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Application deadline:Mar 22, 2015
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Backpack Journalism in a Digital Age

May 17, 2015 - May 30, 2015

Post-class Stories Due: Aug 1, 2015

Through our intensive course in the scenic mountains of North Carolina, WJI wants to help strengthen your abilities to communicate and report. We focus on the best storytelling techniques for newspaper, magazine, radio and video. We keep the class size small so everyone can get individual attention and learn from a team of journalists who have spent decades reporting from around the world. We give you opportunities to get your work published and to earn paid internships.

Description

***The application deadline for 2015 has passed. Thank you for your interest. Please apply next year and stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter.***

Application Deadline: March 22

Our Asheville journalism course gives college journalists and recent graduates who are Christian the basics they need to maximize their journalistic job opportunities in a tough economy.

The course emphasizes news/feature writing and reporting for either secular publications or World New Group products: magazine, website, and radio. Students will learn to think through stories Christianly and improve their marketable skills for the digital age by receiving training in photography, videography, and sound from top professionals.

Class Size
Because of facility size and a commitment to individual attention, enrollment for the course is limited to 14.

Cost (free)
This course is free for all accepted student journalists. Students pay for their travel, most meals, required books, hardware/software, and the cost of receiving academic credit from colleges. For more information on the pre-Asheville, Asheville and post-Asheville components, see "Curriculum and assignments."

Experience

WJI students are eligible for paid internships with either secular newspapers or with the World News Group. Here are two comments from 2013 WJI students/interns about what they learned.  

 

First, from a young woman who graduated last May, came to WJI, and is now working at an Arizona newspaper:

 

I was internally freaking out about what to do post-grad. I had stumbled upon WJI through a random Google search the prior year, while looking for something to do the summer between junior and senior year. I didn't have time to complete the application at the time, so I tucked it into the back of my mind, hoping to apply and attend after graduation. In that year, God opened my eyes to the compatibility of journalism and Christianity and impressed upon me the importance of stories. By the time I got to WJI, this was a concept I had a keen interest in. 

 

Throughout those two weeks, I learned to live day-by-day. Not only was that the most practical way to cope with the work, but it was also a mindset born of the looming question facing me upon returning home. What would I do now? World's ability to provide me an internship not only answered that question, but also got me back in the door. 

 

When I got home from WJI, I was debating whether or not to stay in the city where my parents lived and try out the paper there or reach out to the newspaper I interned with in college. During this debate, an editor I worked with in my internship called me to say a part-time job was opening up and they wanted me back in the newsroom. I never went for that job, but the conversation was enough to give me the courage to tell them about WJI and the internship. They brought me back because the timing of this internship corresponded with the creation of a new page in the features section. They needed another reporter to work on it — with the editor I had interviewed as part of a homework assignment last fall. 

 

For the next two months, I prayed fervently about what God was going to do next. I wanted to stay at the paper, but wasn't sure if that was part of God's plan. In the midst of all of this prayer, I had friends reminding me of Proverbs 16:9. "A man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Then, they gave me the opportunity to stay permanently, working in features. This is the job that I wanted at graduation, and so many pieces had fallen into place to get me here, even before I even had a hint that it could happen. 

 

Several months ago, I was in Asheville, struggling simultaneously with big Future questions and how to write a compelling profile of a letterpress printer. Now, I'm writing those same types of stories for the newspaper I fell in love with as a college senior— as my job! There are still big questions, but I have seen God move powerfully in my life and in a very secular newsroom. I want to thank you again for everything that WJI is. For me, it has been life-changing and life-establishing. 

 

 

 

Second, from Rachel Aldrich, now a junior at Patrick Henry College:

 

We learned how to take a story that the Associated Press had covered, and do more research and reporting to give it context and depth. We learned how to read between the lines, and not just take things at face value, because Dr. Olasky was always showing what kinds of questions we should be asking. 

 

When we turned in our stories every morning, the Olaskys would sit down with us and do line-by-line editing. This, I think, is one of the most useful things an experienced journalist can do for a newbie. It allowed me to peek into their minds to see how journalists think about words and sentences. It gave me new strategies to reduce word count and fit more ideas and information in a smaller space than I could before. It taught me critical thinking, and what kinds of questions I should ask when looking at a story.

 

I learned that I really like working for a Christian organization. I enjoyed working for my local paper, and it taught me a lot about journalism. But there is something about being able to clearly and explicitly write from a Christian worldview that is very encouraging. I loved the opportunity to not only tell the news, but to do it in a way that orients the reader towards what God is doing. I, personally, find it more fulfilling and meaningful. Not to mention, I just like working with Christians. The atmosphere of encouragement and Christian love around the office was so refreshing. There was no spirit of competition or bitterness – everyone wanted to help everyone else do their best and glorify God. 

