JTC 220 - News, Truth, and Deception

  • 3 credits

This course is all about learning to discern truthful reporting from propaganda. Manipulating the news to achieve one’s political agenda is nothing new. Consider that in the 17th century candidates for public office commonly accused each other in the press of heinous sexual behavior and having fathered illegitimate children. As journalism became more sophisticated and responsible in the 20th century, mainstream news media outlets embraced the notion of objectivity. Stories were vetted for accuracy and balance. But amid the rise of the digital age, virtually anyone today with an agenda and access to the internet can call themselves a journalist without regard to the traditions of truth and fairness. Many of the stories we read or see these days that pass themselves off as journalism are little more than rumors, fabrications and flat-out lies.

Taught by CSU journalism graduate and former Pulitzer Prize-winning news reporter David Freed, JTC 220 will help you become a more discerning consumer of news. Armed with critical-thinking skills, a firm grasp of relevant history and a practical knowledge about the news media, you will learn how to find reliable information and disseminate it responsibly, both as members of the media and as citizens.
You will be expected to be passionately interested in the news, prepared to discuss in detail current events. Professional journalists are by nature curious about the world around them. They question, probe, and objectively consider other points of view as they strive for the truth. Students in this class will be expected to do the same.

By the end of this class, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate critical thinking in analyzing each day’s news.
  • judge the reliability of news reports by having weighed evidence and evaluating sources.
  • know how to differentiate between real journalism, opinion and unsupported assertion.
  • recognize the difference between news media bias and audience bias.
  • write effectively about journalism standards and practices, fairness and bias, First Amendment issues and the individual rights and responsibilities of reporters.

Prerequisite

JTC 100 (Media in Society).

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