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Gonzaga and ieiMedia Team Up In Special Program for Adults

Sep 18, 2013   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Photography & Photojournalism, 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.

Gonzaga University is cooperating with ieiMedia to offer the Institute’s first Lifelong Learning Program this Spring. The program is aimed at alumni and other interested adults. The group will spend a week in March on the French and Italian Rivieras doing art, photography, and cooking, plus instruction in conversational French.
The program is headed by Dr. John Caputo, Professor of Communicatons Leadership at Gonzaga, and an intercultural communications expert who has taught for ieiMedia in Cagli and Camerano, Italy, and Armagh, Northern Ireland. He is the director of “Gonzaga in Cagli”, a graduate course in communications leadership offered every summer in Italy. He also directs his department’s graduate program in Florence each spring before heading off to Cagli. He can be contacted at
For full details visit the program page.

Tell Me Your Story

Sep 14, 2013   //   by Andy Ciofalo   //   Non-fiction Journalism  //  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.

This excerpt from an over the transom proposal to ieiMedia cuts to the very essence of the type of journalism we espouse. (It comes from Prof. Stephen G. Bloom at the University of Iowa.) After we had taken our summer reporting group back to Cagli, Italy, for the umpteenth time, a professor eager for new terrain warned that we would soon be running out of stories to do. My response: “There are 10,000 people in this town, so there must be at least 10,000 stories.” Our objective was to build a documentary portrait of a town mosaic style—one gem of a story at a time—until a full picture emerges. We can never have too many stories about pasta making if we don’t forget that the story is really about the pasta maker and how we link his individuality to larger issues swirling around him and his society.    –Andy Ciofalo, President, ieiMedia

Stephen Bloom photo

Prof. Stephen Bloom

Conventional media coverage focuses on news involving key players in politics, business, arts and entertainment, society, science, fashion, medicine, law, education, and sports. We cover leaders in these arenas because what they say and do is thought to have impact on our lives. When President Obama announces an upcoming trip to Russia, it’s news. When the Fed reduces the prime interest rate, it’s news. When San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum tosses a no-hitter, it’s news. When Kim Kardashian gives birth to a baby girl, it’s (unfortunately) news.

All these accounts are top-down news stories. At their heart are the powerful and the recognized. But these top-down stories are less about us than they are about us gazing into a thick, impenetrable department-store window filled with goods that are neither real nor centrally relevant to our daily workaday lives.

Almost everyone — certainly not just Americans — is yearning for frank and candid stories about real people. I’m not talking about Hallmark feel-good pieces, but well-constructed, evocative and true stories about us — about who we are and the human condition each of us shares.

Narrative stories about everyman and everywoman are the core of our human civilization. “Tell me a story” is the world’s oldest plea. Storytelling in an accounting of events and how those events make an impact on the listener’s (or reader’s or viewer’s) life. Some stories are essential; others are for elucidation, information, personal enrichment, entertainment. If told well, they can make for an unforgettable and indelible impact. All ought to make us sit up and ponder our own roles in the daily parade of life.

Taken as a whole, such bottom-up storytelling constitutes important and vital social history, which focuses on the lives and contributions of ordinary, working-class people. It’s this collective culture and the collective sense of who we are that binds each of us together, whether we are Americans, Russians, or Chinese.

Yet, everyday men and women are invisible to the media everywhere. To the nurse in Shanghai, the factory worker in Kiev, the butcher in Fortaleza, the tailor in Jerusalem much of the current top-down news agenda is irrelevant. These stories are about someone else. This is a distressing omission in our media landscape. Millions of stories never get told. And we are poorer for it. Read more >>

ieiMedia Alum Interns at Real Simple

Sep 9, 2013   //   by Susan West   //   Alumni News, Awards, Internships, Magazines, 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.

IeiMedia alum Leah De Graaf interned at Real Simple magazine this summer.

In the summer of 2012, Leah De Graaf, now a senior in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University, took part in ieiMedia’s Magazine Journalism course in Urbino, Italy. She produced three stories for Urbino Now, the magazine produced annually by the course. One story explored pausa, the Italian custom of taking a lengthy mid-day break. She also wrote a feature and sidebar about La Tavola Marche, a inn and cooking school run by two American ex-pats. Her feature won our best feature award for 2012.

This summer, Leah was one of 33 students chosen to take part in the ASME internship program, a prestigious opportunity for which more than 300 applied. She spent two months as an intern at Real Simple magazine, a publication of Time, Inc. Leah discovered that Real Simple is a much nicer place than magazines depicted in movies like The Devil Wears Prada, and that New York is a lot more crowded than Iowa. We checked in with her to find out what else she learned.