 

Finally, I learned a lot about how to deal with writing about difficult topics. I am, by temperament, a rather sensitive individual. I wrote a couple stories about painful or uncomfortable topics over the summer, and for a while, I really wrestled with the darkness I saw. Some of the things I read and wrote about left me feeling weary, depressed, or deeply burdened. I found myself on a few different occasions asking God how He could allow these things to happen. 

 

But in WJI, around the WORLD office, and in conversations with the Olaskys, I found many examples of Christians who had faced much harder stories than I had, and come out without bitterness. I learned how to look to God to find hope even as I wrote about the sin of the world around me. More than that, I had encouragement from those around me as I struggled. I learned to see God’s hand in even the darkest circumstances. 

 

I think that lesson, more than any of the others, is what I will take forward with me, not only into journalism, but into life. I know I will face even harder things in the future. Learning to trust God’s faithfulness and steadfast love in the face of evil is what enables us to avoid cynicism as journalists.

Application Requirements

Applicants must have at least one year of college and some writing experience, preferably with online, college, or professional publications. To apply, use our web site application by clicking "Apply now." In addition to the online form, you wil need to submit electronically your:

1. Resume
2. College transcript(s)
3. Links to 1 - 3 examples of your published work (articles, photos, and/or videos)
4. Recommendation letter (on letterhead) from your pastor or campus Christian group leader.
5. Brief autobiographical sketch and a personal testimony (300 words each).
6. 300-word obituary profiling a famous person from a list provided. See "Writing" tab for list.
7. (Optional) A published article you have submitted for an Amy Award, or an unpublished one you plan to submit. See "Writing" tab.
8. (Optional) Letter on letterhead from your local newspaper editor attesting to a freelance agreement as described under "Course Information."

Materials should be scanned and emailed to office@worldji.com.

Academic Credit

Some Christian colleges grant their students academic credit for work completed at the institute. Other colleges have granted their students undergraduate credit for work completed at the institute. WJI will give students a pass/fail certificate if requested.

Paid Internship

Two-month, $3,000 internships for those still in college will typically be for the following summer. (If colleges have their own payment plans to interns, those supersede WJI's.) College graduates will receive $4,000 internships, and those may begin immediately after the course or during the subsequent summer. World News Group interns may have stipends extended past the two months. Internships need to be earned, and no student should come to this course assuming one.

Housing/meals

WJI will provide lunches when we have noontime speakers. Other lunches, breakfasts, dinners and weekend meals are the student's responsibility.

Dress Code

Casual, but no t-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, or micro-skirts.
  • Warren Smith

    Warren Smith

    WORLD magazine

    Warren Cole Smith is associate publisher of WORLD magazine and editor of WORLD News Service.  He has written, co-written, or edited more than nine books, including his most recent, A Lover’s Quarrel With The Evangelical Church. He has also written more than 1,000 articles for a wide...  more >

  • Joseph Slife

    Joseph Slife

    World News Group

    Joseph Slife serves as the senior producer/co-host of The World and Everything in It, World News Group's weekly radio program/podcast. He also has written for WORLD Magazine and Sound Mind Investing. For 15 years, he served as a radio producer for Crown Financial Ministries. ...  more >

  • Russell Pulliam

    Russell Pulliam

    Indianapolis Star

    Russ is the Associate Editor of The Indianapolis Star and Director of Pulliam Fellowship Program. In the past, he has been a reporter for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Springfield Union, The Indianapolis News, The Indianapolis Star, and the Associated Press. He is the author of ...  more >

  • Lee Pitts

    Lee Pitts

    Associate Dean, World Journalism Institute

    As Washington Bureau Chief for WORLD magazine for more than five years, Lee's assignments sent him from Capitol Hill to the White House to the Supreme Court. But his reporting also has taken him beyond the Capital Beltway. Leading up to the 2010 elections, Lee embarked on a 10-day, 4,225 m...  more >

  • Rob Patete

    Rob Patete

    WORLD magazine

    Rob Patete is the Associate Art Director at World Magazine, and has been for over 14 years. He and his wife are graduates of Calvin College and live in Asheville, N.C., with their three children.   more >

  • Marvin Olasky

    Marvin Olasky

    Dean, World Journalism Institute

    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, a...  more >

  • Susan Olasky

    Susan Olasky

    World magazine

    Susan Olasky is a senior writer for WORLD, with particular responsibility for 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 ...  more >

