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'A New Presidency and the Press' Gives Students Context

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Richard Benedetto

When we come to learn at a university, we hope to be taught by the best professors who are experts in their fields and who strive to continue to learn and be responsive to the changing dynamics of their respective fields.

Professor Richard Benedetto does exactly this with his class “A New Presidency and the Press”. The course examines how the White House and the news media, traditional and new, are not only interacting but also working on behalf of the American people. The class was first introduced in the spring semester of 2009 with the Obama administration but has been re-introduced in light of the new administration.

Professor Benedetto believes that a course like this is needed now more than ever as the relationship between the Trump administration and the news media has been “chaotic and rocky”.

“It is increasingly necessary for serious scholars of politics and the media to intellectually examine that relationship as it is unfolding, analyze the performance of both sides and develop some recommendations for improvement.”

He thinks that high quality academic institutions such as American University have a responsibility to students to offer academic programs that are not only timely in the issues studied, but also thinks this is a better step towards improving our reporting and analysis of the new administration.

The course will help students examine and re-examine the philosophies and responsibilities that both the news media and the government have to society. “Both sides have responsibilities to the public, and right now it appears that both sides need to brush up on how to shoulder those responsibilities better.”

Professor Benedetto is a retired White House correspondent and columnist for USA Today and political columnist for Gannett News Service. He began teaching at AU in 2006 and continues to write political commentary for publications such as Politico.