What was your job as an intern at Real Simple? What was a typical day like? Whom did you work with?

At Real Simple I was placed in the research department. I was working with a team of six staff researchers and one other intern. My major assignment while at the magazine was working on the Family Issue, an annual special issue. For this issue, I fact-checked three front-of-the-book articles and one food feature, and did the reporting for a sidebar of a feature story on “helicopter parents.” The rest of my free time was spent fact-checking other articles for the August, September, and October issues of the monthly print magazine. I worked on a really broad range of topics, which was one of the best parts. While we were waiting on stories to arrive on our desks, I also researched different topics for other editors and transcribed interviews. Towards the end of my time at Real Simple, I spent a few weeks in the fashion department helping the assistants check in and organize clothes for photo shoots.

On a typical day, I had a 20-30 minute commute to work on the subway. I arrived a little before 10 a.m., would check my email, and get started going through the stories on my desk. Most of the time I was checking specific names, quotes, prices, and stores against fact sheets and direct emails from PR representatives. Occasionally I got to talk to sources over phone and email to verify quotes or other questions from top editors. My supervisor would usually come say, “good morning” before 11 and talk about what copy was expected to move to research that day. Around 1 p.m. I usually took an hour lunch with other ASME interns working in the Time & Life Building.

Mondays were my favorite because I got to attend the weekly staff meeting where the deputy managing editor led us through the lineup and checked the progress of each story, with both editorial and design staff members. There were usually about 30 people from all of the different departments at these meetings.

Recently, internships have come under fire as a way to get free labor or make some unsuspecting young person handle all the grunt work. Based on your ASME intern blog post, it sounds like you had a much more rewarding experience. What made the difference?

I really think this all comes down to the leadership at Real Simple and the staff. Everyone was down-to-earth and easy to talk to. Yes, I was extremely intimidated sitting in the office of Kristin van Ogtrop, the managing editor, surrounded by not only her but the executive editor and the managing editor of It was clear by their body language how engaged they were in what I had to say, so I was more open and relaxed as a result. Kristin sat casually back in a cozy armchair, and Sarah sat with her whole body facing me on the same couch where I sat. As I told them about my experience at Real Simple, I could tell they genuinely cared about what I was saying. I wasn’t just some girl from Iowa. Of course, they were fascinated with the fact that I grew up on a hog farm.

Also, I was paid for the work I was doing. A lot of times it is the interns who are working for free that are given the grunt work the magazines don’t want to pay someone to do. Although, other interns in my same program were regularly sent on coffee runs and out on errands for editors, and they were paid the same as me. It just depends on the environment of the magazine you are working for.


ieiMedia Alum Reports: The Advantages of Studying Abroad

Sep 6, 2013   //   by Susan West   //   Alumni News, Study Abroad, 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.

This summer, Greg Zwiers took part in ieiMedia’s Multimedia Journalism program in Urbino, Italy. (His story, “The Olive Oil Engineer,” was nominated for the 2013 Best Feature award.) Now back at Iowa State University, Greg is a contributor to the student-run news organization, where he wrote recently about studying abroad. We are re-posting the article, which appeared September 5, with permission of

Urbino 2013 alum Greg Zwiers

By Greg Zwiers,

Students are gaining new experiences in study-abroad programs through Iowa State, whether it’s for a semester or just a few weeks.

“Students who have studied abroad typically are a bit more independent, better able to deal with uncertainty and more appreciative of other cultures,” said Trevor Nelson, director of the Study Abroad Center.

Nicholas Morton, senior in environmental science, studied in the Fiji Islands from July to December 2011. He took classes in geology, ocean law, Pacific history, and the Fijian language.

“I’ve gained a lot of new perspectives on the world, and I’ve gained a whole new way to deal with others,” Morton said.

Morton said he hopes he can use the things he learned to help with the environmental problems the country will face someday.

“Studying abroad offers a lot of classes and opportunities that students cannot get if they spend their four or five years in college on Iowa State’s campus,” said Luis Duckworth, senior in aerospace engineering.

Duckworth participated in a nine-day spring break program in Florence, Italy, in 2012. There he took introductory courses in Italian language, architecture, and art restoration.


Bake Sale, Crowdfund, Scholarship: How to Pay for Studying Abroad

Sep 3, 2013   //   by Susan West   //   Resources, Scholarships  //  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.

Victoria Mita of FundMyTravel says it well: “I’m not rich but I studied abroad. So can you, if you really want to!”

In a post on The Traveling Advisor, Victoria sums up the various ways of finding cash to study abroad, from “old school” methods like bake sales and yard work to “new school” means like crowdfunding, as in FundMyTravel and ProjectTravel.

