, Open Data Kit and many others. This course requires instructor permission in order to register. Please add yourself to the waitlist in SSOL and submit the proper documents in order to be considered.

INAF U6212 New Media in Development Communication. 3 Points.

Category: TMAC
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

New Media in Development Communication is an inter-disciplinary course that will introduce students to advanced concepts in communications skills and policy, with an emphasis on applicability in developing countries. The world is in the midst of simultaneous revolutions in communications technologies and the attitudinal changes brought about by the forces of globalization. The media plays an increasingly crucial part in international affairs, both in affecting and recording change. This course will give students hands-on experience with new technologies (such as Internet publication, video, and cell phones) combined with guidance in the principles of creating editorial products. It will address evolving policy issues and new challenges in development communications, such state censorship and communications in the context of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Special attention will be given to the challenges and opportunities of working under technologically primitive field conditions with modest resources. The course will offer occasional guest speakers who are leading figures in the field.

INAF U6216 Reporting for Print and Online (The Morningside Post). 1.5 Point.

Category: MIA/MPA: Short Course, IMAC
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This course produces a newspaper of increasingly professional quality that has recently become a must-read for the SIPA community. Even more importantly, "The Morningside Post for Credit" students learn to write lucidly and persuasively for a diverse readership - an essential skill in the world of International Relations and policy.

INAF U6897 Writing on International Affairs. 3 Points.

Category: IO, TMAC

Good writing and effective skills to communicate global issues are in high demand. Whether one is working for a media outlet or publication, an international organization, an NGO, or a media strategy/relations firm, the ability to gather and process information and present it in clear, effective written format is key to landing a dream job and getting ahead. In this course, students will learn to craft clear, precise written communications using means often employed in global careers: the Op-Ed and commentary, the press release, the newspaper and magazine story, talking points, the policy or country summary/contact brief, as well as writing for the Web. Writing topics will focus on core issues in international affairs: the global economy, environment, international business, international organizations, political analysis, and human rights/law. As the class has a heavy concentration on writing, reading will be assigned to facilitate writing styles and improve technique.

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Spring 2018 001 77596 Liza Featherstone T 11:00am - 12:50pm
501a International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6921 Magazine Writing with an International Dateline. 3 Points.

Category: TMAC

This is a writing workshop aimed at professional or pre-professional writers and media workers with a deep interest in international affairs. A fluid knowledge of written English is important. If the student is not yet a facile writer in the English language, he or she might get more out of the course if they took it during their second year of SIPA studies. The course is designed to give students exercises and real-world experiences in writing feature articles on international affairs topics. The aim is for each participant in the workshop to produce at least one (hopefully) professional level magazine article by the end of the semester. The objective is to help people tell true stories from this globalized world we all live in.

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Fall 2017 001 71198 Claudia Dreifus W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
823 International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6948 Writing on Policy. 3 Points.

Category: TMAC
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

“Writing About Policy” gives you the journalistic tools to intervene in public policy debates. You will learn to translate the expertise you’re gaining – as policy professionals and as SIPA students –for the rest of the public, whether in op eds, review essays or blogs. You will also report and write news and feature stories.

INAF U8122 Speech Writing and Political Rhetoric. 3 Points.

Category: TMAC

While it is the great orator who so richly gets the credit, for the “gift of oratory” today it is often a nameless wordsmith, toiling in obscurity, who crafted these words of eloquence.  The power of oration and speechwriting is as old as politics itself.  From the days of the ancient Greece and the Roman Empire to the present day politicians and orators have used the power of words and rhetoric to move people toward both higher (and sometimes lower) aspirations.  It is that skill that is the essence of what we will be studying in this course. Though we will take the time to examine great speeches of the past this class is intended to hone your ability as budding speechwriters and wordsmiths.  They key to being a speechwriter, quite frankly is to write, rewrite and then write some more.  There will be weekly writing assignments as we will work to develop different types of speechwriting skills.  Each student will have to deliver their speeches before the class and have their work critiqued by their fellow students.  All of our discussions will be strongly focused on the role of speechwriting in the public policy process.  Whether you go into the world of foreign policy, domestic policy or even take the corporate route, it is critical to understand that speechwriting can never be divorced from the articulation and promotion of specific policy or political objectives.  As a result, we will spend much of the class analyzing and dissecting the famous speeches we read.

