Browsing articles in "International Reporting"

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.

Urbino students convey stories through multimedia

Jul 13, 2016   //   by Steve Anderson   //   International Reporting, Multimedia, Multiplatform Journalism, Urbino, Italy  //  No Comments
Steve Anderson is the Ruth D. Bridgeforth Professor of Telecommunications in the School of Media Arts & Design at James Madison University. Prior to entering academe, Anderson was an environmental reporter and weathercaster for KCNC television, a network O&O station in Denver, Colorado. His reporting often involved in-depth examination of local and regional environmental issues and an explanation of the science behind them. He also worked as a news photographer, weathercaster and news reporter in other markets. Steve earned his Ph.D. from the University of Denver. He is ieiMedia's Program Director for Urbino, Italy.

Students in the 2016 Urbino, Italy program worked on some great interactive elements this year, including a before and after photo slider, a set of Google Map placemarks to highlight art installations, an audio clip from an orchestra rehearsal, and some amazing video pieces. 

Here are some of the elements students worked on:

Danica Feuz (James Madison University): An interactive slider showing Urbania, Italy immediately after the WWII bombing contrasted with today. See her story, When Terror Fell from a Friendly Sky, at:

Gabriella Flamini (Rider University): An interactive map containing placemarks of art installations in the countryside around Urbino.  See her story, Thought is Faster Than Action, at:

Bridgette Windell (Colorado State University): Embedded audio of an amateur orchestra. See her story, The Violin Maker of Pesaro, at:

Lea Peck (University of Illinois): Besides winning honors for the best overall multimedia package (text, photos, video), Lea Peck (along with Danica Feuz) created one of the best video stories of the summer about a farmer who went to extreme measures to protect his sheep from wolves. See the story, Fighting Not Dancing with Wolves, at: You can watch her video directly below.

Fighting – Not Dancing – with Wolves – Lea Peck from ieiMedia on Vimeo.

Matt Boselli (Colorado State University): Video story about those unique and beloved Ape (Ah-pay) vehicles you see all over Italy. See his story, Ahhhhhhhh-pay!, at: or watch his video directly below.

BOSELLI_Urbino2016 from ieiMedia on Vimeo.

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.


IeiMedia alumna earns international TV job

Oct 29, 2015   //   by Susan West   //   Alumni News, Blog, International Reporting, Istanbul, Turkey, Study Abroad  //  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.

This summer in Tel Aviv, Cathy Shafran, director of ieiMedia’s Jerusalem Program, ran into Léa Bouchoucha, a 2014 alum of the Istanbul Program. Shafran learned that, in part because of her Istanbul internship, Bouchoucha is now working for an international TV station. This is Shafran’s report.

Léa Bouchoucha landed a job at an international TV station in Israel.

JAFFA, ISRAEL—French-born Léa Bouchoucha was an inquisitive child. As long as she can remember, she wanted to be a private detective or an investigator.

By the time she was college age, the desire to be an investigator turned into a passion for journalism. But not just any journalism—international journalism. 

It took more than ten years, ten internships, and hands-on experience with an international reporting program to realize that dream. But within months of Bouchoucha’s study-abroad experience at age 32, she finally landed an overseas TV position. Bouchoucha says it was her resume, her “clip reel,” and international experience from a 2014 month-long study-abroad program with ieiMedia in Istanbul that finally helped her dream come to reality.

“The program in Turkey allowed me enough time to immerse myself in the country,” said Bouchoucha. “But I came to Turkey very serious about the program. I was already pitching my story ideas before the program started. I scheduled my interviews in advance.”

Bouchoucha describes herself as the student in the program who came knowing what she wanted before she arrived. She had already spent the past decade studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris and working diligently at internships at Euro News Channel, Le Figaro magazine, and CNN-Paris hoping to get a leg up on her career.  While none of that landed her a job, she says it made her more passionate about international reporting as her future. 

“The only thing I knew was that I wanted to be a journalist,” she said. “I realized I wanted to be a journalist, but I didn’t have any skill. So I applied to grad school, and was accepted at NYU’s school of journalism.”

