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10 Tips for Taking Students Abroad

Oct 6, 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.
Student journalists worked with interpreters

Student journalists worked with interpreters to cover summer 2013 demonstrations in Istanbul's Taksim Square.

Excerpted from “10 Tips for Training the Next Generation of Foreign Correspondents,” which appeared on the PBS education blog Mediashift on June 30, 2014.

Want to lead your own study-abroad program? Here are some tips:

1-Start early. It can take a year or more to make all the arrangements necessary for a faculty-led study-abroad program. You and the administrators you work with will have to arrange lodging, meeting or classroom space, transportation, guest speakers, tours, insurance, academic credit, possibly interpreters, and at least some meals.

2-Find an in-country partner. Look for a university or language school or a media, government or non-governmental organization based in the country that can help you work out the logistics. To start, search the web for other study-abroad programs based in the region you want to visit. Send out feelers to organizations that might want to work with you or help you find local partners.

3-Work with your international programs office and other administrators.  Foreign travel makes college administrators nervous. Be prepared to fill out a lot of forms and get approval from multiple university bureaucrats before you can take a group of students out of the country. Double- and triple-check that you’ve gotten all the proper permissions and submitted all the necessary paperwork long before your departure date.

4-Plan orientation activities. Walking tours and scavenger hunts are good ways to help students get acquainted with a city, and small-group activities will help students get to know each other quickly.

5-Make contact with local news organizations. Try to arrange a tour of a local (or international) newspaper, news website, or TV or radio station or invite media professionals to speak to your group. Sometimes you can even arrange for students to shadow a reporter or do a mini-internship. Find out if the media organizations will consider publishing your students’ work. A local press club or journalism organization may also be of help.

6-Be flexible. While you need a concrete and carefully planned itinerary, be open to opportunities that may arise. And be ready to make a shift if things fall through, as they often do.

7-Line up cultural activities. Even if you’re planning a rigorous academic program, be sure to arrange for some fun stuff that will help students get a sense of the local culture – a cooking, dance or craft lesson; tours of local attractions; food or wine tastings; music and theatre performances; etc.

8-Keep them busy. College students visiting foreign countries have a tendency to drink, sometimes heavily. Those under 21 often want to take full advantage of the more liberal alcohol policies in the country they are visiting. Plan plenty of stimulating evening activities so students don’t spend every night at the local pub or bar.

9-But don’t overschedule. The biggest complaint I’ve gotten from students is that they don’t have enough downtime. Build free time into the schedule, so students can explore on their own or just hang out.

10-Be ready to play Mom (or Dad). When you’re leading a study-abroad program, you’re much more than an instructor. Be prepared to deal with medical emergencies, broken hearts, homesickness, roommate conflicts, love triangles and other challenges. Pack a first-aid kit and a box of tissues. You’re bound to need them.

Urbino Multimedia Student Featured in Online News

Oct 4, 2014   //   by Susan West   //   Alumni News, IEI Media in the News, 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.

Olivia Martzell in Urbino, Italy.

“I think international study is extremely important for students. It encourages students to get out of their comfort zone and test their skills and abilities,” Olivia Martzell, a multimedia student in the 2014 Urbino Program, recently told her college news bureau.

Martzell is a senior majoring in liberal arts at the Louisiana Scholars’ College, part of Northwestern State University of Louisana in Natchitoches. In Urbino, she wrote and photographed an article and created a video about a local dance school, Movimento E Fantasia  – Movement and Fantasy.

Titled “Getting the Pointe,” Martzell’s story was nominated for two Raffie awards, for Best Photo Story and Best Single Photograph. Martzell won in the category Best Single Photograph for “Tiny Dancers,” an atmospheric portrait of young performers awaiting their turn onstage. She was surprised to win, she told the news bureau, because “that was the first time I ever took a photography class.”

Martzell, who is also a dancer, said she “hopes to become a broadcast journalist for a national news network.” Of her experience in Urbino, she said, “I feel I progressed so much with my journalistic abilities. I was challenged to work hard and to go out, despite being out of my element, and learn Italy’s culture and truly get the story.”

