WJI Buzz - Professor Appointed Chair of World Journalism Institute Due to Combination of Academic and Industry Experience

Feb 4, 2009

Professor Appointed Chair of World Journalism Institute Due to Combination of Academic and Industry Experience

Michael Longinow inspires journalism students to combine their faith with their profession.

by Jenna Bartlo

Biola University Professor Michael Longinow is a rare individual in journalism in Christian higher education, according to Robert Case, founder and Director of World Journalism Institute (WJI). Longinow, chair of Biola's Department of Journalism, has been awarded the position of John McCandlish Phillips chair of Journalism at WJI for the current academic year.

WJI is an institute dedicated to helping aspiring journalists, who are Christians, become proficient and professional in mainstream journalism.

"There was no one who we would rather have than Michael Longinow fill that position," said Case. "He is a very rare individual who has earned a Ph.D. and has experience as a working journalist--it shows in his graduates."

It is uncommon to find professors who have a combination of professional and scholarly study in the area of journalism in Christian higher education. Longinow is a unique combination in this country, Case proffered.

"I was impressed with his students at Asbury and now at Biola," said Case.

Longinow, who will remain chair of the department of journalism at Biola, was an early guest speaker for WJI and has spoken on reporting, writing and photojournalism in the past. Over the years, he has escalated in his involvement with the program. His awarded position is named after renowned former New York Times reporter, John McCandlish Phillips. As chair of WJI, Longinow will teach the convergence sequence at the institute in May and confer with the WJI leadership about how to help make WJI a better operation as it grows and develops.

"I've sensed, since the time I first entered academia, that God was calling me to be a spokesperson for the fact that Christian higher education can (though it often doesn't try hard enough on this) 'get it' when it comes to serious preparation in journalism," said Longinow.

Being appointed to the John McCandlish Phillips chair of journalism at WJI gives Longinow an opportunity to impact students who are not attending Christian universities as well as raise awareness of Biola.

Longinow noted that there are very few Christian colleges or universities that teach news journalism from an informed, professionally relevant perspective by journalism industry professionals.

"So when I write for magazines, when I do academic research, when I speak at conventions or when awards like this McCandlish Phillips thing come up, I use it as an opportunity to say, Don't cut Christians out of the media conversation just because they're unashamedly following Christ," he said.

Longinow believes each of his students is potentially another person who can speak intelligently about journalism and that "it is not an evil to be obliterated from society."

"It's a field that can use the influence of Christ."

Longinow noted that WJI is intended for students who do not attend a Christian university like Biola since WJI offers similar instruction already available in Christian journalism programs. The program is meant for students who are looking to add something to their education that is not offered at their university. Longinow has had students at WJI from schools such as the University of Washington, University of Mississippi and even Harvard.

"The few students who enter WJI from Christian schools tend to be from those schools that don't offer much in the way of practical journalism preparation and/or don't do much with preparing students with understanding of a Christian world view," he said.

According to the WJI website, "The mission of the World Journalism Institute is to recruit, equip, place and encourage journalists who are Christians in the mainstream newsrooms of America." The World Journalism Institute, founded in 1999, is located in New York City at The King's College.

Learn more about Biola University's Department of Journalism.

Learn more about WJI.

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Biola University, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

For more information:

World Journalism Institute