Browsing articles in "Advice From the Pros"

ieiMedia faculty to chat on Twitter about studying abroad

Oct 14, 2016   //   by Rachele Kanigel   //   Advice From the Pros, Announcements, Blog, IEI Media in the News, International Reporting, Journalism Education, Social Media  //  No Comments
Rachele Kanigel is an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. She directed ieiMedia projects in Jerusalem (2013), Perpignan (2010 and 2011) and Urbino (2009) and taught reporting in Cagli in 2007. In 2017 she will co-direct ieiMedia's new international reporting program in Kyoto, Japan.
MediaShift_logoThree ieiMedia faculty will participate next week in an #EdShift chat, “Learning Digital Skills on Study-Abroad Programs,” sponsored by MediaShift.

The hourlong chat will start at 1 p.m. Eastern time/noon Central/11 a.m. Mountain/10 a.m. Pacific on Oct. 18. You can find it by searching for the #EdShift Twitter hashtag.

Rachele Kanigel, co-director of ieiMedia’s new Kyoto program, Steve Listopad, director of the Oslo program and Spring Semester in Urbino, and Amara Aguilar, who teaches in ieiMedia’s Valencia program, will participate. Other guests include Vivian Martin of Central Connecticut State University, Andrea Frantz of Buena Vista University,  Meggie Morris of Northwestern University, Kim Fox of American University in Cairo, and John Schrader of California State University-Long Beach. Stacy Forster of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will moderate the chat.

Kanigel, an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, has led ieiMedia programs in Perpignan, France; Urbino, Italy; and Jerusalem and taught in the Cagli program. Aguilar, an associate professor of professional practice in digital journalism at the University of Southern California, taught in ieiMedia’s Valencia program in 2015 and 2016.

Former ieiMedia students and those considering our 2017 programs are encouraged to attend the Twitter chat and share experiences and questions about studying digital journalism abroad.

UPDATE: A Storify recap of the conversation was posted on MediaShift after the chat. Read it here.

What makes a good travel writer? Meeting readers’ needs for humanity

Oct 4, 2016   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Advice From the Pros, Craft of Writing, Travel Writing, Uncategorized  //  No Comments
Andy Ciofalo (ieiMedia Founder and President) is professor emeritus of communication/ journalism at Loyola College Maryland, where he arrived in 1983 to found what is now The Communication Department.

Note: This article is by Nancy Lohman. Nancy, a freelancer from Ormand Beach, Florida, was a student in his online graduate travel-writing course at Gonzaga University.

By Nancy Lohman

To be an effective travel writer, one must bring to the work a keen sensitivity to the needs of the audience, along the lines of Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of human needs.”

It begins with the most basic motivational need, the human desire to explore. Travel writing lets readers go to far-away destinations that they might never see. Renowned travel writer Pico Iyer shared advice he was once given by his editor: “The reader wants to travel beside you.” Travel writing on a very basic level takes the reader with you. It can also serve to prepare the reader. It can inform and educate the reader about how to travel, when to travel and where to travel.

As in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, once the most basic level is fulfilled, we continue to reach for the next level up his pyramid. Travel writing inspires the reader. It uses insightful observations to lure readers to escape their own world and lose themselves in the intriguing unknown.

Travel writing’s next level of purpose enlightens the reader about different cultures and helps the reader gain an appreciation for the differences in customs around the world. It broadens awareness and introduces the reader to the diversity in people. It can transform the reader into a more empathetic and more compassionate human being. It can help remove biases, prejudices and stereotypes developed through the narrow lenses of limited experiences. It can improve the reader’s awareness, tolerance and acceptance.

Travel writing can make a reader less fearful by enabling him or her to become more engaged with the world. It can make the reader wiser. You may not read travel stories with the intent to understand others better, but you will. Travel stories broaden a reader’s perspective. Travel writing brings the reader and the world together. “The flip side of fear is understanding,” travel adviser Rick Steves writes. “Your worldviews change when you meet others who feel their worldview is different than yours. Travel changes your ethnocentrisms.”

And most important, travel writing is an adventure in self-discovery, for appreciating nature and the beauty of the world. Travel writing can also help the reader evaluate priorities in life. Finally, travel writing can create a connection to each other. Readers can vicariously feel connected to a person, a place and an experience that enriches and expands them. Ultimately, at the top of the hierarchy of human needs, travel writing creates an influence and effect on the reader, who can become a better human being for having read a travel story.

