While ieiMedia is a non-denominational institute, its educational approach is better understood within the context of Ignatian philosophy that informs education at Jesuit universities. I am Professor Emeritus at Loyola University (Maryland), where I taught journalism for 27 years.
The ideals of Jesuit education involve engaging the world and the development of the whole person. Initiative, professionalism and citizenship—all fully graded components in ieiMedia summer programs abroad—are among the hallmarks of experiential learning that support the education of the whole person beyond the mere acquisition of media skills. Applied ethics underlies all student decisions and actions in an experiential learning environment. I believe that from the get go, students should be exposed to Joseph Pulitzer’s dictum, still found on the masthead of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that places the practice of journalism at the service of those who have no voices in the halls of power. This is the secular root of all liberal journalism which intertwines very nicely with the “peace and justice” perspective we find threaded throughout Jesuit education today.
In field-based practica, the classroom gives way very early on to a collegial relationship between teacher and student, mimicking the relationship between editor and writer. Within that context the educational process becomes very individualized and uses the student’s mistakes and errors not to punish him but to exploit “learning opportunities”—the very essence of experiential learning.
Process courses, such as writing and reporting, usually work best when students are liberated from the inhibiting environment of the classroom. As long as the professor expounds from the front of the classroom, the student is kept in a receptive mode rather than interactive, regardless of how Socratic the method may be. Switching into a collegial mode accelerates learning at the cognitive level and, most importantly, reinforces the student’s self-awareness and ergo self-confidence. Launching the student on an inner journey of self discovery enables every aspect of cura personalis (care for the whole person).
In the typical lecture/discussion course, the opening salvo of overarching ideas and principles does little to foster the interactive learning environment. Thrusting students right into the fray, giving them the courage to make mistakes, builds the experiential skeleton which can later be fleshed out with theoretical concepts. When the professor and the student share a common experiential base, abstract discussions of principles and theory (including behaviors) are more cognitively effective.
In teaching long-form writing courses, the tendency is to start with various professional and literary models which through osmosis and analysis are supposed to inform the students’ understanding of what he is supposed to do. The fact is, the analysis will be better later on after the student has personally experienced the process and begun to find his own voice rather than mimic other voices.
My approach is to use a series of exercises to develop the building blocks students will need before creating their own narrative. At this stage, students need feedback and not a grade. In fact, it is the repetitive act of writing that activates new neural pathways to creativity. Peer learning is important at this stage because shared work shows how others are approaching the exact same material. This accelerates the learning process and reduces the number of writing tasks required to bring students to a common level of performance and understanding.
In the narrative stage, the role of the professor/colleague is to reference the text to the building blocks and ask the student to assess his own performance and do any necessary rewrites to enrich the various parts, sentence by sentence. At the same time, the student assesses his text to determine if it has met his objectives and if those objectives are of any value to the audience, and if not, how to reorganize to accomplish that goal. In many writing courses, it is one first draft, one rewrite and out. In experiential learning, one directs the student to restructure the narrative one step at a time (e.g., “This is good so far; now go back and add [this]”). A student’s achievement is best measured not by grading multiple articles based on a truncated two-step process; two narratives are all that is needed—a first narrative that is the product of multiple drafts, and a second narrative that is not subjected to a guided drafting process.
Building from the bottom up, that is the essence of Jesuit pedagogy.
“Louisiana’s Moon Shot,” the second in a two-part series on Louisiana’s rapidly disappearing coastline, was posted today. The story was reported and written by Urbino instructor Bob Marshall, with data reporting and maps by Al Shaw of ProPublica and Brian Jacobs of Knight-Mozilla OpenNews. You can read the piece and view the interactive maps at: http://projects.propublica.org/larestoration
Marshall covers environmental issues for The Lens, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest newsroom in New Orleans. Before working at The Lens, he was a feature writer and columnist whose work at The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) earned two Pulitzer Prizes.
His most recent project called “Losing Ground” is an innovative piece of multimedia journalism written by Marshall with data reporting, maps and design created in cooperation with Al Shaw of ProPublica and Brian Jacobs of Knight-Mozilla Open News. The project appears at http://projects.propublica.org/louisiana. It is gaining significant national exposure. Marshall was recently interviewed on “All In with Chris Hayes” on MSNBC.
You can read the Salon article at: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/28/is_louisianas_coastline_beyond_saving_partner
More information about the Urbino project can be found here: http://ieimedia.com/urbino.
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:
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.
Taksim 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.
What happens when American Hip Hop fuses with the vibrant nightlife of Florence, Italy? You get an international vibe, a celebration of black music, dance, and street poetry reborn in Tuscany’s premier city for culture and art.
Hip Hop adds a new vernacular to ieiMedia’s study abroad program. Under the guidance of award-winning journalism and theatre faculty from Winston Salem State, North Carolina Central, and Florida A&M, students will have a dual opportunity this summer to perform hip hop while studying and producing multimedia stories about it in text, video, photography, broadcast, and sound.
Students will learn the story-telling skills of foreign correspondents. And they will wander the piazzas, cobblestone streets, boutiques, and galleries of a city that has more astonishing architecture and art per square meter than any other in the world.
This unique study tour will balance intensive multimedia practice in a specialty track of a student’s choice (print, broadcast, photography and publication design, or video) with free time to research, perform, and savor this magnet of Renaissance culture.
Climb the red-roofed Duomo designed by architect Filippo Brunelleschi, then join us for an excursion to the hilly, sun-drenched vineyards of Tuscany for wine and food tastings. Study Michelangelo’s magnificent statue of David in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Wander to the Piazza della Signoria after a rainstorm, and visit the Uffizi Gallery guarded by Perseus and the Gorgon.
