WORLD’s annual mid-career course provides intensive training in reporting and writing magazine, website, and radio stories from a Christian worldview. The next course, #13, will meet in the Olasky living room (pictured above) in Austin, Texas, from October 7 through 13, 2021. Since we're in close contact for a week, we require COVID vaccination.
The course week runs from Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. central time, with evening homework. Halfway through the course comes the Sabbath, a much-needed day of rest. Students during the course of the week rewrite a previously-composed obituary and write a profile, a review, a website story, part of a feature story, and a proposal for a WORLD notebook story. We also have worldview discussions.
Tuition is free. The course rarely leads to full-time WORLD work, but it leads to opportunities for those with talent and drive to report on news within their metropolitan area or field of expertise. Sixty people who have taken a World Journalism Institute course are now WORLD reporters, editors, or occasional correspondents. Among them are lawyers, doctors, teachers, pastors, homemakers, a CIA retiree, and a fighter pilot.
Breakfast on class days is available from 8 to 9. Lunchtime is from 12:15 to 1. Most students pay $40 for a meal plan including six breakfasts, six lunches, and snacks. Students go out for dinner (we provide a list of local restaurants, some inexpensive and others costly) and are on their own for Sabbath meals.
Typically, five students stay at our house and that of a WJI grad two miles away, and five stay in local hotels. There's no charge for home stays, but contributions of any amount to the Zenger House Foundation are welcome. If more people desire home stays than the two houses can accommodate, we'll see if friends at our church can accommodate others.
How to Apply
By September 1, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org a resume plus a 300-word autobiographical sketch that includes specific detail about what God has done in your life and summarizes your theological understandings and church involvement. Please send PDFs of two or three articles you've written. If we accept you we'll ask you to write an obituary and watch a television show that you will review in October.
Also, please read Marvin Olasky's book Reforming Journalism and email another 200 words or so about what you like and dislike in the book. That's important to see whether your interests and goals are compatible with those of World. If you are in a place where it's difficult for you to obtain a copy, please request an electronic copy by writing to email@example.com.
The course emphasizes news feature reporting and writing, based on principles of Biblical objectivity. It’s not for those whose goal is to write columns, op. eds., devotionals, exegetical essays, memoirs, fiction, or poetry. It is for those willing to learn about pavement-pounding, phone-calling, document-reading reporting, and about writing with strong verbs and nouns in the active voice. Only those prepared to absorb tough criticism of their writing should attend. The courses will also touch on the history and current state of Christian journalism.
Susan Olasky, WORLD’s story coach, has written and produced hundreds of book reviews, lifestyle features, and radio stories. 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 and is the author of eight historical novels for children. In 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.
Marvin Olasky, WORLD’s editor in chief, is dean of the World Journalism Institute. He worked at The Boston Globe and for 25 years was a journalism professor at The University of Texas at Austin. A graduate of Yale and the University of Michigan, Dr. Olasky has written 26 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion, Fighting for Liberty and Virtue, and Reforming Journalism. Most of his journalistic writing has come out in WORLD, but he’s also written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. A one-time member of the Communist Party USA, he became a Christian in 1976 and is an elder in the PCA (the theologically conservative Presbyterians).
The Olaskys have four sons and five grandchildren.