  • Mickey McLean

    Mickey McLean

    WORLDmag.com

    As WORLD Magazine’s web executive editor, Mickey McLean oversees the Christian newsmagazine’s online presence. Before joining WORLD full time, Mickey was a regular contributor to WORLDMagBlog, a position he earned after winning WORLD’s “Best Blogger” contest. A gr...  more >

  • Nick Eicher

    Nick Eicher

    WORLD Radio

    Nick Eicher is executive producer of WORLD Radio. He has been a broadcast and print journalist for over three decades. He has served WORLD magazine as a writer and reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He served as CEO of WORLD’s parent corporation, God’s World Publicati...  more >

  • Jamie Dean

    Jamie Dean

    WORLD magazine

    Jamie Dean is news editor at WORLD Magazine, where she’s worked as a reporter and editor since 2005. Before working at WORLD, Jamie was editor of The Charlotte World, a bi-weekly newspaper covering local news from a biblical perspective. She’s also worked at Reformed Theological Se...  more >

  • Mindy Belz

    Mindy Belz

    WORLD magazine

    Mindy Belz is editor of WORLD magazine. She has written for WORLD since 1986, becoming the magazine's international editor in 1994 and its editor in 2004. She has covered war in Africa, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. Her reporting has been published overseas, as well a...  more >

  • Drew Belz

    Drew Belz

    Fancy Rhino

    Drew Belz grew up in the purple mountains of Asheville, N.C., and is son to Nat and Mindy Belz. He devoted time in high school and college to travel, exploring as much ground as possible and learning from a large swathe of cultures. After graduating from Covenant College with de...  more >

Who can apply?

Applicants for the Asheville course must have at least one year of college and some writing experience, preferably with online, college, or professional publications. To apply, use our web site application by clicking "Apply now" above. In addition to the online form, you will need to submit electronically your:

1. Resume

2. College transcript(s)

3. Links to 1 - 3 examples of your published work (articles, photos, and/or videos)

4. Recommendation letter (on letterhead) from your pastor or campus Christian group leader.

5. A 300-word obituary profiling a famous person. See "Writing" tab for list of subjects to choose from and for some obit writing tips.

6. (Optional) A published article you have submitted, or an unpublished one you plan to submit for an Amy Award. See "Writing" tab.

7. (Optional) Letter on letterhead from your local newspaper editor attesting to a freelance agreement as described under "Course Information."

Materials should be scanned and sent with an email to office@worldji.com. If you don't have access to a scanner, visit an Office Depot or Staples.

Those students interested in college credit must make arrangements with the particular college or seminary. Since this course is limited to 14 students, admission is competitive. Application deadline is March 22, 2015. We admit students on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to apply early.

Required Reading

Required Reading

Students should read the following before the course begins, and bring copies to Asheville:

The Elements of Style, William Strunk and E.B. White

"Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency" (online), Mindy McAdams

World Policybook: Principles, Policies, Procedures, Writing Tips- emailed to admitted students.

Five chapters from Prodigal Press and Telling the Truth -- emailed to admitted students

Recommended Reading:

The New New Journalism, Robert Boynton

 A Writer's Coach, Jack Hart

Telling True Stories, Mark Kramer and Wendy Call

How Christianity Changed the World, Alvin Schmidt

AP Guide to Photojournalism, Brian Horton

Discipling Nations, Darrow Miller

The Big Story, Justin Buzzard

Writing

 Required

To be admitted to the course, each student must write a 300-word obituary profiling a famous person.  Students should write the obit choosing from the list provided below.  Our goal in these pieces is to tell the life stories about people who have achieved success in some field. It is not uncommon for media outlets to prewrite the obituaries of famous people who are still alive and keep them on file so they are prepared to post a well thought out and edited piece at the appropriate time. Sometimes these pre-written obits leak out to the public. Most recently People Magazine's obit for Kirk Douglas got published on the magazine's website while the actor was still alive!

Writing a compelling obit in 400 words is difficult, especailly for accomplished lives. You need to research their achievements and exploits and deeds, and you need to put them in the proper context for the way they impacted our culture, economy or government.  Resist any urges to gloss over the hard parts and speak in clichés. 

In completing this assignment, you will need to remind yourself repeatedly, “Do I have good, specific examples from the touchstone moments in their lives?” You are looking for stories to embed within your obits. You will need to include the hard parts: What were the challenges? A good obit needs some tension.

 

Before you begin writing, try writing a sentence or paragraph that states clearly what the story is about. The sentence might not make it into your obit, but it will help you decide which details to include and which to leave out.

 

For more thoughts about writing obituaries please read: The Artist of the Obituary by Andrew Ferguson.