And, of course, there are scholarships. These three organizations offer complete lists of scholarships, grants, loans, and paid internships for students seeking to study in another country:

Urbino 2012 Website Wins AEJMC Award

Sep 1, 2013   //   by Dennis Chamberlin   //   Awards, Multimedia, Urbino, Italy  //  No Comments
Dennis Chamberlin is an assistant professor of journalism at Iowa State University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist. He has more than 20 years experience as a newspaper and magazine photojournalist and has worked for publications such as TIME, The New York Times Sunday Magazine and National Geographic.

association logoI’m proud to report that the multimedia website for our 2012 Urbino, Italy, program has been honored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The association’s Newspaper and Online News division awarded the Urbino Project 2012 site second place in its annual competition.

The website was evaluated by journalism professors from the nation’s leading schools, and we are honored to have received this recognition. This is evidence that the work our students produced during their month in Italy is of a high standard. They have every right to be proud of the work they produced.

By the way, the 2013 multimedia site—just completed this summer by our latest crop of young reporters, photographers, videographers, and interactive content creators—is impressive, too. Follow the links below to enjoy the top-notch journalism on both sites:

Summer Research Fellowships Abroad in Communications

Aug 30, 2013   //   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 seven study abroad locations.

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

We have created the 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.

Reflections on Home

Jul 30, 2013   //   by Terri Ciofalo   //   Armagh, N. Ireland, Blogging, Creative Writing, Multimedia, Playwriting, Poetry  //  No Comments
Terri Ciofalo is an Assistant Professor of Stage Management at the University of Illinois and the Assistant Production Manager at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. An expert logistical manager, Terri has toured nationally and regionally with a variety of theatre artists and dance companies as a Production and Stage Manager. Terri is Program Director and an instructor for the Armagh Project.

It is a hard responsibility to be a stranger;
to hear your speech sounding at odds with your neighbors
     — John Hewitt

Street in Armagh, Northern Ireland

Armagh, Northern Ireland

These words by Northern Irish Poet John Hewitt were this year’s theme for the John Hewitt international writer’s conference that takes place in Northern Ireland annually during the last week of July. The students and faculty of ieiMedia’s Armagh Project were invited to present our work – multimedia journalism pieces, plays, prose and poetry – to an audience of writers, educators, journalists and students from the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This welcome appeared in our program:

After living nearly a month in Armagh, I hear the place in my voice now. I hear my faculty saying “aye” and “tis” and turning the “th” sound into a full hard stop. Our students mirror the musical cadence of language in their plays and create stories with characters speaking melodies in the dialogue. The music of Northern Irish speech has become comfortable in our ears, just as the grey granite, rolling green hills and rainy days giving way to sunshine have become comfortable in our eyes. We stand out as “that American group” everywhere we go, and yet we have found our place in the community too. The ladies at the Basement Café know our latte orders by heart. The Bagel Bean across the way knows we always want take-away lunch. The technical staff in our classroom space at the AmmA Center know to hide when we come up the stairs. We are strangers, yet we are at home.

Throughout the course of our month-long residency, our student playwrights, journalists and creative writers have been asking themselves “what is home?” Is home the place we all came from, where our parents live and we go to school? Or is home the Armagh City Youth Hostel where we have built a community of writing and learning together in the last month? Is home the big hill we walk every day connecting us to a city and people at the heart of Northern Ireland? Is home in the stories we have heard or the stories we have created? Themes about being home, understanding home or leaving home fill the work of our students this year. This was not by design but certainly, the idea of “where do I belong” took hold in the collective unconscious of our group.

We are happy to share these stories of belonging and not belonging with you. Stories inspired by the people we have met, the city we have grown to love, and the Northern Ireland we are just now beginning to understand.

Reflecting back on those words now I see more clearly the long journey that our month-long stay cast upon us: from dinner with a former IRA Hunger Striker, to Belfast to walk the Peace Walls, to the Iron Age earthworks of Navan Fort, and to the natural wonder of the Giant’s Causeway. I remember the paradoxes we all learned to live with: a first edition of Gulliver’s Travels locked in a modest case in the local library not a three minute walk from our high-tech classroom space at the heart of the town; our 4th of July celebration in a pub in Belfast where local artists share poems and songs about their own search for identity and freedom; and the postcard-perfect green and peaceful hills that drew most of us to Ireland populated by people who shared stories of remembered sorrows.

These moments of dissonance punctuated our experiences and drove us inward, to ask ourselves questions about who we were in order to understand what we were experiencing. Unlike a tourist, we were not on a vacation of the beautiful but a journey of discovery. For the first time, I finally understood that leaving what was familiar was the only way that you could find home.

