Application deadline:Mar 22, 2017

Backpack Journalism in a Digital Age 2017

May 14, 2017 - May 27, 2017

Through our intensive, hands-on course at Dordt College in Iowa the team at the World Journalism Institute 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 mentoring from a a group 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.


Application Deadline: March 22

Our journalism course among the prairies and plains of Northwest Iowa's Dordt College gives college journalists and recent graduates who are Christians 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 the low 20s.

Cost (free)
This course is free for all accepted student journalists. That's free turition, free board and free lunches and dinners. Students pay for their travel, a few meals (mainly breakfast), required books, hardware/software, and the cost of receiving academic credit from colleges. For more information on the pre-WJI prep, the course and post-course components, see "Curriculum and assignments."


WJI students are eligible for paid internships with the World News Group. Here are comments from recent WJI students/interns about what they learned: 


"WJI became the keystone of my journalistic education and helped me "learn the ropes" probably more than an enclosed semester-long course could.  This is probably due to the fact that while students do spend time in the classroom taking notes, a good bit of the program involves on-the-street reporting and discussion with working reporters (both from World and secular news networks) as they share their stories and advice.  WJI flawlessly melds both the "doctrinal" backbone of journalism and practical experience in a way that gives a fledgling journalist--whether they are studying journalism in school or not--a head start on learning what its actually like to work in the field.  WJI serves as a crucial launching pad for a multi-media career in this increasingly competitive field and, perhaps even more importantly, provides a framework for living out one's Christian worldview at a time when being a believing journalist has become even more difficult." - Molly Hulsey, Covenant College.

"WJI is a wake-up call. I went into the program thinking I was a decent writer, but after one hour I knew I had a lot to learn. And the best part was, when it was all said and done, I gained knowledge I can take with me for the rest of my life. WJI is not a traditional classroom experience. You don't sit there and get lectured at or discuss what you read in a textbook. What you get, is an opportunity to write and to fail. Each day you have a professional journalist edit your stories line-by-line and talk with you through every detail. You learn by doing. And you learn by correcting your mistakes and breaking bad habits. At the end of the program you leave more refined in your craft and a renewed sense of what it means to be an effective journalist. The best part about WJI is the wealth of people that contribute to teaching the program. WORLD staff members and other professionals working in journalistic fields frequently come and share their advice and experiences. I loved having the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from someone who can give me a practical answer based on their experiences."-  Evan Wilt from Geneva College.

"My time at WJI showed me there shouldn’t be a distinction between my faith and my job. With each task we worked on under the real-life pressure of time constraints, I learned to apply “biblical objectivity” to every story. From mock press conferences on controversial issues to searching out the Christian values in a story, the program facilitators taught us to stand by God’s word in our writing while remaining unbiased. The program helped me become a better multimedia journalist who writes with my Christian faith as a guidebook as we worked with photography, video, and print journalism."- Onize Ohikere from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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) 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

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

Paid 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 paid internships, and those may begin immediately after the course or during the subsequent summer. World News Group interns may have stipends extended past initial internships. Internships need to be earned, and no student should come to this course assuming one.


WJI and its host partner Dordt College will provide lunches and dinners during the days of the course. Breakfast meals are the student's responsibility.

To learn more about Dordt College click on the Arithmetic tab on this website and go to

Dress Code

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

What to bring

See required items tab for a detailed list
  • 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

    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 the senior editor of WORLD Magazine, and has written for that publication since 1986. She is the author of They Say We Are Infidels (Tyndale House, 2016) about her experiences covering war in Iraq and Syria. She has also covered wars in Afghanistan, Africa, and the Balk...  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 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 or PDFs 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- 350 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 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 20 students, admission is competitive. Application deadline is March 22, 2017. 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 the course:

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

"Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency", Mindy McAdams (free download available online- Google it)

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

Obit: Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who Led Extraordinary Lives, Jim Sheeler




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. So you are not writing about that person's death- you are writing about his or her life. You are capturing in words the essence of that life. This is not a death notice like you see family members write with the help of a funeral home … no need to speculate on pallbearers and visiting hours!

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 roughly 300 words is difficult, especially for accomplished lives. So think of this as a snapshot of them, not a full-length biography. In a few carefully chosen words you're trying to answer the question: What's that person's life story really about? 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.  Look for the little jewels, the quick caricatures that capture your subject’s persona. Resist any urges to speak in clichés or gloss over the hard parts. What were the challenges? A good obit needs some tension.

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 anecdotes, physical descriptions, and quotes to embed within your obits that flesh out your subject.

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. Please remember to verify- errors are bad in all journalistic writing- but no one likes to see inaccuracies in the story about the dearly departed!