Urbino Project Announces 2014 Raffie Award Winners

Oct 4, 2014   //   by Susan West   //   Awards, 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.

Winners of the coveted Raffie awards for 2014, both magazine and multimedia: (standing) Leslie McCrea, Meredith Kipp, Olivia Condon, Erin Mordhorst; (middle row) Susan Rogowski, J.J. Wilson, Olivia Martzell; (front row) Malorie Stone, Urvi Patel, Landon Walker

Each summer, the Urbino magazine, multimedia, and video programs honor the students’ best work with the “Raffie Awards,” named for the town’s most famous son, the Renaissance painter Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, or Raphael.

Choosing the winners is an exceedingly difficult task. Each of our 40 students stretched farther than they—and sometimes we—thought possible during the month-long course. Some had never reported a feature story or used a video camera, some had never taken journalistic photographs, and a few had never written a story in English. They faced considerable language and cultural challenges in order to complete their assignments. One student missed a week’s work because of a painful bite from a poisonous bug. Mercurial transportation schedules nearly did in several stories. Sources evaporated. Promising leads fell through. Cameras broke.

But every student succeeded. They came up with new stories, found alternative sources, snagged a friend’s camera. They kept trying until they got the correct information or the right wording or a better image.

Faced with that kind of effort and determination, how do you decide who “wins”? Ultimately, the faculty made some tough choices:

The prestigious Raffie awards, waiting to be taken home by deserving students.




And the other students? Well, they’re winners too. We’re sure you’ll agree when you see their work.

For Summer 2015: Six Great Chances to Study Abroad

Oct 3, 2014   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   International Reporting, Internships, Israel, Istanbul, Turkey, Jerusalem, Israel, Journalism Education, Multimedia, Multiplatform Journalism, Photography & Photojournalism, Scholarships, Study Abroad, Urbino, Italy, Video  //  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.
Urbino Students

Multimedia students in Urbino, Italy.


“To be a reporter in Istanbul is to drop into the middle of the action.”

“This has been much more than a chance to live in Italy for a month–it’s been a chance to learn and apply valuable information that will make me more equipped for a professional career in media production.”

“I learned that journalism is so much more than disseminating news. It’s linking people from opposite sides of the world through a core human interest.”

These are the voices of ieiMedia’s 2014 students, who traveled this past summer to France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Northern Ireland to study multimedia journalism, narrative journalism, social media, international reporting, and creative writing. They produced videos, made photos, and reported and wrote about everything from flamenco and truffles to Syrian women in Turkey and the tension in Hebron.

Now we’re looking forward to next summer’s courses and to a new crop of equally inspired–and inspiring–students. And we’re hoping that your students, and perhaps you, will join us.

For summer 2015, we offer six international learning adventures:

In addition, we are proud to announce ieiMedia’s 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, including Pulitzer prize winner Dennis Chamberlin and former White House photographer Susan Biddle.

Keep in mind that our application deadline is February 1, 2015. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and will close as each program is filled. Apply early to secure a spot!

Please share this information with your students, colleagues, and friends.

Join a 2015 ieiMedia Program as a Faculty Research Fellow

Oct 2, 2014   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   International Reporting, Journalism Education  //  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.
Plaza Del Ayuntamiento

Valencia, Spain: one of six study abroad locations.

In 2015, the Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) is once again offering communications faculty at accredited American colleges and universities Research Fellowships at its summer media programs in Italy, Israel, Turkey, France, Spain, and Northern Ireland.

In 2014, Barry Janes, professor of communication at Rider University, joined the team of the Urbino Program as Faculty Fellow, where he participated in the video module and advised students in their projects.

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. Accepted Research Fellows will receive a $3,000 grant toward the $4,995 cost of our programs and have access to all the amenities listed at their program site. Non-participating spouses are welcome at a cost of $1,200 for 4 weeks—but no children 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 praxis modules and become a resource to faculty and students where appropriate.

To apply: Send a letter to me, Prof. Andrew Ciofalo, 4195 Tamiami Trail South #102, Venice FL 34293-5112. 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 let us know. Include with the letter 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.

