For the past several months I’ve been working with a fantastic team of national experts and designers at University of Michigan on several new “teach-outs” about free speech on college campuses, in sports, and in journalism.

For the “Free Speech on Campus” course, I interviewed President Mark Schlissel about the controversy of a potential campus visit by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

I co-created the “Free Speech in Journalism” teach-out alongside Lynette Clemetson, who is the director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship. We interviewed Trevor Timm (executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation), Lydia Polgreen (editor in chief of HuffPost) and many other prominent thinkers and advocates about attacks on press freedom, and what it means for democracy.

All of these courses are free and open to the public. Sign up here today!


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I’ll be delivering the Howard R. Marsh Lecture at the University of Michigan next week, about my work investigating the FBI’s surveillance of journalists throughout U.S. history.

If you’re in the area, it’s free and open to the public!

Here’s more about it:

President Trump has waged a public campaign against journalism as “fake news” and “enemies of the people,” but lesser known is the FBI’s long-running campaign against the press. Marsh Professor of Journalism Will Potter discusses his investigations into FBI spying, and why the bureau has considered journalism such a dangerous threat

TUESDAY, March 13, 2018

Reception 4pm Lecture 5pm

Ehrlicher Room, North Quad

University of Michigan


Far-right protests leave U.S. cities scrambling to balance safety, free speech

October 3, 2017

I was featured in Reuters for this article about the rise in neo-Nazi, far-right violence. An excerpt: As recently as the 1990s, white nationalist groups held demonstrations in small towns that were spectacles but usually peaceful, said Will Potter, a University of Michigan fellow and journalist who tracks domestic terrorist groups and civil rights. More recently, […]

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New Online Course on Fake News and Propaganda

October 3, 2017

The online course I co-created at the University of Michigan is now available online for free at Coursera! Full details below. ___________________________________ We are excited to announce a new Teach-Out: Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts, which begins Monday, October 2, and we hope you will consider sharing this opportunity with your “Investigative Journalism, Spies, Traitors, Heroes” students. In […]

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I’ll Be Addressing the European Union about Government Repression in the U.S.

June 12, 2017

I’m honored to announce that I will be delivering a keynote address at a meeting co-hosted by the European Union and Council of Europe, speaking about the rise of authoritarianism in the United States, and the threat it poses for civil liberties and democracy. I leave for Paris shortly, where I will be speaking before […]

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University of Michigan’s Free Online Course on “Fake News”

April 16, 2017

The University of Michigan has an exciting new “teach out” program, where faculty experts are creating mini courses that will available to thousands of people for free, online. It’s modeled after the “teach ins” that began at the university during the 1960s, but with a modern twist. We have the potential to reach a much […]

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Fighting the good fight for a free press

March 18, 2017

I spoke with Michigan Today about “fake news,” propaganda, and attacks on the press. You can listen to the full interview here: And here’s more from Michigan Today:

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Ag Gag Laws, Body Cam Laws, & the Right to Know

March 18, 2017

I’m honored to be speaking at the University of North Carolina Parr Center for Ethics this week, alongside Richard Myers of UNC Law: For Their Eyes Only: ag-gag laws, body cam laws, and the right to know Thursday, March 23, 6:00-7:30pm, UNC Chapel Hill — Caldwell Hall 105 Many states are passing laws that restrict […]

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A free press is a reflection of a free society

March 7, 2017

This is part of a new project at TED called “Hidden Voices.” One of my first reporting jobs was at the Texas Observer, a respected muckraking magazine in a state with its fair share of muck. The old office had a poster of a printing press on the wall with the words: “The tyrant’s foe, […]

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From Protester to Terrorist: The Mechanisms of State Repression

February 14, 2017

I’m honored to announce I’ll be delivering the Howard R. Marsh Lecture at the University of Michigan next month. Unfortunately my work is more timely than ever, as we’re witnessing a rapidly-accelerating crackdown on civil liberties and press freedoms under the Trump administration. In my lecture—”From Protester to ‘Terrorist’: The Mechanisms of State Repression—I will […]

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