The Culture of Citizenship

What does it take to be a good citizen? When you hear that question, most people think about voting, however being a good citizen encompasses so much more than that. Learning how to be a good citizen is one of the main themes in “The Culture of Journalism” (JOUR 120) taught by professor Maura Farrelly (JOUR). 

“Citizenship in a democratic society is a big responsibility,” Farrelly told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. She finds that a lot of students are not broadly informed enough, and she hopes that the class will expand the horizon of her students, making them more open-minded to other opinions and able to gain general knowledge about the world. It is a large problem today that many people do not consider the perspective of others. This is also something that causes a lot of tension in contemporary society, which is something journalists will have to deal with in their future, according to Farrelly. 

Farrelly hopes her students will develop the habit of being informed, and that it would stay with them for the rest of their lives. This is why there is a large emphasis on current events in the course. By having the students read the news everyday, she is trying to get them to be better citizens. It is “our responsibility to know what is going on,” concluded Farrelly. 

How is this related to journalism? Well, there is almost no one in the world who understands enough. It is the job of journalists to try to inform people as best as they can. The crucial aspect in that is to make the information accessible to people. It is important for students who plan to be journalists to understand these things, and their significance, which they will then reflect in their work. In order to successfully inform people of what is going on in the world, the journalists themselves have to be broadly aware of what is happening, and the context of those happenings. 

The class includes a lot of reading and assignments, and students to listen to National Public Radio’s “On the Media” each week, which they then discuss in class. However, Farrelly hopes that the effort students put into the class will pay off, and benefit them as individuals in the long run. The class is largely based on discussions of the readings and assigned material. 

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