2014 - Spring

CrisisBeat: Reporting on Religion, Ethnicity and Human Rights

Course Number: JOUR-UA 204.001 Elective Reporting Topics

Day & Time: Fri 2:00pm- 5:40pm

Location: 20 Cooper, room 750

Instructor: Jason Maloney

JOUR-UA 204.001 Elective Reporting Topics:CrisisBeat – Reporting on Religion, Ethnicity and Human Rights

A blend of regionally-focused and thematic study, intense analysis of foreign news coverage, and actual production and reporting effort, CrisisBeat is a course designed for students interested in internationally-focused video or print journalism. The class will offer a rare opportunity for hands-on experience supporting the production of a television news series on the intersection of international politics and global religion for a major national media outlet. In 2012-2013, Professor Jason Maloney’s non-profit production unit, the Bureau for International Reporting, has contracted with PBS NewsHour to produce a six-part series called Fault Lines of Faith. This course will work towards identifying, researching and developing topics that are of global importance and appropriate for television news production and inclusion in this series. The class will also develop a companion blog for the series, which will feature some of the student work done for the class. The class will also be responsible for reporting and producing video interviews with experts on International Affairs.


To achieve our class goals, students will divide up the world into regional dossiers, study local dynamics and socio-political trends and develop individual stories from within their areas of focus. In class, students will present and brief the group on their region, and on developments that impact our major theme. This will involve aggregating news content from a series of media, international and regional, but will also involve primary source reporting using Skype, phone and email and through coverage of public meetings and events focused on their topic and hosted by relevant organizations in New York (Human Rights Watch, Asia Society, UN groups). We will also occasionally bring these experts to us… and hear from occasional guest speakers who are expert in the topics and regions we are covering.


Some of the efforts undertaken by students as part of this class will support the production of the stories that are covered as part of the NewsHour video series; other work will lead to content that will be disseminated through our Fault Lines of Faith Blog. This course will offer those students interested in TV or video news production an opportunity to be a part of a major news project that will result in significant airtime on a nationally-broadcast, well-respected outlet. For those students not primarily interested in video, this course still offers the opportunity for first-hand reporting on global and topical subject matter with the potential for clips running on a promoted website. The essential skills for story identification, development, research and writing, with an emphasis on storytelling, are universal to all dissemination platforms. Though our primary outlet for this project is television, the class will emphasize story and reporting.