At dusk, take in the nightlife of Florence’s vibrant clubs and dance and report your heart away.
The program–including accommodation, travel insurance, welcome and farewell dinners, program activities and cultural events–costs $4,995 plus airfare. For more details, see our full course description.
Urbino 2012 student Laura Weeks is featured on a blog for her company. She describes the importance of her Urbino experience when responding to the question, “What’s one of your biggest accomplishments?”
“In 2012, I spent a month in Italy studying multimedia journalism. Not only was it my first time out of the country, but we were in a town where very little English was spoken. Despite these challenges, I sought out my own story idea and developed it across written, visual and audio platforms. Running around the city, scheduling interviews and photo shoots, late-night editing sessions — I loved every second of it. In the end, my photography was voted No. 1 and article among the top five by our faculty, which included a Pulitzer-winning reporter, a Washington Post photographer and a former New York Times art director.”
Check out the blog entry at: http://blog.magnetsusa.com/2014/11/faces-behind-magnets-part-19/
Laura’s job with Magnets USA includes photography, videography, design, writing and using social media to build connections.
- Stephanie Holguin (James Madison University), Urbino 2012, is a producer for NBC12/WWBT news in Richmond, Virginia.
- Myra Krieger-Coen (Iowa State University), Urbino 2013, is an audience engagement coordinator for Meredith Corporation, where she does social media strategy research and execution for Parenting.com, Parents Magazine andFitness Magazine.
- Elizabeth Zabel (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, is a Multimedia Human Interest Reporter for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She works as part of the features team.
- Lindsey Kreger (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is an editor at the Times-News in North Carolina. She lays out pages, edits copy, creates cutlines and headlines, edits photos and does fact checking.
- Caryn Maconi (University of Colorado at Boulder), Urbino 2011, is a Development Writer for the United States Olympic Committee. She writes athlete and impact feature stories to engage prospective donors and educate the public about the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the U.S.
- Robert Boag (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is the Head Photographer for Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He is charge of creating and managing the college’s visual identity and produces all photo and video content for their website.
- Jilanne Doom (University of South Dakota), Urbino 2012, works for IREX (TEA Pakistan Communications), a teaching excellence and achievement program run through the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan to bring groups of exceptional Pakistani secondary teachers to the U.S. for a training program. She covers all communication efforts through interviews, stories, multimedia projects and webinars.
- Grant Bell (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is working in the film and television industry in L.A. He has found work as a production assistant on television shows and as a grip and camera assistant on short films.
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:
- Valencia, Spain: narrative journalism
- Nice, France: multimedia journalism
- Jerusalem, Israel: international reporting
- Urbino, Italy: multimedia journalism, magazine journalism
- Armagh, No. Ireland: creative writing, multimedia journalism
- Istanbul, Turkey: international reporting, internships
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:
- Rachele Kanigel, (teaching this summer in Urbino, Italy), email@example.com @JourProf
- Dennis Chamberlin, (teaching this summer in Urbino, Italy), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Listopad, (teaching this summer in London/Paris/Nice), email@example.com
- Jeff Brody, (teaching this summer in Valencia, Spain), firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
An academic program is only as good as its faculty, which accounts for ieiMedia being the nation’s leading independent deliverer of international programs for journalism and communications students. Check out our faculty roster and you’ll see what I mean.
As an experiential program, our faculty is a healthy mix of 15 professionals (including two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Magazine Award winners, and two winners of Overseas Press Club awards) and 29 academics, most tenured at various universities. The academics, who also have significant professional credentials such as Emmys, a Nieman fellowship, a George Polk award, and awards from the AP, UPI, and the Society of Professional Journalists, come from 21 universities.
As you peruse our staff roster, take note of a few names:
- Steve Anderson (James Madison University) designs and manages our web page in addition to directing the Urbino Program.
- Michael Gold (West Gold Editorial) manages our email marketing campaign to our own list of 6,000+ communications faculty and administrators. He is a National Magazine Award winner and also teaches in Urbino.
- Susan West (West Gold Editorial and the Food & Environment Reporting Network) manages our blog and teaches in Urbino. She has won a National Magazine Award and a Lowell Thomas award for best travel magazine.
- Rachele Kanigel (San Francisco State University) is the former Executive Director of ieiMedia and has taught in Urbino, Perpignan, and Jerusalem.
- Bob Marshall (our most senior instructor) is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, as is Dennis Chamberlin (Iowa State University). Both teach in our Urbino Program.
- Terri Ciofalo (University of Illinois) heads our Armagh Program and is a theater specialist.
Others to note are include:
- Michael Dorsher (University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire), Nice Program
- Jeff Brody (California State University Fullerton), Valencia Program
- Mary D’Ambrosio (Central Connecticut State), Istanbul Program
- Cathy Shafran (Oakland University), Jerusalem Program
First year hires at the Institute for Education in International Media are considered instructors; those who teach two to five years are Institute Fellows. The Senior Fellow designation goes to anyone with ieiMedia for five years or more.
ieiMedia Blog: Browse Topics
Latest Blog Posts
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- Meet with ieiMedia in Atlanta, Washington and California
- What makes a good travel writer? Meeting readers’ needs for humanity
- Apply by Oct. 4 to be one of 2,800 winners of a Gilman scholarship for study abroad
- ieiMedia announces new executive director, 2017 sites
- Urbino students convey stories through multimedia
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by Kenneth Foo, Nanyang Technological University, The Urbino Project 2011