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Margaret Talev

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy


Understanding how the news media works – and how to work with it -- is more complicated today than ever. But it’s essential for people of goodwill who have made the decision to enter careers in public service and seek to have a major impact in the U.S. or globally. You may have heard, “Don’t trust the media,” but whether you’re in politics, policy, advocacy or the non-profit world, you avoid the media at your peril or at least at a big opportunity cost. In this class, taught by a White House correspondent and 25-year veteran of print, online, wire services and television, we’ll demystify the U.S. press so that you’re more comfortable and better prepared to put yourself, and your ideas, out there. You will learn how reporters think and how to think like a reporter and the ethical, practical and mission-driven principles that shape mainstream news gathering. You’ll learn how to develop working relationships with the media; how to navigate interviews and public speaking; and how to convey your ideas concisely and accessibly across different platforms including television and social media. This is not a course in the dark arts, crisis or spin. You will learn how reporters sniff out lies, misstatements, obfuscation and misdirection, and why to avoid crutches that damage your credibility. You will engage with journalists as well as experts in public opinion and political practitioners. Students will be expected to keep up with daily news developments and assigned readings that will be discussed each week. By the end of the module, you will begin developing contacts with reporters in your relevant field; a reading, watching and listening list; and an understanding of social- and earned-media going forward. Course assignments, no exam