Tips to maximize your summer Europe travels

Mar 16, 2016   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Advice From the Pros, International Reporting, Study Abroad  //  No Comments
Andy Ciofalo (ieiMedia Founder and President) is professor emeritus of communication/ journalism at Loyola College Maryland, where he arrived in 1983 to found what is now The Communication Department.

Traveling to a foreign country on your own is scary, but in a good way. We always learn more when we’re pushed away from our comfort zone, and a study or career opportunity in Europe will shape your future for the better. Although you probably can’t help but feel intimidated by the lengthy solo travel to a city that you know almost nothing about, here we’ve outlined a few tips in the hopes of dispelling any fears of your summer Euro travels.

Stay on top of your health insurance
Before making the big trip over there, Travel Zoo reminds you to update your vaccinations as well as any prescriptions you may have. In addition to that, you’ll also need to review coverage policies on overseas emergencies. Consider supplemental insurance if your provider doesn’t cover international medical expenses.

Consider your banking options
Most people who are on an exchange or internship program this summer will probably set up local bank accounts to avoid charges on foreign exchange and withdrawals. But Go Overseas suggests that you call your bank prior to your travels to check for partnerships with European financial institutions that allow you to withdraw from their ATMs free of charge.

Embrace public transportation
While you may be used to taking cabs back home when you go to and from the airport, doing so abroad will quickly cause you a lot of unwanted expenses. Most airports have numerous alternatives to overpriced airport taxis that are ready to bump up their rates for tourists. Flying into a major international hub like Heathrow, airport parking aggregator Parking4Less assures visitors that they have plenty of transport options to get into the city, with express trains available as well as the Tube connecting them to central London. Additionally, if visitors are getting picked up by friends or relatives, short stay parking options provided by the airport will give them the ideal option for a quick exit, and a more cost-effective method of parking while waiting for your plane to arrive.

Do as the locals do
The point of studying or working in Europe is to expand your horizons and experience more than what the typical tourist would. Living like a local will help you get acclimated with your temporary home much faster, and by “do as the locals do,” expect to shop and eat at family run businesses, ditch the normal collegiate wear for something a little more stylish, learn the language, and only reserve the backpack during travel times. As the Independent Traveler says, a backpack of any size may mark you as a tourist.

Good luck and happy traveling!

Empathy and Imodium: advice from foreign correspondent Frank Viviano

Dec 1, 2015   //   by Susan West   //   Advice From the Pros, Blog, International Reporting  //  No Comments
Susan West is an award-winning writer and editor who launches and advises magazines and websites. With an M.S. in science journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia, West started her career as a staff writer at Science News and Science 80. In 1986, she co-founded a popular health magazine called Hippocrates (now known as Health and owned by Time Inc.), which won four National Magazine Awards during her tenure.
Frank Viviano interviewing in Iraq

On assignment in 2005, Frank Viviano (center, rear) interviews young Iraqi men following a suicide bombing. At left, in a white shirt, is his fixer Yerevan Adham, an Iraqi Kurd. Photo courtesy of Ed Kashi.

Frank Viviano has reported from one corner of the world or another since 1977. Working first from Central America and Asia for Pacific News Service, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Mother Jones, the San Jose Mercury News, the Register and Tribune wire services, and the San Francisco Chronicle, he later served as the Chronicle’s chief European and Middle East correspondent.

Among many other world events, he covered the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, the collapse of the Soviet Union, organized crime in Sicily, and immigration crises and conflicts the world over. He’s the author of seven books, including a memoir about his Sicilian heritage, Blood Washes Blood (Simon and Schuster, 2001), and, among many honors, is a two-time recipient of the World Affairs Council’s Thomas More Storke Award for Achievements in International Reporting.

Now a resident of Italy, Viviano has most recently been covering archaeology in the Caucasus, Southeast Asia, and Italy for National Geographic. He graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his long career as a foreign correspondent.

 

IeiMedia: Why did you decide to become a foreign correspondent? How did you prepare to take on your first post?

Frank Viviano: I decided that I wanted to be a foreign correspondent—to travel abroad and write about what I saw and experienced—when I was 10 years old. That’s when I began reading National Geographic magazine, where I wound up four decades later after serving overseas for many other publications. 

My first serious assignment abroad was Central America in the 1970s, the civil wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, for Pacific News Service, a small independent wire operation. I read everything about the region and its people that I could get my hands on prior to departure, which in those days meant combing the shelves and periodical files of libraries. I also interviewed refugees (there were thousands in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I then lived), NGO aid workers, and Latin American academics at University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford.

