Bob Cutts anticipates his class will be "like an extremely stimulating cocktail party without the booze."
"Everybody's going to have to have an opinion and know why they have it," he said. "They should also be aware of other ways to look at it."
A freelance writer with 37 years experience in journalism and corporate communications, Cutts will teach the new "critical analysis of mass media" course beginning next month at Western Nevada Community College.
Although Cutts believes Americans' interest in world politics surged during the Gulf War and again following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the interest is waning.
"People are less attached to the reality of what's going on outside their lives," he said. "Most people would be delighted if Tinker Bell flew in their window at night and whispered the daily bulletins. It doesn't happen that way."
The key to understanding the issues, he said, is to rely on a variety of sources to discover the different sides.
"All reporters, by being human beings, if you give them three paragraphs will put their opinions in it," he said.
And it's essential, especially in the current climate of war brewing with Iraq, to know what is going on beyond city, state and national borders.
"If you're going to send your son or daughter to Iraq to get nerve-gassed in the suburbs of Baghdad, you better know why," he said. "What's done in your country's name is your obligation."
Cutts, 57, joined the Air Force when he was 19 and decided on a career in journalism. In 1965, he was sent to Japan and secured a job as a reporter for the Far East edition of Stars and Stripes newspaper.
Copy editors shouted stories across the newsroom, and a bar by the office sold shots for 25 cents each.
"That led to some great stories exchanging hands," he said. "Unfortunately, a lot of marriages were lost up there too. But that's where I fell in love with the business."
He continued at the paper as a civilian and worked his way up to assistant news editor. He also worked as a Vietnam War correspondent for 18 months and as a Seoul news bureau chief.
He spent more than 20 years working in corporate communications in Japan, where he met and married his wife of 30 years, Eiko. The two have lived in Gardnerville for five years, spending about three months each year in Japan.
Cutts recently completed his third book, "Toshiba: Defining a New Tomorrow."
The class will meet Thursdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
ON THE WEB
To register for classes at Western Nevada Community College, go to www.wncc.edu.
Classes begin Jan. 21. Registration for continuing students is in progress and new students may register beginning Monday.