Foundations for Media Involvement (4 credits)
Modern media are at a crossroads and many professionals would even say the news industry is in a crisis. This class will utilize lectures, discussion, readings and service learning to raise questions about the role Christians should play in media and culture generally. Topics covered in this class range from contemporary challenges in journalism to historical tensions between the Church and popular culture to the arguments for and against working in the news media. Students will work collaboratively and individually to develop their understanding of their calling and sense of vocation within culture and the news industry.
(Possible credit: Religious studies, Media studies, Cultural studies, Political Theory, Communications)
Reporting in Washington (3 credits)
Journalists who work in Washington need all the basic reporting skills and then some. This advanced reporting class will emphasize story development, research and interviewing skills, using one of the most intense news environments in the world as its classroom. The emphasis will be on short-form, hard-news writing-the kind demanded by wire services, newspapers, the World Wide Web and broadcasting. Guest lecturers from the industry will discuss feature writing, computer research, ethics and other selected topics. The course begins with the basics, but quickly moves to advanced topics. Students will submit story ideas, background research folders and rough drafts of stories.
(Possible credit: Journalism, Communications, English, Writing)
Washington, News & Public Discourse (3 credits)
It's impossible to study how Washington works without discussing the news media. Through readings and lectures, we will study how the history of American newspapers is interwoven with the history of Washington. Also, we will study how the future of American newsrooms and American politics will be affected by what happens in the news bureaus, networks and magazines based inside the Beltway. The course also addresses contemporary patterns of news consumption, such as how we turn to entertainment, the Internet and many other unconventional sources for news and information. Students will be challenged to determine how journalists should respond to these trends and to study how the global media marketplace is responding. With help from guest speakers and classic books about the national press, this seminar will help students prepare for their futures in an industry in which Washington will always play a crucial role. Students will choose a topic and additional readings while preparing a major research project addressing a current issue facing the national or global press.
(Possible credit: History, Media Studies, Political Science, Cultural Studies, Christian Studies, Public Relations, Communications)
Internship (6 credits)
In any industry with professional standards, especially journalism, there is no substitute for practical experience. Gatekeepers want to see that you have "put in your time," and bylines above a Washington dateline help. With vast amounts of news being generated in Washington, D.C., for every region, state and town in the country every day, this city offers unequaled opportunities to gain news experience. WJC seeks only internships that provide hands-on work reporting and writing. The WJC internship class seeks to provide experience in a "mentored" environment. Terry Mattingly, a reporter, editor and columnist for 25 years, will serve as a mentor and bridge to the supervising editors in mainstream newsrooms where students will report and write stories. Internships will occupy roughly 25 hours a week for 12 weeks of the semester. Grading will be based on a portfolio of final versions of stories written during the internship and overall improvement of skills, along with input from the internship supervisor.
(Internships have included: The Washington Times, Religion News Service, Religion & Ethics News Weekly, Street Sense, Patch.com and can be taken for possible credit in Journalism, Communication, English, Writing.)