 

 

OBIT OPTIONS:

 

Herman Wouk

American writer, "The Caine Mutiny", "The Winds of War"

05/27/1915

 

Bernard Lewis

British-born American Islamic and Middle Eastern historian

05/31/1916

 

I. M. Pei

Chinese-born American architect

04/26/1917

 

Marcia Brown

American children's writer and illustrator, "Stone Soup"

07/13/1918

 

Harry V. Jaffa

American political philosopher and Lincoln scholar

10/07/1918

 

Louis Jourdan

French actor, "Letter from an Unknown Woman", "Gigi"

06/19/1919 (Some sources cite 1920 or 1921)

 

Richard Adams

British writer, "Watership Down"

05/09/1920

 

Lou Harris

American pollster

01/06/1921

 

John Glenn

American astronaut and politician, Ohio senator (1974-1999)

07/18/1921

 

Carl Reiner

American motion picture director and actor, TV's "Your Show of Shows", "The Dick Van Dyke Show"

03/20/1922

 

Norman Lear

American motion picture and television producer, "All in the Family", "Maude", "The Jeffersons"

07/27/1922

 

Bernard Bailyn

American historian, author of "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution"

09/09/1922

 

Charles Evers

American civil rights activist and politician

09/11/1922

 

Jim Wright

American politician, Texas representative (1955-1989) and Speaker of the House (1987-1989)

12/22/1922

 

Stan Lee

American comic book writer, co-created Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men

12/28/1922

 

Chuck Yeager

American Air Force officer and test pilot, first person to exceed the speed of sound in flight

02/13/1923

 

Nathan Glazer

American sociologist and magazine editor, The Public Interest

02/25/1923 (Some sources cite 1924)

 

James L. Buckley

American politician, New York senator (1971-1977)

03/09/1923

 

Ara Parseghian

American football player and coach

05/21/1923

 

Bob Dole

American politician, Kansas representative, senator, and 1996 Republican presidential candidate

07/22/1923

 

Freeman Dyson

British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician

12/15/1923

 

A. Alfred Taubman

American real estate developer, pioneer of the modern shopping mall concept

01/31/1924

 

Doris Day

American singer and actress, "Pillow Talk", "Send Me No Flowers"

04/03/1924 (Some sources cite 1922)

 

Bill Dana

American actor and comedian, alter-ego of JoséJimenéz

10/05/1924

 

Others 90 or more in 2015, with birth years

1915 David Rockefeller, banker

1916 Olivia de Havilland, actress

1917 Zsa Zsa Gabor, actress

1920 Maureen O’Hara, actress

1920 Denton Cooley, doctor

1921 Prince Phillip

1921 Monte Hall, game show host

1922 Betty White, TV actress

1922 Stan Lee, comic book artist

1922 Norman Lear, producer and activist

1923 Bob Barker, game show host

1923 Liz Smith, journalist

1924  Theodore Bikel, movie actor

1925  Dick Van Dyke, TV actor

1925  Angela Lansbury, actress

1925  B.B. King, guitarist

1925  Yogi Berra, baseball player

1925  Barbara Bush, presidential wife

1925  Hal Holbrook, actor

 

(Optional)

 

The Amy Foundation, founded in 1976 by Jim and Phyllis Russell and named after their daughter, is best known for its Amy Writing Awards, which are incentives to present biblical truth in secular publications. The World News Group in 2013 took over administration of the Awards, with Amy continuing to put up the prize money -- $10,000 for first place and $24,000 more for 14 other winners.

 

Here’s are two vital points to remember, you decide to enter the contest. First, the articles need to see the light of day in secular journalistic publications including newspapers, magazines (local, regional, or national), and news websites (not blogs or newsletters). College newspapers may provide particularly good opportunities for publication. Second, articles should involve original reporting, with preference given to feature stories. Columns and opinion pieces are eligible, but those based on pavement-pounding rather than pontificating -- street-level rather than suite-level research, we like to say -- have preference. Works of fiction or poetry are ineligible.

 

Some specific detail on the judging: Our evaluators this year will use a 70-point rubric (increased from 50 points in previous years). Past-year judges looked at writing excellence (including “skillful use of language: and “capture the imagination from the first paragraphs”), audience appeal (including “avoid preaching” and “use relevant language”), and discipling (including “illuminate/clarify” and “present a biblical worldview in the context of modern thought”).

 

We’ve now added 20 points for reporting with specific detail: Our judges will ask questions including, “Does the story show strong evidence of on-the-ground reporting... so the author is not relying on organizational spokesmen, publicity releases, or information recycled from others?” and “Does the story have sensory detail so readers feel they can see, hear, smell, or touch scenes, subjects, and objects?”  They will also ask, “Does the story have strong human interest? Does it connect the human interest to larger issues through appropriate use of studies, statistics, and other evidence?”