But to be truthful, nothing could have adequately prepared me for my first encounter with the work of government death squads set loose on a rural village. I’d say much the same thing today, more than 20 wars and insurrections later: Nothing can immunize you against the emotional trauma of witnessing carnage.   

 

IM: How do you prepare yourself for a story?

FV: Reading, above all. It’s the best way to harvest background facts and begin a personal education in the history, geography, political structure, culture, customs, and traditions of the place and people who are to be your subject.

The rest of your education comes after arrival, of course, in constant engagement with those people. They are the teachers who most count. As you acquire professional relationships, it is also valuable to share information, contacts, and impressions with other journalists, especially local journalists.

 

IM: What was your most difficult assignment?

FV: All foreign assignments are difficult, as they all entail finding a way inside of a world that is often very different from your own. What varies is context, the surrounding circumstances.

In that respect, Iraq at the height of the war between 2003 and 2005 was extraordinarily demanding. Among other things, the violence was so pervasive and arbitrary that you came to expect it every waking minute of the day.

Another factor was the specific targeting of journalists. National Geographic photographer Ed Kashi and I were identified by name in anonymous phone calls warning officials not to agree to interviews, because various sectarian groups planned to liquidate us. Anyone nearby would pay the price for “collaboration” with the Western media. 

Next most difficult, perhaps, was China in and around the events at Tiananmen Square in 1989. I was on the run from the state security police for several weeks, due to unhappiness with my reporting, and in a 2,000-mile journey before my eventual capture and expulsion, I never knew who among those who offered to help me might be government informers. In the end, clearly, somebody did betray me.

 

IM: What was your most rewarding assignment?

FV: An impossible question to answer.

You learn something on almost every assignment, some profound lesson in human nature, its strengths and its weaknesses. The most rewarding lessons for me have to do with those strengths.

Above all, I count myself very lucky to have met people who maintain their decency, their generosity—their breathtaking courage and commitment to others—at enormous risk.

In 1994, a few miles outside the ruined Bosnian city of Mostar, I stumbled by sheer accident onto an underground refuge, hidden amid the shattered remains of a bombed apartment building. It was full of small children, hundreds of them, overseen and cared for by half a dozen aging nuns. No one knew what had happened to the parents. The children were found wandering alone in what was left of Mostar, and brought to the refuge in the middle of night by a clandestine network of supporters, along with supplies of food and medicine, to avoid detection by the lethal militias that haunted Bosnia in the ‘90s. I asked one of the nuns if the kids were Catholic. It was, after all, a highly sectarian war. She smiled and said, “Who knows?” God told us that children are innocent, she continued. “He never said anything about their religion, and we never ask.”

 

IM: What would you say are the three to five most important attributes of a successful international reporter?

FV: Number one: empathy. A willingness to try to imagine the world through the eyes, and experience, of the people who animate your articles.

After that, in no precise order, I’d list the following: unlimited curiosity about life in all of its enormous diversity; a love of words and writing; Ernest Hemingway’s famous “shock-proof s**t-detector”; and, alas, subjecting other vital considerations—personal relationships, for instance—to the demands of a profession that is emotionally and intellectually all-consuming.

 

IM: You and I once talked about the importance of having a “fixer.” Can you discuss who fixers are and why they are so vital to foreign correspondents? And how do you find a good one?

FV: Put simply, you can’t work abroad without fixers. They are local hands, often indigenous journalists, who speak the language of the land in every sense: they know its nuances, its makers and shakers, its mentality, its secrets. They can save you from your own follies, and in several instances in my own career, a fixer has almost certainly saved my life. In assembling a file of contacts prior to leaving for an assignment, no item has more importance than pinpointing and lining up the best possible fixer.

How? Two ways, overwhelmingly: tips from reliable colleagues (other foreign reporters) and recommendations from trusted NGO staffers, who also depend heavily on fixers.

 

IM: Are there particular tools that a foreign reporter should be sure to take along on assignment?

FV: A portable clothesline and mini-clothespins. I’m not kidding. A hidden supply of cash, in US dollars or (less satisfactory) euros. Imodium.

Far more important is what not to take. Always, always, travel lightly. I haven’t checked a bag on an airplane flight in 40 years. The rule of thumb is that you need the same amount of clothing in your luggage for five months or five days. No matter how much you cram into a suitcase, that’s usually the most you can go without need of laundering something. So why burden yourself with more than a five-day wardrobe?

