Free Speech in Journalism Teach-Out


A free press is essential for a healthy, vibrant, democratic society. Yet public trust in journalism has hit historic lows in recent years and journalists have recently been openly maligned for their work. This Teach-Out prompts participants to think critically about the roles and responsibilities of journalists in a free society. Why is the concept of a free press written into the First Amendment? How are the rights of journalists threatened? Is this a unique moment in history? How have new modes of reporting, such as social media and citizen journalism, made the press more vulnerable? And, finally, what are the broader societal implications of a restricted and diminished press?

This Teach-Out is part of the University of Michigan 2018 Speech and Inclusion Series that aims to recognize differing views on speech and inclusion, to explore how those views play out in politics, culture, higher education, sports, and journalism, and to engage in productive conversations to promote a positive campus environment and help the community more deeply understand these complicated issues.

A Teach-Out is:

-an event – it takes place over a fixed, short period of time

-an opportunity – it is open for free participation to everyone around the world

-a community – it will be joined by a large number of diverse individuals

-a conversation – an opportunity to give and take ideas and information from people

The University of Michigan Teach-Out Series provides just-in-time community learning events for participants around the world to come together in conversation with the U-M campus community, including faculty experts. The U-M Teach-Out Series is part of our deep commitment to engage the public in exploring and understanding the problems, events, and phenomena most important to society.

Teach-Outs are short learning experiences, each focused on a specific current issue. Attendees will come together over a few days not only to learn about a subject or event but also to gain skills. Teach-Outs are open to the world and are designed to bring together individuals with wide-ranging perspectives in respectful and deep conversation. These events are an opportunity for diverse learners and a multitude of experts to come together to ask questions of one another and explore new solutions to the pressing concerns of our global community. Come, join the conversation!

Find new opportunities at


  • Lynette Clemetson

    Lynette Clemetson


  • Will Potter

    Will Potter

    Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism


5 out of 5 stars

May 18, 2018

Great conversation and it gave me plenty to think about, as well as renewed optimism, as I continue a career in local journalism.

5 out of 5 stars

April 1, 2018

Great course. The professors and guest speakers were well prepared and very informative. I will definitely take another teach-out. Thank you for making this available to a wide audience. The topic of this course was well-timed for the climate in America right now. Very pleased. Well done and thank you!

4 out of 5 stars

March 29, 2018

This was a great class as a review of some things I learned at university, many things that have changed since I attended university as far as how things are carried out or enforced, and a great way of getting many different points of view from around the world. I would be interested in a more conversational class that has a worldwide collection of people who interact a little more directly with one another than only with the instructors or the instructor videos.

5 out of 5 stars

March 28, 2018

A great course to update students on the current state of journalism. It also discusses the Trump administration and their use of the term "fake news."