Teachers gather at Syracuse University for lesson on media and American democracy
Teachers gather at Syracuse University for lesson on media and American democracyJune 27, 2003Nicci Brownnicbrown@syr.edu
Teachers from all over New York state, as well as New Jersey and Virginia, will be at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications this week for an institute focusing on the media’s relationship with American democracy. Titled “The Media and Democracy in a Time of War II,” the institute will be held June 26-28 in the Bartlett Room of the Newhouse II building on Waverley Avenue. The institute sessions are open to the media.
The institute, which was initiated in 2002, is a collaborative effort between Syracuse University and Harvard University and is being presented by the Newhouse School in conjunction with SU’s School of Education.
Since 1997, Harvard has offered a weeklong summer institute for secondary school humanities teachers called the “Media and American Democracy Institute.” In order to reach more teachers, Harvard expanded the program by collaborating with five universities across the United States, including SU. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation funded the expansion.
Larry Elin, an assistant professor in Newhouse’s radio-television-film department, says it’s tremendously important to make sure teachers have the best tools and information available to help their students understand the U.S. democratic system.
“High School students are the next generation of voters, civic leaders and public officials,” he says. “All genres of media-journalism, entertainment and information-form their sense of our democratic institutions and society in general. This institute is designed to help teachers develop lesson plans for their students, so they may better understand the role that media play in forming their ideas about democracy. This will result one day in a more informed, more engaged and more critical electorate.”
The program has two main goals-to expose teachers to the latest ideas and practices related to the intersection of media, politics and the American democratic system of government and to involve educators in content learning, discussion and debate. Presenters at the SU institute will cover issues such as “Balancing Press Freedom with National Security” and “The Internet and Political Activism.” The 21 participants come from both private and public schools in rural and inner city areas. There will be teachers from districts with more than 100,000 students and from districts with less than 1000 students.
Thursday, June 26Theme: The historical foundations for the role of media on democracy and political institutions in the U.S.; how that role has changed in a time of war and national emergency.
- 9:00-9:45 a.m.: Institute orientation (Larry Elin, assistant professor of television-radio-film; Joel Kaplan, assistant dean of graduate studies, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; Sandy Trento, Director, Study Council at Syracuse University)
- 10:00-11:45 a.m.: The First Amendment (David Rubin, dean of the Newhouse School)
- 1:00-2:15 p.m.: The Historical Relationship of the Press to Democratic Institutions (Francis Ward, associate professor of newspaper)
- 2:30-3:15 p.m.: My Country: Right or Wrong? (Charlotte Grimes, Knight Chair in Political Reporting)
Friday, June 27Theme: The war and the news-sometimes aligned and sometimes at odds.
- 9:30-10:45 a.m.: The Power and Provision of the Press (William Smullen, director of the National Security Studies Program, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; former aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell)
- 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.:War Becomes the Media: And Why the Media Can’t Cover Peace (Steve Davis, chair, newspaper department; Grant Reeher, associate professor of political science)
- 1:45-3:00 p.m.: Freedom of Information (Robert Freeman, executive director, Committee on Open Government)
- 3:30-5:30 p.m.: Deciding the News (Rich Sullivan, managing editor, staff development, Syracuse Newspapers)
Saturday, June 28Theme: The rights of the individual, the rights of the state, and the rights of a free press-conflicting interests, or three bricks in the foundation of democracy?
- 9:30-10:45 a.m.: Public Policy, Public Communications, and Public Participation (Timothy Vos, 3rd year Ph.D. student and former broadcast journalist)
- 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Balancing Press Freedom with National Security (Dow Smith, associate professor of broadcast journalism; Major Daniel Kane, U.S. Marines)
- 1:35-3:00 p.m.: The Internet and Political Activism (Larry Elin, assistant professor of television-radio-film)