 

Here’s one more important point: The article must include at least one verse from the Bible, and acknowledge the Bible as the source. The verse can come from a person quoted in the article, or from the author. The Worldmag.com website beginning in January will have a submission form along with instructions about how to submit PDFs of published articles.

 

Students seeking admission to WJI are welcome to submit unpublished Amy drafts. We will not edit them but may make suggestions for improvement. Students should not delay requesting admission so as to finish Amy articles first.

 

'Rithmetic

Tuition and accommodations are free for college students. The class component will take place at the World News Group office and in the home of Marvin and Susan Olasky. WJI will provide most lunches; student are responsible for other meals and for their transportation expenses. If you have any question  please contact  Lee Pitts (lpitts@wng.com).

Required items/hardware/software

Bible

Personal blog site, for posting course articles (Wordpress is a good option)

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and G-mail accounts (we share stories using Google Drive)

Due to the intensive and technical nature of the course, all students must have particular equipment and software for the WJI course pre-class and class reporting assignments. Some student buy and others borrow, but no exceptions will be made to these requirements. Contact Lee Pitts (lpitts@worldmag.com) with questions well before the course.

Students must bring all equipment/materials to class each day ready to report, as a backpack journalist must be ready to cover news always: Your backpack should contain equipment and items, such as fully charged batteries, cables, snack, etc.) so you are ready to go at a moment's notice.

 

Item Specifications Est. Cost Notes
Laptop (Mac or PC) Macs are preferred, but PCs are acceptable. $1,000-2,000 A netbook is not acceptable.
Digital camera and minimum 2GB storage card(s) 7 megapixels or better, image stabilization, video with audio (can be used as video option as well if DSLR camera), 3x OPTICAL zoom or better, USB output $99-400 For specific camera recommendations, see McAdams.
Tripod (optional) A tripod for your video camera makes reporting easier and more professional. This is optional but highly recommended. $15-50  
Video Camera (pick one of the following options...you don't need to buy the microphone unless you plan on using your iPhone.

1. Panasonic HC-V500K

2. iPhone: must be 4.2 or 5 or 6 with the added purchase of a AR-41 microphone or and IM2 microphone for increased sound quality.

3. For more image quality, you can purchase a DSLR camera and microphone. A recommendation: the Canon Rebel T3i/T5i with a shotgun microphone is a good option. If you have any video camera questions, email Drew Belz: drew@fancyrhino.com

1. $239-500

2. microphone: AR -41 $100, IM2 ($30 thru April 30)

3. $500-700

 
Microphone (s) Will be used with the video camera and must be compatible. See video options. $30-100  
Cell phone Text message capability is required. n/a Smartphone is optional, but helpful.
Digital audio recorder External microphone jack, headphone jack and USB output $50-100 See McAdams for recommendations.
USB flash drive(s) 128 MB minimum $5-20  
Earbuds or headphones These must be compatible with your laptop, digital camera, video camera and audio recorder. $10-25  
Extra batteries These are essential for cameras and audio recorders. n/a  
Cables for all equipment Students must have Ethernet cable, power cables, and connector cables for transferring files from cameras and recorders. n/a  
  Total estimated cost: $1,500-3,000  

 

 
 
       
Microsoft Word or compatible Students must be able to save and submit work in .doc format. $0-150* *MS Office 2007 includes Word and Excel for $150.
Microsoft Excel (03 or later)   $150*  
iMovie (Mac users), Windows Movie Maker or Corel VideoStudio (PC users)   $0-70 PC users: Corel is better than Windows Movie Maker.
Photoshop, Gimpshop or other photo editing software   $0-699 Photoshop is $299 with student discount. Gimpshop is free.
Audacity (audio editing software)   free audacity.sourceforge.net
Soundslides (This specific software for slide shows is required.)   $40-70 soundslides.com
 
Optional: Adobe Flash   $249-269  
Optional: Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express   $199-999  
  Total estimated cost: $200-2,700  

 

Curriculum & Assignments

The WJI Asheville course includes instruction in Christian worldview and the nuts and bolts of backpack journalism for convergent media. The intensive course includes pre-class assignments, two weeks of class residency, and six weeks of post-class reporting and writing.

This is a course in news/feature writing and reporting, designed to help young journalists think through stories Christianly and improve their marketable skills for the digital age. Students will generate a series of multimedia articles for their professional portfolios.

Students will improve their interviewing techniques and journalistic style, and gain training from professionals in photography, videography, and audio work. Class periods will include short lectures but emphasize discussion and analyzing/editing students' stories.

1) The pre-class component: We want to maximize reporting, analyzing, and editing time in Asheville, so students will read in advance what we might otherwise offer in lectures. Readings may address topics such as story development, sources of information, interviewing, investigations, accuracy, writing styles, grammar and usage, film and book reviewing, journalism history, ethics, etc.