INAF U8180 Human Rights Skills and Advocacy. 3 Points.

Category: EPD:Political, HRHP, IO, TMAC

This course is designed to develop practical advocacy skills to protect and promote human rights. A focus will be developing an advocacy strategy on a current human rights issue, including the identification of goals and objectives, appropriate advocacy targets and strategies, and the development of an appropriate research methodology. Students will explore broad-based human rights campaigns, use of the media, and advocacy with UN and legislative bodies. Over the course of the semester, students will become familiar with a variety of tools to apply to a human rights issue of their choosing. Case studies will illustrate successful advocacy campaigns on a range of human rights issues."  

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Spring 2018 001 77496 Jo Becker F 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA

INAF U8189 The Politics of History and Reconciliation. 3 Points.

Category: HRHP, ICR, TMAC

Since the end of the Cold War historical memory has come to play an increasing role in international and intranational conflicts. In addition numerous countries which are transitioning from dictatorship to democracy have focused on the gross historical violations of the previous regime. But not all. The question is how does a focus on the past facilitate present reconciliation? Societies are faced with the expectation that they will attend to the crimes of previous regimes. But what are crimes in historical perspective? And what are the standards for historical responsibility? How does historical conflict and reconciliation differ from approaches to immediate accountability for the past in newly democratic societies? The course examines these political and ethical dilemmas in a comparative historical perspective.

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Fall 2017 001 83347 Elazar Barkan M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
801 International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6382 Technology, National Security & the Citizen. 3 Points.

Category: ISP, TMAC

While digital technology gives governments powerful new ways to protect their citizens, it also creates powerful opportunities for abuse. To complicate matters, governments aren't the only ones with access to these tools: technology also empowers individuals, activist groups, and non-state actors in ways that can either enhance or threaten the security of nations. This course will explore these changes, examining how digital technology is transforming the national security landscape, altering roles and power relationships for governments, citizens, and social movements. Specifically, this class will examine: NATIONAL SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES: Categories and specific tools in use for citizen engagement, surveillance, infrastructure control, and defense DEMOCRATIC & AUTOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS USE OF TOOLS: How governments, both democratic and autocratic, deploy these technologies in national security efforts, and its consequences on the rights of individuals and the broader social order CITIZENS, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS & NON-STATE ACTORS USE OF TOOLS: How citizens, social movements, and non-state actors wield similar tools to enhance, counterbalance, or undermine government security efforts REDEFINING POWER: How new technologies affect, alter, undermine, or enhance existing power structures and bolster or diminish the influence of citizens, organizations, and social groups on governments Course material will be comprised of theoretical readings on state security responsibilities and citizens' rights, case studies of effective and counterproductive tactics, and present-day examples of the phenomena.  

Term Section Call Number Instructor Times/Location
Spring 2018 001 79030 Alexis Wichowski Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
801 International Affairs Bldg

INAF U6383 Dynamics of Cyber Power and Conflict. 3 Points.

Category: ISP, TMAC
Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

This class examines the dynamics of cyber conflict. We will focus less on the technology of cyberspace than the national security threats, challenges, and policy responses including lessons from history and other kinds of conflict. After taking this course, you will understand about the Internet and Internet-based attacks; how cyber conflicts unfold at the tactical and strategic levels; how cyber conflicts and cyber power are different or similar to conflict and power in other domains; the evolution of US cyber policies and organizations; as well as legal issues and the policies and organizations of other nations. The centerpiece of the course is an exercise to reinforce the fundamentals of national security response to a major cyber incident. Accordingly, you will demonstrate the ability to formulate policy recommendations in the face of the uncertainties of an unfolding cyber conflict.