What do Katie Couric, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Oprah Winfrey have in common? This question and others will be answered in a journalism class at WVU called,”Women and Minorities in the Media.”

The new fall semester course, taught by associate professor Maryanne Reed, will look at the evolution of the portrayal of women and minorities in the media from the late 50s until today, primarily in television and movies.

Journalism 555 will be offered on Wednesdays in Room 101 Martin Hall, from 2:30-5:20 p.m. The curriculum creates awareness of how women, minorities and marginalized groups are portrayed in the media and teaches students how to be critical consumers of the media.

Students will see how women and other minorities have sometimes been depicted in powerful roles in the media, while at other times have reinforced the stereotypes. For example, Mary Tyler Moore, a model career woman, was a breakthrough feminist character in television in the 70s. Meanwhile today, the breakthrough characters are women like Xena and Dark Angel, two of the most physically strong characters on television.

“There are so many interesting things that will be learned in the class, many people are going to say, oh wow, I didnt know that,”said Maryanne Reed.

“Women and men alike will enjoy learning about how women and minorities have progressed since the earlier days,”she said.”They will also learn about their culture and will uncover their own prejudices and misconceptions about race and gender.”

Journalism 555 was approved as a permanent course for the Fall 2001 semester and is open to both graduate and upper-class students.”If you like watching television and movies, this is the class for you,”Reed said.

Contact Maryanne Reed in Room 206, Martin Hall, or call 293-3505, ext. 5409.