This fall, Geoffrey Cowan will teach “The Power and Responsibility of the Press” (JOUR200w), the first ever General Education course to be offered by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The class syllabus includes topics such as the Iraq War, the Pentagon Papers, whistle-blowing, journalistic ethics, and modern day politics. The class has already attracted close to 100 students and will kick off on August 21.
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For his spring semester class, “Social Responsibility of the News Media”, Geoffrey Cowan decided to give his students firsthand insight into the process for building a credible and high-quality news organization. Once a week, the students had a chance to speak by phone with staff members of the media start-up Axios, a new enterprise started by POLITICO’s Mike Allen that embraces the concept of “smart brevity”. The students learned about advertising, production, digital design, and journalism from the Axios’ perspective. The experience was a highlight for the students and, as a result, Annenberg News covered the unique series in its May article, “News outlet Axios gives journalism students an up-close look at its startup“.
In Volume 47, Issue 2 of Presidential Studies Quarterly, for June of 2017, Stephen Tootle called LTPR “a great history book” in his essay of reviews, “The Roosevelt You Already Knew“.
LTPR was also reviewed by the Theodore Roosevelt Association in their fall 2016 journal. James Strock, of the Board of Trustees of the TR Association, concluded his review of LTPR by writing that, “One expects that Let the People Rule will find its place on the select shelf of books to read by anyone seeking to comprehend Theodore Roosevelt and his era. Geoffrey Cowan has indeed produced a very admirable and very valuable work of historical scholarship.”
In the spring of 2017, Geoffrey Cowan traveled to Capitol Hill to make the case for and highlight the virtues of Voice of America, the U.S. government-funded multimedia news source and the official external broadcasting company of the U.S. Cowan explained the importance of English-language news broadcasting in other countries and the need for Voice of America as an organ of public diplomacy with distant parts of the world.
Geoffrey Cowan reviewed the same topic in a report published by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy called “Why the Voice of America Remains a Vital Force in the World” in March of 2017. The article was modified from a speech that Geoffrey Cowan delivered to the World Affairs Council of the Desert in Indian Wells, CA, on December 13, 2015.
“It’s a long way off but worth remembering that TR’s challenge to Taft for the 1912 Republican nomination is what launched presidential primaries and that Ronald Reagan ran a serious campaign against an incumbent Republican president in 1976. History may have a lot to teach us as we enter into the next delegate selection season,” writes Geoffrey Cowan in his March article published by the History News Network.
In “The Disturbing Factor that Shapes Our Attitudes About the Electoral College, Primaries, and Direct Democracy“, Cowan discusses democracy skeptics, the impact of the electoral college on the 2016 general election, and the challenges of popular government. Cowan situates his claims about the trajectory of American democracy in a positive narrative taken directly from his recent book on Theodore Roosevelt, Let the People Rule.
Geoffrey Cowan’s book, Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary, was listed by the Library Journal as one of the top ten US History bestsellers in 2016. Cowan’s book was released in January of 2016, and has received positive reviews from several news publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
The Republican establishment has denounced Donald Trump so much so that only the 1912 election – when angered Theodore Roosevelt supporters left the National Convention after Howard Taft’s nomination – comes close. However, “only about a half-dozen GOP senators backed Roosevelt, and less than 15 percent of the convention delegates bolted with him,” Cowan told the Atlantic. Meanwhile, according to the article, nearly one-third of Republican Senators and Governors have stated they will not vote for Trump.
Professor Graham G. Dodds of Concordia University reviewed Geoffrey Cowan’s Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary for Volume 46, Issue 3 of the Presidential Studies Quarterly.
“Cowan’s book provides a detailed account of the 1912 campaign, the GOP convention, and TR’s creation of a new party. This is no dry historical tome: it is highly engaging, with a host of compelling characters engaged in great political drama.”
George W. Bush’s former Chief of Staff Karl Rove reviewed Geoffrey Cowan’s Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary in the “Books” section of his website, dubbing it “a great read.”
“Cowan has written a lively account of Theodore Roosevelt’s effort to have the Republican Party oust his one-time friend, President William Howard Taft, and install himself as its nominee for the White House in 1912…Well researched and written with the gusto of someone who knows and loves politics.”
Geoffrey Cowan is featured in Retro Report’s new video series “Conventional Wisdom.” In partnership with POLITICO, the eight-part series focuses on sharing the stories of past U.S. political conventions and their impact on our current political landscape.
In this episode, entitled “The Modern Primary,” Cowan is featured alongside other scholars and historians while reviewing the origins and impact of the primary process – and especially Theodore Roosevelt and the election of 1912 – on American politics.
Watch the full episode here.