Dan Rather on Journalism & Finding the Truth in the News
4.5 (1,232 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
6,561 students enrolled

Dan Rather on Journalism & Finding the Truth in the News

Learn to ask the right questions & tell captivating stories. Practical advice for journalists & avid news consumers.
Highest Rated
4.5 (1,232 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
6,561 students enrolled
Created by Dan Rather
Last updated 11/2016
English [Auto]
Current price: $89.99 Original price: $149.99 Discount: 40% off
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This course includes
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 6 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Analyze and investigate all news you consume and become more informed
  • Tell a compelling story, both on paper and in person, that moves audiences and effectively conveys your point of view
  • Produce sharp, concise writing that gets your message across and leaves the reader wanting more
  • Effortlessly present in front of a crowd or in front of the camera with confidence
  • Comprehend the power and necessity of the freedom of the press and its role in our lives
  • No prior knowledge or experience is necessary to take this course but prior interest in the news helps.
  • All a student needs to take this course is a pencil, paper, and a computer or mobile device with internet connection.
  • A device for recording yourself speak is recommended.

Whether you’re an avid consumer of the news or just beginning your journalism career, renowned news anchor Dan Rather shares his first-hand experiences to guide you through the 21st century state of journalism.

In this course, Dan teaches invaluable foundations on great writing, the essentials of telling a good story, and how to remain calm and captivating on camera — useful skills for anyone fascinated by the power of the news or anyone who wants to contribute to serious journalism. Dan’s rich history and extensive knowledge of journalism, paired with practical, hands-on exercises, creates a unique learning opportunity and rare insight from an American legend.  

Dan believes that a truly free press is the beating heart of democracy and he has put this belief into practice with a career spanning over 60 years in the news industry and over 20 years as the CBS Nightly News anchor. Using stories and advice from the field, Dan peels back the curtain on what it takes to create and deliver impactful news and how this process has changed over time from the Civil Rights Movement to the 2016 election.

A leader in the industry to this day, Dan Rather explains how objective truth is in peril more than ever before. Moreover, he provides actions you can take now to help ensure that journalism continues to serve its key role in a well-functioning democracy.

Learn how the news is made from one of the most recognized names in journalism

  • Understand the obstacles in the changing landscape of journalism and receive actionable advice for a successful journalism career

  • Challenge the media you consume on a daily basis to find the truth and become a much more informed consumer

  • Learn to hunt down and break stories that will impact both your career and the future of a free press

  • Learn to write with the efficient elegance of a top journalist and tell beautiful, flowing stories that jump off the page

Contents and Overview

After an introduction to Dan Rather’s background you’ll dive into understanding the role of the free press and how that’s been thoroughly altered by the involvement of corporate interests in the news business.

You’ll examine the role that technology has played in changing how information is relayed to the public, both good and bad, and what that means for you.

Next, you’ll look at the differences between networks who pursue real reporting versus those who seek out ratings and you’ll learn how to discern between the two in what you consume and create.

You’ll learn how the information we consume is controlled by only a few corporations and what that means for the state of a free press.

Next, Dan will share his first-hand experience of some of the biggest stories from the past 60 years, where his career and news coverage as a whole were changed by these events.

You’ll dive into an exercise on how to write a broadcast piece around a critical news story from your life.

Dan will then help you dissect the essentials of a good interview and give you the tools of the trade for using interviews to enrich the stories you tell. He’ll share stories from his own high profile interviews and what he learned.

At the base of every good story is good writing. You’ll learn how to write well and understand the different ways to tell a story.

Next, you’ll learn how to speak and present (both on camera and off) with hands-on exercises to continue improving.

Lastly, Dan gives you guidance on how to stay informed and shares some of the biggest lessons he’s learned before signing off.

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone with a passion for the truth
  • Anyone who loves the news
  • Anyone seeking to start a career in journalism
  • Anyone with a desire to become a more informed consumer of the news
Course content
Expand all 34 lectures 04:11:11
+ Introduction
1 lecture 03:49

In this lecture, Dan introduces you to the course and shares his thoughts about his 60 year broadcast career, the importance of free press in sustaining a vibrant democracy, and what you’ll need to know to be a good journalist and news consumer in the 21st century.

Preview 03:49
+ The State of Journalism Today
6 lectures 01:02:41

In this lecture, Dan teaches you the role of a free press and why it’s the beating heart of any democracy.

Preview 07:50

In this lecture, Dan teaches you about the role of corporate interests in creating the current partisan news landscape.

The Politicalization of News

In this lecture, Dan teaches you about the ways technology has affected journalism and the challenge of real reporting vs. reporting for speed.

Technology and Journalism

In this lecture, Dan teaches you about the few companies who produce and control the vast majority of information Americans consume.

The Corporatization of News

In this lecture, Dan teaches you about the importance of serious journalism and the newsroom battle between feel-good ratings and what’s important for the public to know.

The Trivialization of News

In this exercise, Dan teaches you how to review newscasts, assess ratings, and investigate the powers behind popular stories.

Exercise: Review the News
+ My Time in News & How Television News Changed America
12 lectures 01:42:01

In this lecture, Dan offers an overview of his greatest stories and the impact they had on the nation.


In this lecture, Dan shares his experience covering Hurriance Carla and explains what happend when weather radar was shown on television for the first time.

Hurricane Carla

In this lecture, Dan explains television’s role in bringing the very real unrest present across the south during the Civil Rights Movement direct to the American public. 

Preview 09:18

In this lecture, Dan shares how technology brought the Kennedy assassination into America's living rooms.

Kennedy Assassination

In this lecture, Dan talks about his experience covering the Vietnam War and how he helped the American public understand what was happening half way across the world.

Vietnam War

In this lecture, Dan explains what is was like covering the Nixon White House scandals and how the congressional hearings became must see TV.

Nixon & Watergate

In this lecture, Dan covers China's Tiananmen Square and what happens when a government silences the world press.

China & Tiananmen Square

In this lecture, Dan shares his experience covering the war in Afghanistan and discusses the dangers of covering a war.


In this lecture, Dan talks about the Iraq War and the consequences of a press not asking tough questions. 

Iraq War

In this lecture, Dan discusses the rise of the internet as it related to journalism and his reporting on George W. Bush's military service.

The Killian Documents

In this lecture, Dan shares his thoughts on the 2016 election and explains how journalists have had to throw out the political coverage playbook for this election.

Election 2016

In this exercise, Dan helps you practice writing a compelling broadcast news report on a pivotal news event from your life.

Exercise: Write Your Own Broadcast
+ The Art of the Interview
4 lectures 22:01

In this lecture, Dan teaches you how to best conduct an interview through one of the most underrated aspects of interviewing: listening.

Golden Interview Rules: Preparation and Listening

In this lecture, Dan recounts what he learned interviewing one of the most terrifying political leaders in the world, Saddam Hussein.

Case Study: Saddam Hussein

This lecture follows Dan being prepped for on of his big celebrity interviews.

Case Study: Carly Simon

In this exercise, Dan teaches you how to to improve your stories through the use of interviews.

Exercise: The Importance of the Interview
+ Writing & Storytelling
3 lectures 21:23

In this lecture, Dan teaches you how to approach writing a good story. 

To Write Well, Think Well

In this lecture, Dan explains why it's important to tell stories in easily digestible ways. 

Storytelling is Key

In this exercise, Dan guides you in enhancing your writing by comparing straightforward news delivery to cocktail party storytelling. 

Exercise: Practice Writing
+ Speaking in Public
3 lectures 12:56

In this lecture, Dan gives you his tips and tricks for fearless presenting.

Presenting and Communicating

In this lecture, Dan teaches you the essentials of delivering your story well on camera.

Speaking to The Camera

In this exercise, Dan teaches you how to give three types of speeches and analyze your performances to improve your delivery.

Exercise: Prepare a Speech
+ Life Lessons from Dan
4 lectures 20:33

In this lecture, Dan teaches you how to be thorough and explore every possible viewpoint, not just your own.

Rather's Rules for How to Stay Ahead

In this lecture, Dan teaches you eight tenets by which to live and work. 

The Great Eight: Thoughts to Live By

In this lecture, Dan teaches you important lessons he has learned from the most influential leaders in the world.

Lessons Learned from World Leaders

In this lecture, Dan recounts his first investigative reporting experience and shares his lessons for aspiring journalists on how to handle controversial stories. 

Lessons for Journalists on Investigating Controversial Stories
+ Thank You and Goodnight
1 lecture 05:47

In this lecture, Dan teaches the importance of practice and hard work, how to determine if you have a story, and how to keep your ambitions in check.