 

Magic carpet: Q&A with travel writing pro Todd Pitock

Nov 2, 2015   //   by Susan West   //   Advice From the Pros, Blog, Craft of Writing, International Reporting, Travel Writing  //  No Comments
Susan West is an award-winning writer and editor who launches and advises magazines and websites. With an M.S. in science journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia, West started her career as a staff writer at Science News and Science 80. In 1986, she co-founded a popular health magazine called Hippocrates (now known as Health and owned by Time Inc.), which won four National Magazine Awards during her tenure.

 

Todd Pitock

For veteran travel writer Todd Pitock "writing became a kind of a magic carpet."

Todd Pitock is a seasoned travel writer whose stories have taken him from the Arctic to the Antarctic and from South Africa to Morocco.

In those far-flung destinations, he reports about science, sports, politics, and culture for national publications including Salon, The Atlantic, Discover, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. I had the great pleasure of meeting Pitock when I was the launch editor of a travel magazine named Afar; he wrote the cover story, about the Berber culture of Morocco, for Afar’s premiere issue.

Based in Philadelphia, Pitock has won awards from the American Society of Journalists & Authors and the American Society of Travel Writers, as well as the Simon Rockower Award for investigative reporting. His work is regularly included in anthologies and collections such as Best American Science and Nature Writing and Best American Travel Writing. Last month, Pitock was named the 2015 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year by the American Society of Travel Writers.

Because several ieiMedia programs—like those in Urbino, Italy; Croatia; Spain; and France—cover travel writing, we thought it would be helpful to hear from a pro what it’s really like to report from the road.

 

IeiMedia: At the University of Pennsylvania, you studied English and concentrated on novel writing. What led you to journalism and how did you prepare yourself for that field?

Todd Pitock: I didn’t think about journalism as such, and I knew very little about it. I just wanted to write, and like most people I intended to write fiction, and I was pretty naive and high-falutin’. I was, though, blessed in having limited skills and no other talents at all, so even while I was getting beaten down with a lot of rejections I just had to keep at it.

My first job was an editorial assistant at New York book publisher. But I was miserable sitting in a cubicle, where my main task was to type out rejection letters to other aspiring writers, and I really wanted to see the world. It was not, though, a vague or passive desire. It was more like a gnawing, existential need.

From the time I was very young I’d look at maps and wonder what different places might be like. I was also blessed with a horrible landlord in Brooklyn, and after a judge wrested a small monetary judgment from him, I had a wad of cash to go overseas. My plan was to be away for a year. That year became five, the first two in Israel and the last three in South Africa. The latter was during the transition from apartheid and there was a lot of interest in the place, and I started writing for publications there and in the U.S. So, in short, I kind of fell into it.

I also want to point out that that’s a biography of my first 25 years in roughly 200 words.

 

IM: What led you to travel writing?

TP: I had two completely contradictory views of what it meant to be a writer. One was working in isolation; the other, I don’t know why, was roaming or roving all over the place. The writers I read complained about sitting still but always seemed to be doing it in a new place.

As a child, I had this picture of myself writing in northern India. I don’t know why northern India, just that it was the other side of the world I guess, and I often had the feeling that I wanted to be half a world away from wherever I was. Then, a few years ago I was in northern India, writing in my hotel room, and I was like, “Oh, wow, I’m here!” And I would have felt really content that I’d arrived except that I was in a miserable hotel with a horrible rancid smell that made it hard to concentrate.

Anyway, I got to “travel writing” because I was traveling and wanted to travel more, and writing became a kind of a magic carpet. Moreover, in its best moments it was fulfilling in a way that nothing else is, enough to endure its frustrations.

For me, an experience only really matters if I’ve written it down and made some sense of it. To write is to notice, and I was never a traveler who just wanted to tick off places I’ve been. I wanted to really know them, and writing—meaning the process of gathering the information, the interviews, the experience of a place in order to write it down—was a way to do that, to really get inside a place. In fact, that’s how I often feel as a traveler, as if I’m moving inside of a story, ready to find out what happens next.

Along the way, I read some books that helped me see the possibilities of “travel writing.” Paul Fussell’s book Abroad, about British travel writers between the World Wars, gave me a long reading list to get through, and some of those models—Graham Greene, Robert Byron, Sybil Bedford, Evelyn Waugh, V.S. Naipaul; many whose names and work I can’t even recall right now—gave me a new framework to think about what it is I envisioned myself doing.

Read more >>

How to Get the Most Out of a Media Study-Abroad Program

Nov 17, 2014   //   by Rachele Kanigel   //   Advice From the Pros, Jerusalem, Israel, Perpignan, France, Study Abroad, Urbino, Italy  //  1 Comment
Rachele Kanigel is an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. She directed ieiMedia projects in Jerusalem (2013), Perpignan (2010 and 2011) and Urbino (2009) and taught reporting in Cagli in 2007. In 2017 she will co-direct ieiMedia's new international reporting program in Kyoto, Japan.

