Medill offers new international reporting trips

Jack Corrigan, Reporter

In an interconnected world where distance seems to shrink with every new technological breakthrough, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications will promote global exposure through two new programs debuting this year.

Medill will be sending students to Germany and Israel this summer for international reporting trips.

“We believe young journalists will benefit from global experiences,” said Medill Prof. Mei-Ling Hopgood, director of global initiatives. “It’s very important for people who want to write about people to understand people and to have exposure to different cultures, different economies, lots of different things.”

Students participating in the programs will be required to take a Spring Quarter class to prepare for the trips. Though neither trip has specific academic objectives, each trip will have a theme.

Medill Prof. Peter Slevin, who serves on the International Studies Program Advisory Committee, said the trip to Germany, which will take place in July, will be focused on Holocaust history.

“It is designed as an oral history project on survivors of the Holocaust,” Slevin said. “Many are very elderly and the idea is to capture some of their stories and save them for history.”

Sponsored by a grant from the government of Hamburg, Germany, 10 journalism students from the University of Hamburg will be hosted by Medill students for a week. Later, those Medill students will travel to Germany for a trip that will include stops in Hamburg and Berlin.

The Israel program, Slevin said, will take place for two weeks in September, exposing students to current Israeli-Palestinian affairs. The students will meet with entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv and travel to the Golan Heights and possibly the West Bank. Policymakers, military officers and foreign journalists will also brief the participants in Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem particularly is a touchstone for all sorts of religious, cultural and political operations,” said Medill Prof. Tim McNulty, co-director of the National Security Journalism Initiative. “For journalists, it’s such a rich territory.”

The program in Germany will most likely be a one-time offer, but the Israeli program may potentially be a recurring opportunity, Slevin said.

Hopgood said Medill will offer many more opportunities like this in the future. Next year, she said, several students may have the opportunity to travel abroad to a university in Shanghai, and others may visit Northwestern’s Qatar campus in the fall.

“We want to empower our students to have more experiences like this,” she said. “We also want to make it possible financially and time-wise to do that.”

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