National Security Journalism Initiative
Northwestern University’s Medill School, a national leader in journalism education for decades, is with the assistance of generous McCormick Foundation grants expanding that leadership role with a specialty, or a sequence of courses, in national security journalism education.
The school is providing journalists-in-training and working journalists with the knowledge and skills necessary to report accurately, completely and with context on events and issues related to defense, security and civil liberties. The Initiative aims to expand single courses previously offered on covering conflicts and terrorism and the press and the Pentagon and to include new classes focused on national security, homeland security and civil liberties.
An additional grant from the Carnegie Corporation is supporting original research and establishing thought leadership on media and journalistic performance on these topics, always with an emphasis on the public interest. The funds have supported three research fellows who each spend six months of study to produce actionable research on topics of national security, defense and civil liberties that inform journalistic practice and help increase public engagement in these areas.
Over the past several years Medill has offered single courses – some multiple times – on covering conflicts and terrorism; the press and the Pentagon; and privacy, civil liberties and homeland security. They have been well-attended and are unique items in the Medill curricula, leading us to see potential in building a specialty, or a sequence of courses, around these important topics.
To achieve that goal, the McCormick Foundation recently announced it is providing an additional $1 million to its initial $1.3 million grant to continue the Initiative, which began in January 2009. The ultimate goal is for Medill to be a leader in journalism education in the area of national security. The school will provide journalists-in-training and working journalists with the knowledge and skills necessary to report accurately, reliably, completely and with context on events, developments and issues related to defense, security and civil liberties.
The Carnegie Corporation provided $200,000 to support the Fellows program and their original research into these topics: the Pentagon’s Special Operations units; the expanding role of government data mining, and the military’s use of social media to do more than just recruit.
About the Initiative
The initiative has three interrelated components. Medill received support from the McCormick Foundation for the first two and from the Carnegie Corporation for the third.
- A sequence of courses that equip graduate and undergraduate journalism students with the knowledge and skills to report on national security issues in ways that have relevance and meaning to a variety of audiences.
- In-service training for working journalists and others working in the national security/communications field that will connect them with the latest research and expertise and facilitate networking. Medill will take advantage of its Chicago, Washington and Qatar locations and distance learning technology to enable wide participation.
- Sponsorship of three visiting Fellowships of six months’ duration to produce practical and actionable research and creative output on data mining, Special Operations and the military’s use of social media, and to expose students and practitioners to distinguished professionals and scholars in the field.