After five summers of teaching abroad with ieiMedia, I’ve seen students take different approaches to the study-abroad experience. Some mostly stick with their compatriots; others dive into the local community, seeking out cultural challenges.

 Many of our students have described their experiences overseas as life-changing, but each year a few adventurous students get a little more out of it than others. Here are a few things I’ve learned from them:

ieiMedia Jerusalem alum Amara McLaughlin

Amara McLaughlin of Mt. Royal University published a story and photos in The Jerusalem Post.

1)   Be curious. Studying – and, even more, reporting — abroad gives you the opportunity to peak behind the curtain of people’s lives. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Inquire about customs, foods, fashions and traditions that seem foreign to you. Most of the time locals are happy to share their culture with you.

2)   Get to know your interpreters. Many of the ieiMedia interpreters are local students who are eager to practice their English and translation skills with visiting journalists. They can also offer a special window into their culture. One summer in Jerusalem, an interpreter invited me and a student to her family’s Old Jerusalem home to share the iftar break fast, the meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.  Over the course of that dinner of chicken and yellow, spice-infused rice, it became clear that though the family lived in a predominantly Jewish city, the American student and I were the first Jewish people to ever visit their home.  The interpreter’s mother and I didn’t speak each other’s language but, communicating through the young interpreter, we were able to forge a profound bond.

3)   Become a regular. One of the biggest differences between touring and living in a community is that you get a chance to get to know regular people – not just hotel clerks and tour guides but shopkeepers and baristas. In each place I’ve taught, I’ve tried to develop a relationship with local people. In Perpignan, it was with the woman who ran the produce store near my apartment. As my French improved we would have simple chats about her cat and what fruits were best that day. In Jerusalem, I developed a fondness for the fresh halva sold at Halva Kingdom in the Machane Yehuda Market, where the proprietor and I would debate which was the best flavor of the sesame candy – pistachio, cashew, chocolate or coffee.

4)   Network like crazy.  In most ieiMedia programs, students have an opportunity to meet with local and international media professionals. But each summer a few students go beyond the routine smile and handshake and parlay those meetings into professional opportunities. One summer in Urbino, San Francisco State University photography student Giovanna Borgna published photographs with the local newspaper, il Resto del Carlino. In 2013, Amara McLaughlin of Mt. Royal University published a story and photos in The Jerusalem Post. Maya Shwayder,  another Jerusalem student, so impressed the Post editors that she became the newspaper’s correspondent in New York and at the United Nations after she returned home. You can read her work on the newspaper’s website.

Study Abroad in Challenging Places

Nov 17, 2014   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Advice From the Pros, International Reporting, Istanbul, Turkey, Jerusalem, Israel, Study Abroad  //  No Comments
Andy Ciofalo (ieiMedia Founder and President) is professor emeritus of communication/ journalism at Loyola College Maryland, where he arrived in 1983 to found what is now The Communication Department.

Istanbul demonstrationTaksim Square in Istanbul was jammed with protestors as summer 2013 approached. Our students in international reporting were scheduled to arrive in mid-June. Unlike many study abroad programs conducted from the relative safety of overseas campuses, our journalism students were involved in an experiential program that emphasized reporting from the community.

While no parents or students expressed any concern to us, some on our faculty were uneasy. Are we putting our students in harm’s way?

The ieiMedia advance party, including our program director and a faculty member, reported back that beyond Taksim Tquare life was normal and peaceful in Istanbul. They even walked through Taksim Square and reported that the atmosphere and action was much calmer than the daily images crowding TV screens back in the U.S.

Any decision on the safety of a program should not be based on the tunnel vision provided by the market demands of American media. We not only rely on first-hand observations, but we are governed by the U.S. State Department’s warning system about travel to particular countries.

For our students, being in Istanbul at this time was a bonanza. They could compare for themselves the exaggerated coverage in the media to the actual situation on the ground. They nibbled at the edges of Taksim, under faculty supervision, and engaged protest leaders in depth interviews well away from the action. And they balanced their approach with reports showing how other issues continue to concern Istanbul citizens beyond the noise of Taksim. The incredible stories they produced can be found at our 2013 project site, The Battle for Istanbul.