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



Carmen Herrera artist 1915

Olivia de Havilland, actress 1916

Harry V. Jaffa (Lincoln scholar) 1918

Maureen O’Hara, actress 1920

Jake LaMotta 1921

Monty Hall 1921

Lou Harris American pollster 1921

Jim Wright American politician, 1922

Liz Smith, journalist 1923

Ara Parseghian (football player/coach 1923)

Nathan Glazer sociologist 1923 or 1924

James L. Buckley politician 1923

Ellsworth Kelly, artist 1923

Eva Marie Saint 1924

Robert Mugabe 1924

Bill Dana (jose Jimenez 1924)

Theodore Bikel, movie actor 1924

Hal Holbrook, actor 1925

Hugh Hefner 1926

Chuck Berry 1926

Mel Brooks 1926

Tony Bennett 1926

Don Rickles 1926

Tim LaHaye 1926

Pope Benedict XVI 1927

Harry Belafonte 1927

Vin Scully 1927

Adam West 1928

James Watson (of Watson and Crick) 1928

Gordie Howe 1928

Jim Lovell 1928

Whitey Ford 1928

Burt Bacharach 1928

Martin Landau 1928

T. Boone Pickens, 1928

Barbara Walters 1929

Arnold Palmer 1929

Bob Newhart 1929

Ed Asner 1929

Berry Gordy Jr. 1929

Edward O. Wilson,1929

Frank Gehry architect 1929

Sean Connery 1930

Ross Perot 1930

Jim Nabors 1930

Gene Hackman 1930

Michael Collins 1930

Joanne Woodward 1930

Robert Wagner 1930

Warren Buffett 1930

Sandra Day O’Connor 1930 - EMILY B.

George Soros (1930

Frederick Wiseman documentarian 1930

Gorbachev 1931

James Earl Jones 1931

John Le Carré 1931

Dan Rather 1931

William Shatner 1931

Desmond Tutu 1931

Raul Castro 1931

Thomas Oden 1931

Alvin Plantinga 1932

Nicholas Wolterstorff 1932

Donald Rumsfeld 1932

Eugene Peterson 1932

Yoko Ono (1933)

Roman Polanski (1933)

Larry King (1933)

Carol Burnett (1933)

Michael Dukakis (1933)

Louis Farrakhan (1933)

Sheldon Adelson 1933

Michael Caine 1933

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933 - EMILY B.

David McCallum 1933

Walter Kaiser  Jr. 1933

Diane Feinstein  US Senator 1933

Chuck Swindoll 1934

Hank Aaron 1934

Sophia Loren 1934

Bill Russell 1934

Brigitte Bardot 1934

Jane Goodall 1934

Frankie Valli 1934

Shirley MacLaine 1934

Pat Boone 1934

Bart Starr 1934

Leonard Cohen 1934

Alan Arkin 1934

Wilford Brimley 1934

Dwayne Hickman 1934

Christo 1935

13th Dalai Lama 1935

Ron Paul 1935

Woody Allen 1935

Tony Campolo 1935

James Dobson 1936

Larry McMurtry (1936)

RC Sproul 1939

John MacArthur 1939

Alex Trebek 1940

Jim Bakker 1940

Nancy Pelosi 1940

Chuck Norris  1940

Joni Earickson Tada 1949


Tuition and accommodations are free for college students. WJI and its host partner, Dordt College, will provide lunches and dinners on nearly all days; students are responsible for other meals (mainly breakfast) and for their transportation expenses to and from the course. If you have additional question  please contact WJI's Associate Dean Lee Pitts at

About Dordt College: 

Located in Sioux Center, Iowa on the edge of the Great Plains, Dordt College is a Christian school dedicated to preparing students for service in Christ's kingdom. The Wall Street Journal recently named Dordt the number one school in the nation for student engagement. Dordt's campus is a great place to be dring the summer months. You can take a stroll through the Dordt Prairie to enjoy its wild grasses and flowers, relax by the large indoor/outdoor pool complex, or hang out with friends at the coffee house adjoining the main dorms. Dord will host WJI in the state-of-the-art classrooms found in the school’s two-year-old Science and Technology Building. Students will be housed in some of the newest dorms on campus that border the school’s colorful prairie and is across the street from the pool complex. 

Dordt College Vice President Howard Wilson said Dordt and WJI are natural fits with both organizations’ emphasis on the role of faith in the exploration of truth.

“We resonate with WORLD magazine’s vision for preparing young Christian journalists to serve in the media,” Wilson said. “We believe it is important for members of the press to do their work through a Christian worldview, like all other areas of study and callings.”

To learn more about Dordt and see pictures of its campus go to

Required items/hardware/software


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 ( with questions well before the course. As college students and recent college graduates, most should already have much of this eqiupment.  

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. Please hold off on buying new equipment until you have been accepted into the program!


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 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:

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
Soundslides (This specific software for slide shows is required.)   $40-70
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 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 when we are together, 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): Select students will gain more reporting, writing, and video/audio experience . Students will publish their work on or in local newspapers.


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.


NOTE: This is a working schedule.  The WJI team often updates the schedule to provide timely instruction about the fast-changing media world. So stay tuned for the offical WJI 2017 schedule.
