James Foley Memorial Scholarship In International Photojournalism

Sep 15, 2014   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Photography & Photojournalism, Scholarships  //  Comments Off on James Foley Memorial Scholarship In International Photojournalism
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.

In honor of the courageous men and women who risk their lives in order to report from the world’s most dangerous places ieiMedia has established the James Foley Memorial Scholarship in memory of the photojournalist who was tragically executed while covering the war in Syria.

This $5,000 photojournalism scholarship covers tuition, program fees and meals for participation in our Urbino program, jointly sponsored by James Madison University and Iowa State University. The winner will work with two award-winning photojournalists in an experiential program that runs through the month of June 2015. The recipient is responsible for his/her own airfare.

To enter the competition you must submit a link to an online photographic portfolio as well as a short letter explaining why an international reporting experience is important for your education. The portfolio should be well organized and show evidence of curiosity about other groups or cultures. The letter should not exceed 300 words. The judging will be done by a jury of professional photojournalists including former White House Photographer and Washington Post staff photographer Susan Biddle as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Dennis Chamberlin.

Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2015

Fund Raising for Summer Study Abroad

Feb 4, 2014   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Resources, Scholarships, 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.

People are aware that undergraduate tuition is usually supported by government and university financial aid and loans. They don’t realize that little support is available for summer study abroad. That’s why students seeking funds will need to reach out to family, friends, and various organizations.

What drives costs for summer study abroad programs? First, there is the variable of the foreign currency exchange rate. But the following fixed components are the main ones to consider while seeking outside support:

1. Housing
2. Meals
3. Instruction
4. Equipment
5. Airfare (usually not included in program fee)
6. Independent travel
7. Administrative overhead (facilities, insurance, etc)
8. Credits and fees

The cost of credits and associated fees, items 7 and 8, varies among institutions and usually doesn’t fit into an appeal for financial assistance because it is not relevant to being abroad. But a case can be made for the other items.

Summer study abroad must contend with higher prices when programs are located in popular tourist destinations, which affects items 1, 2, 5, and 6. Housing, meals, and airfare can easily be separated into distinct funding appeals, when a single source for all cannot be identified.

Programs that are transplanted lecture/discussion courses (with field trips) may have only one professor and 15 to 20 students, resulting in a lower cost. Experiential courses, like those offered by ieiMedia, may be more costly because the student-faculty ratio may be 3 or 4 to one. This is a special circumstance that may be cited in any appeal for funds.

There are many local merchants, community, religious (including parishes) and ethnic organizations that will assist students in special projects, like studying abroad, provided students describe their purpose in terms that would appeal to the donor.

In some cases, a student may approach potential donors with mass mailings, but where possible an individualized email or letter will work best, especially when contacting family and friends. The most effective communications will be personal, a letter that will communicate your passion for the proposed project. Break the project down into fundable units. For instance, if meals will cost $25 per day, seek a commitment for a certain number of days. And the donors should be promised some response upon the student’s return.

If a student needs to  take out a loan to attend, a powerful appeal can be based on helping the student to avoid this additional debt or pay off the debt…all because the program is that important to his or her education or career.

Many of these rationales can be crafted for the online fundraising sites like,, and

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.  

Urbino Alumni Find Convergence Approach Useful

Dec 23, 2013   //   by Steve Anderson   //   Alumni News, Testimonials, 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.
Urbino program students

Past Urbino program students

Urbino program alumni have found the Urbino program’s convergence approach (learning writing, photography and video) useful in finding employment after graduation. Urbino alumni are employed in careers ranging from news, to entertainment, to marketing, to higher education. It’s not surprising to see the variety of fields in which our alumni are employed.

Grant Bell (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is a videographer for the Helicopter Association International (HAI) based in Alexandria, Virginia. His job entails scripting, editing and motion graphics, as well as photography.

Robert Boag (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is the Head Photographer for Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Robert says Urbino’s convergence approach of learning writing, photography and video pushed him ahead of the pack when applying for the job.

Allison Butler (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, is an account manager for Sigler, a commercial printing press in Ames, Iowa. The company specializes in branding for websites, print pieces, apparel and promotional items. She manages a client base of 30+ sororities, fraternities and universities to fulfill their marketing and communication needs.

