In Brief

Network Political Commentator to Teach at Tufts This Fall

David Gregory’s seminar will focus on the role of the media in the presidential race
April 6, 2016

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Tufts students will get an insider’s view of the 2016 presidential campaign this fall with former NBC chief White House correspondent and current CNN political commentator David Gregory.

He will teach a weekly seminar, Race for the White House in a Modern Media Environment, which will focus on get-out-the-vote efforts, polling and electoral strategy, social media use, advertising, and press coverage as it unfolds during the 24-hour news cycle. Sponsored by Tisch College, the course will be cross-listed with the Film and Media Studies Program and the Department of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences.

“The process of campaigns and covering campaigns is ultimately about assessing leadership,” says David Gregory, seen here at a Tisch College talk on Feb. 18. Photo: Alonso Nichols“To cover the final stretch is to see the political operation in full blaze,” says Gregory, the former host of NBC’s Meet the Press. “It’s an interesting time in the middle of a really unusual campaign season to really dive in and look at how the modern campaign is constructed and how it’s covered by media.”

Students will take a firsthand look at campaign practices such as micro-targeting the electorate to push voter turnout and social media advertising, Gregory says. They will not only witness “the good, the bad and the ugly” of politics and the role the media plays, but study how politics and the media interact as they each undergo rapid change.

Gregory says he is excited to get in the classroom and exchange ideas with students. The students are just as thrilled, says Deborah Schildkraut, professor and chair of political science. “They have been contacting us like mad to express their interest in registering for the course,” she says. “I think it presents an incredible opportunity for our students to get an insider’s perspective on this potentially transformative election.”

Gregory brings both a historical perspective and intelligent, thoughtful analysis of the issues happening right now, says Julie Dobrow, co-director of the Film and Media Studies Program, who’s working with Gregory on the logistics of the course.

Dobrow predicts students will take away lessons that will inform their own lives. “I’m hopeful this is the kind of class that’s going to . . . make them into more civically engaged people who will be able to assess [the] media’s role.” The goal is for these young people to actively participate in the political process no matter what they decide to do after they graduate, she says.

Gregory wants students to take one lesson in particular to heart. “The process of campaigns and covering campaigns is ultimately about assessing leadership,” he says. “It’s important for students to think about leadership in a real-world way and in their own lives as they scrutinize the leadership of the country.”

Monica Jimenez can be reached at monica.jimenez@tufts.edu.

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