Understanding newspaper/website storytelling- 

Russ B. Pulliam  

Indianapolis Star 


More Understanding newspaper/ website 


Russ B. Pulliam   with the Indianapolis Star 

 Radio storytelling:

World Radio Executive Producer Nick Eicher 


More Radio storytelling:

World Radio Executive Producer Nick Eicher  

Christian Worldview- Why be a Christian journalist? World Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky 


Christian Worldview 2- What distinguishes


Christian journalist?





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 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.




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 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.

Understanding newspaper 


Peter Wagner 


Iowa Information 

More Understanding newspaper/ website 


Radio storytelling:



More Radio storytelling  

Power of Narrative with Marvin and Susan Olasky 


Tulip festival observing and photography 



Understanding newspaper 



More Understanding newspaper/ website 


Radio storytelling:


More Radio storytelling 

Power of Narrative 


Tulip festival fieldwork



Lunch with World Magazine's National Editor Jamie Dean

Lunch with World Digital editor Lynde Langdon 

 Lunch with World's Senior Editor Mindy Belz 

Lunch with World Radio's Sarah Wedel  

Lunch with World Digital Onize Ohikere  

Tuilp Festival fieldwork 



Writing and rewriting stories 

Profile writing and Story Critiques

More Introduction to radio reporting:

World Radio Executive Producer Nick Eicher 


Radio work 

More Feature Writing

with World story coach Susan Olasky    

Tuilp festival fieldwork 




More writing and   rewriting 

Profile writing and Story Critiques

More Introduction to radio reporting 

Radio work

 More Feature Writing 

Tulip festival feature writing 





 writing and   rewriting stories


Profile writing and Story Critiques


More Introduction to radio reporting 

Radio work

More Feature Writing 

Tulip festival feature writing 



writing and rewriting stories


Profile writing and Story Critiques

More Introduction to radio reporting





More Feature Writing 


Tulip festival feature writing 


Orientation Meeting 








 Scavenger hunt/ Pizza


Movie night 

Bowling on campus lanes and swim at campus pool   


Movie night 

radio editing 

Phtotography with Dordt College's Doug Burg  

More Tulip festival photography 



Movie night 




Movie night 

radio editing  Photography 

Tulip festival photography 



News Huddle 

News Huddle 

 News Huddle

News Huddle




Week 2



















Christian worldview 3 with World Magazine Editor Tim Lamer 

Writing for the Web with World Digital Executive Editor Mickey McLean and Managing Editor Leigh Jones 


Christian worldview 4: Tools of a Christian journalist 

Dr. Olasky

Christian worldview 5: Humble sowing in hard lands 

Dr. Olasky

 World's past, present, and future with World's Chief Executive Officer Kevin Martin and Founder Joel Belz 


Exit Interviews  




More photography/ edit Tulip festival slideshow 

Video Shoots 


Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Final Newspaper, magazine, radio work 


Exit Interviews 




More photography/ edit Tulip festival slideshow  Video Shoots  

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Newspaper, magazine, radio work   Newspaper, magazine, radio work  


Exit Interviews  




Lunch with World Magazine Reporter Sophia Lee 


Lunch with World Magazine Managing Editor Daniel James Devine 

Lunch with  

World Magazine Associate Art Director Rob Patete 

Lunch with World Magazine Reporter Emily Belz 

Lunch and Final Farewell 


Free day to explore and rest or swim 

Video Storytelling with Dordt College's Mark Volkers 

Video Shoots 

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

 Final Newspaper, magazine, radio work 






Video Storytelling 

Video Shoots/Editing  

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Final Newspaper, magazine, radio work 






Video Storytelling  

Video Shoots/ Editing  

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Final Newspaper, magazine, radio work  






Video Storytelling  


Video Shoots/Edting  


Newspaper, magazine, radio work 


Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Final Newspaper, magazine, radio work  






Video Storytelling  

Video Shoots/ Editing  


Newspaper, magazine, radio work 


Newspaper, magazine, radio work 

Final Newspaper, magazine, radio work 













Video Editing 

Video/photo edits 

Video or photo edits/ optional pool night  

Video and Photo Showings 





Video editing 

Video/photo edits 

Video or photo edits/ optional pool night  


Video and Photo Showings 








 Frutied Plain Cafe 




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 TimesThe Washington Post, and other newspapers. He will give close attention to assignments 1 and 2. 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 WJI, the better.


Assignment 1, to be mailed to by 6 p.m. on May 8:


Write a 400-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 mailed to by 6 p.m. on May 10:


 Write a 500-word profile of a ministry having a beneficial impact on the community or state in which you live or go to school (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:


Assignment 3, to be emailed to by 6 p.m. on May 12:


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 4, to be emailed to by 6 p.m. on May 13:


Research the Sioux Center/ Sioux County/ NW Iowa area and give us a story proposal about some ministry to the poor in the region 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 this region and tell us about it!


Note regarding assignments 1 and 2: Be sure to cover the who, what, when, where, why, how, and so what of the story. One or more of these are usually missing in the first draftYou 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.