It was at New York University that she learned of the month-long study-abroad option through ieiMedia. She struggled with whether to attend ieiMedia’s program in Istanbul or in Jerusalem. She knew she wanted the opportunity to work as a hard news journalist. She chose the Istanbul program because of a personal connection with an old Turkish boyfriend. 

It turned out to be the experience she had been seeking for more than a decade.

“It was all organized to prepare me to be a good journalist,” said Bouchoucha. “IeiMedia gave me the space to grow my skills. At NYU there was no time for long-form journalism. IeiMedia gave me the opportunity to write about what I really cared about.”

Bouchoucha says the program was structured to meet both the needs of a student with mild interest in the topic and those, like herself, who came with a commitment to the field.

“In Turkey I was assigned to one professional. She edited my story and gave me advice. I learned about the challenges of working in a foreign country with a foreign language. I learned that the best way to make contact where language is an issue.” With a great deal of self motivation and the assistance of her mentors in the month-long program, Bouchoucha completed two video pieces about Syrian refugees escaping into Turkey.

“When I finished the program, it told me, ‘Yes! This is what I want to do,’” said Bouchoucha. “I was very happy. I knew this was the kind of work I wanted.”

Three months later, after completing her work at NYU, Bouchoucha began a job search with her “reel” from the ieiMedia program in hand.

A friend told her about an opportunity at the i24 News channel in Tel Aviv, and that week she was on a plane to Israel for an interview.

“They told me they were impressed with my resume. They were looking for someone with internship experience. They said it showed I had the ability to adapt in a foreign environment.”

Executives at i24 News called her later that week and offered her a position as a News Editor. She eagerly took the job, and now coordinates daily live newscasts on the international 24-hour news and current affairs television channel based in the Jaffa port of Tel Aviv, Israel. Bouchoucha works the French desk at the news channel that broadcasts in English, French, and Arabic.

“Finally, after 10 years!” Bouchoucha exclaimed with a broad smile. “My first real job in an international newsroom.”

While busy on the desk, Bouchoucha still dreams of being in the field reporting. She says a mentor in the ieiMedia program gave her a leg up in that direction as well.

Mary D’Ambrosio, the director in Turkey, really helped me,” Bouchoucha said. “What was most helpful was that she told me about Women’s E-News, a smaller publication reporting on women’s issues around the world. Before that, I wanted to work in big media. I realized with small media you have much more opportunity to do longer meaningful pieces.”

And so Bouchoucha’s time in Tel Aviv is busy, working the i24News desk during the day and freelance writing for Women’s E-News at night.

She reflected on her accomplishments since the 2014 ieiMedia program as she walked past the clattering sound of reporters and anchors filing their stories in the i24News newsroom. She looked up with a knowing grin.

“After a lot of work, this is finally my beginning,” said Bouchoucha.

IeiMedia Invites Applicants for Faculty Research Fellowships, Summer 2016

Sep 29, 2015   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Blog, International Reporting, Journalism Education, Research Fellows, 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.

The Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) invites communications faculty at accredited American colleges and universities to apply for Research Fellowships at its 2016 summer media programs in Croatia, France, Israel, Italy, Northern Ireland, Norway, and Spain.

Accepted Research Fellows will receive a $3,000 grant toward the $4,995 cost of a program and will have access to all the amenities of the program site. Non-participating spouses are welcome at a cost of $1,200 for four weeks; children, unfortunately, are not allowed. Fellows will pay their own airfare and insurance.

Research Fellows will have regular informal access to the program faculty for pedagogical and theoretical exchanges. In addition, they will participate in one or more of the program’s teaching modules and will serve as a resource to faculty and students where appropriate. We have created these opportunities in response to many queries from comm faculty interested in investigating the techniques and effectiveness of experiential learning, boot-camp teaching, short-term programs, and intercultural reporting.

In 2014, our first Research Fellow, Barry Janes, professor of communication at Rider University, participated in the Urbino Program, where he assisted in the video module and advised students on their projects. He returned in 2015 as a full faculty member.