Students will write two stories that experienced editor Russell Pulliam will read and critique. The students should be prepared to respond to Mr. Pulliam's e-mail comments as quickly as possible. Students will also write one obituary for Marvin and Susan Olasky.

2) The class component (two weeks): Students should expect to spend 10 hours a day—except on Sunday. 

3) The post-class component (4-8 weeks): Students will gain more reporting, writing, and video/audio experience in their hometowns, at mainstream newspapers, at WORLD's office in Asheville, North Carolina, or at WORLD's Washington, D.C. bureau . Students will publish their work on Worldmag.com, or in local newspapers.

GRADING/CREDIT

All students who successfully complete all the work on time will receive a "Pass" grade, indicating at least a "C" grade. Many Christian colleges grant their students academic credit for work completed at the institute. Other colleges have granted their students undergraduate credit for work completed at the institute.

 

 

Class Component - Calendar

Click to print this page.

 

Tentative Course Schedule - 2015

 

Sunday
5/17

Monday
5/18

Tuesday
5/19

Wednesday
5/20

Thursday

5/21

Friday
5/22

Saturday
5/23

 

 

         

 

9:00

 

Introduction to Christian Worldview

 

Introduction to newspaper 

storytelling

 

 Introduction to photography

Introduction to investigative reporting 

More about radio storytelling

 

Final radio storytelling

10:00

 

 

Required

To be admitted to the course, students must write a 500-word profile of a husband and wife married for at least 35 years. To see published profiles on this theme, go to http://www.worldmag.com/topic/marriage_longevity. Students should not profile relatives or close friends.  

Our goal in running these profiles is to tell stories about people who have persevered through struggles and are able to testify that marriage is good, and that its best fruits take years to ripen.

 

Although that sounds like an easy task, writing a compelling profile in 500 words is difficult. Many nice Christian people talk in vague generalities. They may gloss over the hard parts and speak in clichés. A good reporter needs to be a good listener and also able to draw out stories from subjects.

 

In completing this assignment, you will need to ask repeatedly, “Could you give me an example?” You are looking for stories to embed within your profile. You will need to ask about the hard parts: What were the challenges? A good profile needs some tension: We already know the marriage survived, but we need to know about moments that tested that, and how the couple got through the struggles?

 

When the older people speak in Christian lingo, you’ll need to get them to restate what they’re saying. You’ll tell them that we hope these profiles will encourage others who are facing challenges--and that won’t happen if their lives seem perfect or unreal.

 

You should try to interview the husband and wife together, in person. That will help you pick up mannerisms and place them in surroundings that will make them come to life as people. Look for the telling personal traits, including how they relate to each other. Do they complete each other’s sentences? Are they willing to show that they’re not in agreement about everything, but help each other think things through?

 

Before you begin writing, try writing a sentence or paragraph that states clearly what the story is about. Here’s an example: “The Browns are married today because five years into their marriage they decided to stop competing against each other and began living as though they were on the same team.” That sentence might not make it into your profile, but it will help you decide which details to include and which to leave out. You’d want details that showed the corrosive effects of the competition and details about the change. Details about their exciting trip to Paris probably wouldn’t fit this particular profile.

 

(Optional)

 

The Amy Foundation, founded in 1976 by Jim and Phyllis Russell and named after their daughter, is best known for its Amy Writing Awards, which are incentives to present biblical truth in secular publications. The World News Group in 2013 is taking over administration of the Awards, with Amy continuing to put up the prize money -- $10,000 for first place and $24,000 more for 14 other winners.

 

Here’s are two vital points to remember, you decide to enter the contest. First, the articles need to see the light of day in secular journalistic publications including newspapers, magazines (local, regional, or national), and news websites (not blogs or newsletters). College newspapers may provide particularly good opportunities for publication. Second, articles should involve original reporting, with preference given to feature stories. Columns and opinion pieces are eligible, but those based on pavement-pounding rather than pontificating -- street-level rather than suite-level research, we like to say -- have preference. Works of fiction or poetry are ineligible.

 

Some specific detail on the judging: Our evaluators this year will use a 70-point rubric (increased from 50 points in previous years). Past-year judges looked at writing excellence (including “skillful use of language: and “capture the imagination from the first paragraphs”), audience appeal (including “avoid preaching” and “use relevant language”), and discipling (including “illuminate/clarify” and “present a biblical worldview in the context of modern thought”).

