The Communication Department’s two “Professional Semester in Media” courses, one geared to a semester in the regular academic year and one designed for the shorter summer semester, are unique courses that enable students doing fulltime professional work to earn up to a semester’s worth of credits.Students participating in “The Cagli Project” are assigned up to 15 hours a day to do the work of the project; this includes time spent in class and in production. Students should be prepared to perform a variety of assignments and chores to support the effective functioning of the project and the program. The course is a hybrid that combines classroom instruction and labwork with aspects of internship and practicum courses. Using the format of the “Professional Summer Semester in Media,” students earn 6 credits doing entry-level professional work – a full-time commitment to The Cagli Project – a faculty run enterprise that is creating a documentary presence on the world wide web for the city of Cagli, Italy. In addition, the faculty are pioneering new approaches to both international and communication education.

The course is designed to simulate a professional work situation. The faculty are organized like a media production company with each faculty member acting as an executive in charge of a team. Students attend classes in the morning learning HTML programming, the basics of still and video photography, journalistic techniques for creating text for the web, as well as Italian language instruction. In the afternoons, with the help of interpreters, students fan out across the city of about 9,000 inhabitants searching for and developing stories for the web.

In addition to developing a unique approach to documentary journalism, we feel the program is offering some lessons for international media education. There are many programs that use a macro approach, taking media students to visit the media centers of various countries to study the various national media systems. In English-speaking countries, American students can get to do internships
under various academic programs. The model we are creating has students actually doing journalism in a foreign, non-English-speaking environment. This teaches them how to quickly access and function within a foreign culture –– lessons that can be applied to any culture. Even more important is the “Small Places'
approach to journalism education, international or otherwise, implicit in The Cagli Project. Too often our models are drawn from major media functioning in various media hotspots, where government and corporate public relations operatives are the intermediaries in the news and
information processes. We are in the initial stages of developing a micro approach to international media education that emphasizes working at the grass roots level first and, perhaps, foremost. The resulting experience for the Loyola students has been immersion at its best.