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Sentinel editor schools Chomsky's class on local news

University of Arizona students in Prof. Noam Chomsky's class heard from TucsonSentinel.com Editor and Publisher Dylan Smith on Thursday, as he laid out the current crisis in the local news business and answered questions about the Sentinel's work.

Smith spoke and responded to questions for about 30 minutes of the two-hour class, and was involved in several deep discussions with students and community members attending the course for an hour afterward.

The class, "What is Politics?," is taught by Chomsky and UA emeritus Prof. Marv Waterstone. Both professors are supporters of TucsonSentinel.com, and invited Smith to provide context about the importance of independent local journalism.

In addition to about 200 attendees in person, the class was live-streamed to another 200 university students in Mexico.

Chomsky, a pioneer in cognitive science and a noted linguist, philosopher and social critic, joined UA faculty in 2017, after a long career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A left-wing social libertarian and political critic, Chomsky's authored books on media processes and foreign policy, as well as his academic focus on syntactic grammar.

Called the "Elvis of academics" by U2's Bono, he's the most-cited living scholar in the world.

Waterstone, who calls himself a "marxist geographer," has focused his recent teaching on challenging the systemic development of "common sense" by powerful social forces.

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