Leah De Graaf (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, works as a copy editing apprentice for Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Media (Meredith Corporation) in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kerri DeVries (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is the Project Manager for Redhead Companies in Baltimore, Maryland. You can read about the value of her Urbino experience at the company’s website.

Sydni Dunn (Louisiana State University), Urbino 2011, is a staff reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. where she covers the academic workplace and job market.

Kenzie Fisher (James Madison University), Urbino 2012, is a post production production assistant for Lionsgate in Studio City, California. She is currently working on a Lionsgate film coming out next summer.

Dorian Geiger (University of British Columbia), Urbino 2011, describes his post-Urbino life as a whirlwind. He worked full-time at a couple of daily and weekly newspapers and worked as an editor-in-chief at a small community newspaper. He completed a bachelor of journalism degree at University of King’s College, then did two internships, one at Asian Geographic in Singapore and another at Global News in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Dorian’s piece on the real-life inspiration for Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld appeared in The New York Times on November 1st. Check out his story on The New York Times website.

This fall, he started pursuing a graduate degree at Columbia University in New York City.

Ashley Grisham (James Madison University), Urbino 2012, is an Executive Assistant for Trium Entertainment, a reality show production company in Studio City, California.

Emily Harmon (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, is Associate Director of the Iowa United Nations Association, a non-profit organization in Iowa City, Iowa. She manages interns, writes op-eds and press releases, edits blogs and press releases, plans events, designs promotional materials, and handles social media.  She also did a video for human rights day.

Stephany Holguin (James Madison University), Urbino 2012, is a producer at ABC/13 News,WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia. WSET is the ABC affiliated station in the Roanoke/Lynchburg market, the 67th largest market in the country.

Chelsea Judge (Oklahoma State University), Urbino 2012, is the promotions manager at KXXV-TV, News Channel 25, in Waco, Texas where she creates topical promos for four evening newscasts and produces the image and brand promos for the station.

Steve Odorczyk (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, works for Red Star Merchandise in Charlottesville, Virginia. Red Star manages the merchandise operation for touring bands as well as festivals around the country. They also manage online stores for a number of bands, such as the Dave Matthews Band and The Head and the Heart.

Addie Olson (Iowa State University), Urbino 2011, is a multimedia journalist for the ABC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa where she writes, shoots and edits her own stories.

Yetiş Paycu (Bahcesehir University), Urbino 2012, is continuing his journalism and cinema/TV studies, but is also working on a documentary film about Kürdish music in Turkey. He is also doing freelance work.

Liz Zabel (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, is still finishing up her degree at Iowa State University and is currently interning at the Iowa Energy Center in Ames, Iowa as a multimedia communications intern. Her Urbino experience is noted on their website.

IeiMedia Faculty Chosen for Entrepreneurial Journalism Institute

Dec 20, 2013   //   by Susan West   //   Awards, Blog, Journalism Education  //  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.

ASU Cronkite School logoFour current and past ieiMedia faculty are among 15 professors of journalism recently selected to participate in the Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The four are:

(Read more about the these professors on our faculty page.)

In a press release, the Institute said: “At the five-day institute [January 5 to 9], the professors, who were selected in a competitive process, will learn concepts and practices that can be incorporated into their teaching of entrepreneurial journalism. Cronkite Professor Dan Gillmor, an internationally known speaker and thinker on new media and entrepreneurship, will lead the institute along with noted entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and Cronkite faculty.”

“Entrepreneurial journalism” is a hot topic in the field today, and refers to the thinking and skills students need in order to navigate the disrupted journalism landscape. Says Gillmor in a description of ASU’s entrepreneurship program,  “Students need to be fluent in a variety of digital media forms and understand the trends that are redefining journalism, including media economics and product development, business and marketing. And they need to do this in a way that preserves journalism’s best principles and practices.”

Congratulations to the four fellows. We look forward to incorporating their new ideas into future ieiMedia programs.


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Students Say...

The stories that lie within these hills are fascinating. The people that walk these streets are inspiring. Having the privilege to hear and tell those stories for the past month was an experience like no other.
by Christina Botticchio, Ryerson University, Urbino Project 2015