fbpx The Politics of the Press | Harvard Kennedy School
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Nancy Gibbs

Lombard Director of the Shorenstein Center
Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy


We are living through a historic shift in the media ecosystem, with profound implications for the informational foundations of democracy. This course will explore the changing role, power and responsibility of the press; the dynamic among leaders, citizens and journalists in shaping politics and policy; and the economic, social, technological and ethical challenges that newsrooms are facing in this environment. What drives the judgments editors make about which stories to cover and which to ignore? As we approach a U.S. presidential election, what has changed since 2016? And what is the role of journalism in shaping democratic institutions and policy solutions? This course will be conducted in real-time, with weekly analysis of coverage of on-going political stories, particularly the 2020 campaign. The perspective will be that of editors and reporters, principally in the national press, making decisions about coverage; the focus will be largely though not exclusively on U.S. media. Students will be expected to be heavy consumers of news and come to class prepared to discuss both the assigned readings for the week and the issues that erupt as we go.