This combined seminar-reporting class meets one full day per week for reporting and another day that is divided between reporting and a seminar. The class focuses on homeland security issues such as terrorism, port security, bioterrorism and pandemics, but also includes a basic understanding of the role of the military, intelligence and humanitarian law. Field trips to Chicago area preparedness offices as well as to Ft. Leavenworth and/or Ft. Riley is anticipated.
Covering Conflicts, Terrorism and National Security (1-unit seminar taught 3 times a year in DC) – caps at 15 students
Before buying a helmet, flak jacket and plane ticket, heading to the local military base or covering the Pentagon or national security legislation, it is critically important to acquire deep knowledge of the U.S military, the theory of warfare, recent successes and failures, the rules of war, war crimes, the new counterinsurgency doctrine, efforts to do better at post-conflict operations and issues that confront journalists covering conflicts and terrorism, among other subjects.
The course will provide a solid introduction to the critical issues in reporting war and terrorism, merging the basics of the U.S. military structure with classic and modern theory and a healthy dose of what’s happening today. That will include a look at how the various branches of government work with—and at times against—each other and their overseas counterparts in an effort to protect U.S. interests here and abroad.
There will also be several highly illuminating field trips, including a trip to the Army War College to talk to top U.S. counter-insurgency officials, one of whom will lead us on an insider’s tour of the nearby Gettysburg Civil War battlefield. Students will also get dirty during a weekend of hazardous environment training in the Virginia countryside with former British Special Forces operatives. There may also be visits to other relevant sites in and around Washington.
5th Quarter Specialization (3-unit course taught once a year in DC)
Medill offers a unique opportunity in Fall 2012 for graduate students who have completed at least three of their four quarters to participate in a 5th Quarter Specialization Program in National Security Reporting. Students will expand their knowledge of the issues through seminars, then launch major reporting projects with a unified overarching theme – such as military justice or failing states. Media partners will help define the projects and publish or air the stories.
The Specialization Quarter starts with several weeks of study and preparation in the Medill Washington bureau, although a number of field trips are planned. Students will meeting with relevant congressional committees, State Department experts and go to field training maneuvers at a military base, either Ft. Bragg, Ft. Polk or the U.S. Joint Forces Command Unified Endeavor exercise. They also will attend lectures in Washington focusing on national security issues specific to their reporting project. After the seminar period, students will spend their time in the field reporting on their topic. The final weeks are back in Washington finishing the stories and working with the media partners to get them aired or published.
The first specialization was held in Fall Quarter 2010. Prerequisites are either National Security Reporting class taught in Chicago in Spring or Covering Conflicts and Terrorism taught in Washington, preferably both.
Ten students will be accepted for the specialization; $7,500 stipends will be provided to each student.