As we prepare for 2015, once again we are observing Istanbul and Israel very closely. For instance, we know that in Jerusalem, like Istanbul, the action is limited to small geographic pinpoints. TV (Tunnel Vision) makes the situation seem larger than life, but of greater concern are individual, private acts of violence between citizens. We have the option to make program adjustments that keep us mostly on the Hebrew University’s highly secure campus and to function in areas far from the conflict zones.

The fact that our students can be so productive in a stressful environment speaks volumes on their resumes. But most important, such programs challenge them to rise above the usual soft features to get at the underlying problems in a society. This is experiential learning at its best.

Go Anywhere But Here

Jan 11, 2014   //   by Arielle Emmett   //   Advice From the Pros, Blog, Journalism Education, Study Abroad  //  No Comments
Arrielle Emmett is a visiting assistant professor and researcher in graduate journalism and transnational education at the University of Hong Kong Journalism and Media Studies Centre. She is a published newspaper and magazine feature writer with credits in Newsweek, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Saturday Review, The American Journalism Review, MIT Technology Review, Visual Communication Quarterly, OMNI, Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Caixin (Beijing), and Wall Street Journal Market Watch.

Arielle Emmett, Ph.D., new director of the ieiMedia Guilin multimedia program for 2014, published this article in Caixin (Beijing) based on her experiences teaching communications students in China in 2011-2012.

Go Anywhere but Here

(Excerpt from Caixin, October 2011).

Educational quality and expected returns are among several factors to be mindful of amidst the rapid expansion of university partnership programs
By Arielle Emmett
 

The students in my Beijing classes must believe I hold the key to their future career success. When I arrive each morning at the International College of Beijing, their eyes light up as though I am a ten-foot tall avatar. They believe in my power, or at least they pretend to. We speak the common language of their futures: both Chinese and English. They are among the lucky and privileged Chinese youth who, powered by scholarships and their parents’ cash, are among the 440,000 Chinese students flooding international university programs both at home and abroad.

My birthplace – the West – has quickly become the Shangri-La from which these students hope to reap the rewards of an international education. Those with solid English and strong technical skills will become the investment bankers, economists, researchers, and golden transnational communicators of the next generation. As they pass their TOEFL tests and complete their studies in America, the UK, or Australia, these students are likely to outperform and out-earn their stay-in-country college counterparts by far.

In fact, internationalism has become the lingua franca of Chinese higher education. The growing affluence of urban China and its middle class produces a combination of romantic exuberance and disorientation. I call these feelings the “anywhere but here” syndrome. What this means roughly is that bilingual, bicultural study is both sexy and necessary. A college degree from an American or UK institution, whether bachelors or higher, is presumed to put a stamp of uniqueness on a graduate’s forehead, increasing the chances of a good job.

Dizzying Competition

Since enrollments in Chinese higher education have exploded in the last decade, many college graduates find themselves caught in a competitive crunch for the better jobs in big Chinese cities. “A lot of the kids today want to go to banks and immediately become managers,” said Zhang Pu Guang, an Associate Dean of Students at the International College of Beijing, part of China Agricultural University. “They’re ambitious. They don’t even want to work for small businesses or become start-up entrepreneurs,” he observed. “They have a lot of traditional ideas about success.”

According to Wang Yen, an assistant director of career placement at China Agricultural University: “It’s not the amount of jobs; jobs are easy to get in China, but students’ ideas about jobs haven’t adapted to the transformations in our society. They want higher-level jobs than they can get [right out of school].” Wang adds that China needs graduates with specialized skills (e.g., biological, agricultural, or environmental sciences) in out-of-the-way areas, such as the less populated provinces of western China. And the government will refund tuitions for graduates who head to China’s frontiers. “Our schools are beginning to encourage students to go elsewhere to do the specialized work,” he said. “Kids are beginning to get the message.” That way their careers advance faster.

Toward the Lemming Rush (link to full article)

For students who want to focus on humanities, the arts, or social sciences with the idea of becoming public relation specialists or bilingual journalists, international education is commonly perceived as the only way to go. Whether they enroll in Western universities or study in branch campuses or cooperative programs, these students become the currency, if not the prized assets, of an expanding global business.

China has bumped up its 18 to 22 year-old post secondary enrollments from 4 percent to 22 percent in less than 15 years, according to the Ministry of Education. The country also plans to invite 100,000 American students to study in Chinese universities and specialty programs within the next four years.  

From the Pros: How to Become an International Journalist

Jan 12, 2013   //   by Rachele Kanigel   //   Advice From the Pros, International Reporting  //  No Comments
Rachele Kanigel is an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. She directed ieiMedia projects in Jerusalem (2013), Perpignan (2010 and 2011) and Urbino (2009) and taught reporting in Cagli in 2007. In 2017 she will co-direct ieiMedia's new international reporting program in Kyoto, Japan.

