Once again I will teach PUBD510: Public Diplomacy and Technology this coming Spring semester at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism as part of the Master of Public Diplomacy program. The course will be Fridays, 10a – 12:50p.
Well-meaning Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times:
"Peace Corps and Teach for America represent the best ethic of public service. But at a time when those programs can’t meet the demand from young people seeking to give back, we need a new initiative: Teach for the World.
In my mind, Teach for the World would be a one-year program placing young Americans in schools in developing countries. The Americans might teach English or computer skills, or coach basketball or debate teams. …
This would be a government-financed effort to supplement an American public diplomacy outreach that has been eviscerated over the last few decades."
Mr. Kristof, who wants young Americans to teach English the world over, seems unaware that all too many of us here in the homeland (which is how we now identify our cry-the-beloved country in these sad post-9/11 times) are incapable of writing a coherent English sentence free of grammatical and spelling errors. And how many of us called-to-duty language missionaries currently living in said homeland, if volunteering to coach "debate teams" overseas, could actually be capable of crafting a logical argument, given our 24/7 we-can’t-stop-loving-it culture of instant mindless gratification a la Tee-Vee & Twitter & uptalk?
We are in a world where “old” and “new” media converge to create “now media”. Focus must be on the information, and the listening being generated in a noisy environment, not the channels of delivery. The modern information environment is fluid and dynamic and never simple. Information jumps from one medium to another with ease as it is repackaged and forwarded by proxies. Stories by the BBC or The New York Times do not exist solely in the realm of broadcast or dead trees.
Beginning this week, Friday blogging is likely to be light as Public Diplomacy and Technology begins. This is a graduate course I’m teaching at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism every Friday, 10a – 12:50p.
Several questions are asked throughout the course: What of the traditional gatekeepers to news and information? Who decides where the fiction begins? What is “public diplomacy” and who in the US Government does it? What is the global information environment and how are audiences defined? Where are audiences getting their information and do platforms shape the listening being created?
The is a practical course with real, contemporary examples. Current (or very recently retired) professionals will be available to contribute and guest lecture. After taking this course, the student should be capable of explaining to a senior policymaker the need and requirements to engage in the modern global information environment while cognizant that different geographies – physical, social, and cultural – demand different tools.