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POL 35 — Journalism Under Siege? Truth and Trust in a Time of Turmoil

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Oct 2—Oct 30
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 15
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $315
Instructor(s): Dawn Garcia
Status: Registration opens on 08/20/2018
7:00—8:50 pm
Oct 2—Oct 30
5 weeks
Drop By
Oct 15
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Dawn Garcia
Registration opens on 08/20/2018
Around the world, journalism and press freedom are facing their biggest challenges in decades. Traditional media business models are in decline, while journalists themselves are being accused of reporting “fake news,” being imprisoned, and even being killed. How are journalists and their institutions responding to these perils, and what effect are these problems having on the profession and the information the public receives?

In this course, top journalists, press experts, and media critics will engage in lively discussions and enlightening lectures on a range of issues that address the key role the press should play in our democracies, while considering these key questions: What is the state of press freedom in the United States and abroad, and what is happening to the traditional role that journalism has played in democracy? As technological change accelerates, what is the impact of governments, businesses, and powerful platforms such as Google and Facebook on how information flows to the public, and how should the public hold these powerful actors accountable? In a time when facts are being called into question, how do we combat the growing wave of misinformation and disinformation? What information should you trust? How should journalists cover the growing wave of bias, intolerance, and hate spreading around the globe? Why is there an accelerated decline in the number and strength of local news organizations around the US, what does that mean for local communities, and will local news startups fill the void? And finally, how have many of these challenges strengthened some news organizations, which are creating some of the best investigative journalism in decades?

Confirmed guest speakers include:

Neil Chase, Executive Editor, San Jose Mercury News

Meredith Clark, Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, The University of Virginia; Digital Culture Specialist

Audrey Cooper
, Editor-in-Chief, San Francisco Chronicle

Sue Cross
, CEO, Institute for Nonprofit News

Jenée Desmond-Harris, Staff Editor, NYT Opinion, The New York Times; 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow, Stanford

Jiquanda Johnson, Founder and Publisher, Flint Beat

Joel Konopo, Managing Partner, INK Centre for Investigative Journalism, Gaborone, Botswana; John S. Knight Journalism Fellow, Stanford

Clay Lambert
, Editor, Half Moon Bay Review

Sally Lehrman
, Director, The Trust Project, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Joel Simon
, Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists

Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab
, Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist

Tentative Weekly Outline:

Week 1, October 2
First Draft of History: How a Free Press Protects Freedom
Guest speakers: Joel Konopo (Managing Partner, INK Centre for Investigative Journalism, Gaborone, Botswana; John S. Knight Journalism Fellow, Stanford), Joel Simon (Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists), and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab (Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist)

Week 2, October 9
Power to the People: Holding the Powerful Accountable

Week 3, October 16
Picking Sides? How Journalists Cover Bias, Intolerance and Injustice
Guest speaker: Jenée Desmond-Harris (Staff Editor, NYT Opinion, The New York Times; 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow, Stanford)

Week 4, October 23
The Last Stand of Local News

Guest speakers: Neil Chase (Executive Editor, San Jose Mercury News), Audrey Cooper (Editor-in-Chief, San Francisco Chronicle), Sue Cross (CEO, Institute for Nonprofit News), Jiquanda Johnson (Founder and Publisher, Flint Beat), and Clay Lambert (Editor, Half Moon Bay Review)

Week 5, October 30
The Misinformation Society

Guest speakers: Meredith Clark (Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, The University of Virginia; Digital Culture Specialist) and Sally Lehrman (Director, The Trust Project, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics)

Dawn Garcia, Course Director and Host; Director, John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships, Stanford

Dawn Garcia was a journalist for almost twenty years before joining the JSK Fellowships program in 2001. For more than fifty years the program has worked to improve the quality of news and information reaching the public. The program brings up to twenty journalists from around the world to Stanford each year to explore innovative solutions to the most urgent issues facing journalism. Garcia received a Master of Liberal Arts from Stanford, and was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow in 1991–1992.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Mike Ananny, Networked Press Freedom: Creating Infrastructures for a Public Right to Hear, First Edition (ISBN 9780262037747)
(Recommended) James C. Goodale, Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles (ISBN 9781939293084)
(Recommended) Ed Madison and Ben DeJarnette, Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World, First Edition (ISBN 9781440854750)
(Recommended) James T. Hamilton, Democracy’s Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism (ISBN 9780674545502)
(Recommended) Jeremy Bailenson, Experience on Demand, First Edition (ISBN 9780393253696)
(Recommended) Penelope Muse Abernathy, Saving Community Journalism (ISBN 9781469615424)