News organizations are in an era of acute instability. Their revenues are eroding even though their online reach is expanding. Their ability to protect sources in Washington is under siege, and the foreign stories they must cover are increasingly complex and dangerous. This course will explore the causes and consequences of these developments for media organizations that play a critical role in a democratic society and influence foreign policy. Students will gain a deep understanding of how the media operates: the ways reporters get information, the factors that influence whether international events get covered, and the extent to which the press can be both antagonistic toward and exploited by powerful institutions. The class will scrutinize some of the media’s best and worst moments of the past two decades, including its handling of the mountain of classified material exposed by Edward Snowden, coverage of the Arab spring and spread of the Islamic State, as well as the credulous reporting that preceded the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Students will come to understand the economic and technological forces that are driving a dramatic restructuring of the news business. They will also become more sophisticated news consumers, learning to read articles with the ability to identify and interpret often subtle clues to sources and significance.
SFS/CULP Humanities, SFS/CULP Social Science, SFS/CULP Core, SFS/IPOL Electives
Fall 2019, Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016