You can find the work of Armagh Project 2013 on our program blog.

ieiMedia Students Set out for Summer Adventures

Jun 4, 2013   //   by Rachele Kanigel   //   Armagh, N. Ireland, Blog, International Reporting, Israel, Istanbul, Turkey, Jerusalem, Israel, Journalism Education, Urbino, Italy  //  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.

Some 74 students and recent graduates from more than 50 universities in five countries will participate in ieiMedia programs this summer.

Students headed for the iPad magazine program in Urbino are busily packing their bags for a June 6 departure, while others bound for Armagh, Northern Ireland; Istanbul, Turkey; and Jerusalem, Israel still have a couple of weeks left for last-minute shopping, reading and information gathering.

Some tips for those planning to travel with ieiMedia this summer:

  • Read up on your destination city and the surrounding region. Consume international newspapers, magazines, books, guides, even novels about the place you’ll be living for a month. The more you know about the community, the better you’ll be able to report.
  • Morgan Brinlee, a student in ieiMedia's 2010 Perpignan program, developed a fascination with escargots during her summer in France.

    Come armed with story ideas. Do enough research that you have some idea of what you want to cover when you’re there.  Your faculty and translators will have some suggestions but the best ideas, the ones you really want to report on, will spring from your own interests. One of our strongest students in Perpignan a few years ago came to France knowing she wanted to report on escargots; indeed, she put together a fine multimedia story on a snail farm in nearby Estoher.
  • Pack lightly but bring a variety of summer-weight clothes. Remember to pack some casual business outfits (a dress, skirt or pantsuit for women; a nice shirt and slacks for men) for interviews and meetings with public officials, journalists and other professionals. Though it will be hot in many of our program sites, bring clothing that is modest and professional.
  • Bring sensible footwear. All of our program sites are in historic cities with cobble-stone streets and hilly areas. Forget the stiletto heels. Bring shoes you can walk in!
  • Carry a notebook and camera wherever you go. Even a casual conversation with a shopkeeper or resident could turn into an interview. Be prepared to take notes and shoot stills and video.
  • Get contact info for follow-up interviews. Collect business cards or names, phone numbers and email addresses for every person you talk with. Everyone is a potential source. You never know when you may want to go back to someone for more information.
  • Open your senses. Take a whiff of the air. Taste new foods. Try new experiences. Be open to what this new environment has to offer.
  • BUT don’t leave your common sense at home. Young travelers can occasionally get themselves into trouble by not paying attention to the warning signs they would follow at home. When possible, travel in pairs or small groups. Don’t go off with strangers. Know where your wallet, passport and other valuables are at all times. Be wary and aware of your surroundings.
  • Have a blast! ieiMedia programs are educational but they’re also fun. Many ieiMedia alumni describe their experiences with us as the summer of their lives. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to delve deep into a foreign community. Explore. Ask questions. Learn. Grow.

    Bon voyage from all of us at ieiMedia!


ieiMedia Student Wins Gilman Scholarship

Apr 27, 2013   //   by Rachele Kanigel   //   Blog, Istanbul, Turkey, Scholarships  //  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.

A Metropolitan State University journalism student has won a $4,000 Gilman scholarship to study with ieiMedia in Istanbul this summer.

Taylor Gilman, a journalism major and political science minor at the Denver university, was thrilled to learn about the scholarship from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

“Winning this scholarship is an opportunity for me to do something extraordinary,” Gilman, 19, said in an email interview. “Studying abroad is something that always seemed out of my reach, but now it’s finally happening.”

The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to American undergraduate students who are planning to study abroad. The program “aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints,” according to the program’s website.

Gilman (no relation to the scholarship’s namesake) is originally from Glenwood Springs, Colo., and is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

“I chose the Istanbul project because I like how Turkey is a destination that not many students choose when studying abroad. I am also excited about the multimedia aspect of the program. I am very interested in photojournalism and the illumination of the human condition through photography. Even though I will only be in Istanbul for four weeks, I hope that I can shed at least a little light and truth on a culture so different from my own through images.”

Gilman is one of eight undergraduate students studying in ieiMedia’s international reporting program in Turkey this summer. Seven recent graduates and grad students will intern there with ieiMedia’s internship program.

“It’s a weird sensation how I feel,” Gilman said. “I have never been more excited or terrified in my entire life.” 


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The Urbino experience has been eye opening and life changing. It has made me more independent and confident in myself and my career path. I am grateful for all of the people I have met and the adventures we have taken together.
by Deanna Brigandi, James Madison University, Urbino Project 2015