Hot Course Political Reporting: Journalism in an ElectionYear *With Sarah Latson, senior lecturer in journalism, Florham Campus** Art Represents Life Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in “All the President’s Men” as The Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein What Are They Learning? “The students learn what it means to be political reporters and, in some ways, media critics while developing their understanding of journalistic principles,” says Latson. “They identify newsworthy topics related to the presidential election, gather information, cultivate and interview sources, check records and write pieces that are suitable for publication,” she continues. Students also analyze coverage and consider the implications of political reporting. Art Represents Life “His Girl Friday,” with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as a newspaper editor and his star-reporter ex-wife What’s for Homework? “Lots of reading and watching the news! The students research, report and write three articles and one commentary,” says Latson. They also maintain blogs and regularly post to them. Art Represents Life “Citizen Kane,” produced by and starring Orson Welles as news magnate Charles Foster Kane Why This Matters Today “One of my goals for this course is to help students sift through the abundance of political news and determine which sources of information are reliable — and which are not,” says Latson. “It’s important for undergraduates to think critically about what’s going on in the world, and working as reporters allows them to do just that. Not only do the students tackle their own stories, they study how professional journalists do their jobs. For example, how do they decide which stories to cover and the best way to cover them? What does all of that mean for their audiences?” Art Represents Life Jeff Daniels as a cable-TV network anchor in HBO’s “Newsroom” What Is on the Final? The final consists of questions based on the reading assignments on a range of issues — from reporting routines to bias in the media. Other questions come from topics covered in class lectures and discussions. Art Represents Life Marisa Tomei as a New York Times reporter covering a presidential candidate’s scandal in “Ides of March” What Are They Reading? The Associated Press Stylebook Mass Media and American Politics by Doris A. Graber and Johanna Dunaway Materials from the Journalist’s Resource, a project of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy Political reporting in print, broadcast and digital media This course is offered during the fall semester of presidential election years.
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