 

We’ve now added 20 points for reporting with specific detail: Our judges will ask questions including, “Does the story show strong evidence of on-the-ground reporting... so the author is not relying on organizational spokesmen, publicity releases, or information recycled from others?” and “Does the story have sensory detail so readers feel they can see, hear, smell, or touch scenes, subjects, and objects?”  They will also ask, “Does the story have strong human interest? Does it connect the human interest to larger issues through appropriate use of studies, statistics, and other evidence?”

 

Here’s one more important point: The article must include at least one verse from the Bible, and acknowledge the Bible as the source. The verse can come from a person quoted in the article, or from the author. The Worldmag.com website beginning in January will have a submission form along with instructions about how to submit PDFs of published articles.

 

Students seeking admission to WJI are welcome to submit unpublished Amy drafts. We will not edit them but may make suggestions for improvement. Students should not delay requesting admission so as to finish Amy articles first.

Grammar, spelling, punctuation test

newspaper 

storytelling

 Introduction to photography

Introduction to investigative reporting 

radio storytelling

 

radio storytelling

11:00

 

GSP review

newspaper 

storytelling

 Introduction to photography

Introduction to investigative reporting 

radio storytelling

 

radio storytelling

12:00

 

Lunch with World's founder, Joel Belz

Lunch with local newspaper reporter,  Caitlin Byrd

Lunch with World's photography pro Tiffany Owens

Lunch with a World radio voice and a WJI alum,  Christina Darnell 

Lunch mock press conference 

meet with Tffany about slideshow projects 

1:00

 

Writing and rewriting stories

Story Critiques

Newsroom Lab

Introduction to radio reporting 

 

Newsroom Lab

Slideshow field work

 

3:00

 

writing and rewriting stories

Story Critiques

Newsroom Lab

Introduction to radio reporting 

Newsroom Lab

Slideshow field work 

 

4:00

 

 writing and   rewriting stories

 

Story Critiques

 

Newsroom Lab

Introduction to radio reporting 

Newsroom Lab

Slideshow field work

  5:00

 

writing and rewriting stories

 

Story Critiques

Newsroom Lab

 

 

Introduction to radio reporting 

 

Newsroom Lab

 

edit slide shows

6:00

 

dinner

dinner

dinner

dinner

dinner

dinner

7:00

Orientation Meeting  

 

Introduction to Interviewing

Basics

News Huddle

 

News Huddle

News Huddle

Drum Circle photography

edit slideshows 

8:00

 

Interviewing

Basics 

 

News Huddle

 

News Huddle

News Huddle Drum Circle

Slideshow Exhibit 

9:00

 

Interviewing

Basics 

News Huddle

 News Huddle

News Huddle

Drum Circle

 

 

Week 2
 

 

Sunday
5/24

Monday
5/25

Tuesday
5/26

Wednesday
5/27

Thursday
5/28

Friday
5/29

Saturday
5/30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9:00

 

Christian worldview

Introduction to magazine storytelling

 

Introduction to computer assisted reporting strategies 

Christian worldview

Introduction to video storytelling

 

Tips on dramatic development from playwright Kenan Minkoff 

 

10:00

 

Strangers in a strange land- international reporting

Introduction to magazine storytelling

Introduction to computer assisted reporting strategies 

World opportunities

Introduction to video storytelling

 

Tips on dramatic development

 

11:00

Church

Strangers in a strange land- international reporting Introduction to magazine storytelling

Introduction to computer assisted reporting strategies 

Newsroom and public relations opportunities and how to thrive there  Introduction to video storytelling

 

Video Presentation 

 

12:00

 

Lunch with World's desgin meastro, Rob Patete

Lunch with World's president, Kevin Martin 

Lunch with World's Web guru, Mickey McLean

Lunch with World's resident book expert, Susan Olasky 

Lunch with radio host Pete Kaliner 

Lunch on your own

1:00

Enjoying Asheville 

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

 Video  Lab

ENJOY ASHEVILLE

 

 

2:00

 

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Video Lab

 

 

 

3:00

 

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Newsroom Lab

Video Lab

 

4:00

 

 

Newsroom Lab

 

Newsroom Lab

 

Newsroom Lab

 

Newsroom Lab

Video Lab

 

5:00

 

 

 

Newsroom Lab

 

Newsroom Lab

 

Newsroom Lab

Video Lab

 

6:00

 

cookout

dinner 

dinner

dinner

dinner

 

7:00

 

cookout

News Huddle 

News Huddle

News Huddle 

Video Huddle 

 

8:00

 

cookout

News Huddle 

News Huddle

News Huddle 

 

Video Huddle 

 

9:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Pre-Class Component

Pre-Class Component

Russell Pulliam, associate editor of The Indianapolis Star, is also a reporter who has worked at the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers. He will give close attention to assignments 1, 3, and 4. The students should be prepared to respond to Mr. Pulliam's e-mail comments as quickly as possible. The more editing you can receive before you get to Asheville, the better.

