Mid-Career Course #6: Becoming a part-time WORLD Correspondent
Oct 13, 2015 - Oct 17, 2015
This five-day course in Austin, Texas, is for mid-career WORLD readers seeking the opportunity to write occasionally for the magazine, website, or radio show. Marvin and Susan Olasky provide hands-on training in reporting, writing, and rewriting.
*** THIS SECTION OF THE CLASS IN NOW FULL. Please consider applying to the Feburary version of this course. **
- Who can apply?
- Required Reading
- Required Items
- Pre-Class Writing
- Class Component - Calendar
Application Deadline: July 1
The sixth WORLD mid-career course provides intensive training in reporting and writing magazine, website, and radio stories from a Christian worldview. It is not for those primarily interested in writing devotionals, exegetical essays, memoirs, fiction, or poetry. The course meets October 13-17, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening reading and writing, in the Olasky living room 4106 Firstview Drive, Austin, TX 78731. Orientation meeting the evening of Oct. 12.
Note: Dr. Olasky has now chosen ten mid-careers for the 6th course. If you applied for the 4th, 5th, or 6th mid-career courses and were not accepted, your application carries over to the 7th course, which will be on a date to be determined in 2016. New applications for the 7th course also welcome.
Tuition is free. Students are responsible for their own transportation, housing, and food expenses. Housing possibilities range from $50 to $150 per night. Meal package of six breakfasts, five lunches costs $36. Dinners on your own.
What to expect
Only those prepared to absorb tough criticism of their writing should attend. The course will also touch on the history and theology of Christian journalism. It provides basic training for WORLD members who desire to improve their writing and perhaps become World News Group correspondents who report on news developments within their field of experience. It does not lead to full-time WORLD work.
Experience of previous mid-career students
The mid-career writing course expanded my horizons: it taught me to write in new ways, for different audiences, and on topics that need attention from a Christian world view. Sometimes a well-meaning amateur tries to coach your batting swing or tennis serve and ends up disrupting your natural rhythm so badly that you can’t even hit the ball! The mid-career writing course had an opposite effect: coaching by experienced writers sharpened my skills and led to opportunities that I had never anticipated. — Jesse Yow
I draw from what I learned at the mid-career course on a weekly basis. It was a practical exercise in how to think, write, and edit like a journalist. As a small class, we walked through each step of writing and were able to make mistakes, correct them, throw out ideas, and bounce questions off expert journalists. The mountain of journalism became a hill I could climb because of the mid-career course. — Kiley Crossland
I loved the classes and found the seminar to be very helpful. I especially enjoyed being able to critique each other's writing and do the line by line editing together. The hands-on experience was unbeatable. — Julie Borg
WORLD’s mid-career course is fantastic! The course content is outstanding, but even more valuable is the opportunity to learn from one of the Christian world’s most experienced journalists and editors. I gained tremendous confidence through the–fearful–process of Olasky-led group edits. Watching clunky first drafts forged again and again into tight, bracing prose transformed my writing and inspired me to greater success as a writer. I was also impressed by the high-caliber students in the course, men and women who loved the Lord and were serious about improving their craft. Make every effort to attend this course - you won’t be disappointed! — David Sonju
It was immensely helpful for me to be publicly edited and educated at the same time during the course. — Rob Holmes
My prior opinion about World's high regard for truth and clear understanding of the journalist's calling were confirmed. The week flew by and sometimes it felt like drinking from a fire hose, but I managed to hang onto a number of the pearls that Marvin and Susan so graciously shared with us. Best of all, I have been given the opportunity to write on a regular basis for WNG. I must be making progress, because my word processing program rarely corrects my spelling and grammar anymore.— Mark Russell
History of WJI Courses
Many people these days are talking about the usefulness of "citizen journalists," but that practice has a long history within American Christianity. In 1681 a general meeting of Massachusetts ministers resolved that each should be a correspondent, with the responsibility to "enquire diligently into, and Record such Illustrious Providences as have happened" in their towns including "Tempests, Floods, Earthquakes, Thunders as are unusual...Remarkable Judgements upon noted Sinners; eminent Deliverances, and Answers of Prayer."
Over the next 150 years volunteer correspondents worked alongside editors. In 1830, according to observers, three-fourths of American newspapers and magazines were explicitly Christian. That changed over the next few decades as editors often embraced Transcendentalism and "freethought." In the 20th century, theological and political liberalism came to dominate the press.