IeiMedia programs are taught by veteran journalism educators and top media professionals. During the summer they offer daily lessons–in the classroom and one-on-one–on what it means to be a professional journalist. But why should we limit their advice to our summer programs?

For the third installment of our series, “From the Pros,” we posed this question: What advice do you have for students who want to become international journalists?

Here’s what our pros had to say:

“Take chances. Put yourself in situations where you are the outsider. You don’t have to go abroad to do this. You can start now and develop some of the skills that you will need to work in foreign cultures. It is important to be able to enter new environments, talk to people different from yourself and understand their perspective.

“Seek out immigrant communities and report on stories that matter to them. You might be surprised how much you don’t know about your neighbors. Look for stories in places where you might feel uncomfortable and listen to your subjects so that you can tell their story without filtering it through your own preconceptions.

“Last but not least, study a foreign language. It will open doors that would otherwise remain closed if you have to rely on a translator for all situations. Early in my career I traveled the back roads of Poland and often found myself invited into wonderful situations simply because I was able to carry on a conversation in Polish.”

Dennis Chamberlin, Urbino Project Director
Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Education, 
Greenlee School of Journalism & Communication, Iowa State University

 

“There is no doubt that courses in international media, intercultural communication, advanced languages, history, etc. set the table. But students will not know if they can be happy with this choice without immersing themselves in a foreign culture and practicing their skills in that environment, either in a program or independently. Once they determine that dealing with the hardships of international reporting is a challenge that is deeply satisfying, they then can gravitate toward an area that is significant to them, whether it is geographic or issue-related.

“There are many opportunities working for English-language foreign media abroad or feeding the voracious appetite for information that can be found on web sites with an international focus or aspect. Starting with travel is one way of easing in. Of course, luck has a lot to do with it, such as being in the right place at the right time when one is the only American reporter to witness a crisis unfolding. The more experience abroad one has, instinct soon supersedes luck.

“There has never been a better time to try international journalism because there are no longer just a few job slots controlled by big media. The internet provides almost limitless gateways.”

Andrew Ciofalo, ieiMedia Founder and President
Professor Emeritus, Loyola University Maryland

 

“Learn a second or third language. Read as much as you can about a country or region and its culture. And travel to those areas as much as possible. Become an expert in this region or country.”

Venise Wagner, Istanbul Project Faculty
Associate Professor and Chair, Journalism Department
San Francisco State University

 

Doug Cumming“Recently, three international journalists have visited Washington & Lee: adventure photographer Michael Hanson (W&L class of ’02); Reuters Moscow reporter Tom Grove (W&L class of ’03), and GlobalPost photographer Ben Brody, who spoke at the opening of a traveling exhibit of photojournalists’ work from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan called ‘The Conflict Zone.’  All in their early 30s, they became amazingly successful international journalists by jumping into it, with courage and determination.

“Hanson tried baseball in the minor leagues, then began taking photographs in Latin America, following his interest in indigenous cultures and their exploitation. He is now sent around the world by top-tier publications (and ad agencies too). Grove began freelancing overseas, filling the gaps left when networks and newspapers retrenched. He got a job with Reuters in Istanbul, and then moved on to its Moscow bureau. Brody, the war photographer, freelances for GlobalPost, an online news outlet started by a former Boston Globe foreign editor. Ben is working with better assignments and more danger than most journalists get in a lifetime.

“For an elite number of international journalists, the three promised, the best jobs in the world are waiting to be filled.”

Doug Cumming, Armagh Project Faculty
Associate Professor, Department of Journalism & Mass Communications
Washington & Lee University

 

“As with any kind of journalism, you need to jump in.

“An international journalist, travel writer, or international cultural critic, analyst or writer, editor or producer has to travel internationally first in order to know what he or she is talking about. Travel and then write about it. Or blog about it. Or make a video or photo diary. Period.

“You need to understand what it takes to travel. You need to understand the stresses and the issues. And also the joys of discovery, and, mostly, the unexpected friendships and relationships you will make across miles and cultures. There is no ‘virtual’ international experience. Only the real one, like the one offered by ieiMedia.”

