School for Seniors

Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), March 12, 2012 | Go to article overview

School for Seniors


Among the 13 courses offered this spring by the Senior College at Belfast is an inside look at television news by a veteran ABC news producer, Peter Imber. He knows TV's past and present and has some provocative thoughts about its future.

That's what the Senior College is all about: information, background, analysis and provocation. The school at Belfast, one of 15 in Maine, will hold its classes at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center on Route 3 on six consecutive Thursdays from March 29 through May 3. They are open to people ages 50 and older along with their spouses or partners.

Courses cover a wide variety of subjects including Shakespeare, kitchen gardening, Jungian psychology, politics, foreign policy, birding and more. As the college puts it, students may "enjoy subjects ranging from the intellectually challenging to the purely enjoyable."

Mr. Imber plans to use as a text a 2011 book, "Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy," by Pulitzer Prize- winning writer Alex Jones, who wrote about the press for the New York Times and now is a lecturer at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Imber plans to start off with a bang: After examining the history and current direction of television news and discussing its most influential players, such as Roone Arledge and Ted Turner, he says, "We'll also address the upheaval that's changing the way news is gathered and disseminated today and how having the capability of doing both at the speed of light may actually be impeding the speed of enlightenment."

In his 26 years as an ABC news producer (aside from seven years living in an Israeli kibbutz), he worked in Los Angeles, far from Mr. Arledge, but close to ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings, who was based there. Mr. Imber's reflections on the current 24-7 constant flow of news, analysis, speculation, fantasy and humor should help students at the college cope with it all. …

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