I’m an educator in Minneapolis. I teach college age students—usually first and second year students (18-20 yrs old) and I teach a number of different courses, but I use DN! in my writing composition courses. Here is how I have used DN most recently—students in my academic research and writing course are required to write a final research paper. Over the course of the semester, the “content” of the course consists of readings and discussions centered around current events in American culture and politics (the environment, sex education in schools, critical race analysis, war in Iraq, and more.) So by the time the students choose their topics towards the end of the semester, they tend to choose political topics. I always include DN in a hand-out at the beginning of the semester that includes a list of alternative and independent media sources. I show the class the website, and show them how to use the search engine to find segments they can use as sources in their papers. Once the students hear DN, they are always extremely enthusiastic. Students have used DN segments on topics ranging from the U.S. refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty, to the current situation in Haiti, to the culture of surveillance in the U.S. and privacy laws, to the East Timor situation. Students often download these segments off the internet directly to their ipods. I love Democracy Now!—it’s the best journalism out there.
-Rebecca Scherr, Minneapolis, MN