Washington Center

Contemporary Politics and Media

Day and Time: 
Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 8 to March 11, 2016
Core Seminar

This seminar will examine the relationship between politics, governance and the media, in all its new finery. By wedding practice with theory, the course provides an academic framework for students interning in government, news media and advocacy offices. The course complements and enhances the lessons absorbed during Washington, D.C. internships, combining reading, writing, discussion, guest speakers, field trips and scholarly research. Students will examine the evolving methods of political communication. This spans the media environment, from conventional journalism and specialty beat reporting to lobbying and governmental public relations. Students will confront the ethical and professional dilemmas that arise daily in the nation’s news capital. These include defining the boundary between personal privacy and public responsibility, developing expertise without going native and managing stories amid the collapse of print journalism and the rise of mobile new technologies. Washington, D.C. serves as the expanded classroom for this hands-on course. Field trips to the National Press Club, Capitol Hill and the Newseum will insert students into the heart of the action. Guest presentations by reporters, press secretaries, lobbyists and lawmakers will bring students face-to-face with key practitioners. Through readings and discussions, the class will be agile and responsive to the political moment. Students will complete a significant writing assignment, which will be aimed for potential publication. Students will also sharpen their writing and oral presentation skills with shorter assignments and ungraded practice. Taught by Michael Doyle.


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