Jack Zibluk, Armagh Project Director
Professor and Chair, Department of Mass Media
Southeast Missouri State University

From the Pros: How to Become a Professional Journalist

Nov 28, 2012   //   by Rachele Kanigel   //   Advice From the Pros, Journalism Education  //  No Comments
Rachele Kanigel is an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. She directed ieiMedia projects in Jerusalem (2013), Perpignan (2010 and 2011) and Urbino (2009) and taught reporting in Cagli in 2007. In 2017 she will co-direct ieiMedia's new international reporting program in Kyoto, Japan.

IeiMedia programs are taught by veteran journalism educators and top media professionals. During the summer they offer daily lessons–in the classroom and one-on-one–on what it means to be a professional journalist. But why should we limit their advice to our summer programs?

For the second installment of our series, “From the Pros,” we posed this question: What advice do you have for students who want to become professional journalists?

Here’s what our pros had to say:

“Follow your heart and your interest. If you have a passion, audiences will pick up on that. Try to hone your passion. This will take  you a long way in your career.”

Venise Wagner, Istanbul Project Faculty
Associate Professor and Chair, Journalism Department
San Francisco State University

 

 

Doug Cumming“In the old days, it was clear who was a ‘journalist.’ A journalist was somebody who worked for a newspaper or TV news. Fabulous benefits flowed from being a professional journalist: You got initiated into the guild, were authorized to go into deep and dark places to ask a lot of questions, and you got paid for it. You were widely read, and even believed, which made people in power jumpy at your mere presence. It was great fun!

“Today, it’s popular to say Facebook, Twitter ,and blogs make everybody a journalist. But what this really means is that you have to be much, much better than everybody else to be a professional–a REAL journalist. As it turns out, ‘better’ means mastering all those standards we learned when we were initiated into the guild, back when the cost of printing and distributing or broadcasting news was our high castle wall around journalism: You need knowledge of how things work, a tempered skepticism, a restless curiosity, an instinct for storytelling, a quick and ready feel for human foibles and for the human condition.”

Doug Cumming, Armagh Project Faculty
Associate Professor, Department of Journalism & Mass Communications
Washington & Lee University

 

“Be a generalist. Make sure you build a strong foundation in the basics–reporting, writing and editing–but expand your studies to include visual storytelling skills, such as video and informational graphics. You may find you excel in an discipline that you hadn’t considered before.”

Beth Renneisen, Perpignan Project Faculty
Lecturer, Journalism Department
San Francisco State University

 

“It used to be that any solid undergraduate major would prepare a person for an entry position in journalism where editors would take several months to inculcate the recruit with the protocols of the profession. Today, a degree in one of the communications disciplines has become more relevant simply because the technical aspects of the craft are software- and applications-driven. Students can actually ride the technical wave into journalism jobs based on their course work alone. However, the higher-order jobs that require good reporting, good writing, good analytical skills, and a good photographic eye are not so easily come by. Practice under the watchful guidance of faculty and experienced journalists delivers the experiential learning that defines the budding journalist.

“But in the end, there must be a passion for the profession: for the truth, for the didactic function of the media. That passion can only be demonstrated by the self-directed activities of journalists-in-training who go far beyond their course work and dig deep into their free time in order to find ways to do journalism: on the student newspaper, on the web, on the local weekly or broadcast station, freelancing for specialized publications and sites, serious blogging, etc., thereby developing a portfolio that resonates with those who make decisions about employing entry-level journalists or giving them freelance assignments.”

Andrew Ciofalo, ieiMedia Founder and President
Professor Emeritus, Loyola University Maryland

 

“Look at the best magazines, newspapers, public radio, public television, and online news sources that you can find. Model your work on the best work that is being done by leading professionals.”

Dennis Chamberlin, Urbino Project Director
Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Education, 
Greenlee School of Journalism & Communication, Iowa State University

 

 

“First, be a journalist. You probably already are one: Anybody who has a Facebook page, or a Tumblr or a Twitter account is a journalist. You’re sharing your stories, your ideas, your talents and hopes and dreams with a mass audience. And if you do it well, you’ll stand out from the crowd. Attend workshops. Start a blog today. Write. Take pictures. Raise your voice. Think about how the journalism you are already doing can be better. Think about how you are making a difference with your journalism every day.”

Jack Zibluk, Armagh Project Director
Professor and Chair, Department of Mass Media
Southeast Missouri State University

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Students Say...

If you look close enough, I hope that you find yourself, lost in your own adventures. From stilts races to wine tours, shotgun factories to fashion shows; from feasts of the patron saint to green beans and mozzarella balls at Tridente; from finding the best gelato in town to hunting down a rogue laptop in Rome.
by Sarah Eames, State University of New York at New Paltz, Urbino Project 2015