A free press is vital to a functioning democracy. In fact, journalism is the only industry in the United States that enjoys a specific Constitutional protection. This course explores how journalism works and contemplates its role in democracy. We examine the history of journalism, explore major debates that have defined and challenged news coverage through the years, and consider the dynamics of reportage in the digital age. Our seminar also takes NYC as a case study, as we consider how some of the city’s hot-button issues, like gentrification or race relations, are covered. Learning the basics of reporting and photojournalism, students, in turn, will don the guise of young reporters and photojournalists, as they cover newsworthy events and issues around the city. Students are encouraged to bring a range of interests to class—literary, musical, political—that will broaden our approach to assigned topics. Our readings include history, theory, and cultural criticism; in addition, they comprise varied forms of journalism—from long and short form print to blogs to photo essays—and in turn, so do the class assignments. Guest speakers may include journalists (news editor, reporter, photojournalist) who can help deepen our conversations.