Ethics and History of Journalism

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Journalism & Design

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students


Spring 2023

Taught By: Liesl Schillinger

Section: BX

CRN: 3034

Credits: 4

How does “fake news” differ from real news; what determines which “facts” are recognized as true; and how can journalists ensure the accuracy of their writing? This hybrid course tracks milestones in political thought and media history that affect current journalistic practice, while teaching students how to check and defend facts, using the methods of the New Yorker’s checking department. Each week explores a different theme: from Thomas Jefferson’s and Tocqueville’s visions of American press freedom to Orwell’s insights into fact erasure; from the influence of telegraph, radio and television on democracy to the convulsions of the Civil Rights Era and Watergate; and on from there to the emergence of partisan news, the rise of the internet, the spread of the alt-right and conspiracy theories, and the threats of misinformation and information warfare. Each student follows a different publication all term to give them a sense of the distinct priorities and biases of each media outlet. Distinguished journalists, historians, podcasters and fact checkers visit the class to share their expertise. The two-fold goal of the course is to deepen students’ understanding of the power of fact and opinion in society, and to strengthen their ability to read and report the news effectively in an age when press freedom, democratic institutions, and truth itself are under attack.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Journalism & Design (LLSJ)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 5, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.

Status: Open*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 7:26am EST 11/27/2022

Meeting Info:

Days: Friday

Times: 12:10pm - 2:50pm

Building: Eugene Lang 65 W11th

Room: 464

Date Range: 1/27/2023 - 5/12/2023