Aspiring International Reporters Invited to Summer Seminar in Jerusalem

Posted: March 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm, Last Updated: March 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm

By Catherine Ferraro

The Jerusalem skyline. Photo by David Shankbone, from Wikipedia Commons

Have you ever dreamed of being a foreign correspondent and reporting from the front lines of a foreign country? Do you want to be immersed in the multilayered narratives of the Israelis and Palestinians and determine for yourself if peace can be achieved?

Students who enroll in the summer seminar in Jerusalem on international reporting will have the opportunity to work with five seasoned professionals who have years of experience in Middle Eastern and international affairs.

Most notably, Linda Gradstein, a former NPR correspondent in Jerusalem for more than 20 years, will join the students during their stay. Gradstein has won several awards for her coverage which includes five Israeli elections, four wars and major stories covering issues such as the rise of Hamas in Gaza, the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the immigration of more than one million people from the former Soviet Union to Israel.

This is the first time Mason’s Center for Global Education (CGE) and Department of Communication has offered the program, which aims to introduce students to journalistic approaches and practices in a cross-cultural setting.

“The Seminar on International Reporting is a great way for students to be exposed to the culture and politics of a foreign country,” says Steve Klein, coordinator of Mason’s electronic journalism program who will lead the summer seminar in Jerusalem.

“With the help of the professional journalists who will be with us, students will have unparalleled access to politicians, authors, poets and other leaders and be able to get a sense of the issues that affect this part of the world from a unique perspective.”

The program runs from June 12 through July 28 and is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at Mason and other public and private institutions in the United States.

Undergraduate students will receive 6 credits for Field Study in Communication (COMM 307), International Journalism (COMM 399) and Special Topics (NCLC 475). Graduate students will receive up to 6 credits for Seminar in Communication (COMM 590).

During the program, students will visit and work with journalists and media organizations in Jerusalem and throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories, including Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

They will develop their reporting and communication skills and learn how to reach a global audience across a variety of media platforms by focusing on issues such as culture, politics, religion, environment and business.

Students will also gain experience using media tools in a different environment – from hardware (computers, cell phones and audio-video devices) to software programs that allow them to prepare and file stories.

Graduate students will have the additional opportunity to do in-depth research at a variety of popular locations, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum and the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names and photo archive.

A unique aspect of the program is the six different modules offered in collaboration with the Jerusalem NewsLab in which aspiring reporters can participate. Each module explores the many facets of culture and conflict in the Middle East. The program modules are

  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a Prism for International Reporting
  • Media in the Palestinian Territories
  • Religions Without Borders: Religious and Cultural Affairs in the Middle East and Beyond
  • Business Reporting in Israel and the Palestinian Territories
  • Reflections on Conflict: Water Scarcity in Israel and Palestine
  • Beiti, My Home: Studying Israeli and Palestinian Literature as a Springboard for Creative Writing and Memoir

During their time in Jerusalem, students will stay at the Gloria Hotel, which is located inside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The deadline to apply is March 19, 2010.

For more information about the program, visit the CGE web site or contact Klein at sklein1@gmu.edu.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu