December 19, 2018 | ° F

Students can practice international reporting in Italy with new Rutgers program


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Courtesy of Mary D'Ambrosio | The Department of Journalism and Media Studies is launching an immersive study-abroad program in Bologna, Italy. Students will have the opportunity to develop original content and gain foreign correspondence experience through the program.


As a former reporter covering Latin America and Europe, Mary D'Ambrosio believes international journalism is one of the most demanding specialties in the field, requiring a vast knowledge of politics and languages.

“(International journalism requires) knowledge of politics, history, economics and languages, plus the ability to respond quickly to events, to work with interpreters, to hire and manage local employees and to satisfy editors thousands of miles away,” said D’Ambrosio, faculty director and professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.

This summer, D'Ambrosio helped coordinate the department's first immersive program in Bologna, Italy for students interested in international reporting. It will be part of a new undergraduate specialization in global journalism and media at the University.

During this four-week course, participants will choose a topic or story that interests them and use Bologna's resources to create their own writing, video-reporting and photographic content. The final product will be a collaborative web documentary about the city, D’Ambrosio said.

“Stories might include anything from a look at Bologna’s progressive political culture, to profiles of the many Middle Eastern and African refugees arriving in the city, to stories about the city’s famous street art, its salami-cheese-and-tortellini-making food culture or the big indie film festival that will be showing while we’re there,” D’Ambrosio said.

The cost of enrollment is about $4,500, which covers all accommodations, courses, access to media and educational facilities, as well as some meals and cultural activities, she said. Scholarships and financial aid are also available.

The program will offer 3 credits and will run from June 1 to June 29. Applications are due March 1, according to the Global Education website.

“Global journalism is one of the strengths of our department — and Rutgers students are themselves a very diverse and international bunch,” D’Ambrosio said. “We decided to try to marry those strengths: To offer our globally-minded students a real-time international reporting experience, so they’d have an opportunity to get a feel for the life of a foreign correspondent.”

This type of practical experience is extremely valuable to employers, she said.

An average day in the program would likely begin with morning classes in video storytelling, Italian and international reporting.

Students would then take a “traditional long Italian lunch break” before pairing up with international students from the University of Bologna to work on their hands-on reporting projects, she said.

“Classes run Monday through Thursday, so three-day weekends will be free for travel,” D’Ambrosio said. “Bologna is extremely central with Florence, Venice, the art city of Ferrara and the beautiful Italian coast just an hour or two away,”

The Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs recently awarded the department a $10,000 “internationalizing the curriculum” grant, which supports the development of the global specialization, and provides financial aid and scholarships for the growing roster of study abroad programs in the Journalism and Media Studies department.

Among these new programs are "Media and Struggles for Democracy in Central America,” which travels to Guatemala and “Rutgers Global Media Abroad,” which travels to London and Paris.

When initially planning the course, D’Ambrosio said she chose Bologna because it is consistently ranked as the best city in Italy for “quality of life.” Home to one of the oldest universities in the world, she said Bologna offers a wide variety of cultural activities, dining and nightlife for students to choose from.

For the duration of their time in Bologna, the John Hopkins University School of International Studies will be the home base for Rutgers students. They will take courses in the school’s facilities, and will live in residence halls located adjacent to the main campus, according to the global education website.

Students do not have to be enrolled in the journalism and media studies major in order to apply for the 2016 global journalism course, but D’Ambrosio said priority will be given to students in the department.

“We think students of english, political science, history and documentary filmmaking will find this program an especially good fit,” D’Ambrosio said.


Kira Herzog is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @kiraherzog1 for more.


Kira Herzog

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