Upon admission to the course students will be emailed some reading they should complete before coming to Asheville.

Assignment 1, to be mailed to Russell.pulliam@indystar.com by 6 p.m. on May 8:

Write a 250 to 300-word feature article about the person who has had the most influence on your life. Explain why this individual has had such an effect on you; make your readers want to learn more about or even meet this individual.

Your particular subject might be your mother or father, a sibling, a friend, a pastor, a teacher or even someone whose non- Christian ways spurred you to change your life for the better. Whatever your choice, it should be someone who has made a dramatic impact on your beliefs and your life. Write your story in third-person (do not use first-person "I"), as though you were writing a news profile.

Assignment 2, to be emailed to office@worldji.com by 6 p.m. on May 10:

Attached is the assigned reading: World’s policy book and five chapters on journalism history. Complete the readings and list 5-10 questions, concerns, or new ideas the policy guide or the chapter from Prodigal Press about objectivity raises in your minds.

Assignment 3, to be mailed to Russell.pulliam@indystar.com by 6 p.m. on May 13:

Write a 500-word profile of a ministry having a beneficial impact on the community or state in which you live (Jeremiah 29:7 counsels us to have such an impact.) You don't need to know the ministry beforehand, but it could help if you do. Write a profile of the organization answering who, what, when, where, why, how and so what. Include quotations from at least two people who know the ministry and be sure to explain the ministry’s key to success in serving those in need in your area.

You should get the quotes, ideally, in your own interview. It would be a great idea if you could visit the ministry in person for a day or so and watch its people in action serving those in need in their area. If you use a quote from a news story, give credit to the original source. Remember to avoid using personal opinion or bias. Show the significance of the ministry by stories and facts, not by telling the reader the person is wonderful and important.

Look over this piece on World Magazine’s website, written by your instructor Mr. Pulliam on his native Indianapolis, to get some examples on the types of ministries you might find either in your home town or college campus:

http://www.worldmag.com/2015/01/does_your_city_measure_up_to_indianapolis

Assignment 4, to be emailed to Russell.pulliam@indystar.com by 6 p.m. on May 15:

Research the Asheville area and give us a story proposal about some ministry to the poor in the city that you will call home for two weeks. This is  just a story idea, using the internet and other research methods. The best reporters bring their own story ideas to the table and don’t wait for an editor to tell them what to do. So start digging out something interesting in Asheville and tell us about it!

Note regarding assignments 1 and 3: You should briefly put the person or ministry you're profiling into a geographical context. Below is how one WORLD writer connected a person profiled to a particular place. (This was a longer profile than those you are writing and so could have a longer introduction, but you'll get the idea.)

Ron Lewis' church is not easy to find - unless you know your way around Hardin County, Kentucky, like he does. More people are finding out about Lewis, and the kind of people he represents, since a May special election put him in Congress. the 47-year-old Lewis, a conservative Republican Christian, is the kind of person that Democratic Party leaders say Americans should fear. People in Kentucky's 2nd Congressional District see it differently. And they've seen Lewis up close.

White Mills Baptist Church sits on a hill away from Highway 84, tucked between the White Mills Christian Church and a campground. You know you've gone too far when you take a sudden turn and you're on a one-lane iron bridge across a river. Through the church's exterior looks like it might have appeared a century earlier, the steps are covered with new indoor-outdoor carpet. Central air conditioning is evident inside the glassed foyer. Like Lewis, there's subtle sophistication here - a savvy about technology that works. An advanced electronic soundboard blinks just inside the rear doors.Russell Pulliam, associate editor of The Indianapolis Star, is also a reporter who has worked at the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers. He will give close attention to assignments 2, 3, and 4. The students should be prepared to respond to Mr. Pulliam's e-mail comments as quickly as possible. The more editing you can receive before you get to Asheville, the better.

Asheville, N.C.

The New York Times is wrong about many things but right in its description of Asheville: "This year-round resort time, tucked between the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, draws a funky mix of New Agers, fleece-clad mountain bikers, antiques lovers and old-time farmers. And what's there not to like? Charming yet surprisingly cosmopolitan for a town of about 73,000, Asheville has a Southern appeal all its own. There are lazy cafes and buzzing bistros, Art Deco skyscrapers and arcades reminiscent of Paris."

The Times also rhapsodized about "the seriously beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains," and students at our 2012 mid-career class wrote of "gorgeous mornings...bright sunlight...beyond the tree line hazy gray-blue sentinels loom high... downtown flush with street music...river arts district full of fascination."