What you'll learn
- Analyze and investigate all news you consume and become more informed
- Tell a compelling story, both on paper and in person, that moves audiences and effectively conveys your point of view
- Produce sharp, concise writing that gets your message across and leaves the reader wanting more
- Effortlessly present in front of a crowd or in front of the camera with confidence
- Comprehend the power and necessity of the freedom of the press and its role in our lives
No prior knowledge or experience is necessary to take this course but prior interest in the news helps.
All a student needs to take this course is a pencil, paper, and a computer or mobile device with internet connection.
A device for recording yourself speak is recommended.
Whether you’re an avid consumer of the news or just beginning your journalism career, renowned news anchor Dan Rather shares his first-hand experiences to guide you through the 21st century state of journalism.
In this course, Dan teaches invaluable foundations on great writing, the essentials of telling a good story, and how to remain calm and captivating on camera — useful skills for anyone fascinated by the power of the news or anyone who wants to contribute to serious journalism. Dan’s rich history and extensive knowledge of journalism, paired with practical, hands-on exercises, creates a unique learning opportunity and rare insight from an American legend.
Dan believes that a truly free press is the beating heart of democracy and he has put this belief into practice with a career spanning over 60 years in the news industry and over 20 years as the CBS Nightly News anchor. Using stories and advice from the field, Dan peels back the curtain on what it takes to create and deliver impactful news and how this process has changed over time from the Civil Rights Movement to the 2016 election.
A leader in the industry to this day, Dan Rather explains how objective truth is in peril more than ever before. Moreover, he provides actions you can take now to help ensure that journalism continues to serve its key role in a well-functioning democracy.
Learn how the news is made from one of the most recognized names in journalism
- Understand the obstacles in the changing landscape of journalism and receive actionable advice for a successful journalism career
- Challenge the media you consume on a daily basis to find the truth and become a much more informed consumer
- Learn to hunt down and break stories that will impact both your career and the future of a free press
- Learn to write with the efficient elegance of a top journalist and tell beautiful, flowing stories that jump off the page
Contents and Overview
After an introduction to Dan Rather’s background you’ll dive into understanding the role of the free press and how that’s been thoroughly altered by the involvement of corporate interests in the news business.
You’ll examine the role that technology has played in changing how information is relayed to the public, both good and bad, and what that means for you.
Next, you’ll look at the differences between networks who pursue real reporting versus those who seek out ratings and you’ll learn how to discern between the two in what you consume and create.
You’ll learn how the information we consume is controlled by only a few corporations and what that means for the state of a free press.
Next, Dan will share his first-hand experience of some of the biggest stories from the past 60 years, where his career and news coverage as a whole were changed by these events.
You’ll dive into an exercise on how to write a broadcast piece around a critical news story from your life.
Dan will then help you dissect the essentials of a good interview and give you the tools of the trade for using interviews to enrich the stories you tell. He’ll share stories from his own high profile interviews and what he learned.
At the base of every good story is good writing. You’ll learn how to write well and understand the different ways to tell a story.
Next, you’ll learn how to speak and present (both on camera and off) with hands-on exercises to continue improving.
Lastly, Dan gives you guidance on how to stay informed and shares some of the biggest lessons he’s learned before signing off.
Who this course is for:
- Anyone with a passion for the truth
- Anyone who loves the news
- Anyone seeking to start a career in journalism
- Anyone with a desire to become a more informed consumer of the news
About the instructor
With a famed and storied career that has spanned more than six decades, Dan Rather became one of the world’s best-known journalists. He helped pioneer the very idea that television could be a place for news, and then kept that spirit of innovation alive by constantly pushing the boundaries of what video storytelling could accomplish. Along the way, his work ethic, nose for investigative reporting, and calmness and composure in moments of triumph and tragedy made him a respected voice that millions of people have trusted to make sense of a complicated world.
Rather’s resume reads like a history book. He has interviewed every president since Eisenhower and personally covered almost every important dateline of the last 60 years. From his first big assignment at a local news station covering Hurricane Carla, to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rather was there reporting the news to America and the world. On the scene in Dallas, he was key in breaking the news of President John F. Kennedy’s death, and uncovered key developments as a White House correspondent during the widespread criminal conspiracy known as Watergate. He was outside Martin Luther King, Junior’s jail cell in Birmingham and at the anchor desk for countless hours on 9/11 and the days that followed. He reported from the Berlin Wall when it fell, spent a year covering the jungle combat zones of Vietnam, and was forced off the air at Tiananmen Square when the Chinese government’s crackdown began. And yet Rather’s range was such that in addition to covering world changing events, he quickly gained a reputation as a gifted, versatile, and nuanced storyteller whose reports rung with empathy and even humor when warranted.
Rather got his start in print, then moved into radio and local television news, before joining CBS News in 1962. He quickly rose through the ranks, and in 1981 he assumed the position of anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News a post he held for 24 years. His reporting was featured across the network. It helped turn 60 Minutes into an institution, launched 48 Hours as an innovative fly-on-the-wall news magazine program, and shaped countless specials and documentaries. Upon leaving CBS, Rather returned to the in-depth reporting he always loved by creating the Emmy Award winning primetime news magazine and documentary program, Dan Rather Reports on the cable network HDNet. Now, building upon that foundation, he is president and CEO of News and Guts, an independent production company he founded that specializes in high-quality non-fiction content across a range of traditional and digital distribution channels.
While Rather has won all of the most prestigious journalism awards (many times over) and has reported from the majority of nations on earth, he considers himself first and foremost a Texan. He is a proud native son of Wharton and Houston, and he graduated from what is now Sam Houston State University. Rather’s unique Texas phrases have become a hallmark of his winsome and approachable style to reporting and storytelling.