This summer, the Urbino Program hosted two Faculty Fellows, Sonya DiPalma, assistant professor of public relations at University of North Carolina, and Suzanne Popovich Chandler, assistant professor in creative media and broadcast electronic media at University of Oklahoma. In addition, Jack Zibluk, professor of mass media at Southeast Missouri State University, joined the team of the Istanbul Program as a Fellow.

Jack Zibluk

Research Fellow Jack Zibluk worked with Istanbul students on photojournalism.

Says Zibluk, “The ieiMedia Fellowship was the best of several worlds. It offered me the flexibility to study and conduct research as well as to develop my own multimedia skills under the supervision of some of the top people in the world. The Istanbul fellowship was like a graduate school for foreign correspondents, and I even did some photojournalism work that an agency purchased for worldwide distribution. I can’t say enough about the program and the people with whom I worked.”

Istanbul Program Director Mary D’Ambrosio, assistant professor of practice at Rutgers University, agrees: “A faculty fellowship is a great way to learn about teaching abroad, and to have an opportunity to contribute one’s own expertise to an international program.”

Suzanne Chandler, Susan Biddle, and Marie Gould

Research Fellow Suzanne Chandler (right) with photo instructor Susan Biddle (center) and faculty spouse Marie Gould (left) at the Urbino Program's welcome reception.

Chandler, who studies how 21st century students learn, came to Urbino to find out more about the total-immersion, experiential methods used in our study-abroad courses. She is now creating a short film about the student experience in the Urbino Program.

“As a Fellow, while observing the vast experience assembled in Urbino,” she says, “I knew students would learn photography, writing, video, and magazine production. What I did not anticipate was the extent they would grow not only as truly gifted multimedia journalists producing amazing work, but also as adult citizens of a global economy, as individuals with curiosity who embrace and appreciate the similarities as well as diversities among us.” 

DiPalma interviewed Urbino students for a research paper tentatively titled “Experiential Learning in a Foreign Culture,” which she will submit to the 2016 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium. “IeiMedia provides the ultimate faculty development experience for learning how to teach the three components of a multimedia package–text, photo story and video story,” she says. “Take advantage of the opportunity to revitalize your application courses through in-depth conversations with professionals from both academia and the media.”

Sonya DiPalma

Research Fellow Sonya DiPalma (left), with faculty Rusty Greene (middle) and Doug Cumming (right), addresses Urbino students during orientation.

To apply: Email me at to explain your interest in this opportunity and how it might have an impact on your teaching or administrative role. If there is a particular research question you plan to address, please describe that. Include with the email your vita, a letter of recommendation from your unit head, and a sample of or link to your writing, other work or research. We expect a written reflection at the end that you may also share with your department.

Two Photojournalism Students Win Foley Awards

Mar 11, 2015   //   by Susan West   //   International Reporting, Jerusalem, Israel, Journalism Education, Photography & Photojournalism, Scholarships, Urbino, Italy  //  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.

Two talented young photographers are the first recipients of ieiMedia’s James Foley Memorial Scholarship in International Photojournalism, established in honor of the photojournalist who was tragically executed last August while covering the war in Syria.

World Cup 2014, Mexico City. By Manuel Orbegozo

World Cup 2014, Mexico City. By Manuel Orbegozo

Manuel J. Orbegozo, a senior at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, received a $5,000 scholarship to attend the Urbino program. In 2012, Orbegozo worked as a photographer and writer at “Siete,” a weekly magazine based in Lima, Peru. There, he founded Azotea, a citizen journalism site that covered the capital’s political and cultural life. He is currently editor-in-chief of El Leñador, focused on the Latino community in Humboldt County. In his scholarship application, Orbegozo wrote, “As a college journalist, I realized that my degree could be achieved in a classroom, while my overall skills could only be refined through an experience abroad.”