Today, the World News Group (magazine, websites, radio) reports God's illustrious providences for the benefit of more than 500,000 readers and listeners. World Magazine is largely staff-written, with fulltime reporters in New York, Washington, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, and part-timers elsewhere, but our website makes ample use of mid-career correspondents, and our goal in this course is to find and begin to train a new group.
Housing possibilities range from $50 to $150 per night. Meal package of six breakfasts, five lunches costs $36. Dinners on your own.
What to bring
Wifi enabled laptop with a gmail account
Marvin Olasky is editor in chief of the World News Group, dean of the World Journalism Institute, and holder of the Distinguished Chair in Journalism and Public Policy at Patrick Henry College. He worked at The Boston Globe, taught at the University of Texas at Austin from 1983 through 2007, and was provost of The King's College in New York City from 2007 to 2011. He joined WORLD in 1990.
Dr. Olasky has written 20 books, including The Religions Next Door, Standing for Christ in a Modern Babylon, Scimitar's Edge, Renewing American Compassion, Telling the Truth, Central Ideas in the Development of American Journalism, The Press and Abortion, Prodigal Press, and The Tragedy of American Compassion, which Philanthropy magazine deemed one of "eight books that changed America." He has written more than 3,000 articles in publications including WORLD, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, and has degrees from the University of Michigan and Yale University.
Susan Olasky is a senior writer for WORLD, for which she produces radio stories, book reviews, and lifestyle features. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a master's degree in public policy, she founded the Austin Crisis Pregnancy Center in 1984 and has co-authored articles opposing abortion along with a book, More Than Kindness: A Compassionate Approach to Crisis Childbearing. She was a columnist for the West Austin News during the 1990s. The Olaskys have four sons, one daughter-in-law, and one grandbaby.
Susan Olasky is also the author of eight historical novels for children and is an assistant professor at Patrick Henry College, where she and Marvin Olasky supervise WORLD interns and interview newsmakers in front of students. On September 22, 2006, an $800 Jeopardy clue - "Susan Olasky has written a kids' series about the adventures of Annie, daughter of this fiery Virginia orator" - was a triple stumper.
Who can apply?
Anyone from age 27 to age 72 with a record of accomplishment and a desire to write for a World News Group publication or broadcast. We are particularly looking for correspondents who can write about the specialty areas they know well through their professional experience.
WORLD Policyguide and other readings, emailed to those accepted to the class
Strunk and White: The Elements of Style
Prodigal Press (25th anniversary edition), by Marvin Olasky and Warren Smith. Available at amazon.com and elsewhere.
Wifi-enabled laptop. We'll all be looking at student writing on Google Docs, so every student should have a free gmail account and know how Google Docs works.
Dress Code: Casual
1. Macro-stories: official, corruption, and oppression perspectives. Biblical objectivity
2. Up and down the ladder of abstraction: streets, not suites
3. Story telling with protagonists, missions, antagonists, and obstacles
4. Journalistic humility and the rapids method of applying Scripture
5. Writing with active verbs and concrete nouns
6. Structural and line-by-line self-editing and editing
Student Learning Objectives
1. Learn to write for a popular audience
2. Learn to apply Scripture to current cultural and public policy issues
3. See how events reflect God's glory
4. Deepen understanding of God's holiness, love, and justice
5. Write without using jargon foreign to most readers
6. Become capable of writing a story for WORLD publications
Free tuition, but you should take into account the cost of travel to Austin, food, lodging, and perhaps car rental. The Olasky house is located five miles northwest of the University of Texas campus, but there is no convenient public transportation. Applicants admitted to the course will receive an email about housing options: Olasky house (three bedrooms available, with costs ranging from $50 to $110 per night), a house across the street (three bedrooms available at $150 per night), and hotels (many about five miles away, with prices ranging from $70 to $200).
Class Component - Calendar
|9:00||pair interviews||intro to obits and worldviews||
worldviews and news stories
|editing stories, reviews||LEAVE OR OPTIONAL STAY|
|1:00||story elements: PAMO, haiku||feature story reporting in Austin||writing||rewriting news stories features||editing stories, reviews|
|3:00||ladder of abstracion editing||Austin||editing broken windows||writing||World News Group needs|
|4:00||WORLD Style||discussion||intro to AP||discusison||beats|
|5:00||free time, dinner on your own||free time, dinner on your own||free time, dinner on your own||free time, dinner on your own||free time, dinner on your own|
|7:00||movie to review||write first draft of features||reading and writing||reading and writing||
Tentative Course Schedule - 2015