Journalism and Social Change in Historical Perspective

The project will organize a university-wide 2-credit elective interdisciplinary course on journalism and social change led by the History Department and the School of Public Policy (SPP). The course is conceived of as a platform to further investigate the unique relationship between history and journalism. In a very real sense, journalism shapes the body of sources available to historians. Contemporary historians in particular, depend to a large degree on journalistic source materials as their gateway into the past: what might be called the “first draft” of history. Besides providing students with a platform to engage with journalism as a profession, students will also be able to explore and better understand the dynamic ways in which journalism engages and to a large extent, structures the public sphere. Additionally, journalists themselves will be given the opportunity to reflect critically on their own discipline, the role it has played in the past as well as its future. The course will draw on the work of a number of journalists’ who will be a part of this course, including Dean Starkman and Richard Bassett, as well as the holdings of the Open Society Archives (OSA), an archive largely built on journalism.