Flood Wall Street direct action. By Emily Teague

Flood Wall Street direct action. By Emily Teague

Emily Teague, a freshman at California State University in Chico, received a $2,000 grant to attend the Jerusalem program. While still in high school, Teague was hired as a photojournalist for Chico State’s award-winning newspaper, The Orion. She was named “Best Photographer” on The Orion’s staff, and won fifth place in a national photojournalism competition at the Associated Collegiate Press. In September 2014 she photographed at the front lines of the “Flood Wall Street” direct action and at environmental protests in New York, Pittsburgh, and throughout California. She’s spending this semester traveling and photographing in Europe.

“We were impressed with the high level of work in many of the submissions,” says Dennis Chamberlin, photography instructor in the Urbino Program and a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist. Chamberlin and photo instructors Susan Biddle and Robert Reeder reviewed the applicants. “It was difficult for the jury to choose only one winner because there were several portfolios that were quite strong.”

In Urbino, Orbegozo will study with Chamberlin and Susan Biddle, former Washington Post staff photographer and White House photographer. In Jerusalem, Teague will work with Linda Gradstein, formerly of National Public Radio; Ilene Prusher of The Jerusalem Post; and Cathy Shafran, who has worked in the Jerusalem bureaus of ABC, CNN, Associated Press Television News, Britain’s ITN, and Canada’s CTV.

“This has been a successful inaugural program for this scholarship,” says ieiMedia president and founder Andrew Ciofalo. “We will continue to offer it next year as part of our commitment to emphasizing the importance of photojournalism in our program. The excellence of our applicants this year resulted in our establishing the Foley Grant in the amount of $2,000 for distinguished runners up. We plan to continue this grant as well.”

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.

Meet Up With ieiMedia in Philadelphia

Oct 10, 2014   //   by Rachele Kanigel   //   International Reporting, Journalism Education, Study Abroad  //  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.

College Media 2014 logo

If you’re planning to attend the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association National College Media Convention in Philadelphia Oct. 27-Nov. 2 and you or your students are interested in summer journalism study-abroad programs, you can meet with ieiMedia faculty at the convention.

IeiMedia program participants don’t just study abroad; they report on a community and then produce stories and videos for multimedia websites and digital magazines (see examples from last year’s programs in Northern Ireland, Italy, Israel, Spain, France, and Turkey.)

For summer 2015, ieiMedia is offering six international learning adventures:

Our programs are open to students and recent graduates from all schools. Over the past 12 years, ieiMedia has brought more than 600 students from more than 80 public and private schools abroad. 

You can find out more about ieiMedia and meet some of the faculty during two presentations at the college media convention:

Don’t Just See the World, Cover It!

Friday, 9-9:50 a.m., Salon A, level 5

Do you fantasize about becoming a foreign correspondent? Hope to study abroad? Want to sharpen your multimedia savvy by covering some of the world’s most rural areas? Find out about work and study-abroad opportunities for students interested in media and journalism. See how you can enhance your professional skills, learn about culture and compassion and put a global spin on your resume that will give you a competitive edge as you launch your career.

Rachele Kanigel and Ida Mojadad, San Francisco State University

Dan Reimold, St. Joseph’s University

Jeff Brody, California State University, Fullerton


Foreign Correspondence and Student Media

Saturday, 2-2:50 p.m., Room 413, Level 4 

Learn about students’ international reporting experiences, opportunities to practice international journalism in 2015, and how to incorporate international reporting into our student media program.

Steve Listopad, Valley City State University


Or you can contact one of the ieiMedia faculty attending the convention:

Application Deadline: February 1, 2015. Students should apply as early as possible since admission is on a rolling basis. (Programs with available space will accept applications until March 30). Applications are available online.

This year ieiMedia is sponsoring the James Foley Memorial Scholarship in International Photojournalism in honor of the journalist tragically executed while covering the war in Syria. The winner of the $5,000 scholarship will attend our program in Urbino, Italy, to study with our award-winning photography faculty.

Hope to see you in Philadelphia!


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Students Say...

First, this month in Urbino can’t be described in a couple of sentences. The past four weeks immersed in Italian culture have helped me to grow both as a journalist and as a person, as an American. Working with interpreters and befriending locals has been the most valuable part of this experience. Memories from Urbino will forever hold a special place in my heart.
by Laura Weeks, James Madison University, Urbino Project 2012