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David Hill's profile picture
Posts: 79

28 March 2018, 10:37 PM

I have just completed a "Teach-Out" through the University of Michigan via the Coursera platform. These are really short courses, which are free, so there is no certificate. See - 

A "Teach-Out" is an online version of "Teach-Ins" which the University of Michigan has offered since the 1960s, during the Vietnam War. These were overnight or weekend intensive events where academics discussed and debated issues and were open to the public.

There are several Teach-Outs offered by the University of Michigan via Coursera.

I have completed "Free Speech in Journalism" which explored the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly - essentially the Bill of Rights. The course had particular attention on free speech in relation to journalism throughout US history, including, but not exclusively recent events around "fake news".

Some of the insights offered included:

- In relation to the Trump administration's attacks on the media - "we've not had this level of threat to the media before" - 1000 false statements in the first seven months in office.

- No President since Woodrow Wilson in World War 1 has used the Espionage Act (1917) more than the twice to suppress media informants - except for the Obama administration, which used it eight times.

- The US has the same number of journalists today as in 1972, but there are 100 million more people and the Federal budget is 18 times what it was in 1972.

- Most legislation is passed by State legislatures and yet, because of the shortage of journalists or media outlets, several States legislatures do not have media covering them and 27 states (out of 50) do not have a media presence in Washington to cover their congressional representatives.

- Like in New Zealand, there are growing numbers of journalists being laid off, as media organisations struggle to compete against social media, changing technology and an increasingly commercialized environment.

- But there is some hope, as there are 151 not-for-profit news organisations which have started up in the US, mostly online. While some of these are partisan, many of these have been established by professional journalists.

David Bell's profile picture
Posts: 1067

28 March 2018, 11:23 PM

Thanks for info about this course, David. I hope to write a book review about James Jesus Angleton, who became a CIA director in the next week or so. And a film review of The Death of Stalin  should be out tomorrow, Maundy Thursday. Both have very strong connections to the freedom of the press concepts you have explored.

Also I've just enrolled in a Duke University Coursera mooc on The Art of the Mooc, exploring public art. Will keep the Beginner's Art Class informed about its content.

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