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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Spring 2010


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40725 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
CMA A4.308

Course Description

This cross-listed, interdisciplinary survey course for graduate and undergraduate students, explores the journalistic, sociological and historical role of the alternative press. It also provides students with skills and the opportunity to produce InCiteĀ—a web publication driven by intellectual diversity in the tradition of The Nation, In These Times, Progressive, Mother Jones and other similar independent publications. One of the goals of the course is to encourage enriched cross talk between students that will enrich the experience of both graduates and undergraduates and contribute toward better experiences for graduate TAs. Each group reads some books selected for specifically for their level, but see the same documentaries. The syllabi interlock across topics. The reading material and documentaries in all cases provides context and intellectual diversity needed to produce inclusive independent journalism. Historically, the alternative press leads the mainstream press by six months to a year or more in covering critical information that a self-governing population should know. In the case of the link between cancer and cigarette smoking, it led by forty years, cocaine and Contra connection, by a decade. George Seldes, often considered a father of the alternative press, left mainstream journalism to found In Fact, which anchored his work in investigative reporting using public documents as his primary source. Years later he trained I.F. Stone to do likewise. Victor Navasky who worked for many years as the editor and publisher of The Nation, followed the tradition of that magazine, established in 1865 and the longest continuously publishing periodical. In These Times, Mother Jones, Progressive and many others (see list in Library website index) followed these models.. These publications flourish in times of national crisis or when politicians abuse their power or the Constitution is threatened. For example, immediately after 9/11 circulation of these publications grew dramatically. They are consistent advocates for social justice. The past eight years offers a contemporary example of contrast between mainstream and alternative press. InCite seeks to publish in this tradition. It can be found at Grades are computed on a point system to coincide with the plus and minus grade guidelines. Undergraduates publish one heavily researched feature article dealing with a social justice issue of their choice (200); one shorter news story drawn from the current (2010) issue of Censored, which they localize and update (100). They are listed as reporters on the masthead. All students are expected to provide the visuals for their articles (60) They are also expected to assist in production(100) Additionally, they are expected to engage in focused, organized discussion of assigned readings. (40) Both graduate student and undergraduates are expected to work cooperatively with an assigned photo-journalist and web designer. Note: E-mail exchanges are no substitute for personal interaction during office hours. If you have not visited office hours over the course of the semester, please do not ask for a letter of reference. I will not know you well enough to write one. When you send an e-mail, please allow at least 24 hours for response during the week. If I am able to respond sooner, I will. I do not assure e-mail responses on the weekends.


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