2017 - Spring

CrisisBeat: Reporting on Religion, Ethnicity and Human Rights

Course Number: JOUR-UA 204.001 Elective Reporting Topics

Day & Time: Thurs 2:30-6:10pm

Location: 20CS, room 654

Instructor: Jason Maloney

JOUR-UA 204.001 Elective Reporting Topics:CrisisBeat – Covering Global Crisis, Conflict and Human Rights.

This introduction to international journalism uses topics of human rights, crisis and development as a practical framework for building students’ reporting abilities.

Do these kinds of topics resonate with you?

•The persecution of Muslim minorities in Myanmar;
•The impact of conflict and revolution in Ukraine on the LGBT community;
•Women’s rights after the introduction of Sharia Law in Indonesia;
•The debate over the use of foreign mercenaries in Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram;
•Corporate responsibility for the exploitation of factory workers in Bangladesh.

All of these have been the focus of recent student assignments for Covering Global Crisis, Conflict and Human Rights. Through this course, students will acquire a strong intellectual understanding of these kinds of issues while gaining the journalistic skills to collect engaging material in the field and craft those findings into impactful final narratives. They will explore the ethical, cultural, logistical, even psychological challenges of foreign reporting. Though we will report from New York, we will extensively cover the practical skills needed to work in the world’s most remote locations. Professor Jason Maloney actively reports in these environments, so his continuing firsthand knowledge helps inform the class, both on the dynamics of the places we study and how to report on them.

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 their story development process. Research 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 bring these experts to us… and hear from occasional guest speakers on the topics and regions we are covering.
Students’ story research and development efforts in this class will result in two major story pitches, appropriate for long-form print or documentary media. These pitches will be refined to the point where they would be competitive at global news outlets. Then, subject to consultation with the class, one of these pitches will be “accepted” and become the final assignment for the class, where students will seek interviews and additional reporting to turn the pitch into a 1,200 word article. As Professor Maloney is video journalist, he can also advise and facilitate making this final report into a video or multimedia feature.