At a time when global reporting is in crisis and models of foreign correspondence are being called into question, the GRC is revolutionizing the way in which global journalism is being taught and produced.
The new Global Reporting Program (GRP), the Centre’s educational branch, brings together university-based journalism programs across the globe, allowing graduate students to investigate and report neglected global stories through true cross-border and cross-cultural collaborations.
Students from partner universities study global reporting techniques and experiment with innovations through a “teaching hospital” approach to journalism education. A key component of the course is collaborative fieldwork, as well as collaborative production of major works of journalism on under-covered global issues. Students work closely with subject-area scholars, basing their reporting on scholarly research and in-depth reporting.
The GRP emerges from the successful International Reporting Program (IRP) at the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Since its inception in 2008, the IRP has afforded more than 100 students the opportunity to report and produce high-quality works of global journalism. These projects appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, CBS News, PBS Frontline, CBC, VICE News, and Al Jazeera, among others. Student-led projects have earned recognition from many of the leading professional journalism organizations, including the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy for Best Investigation), Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi), Radio Television Digital News Association (Edward R. Murrow, National Network Award), International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (Webby honour) and Online News Association (OJA).
The course pairs graduate students from partner institutions who are interested in exploring the unique challenges of covering global stories. The year-long course examines the nature of international reporting, including a review of the issues and ethics across mediums. This model of collaborative learning and reporting amongst different universities and countries fosters cross-cultural approaches to global reporting, and provides students with real-world journalism experience.
The GRP is structured around a two-term project, using information and material gathered during an international field trip (usually in December). Students produce a major work of journalism, with the goal of having it published, broadcast and/or launched by a major media outlet.
This course allows students from journalism programs across the globe to work together, and is co-led by leading global journalist and subject-area specialists. Lectures and class time runs for two hours each week, hosted at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, with students from abroad participating via teleconference, with the ability to participate live or watch the lecture/discussion at a convenient time. Both cohorts also have a one-hour lab each week, in which instructors at the respective institutions will workshop specific skills and techniques of global reporting. The students from across partner universities team up and communicate regularly outside of class time. Students report on their progress, participate in lectures and contribute to the development of the final project.
Each of the students travel to one of the destinations of a partner university, reporting in partnership with local GRC students. There will be no use of “fixers” in the field – the students local to each region serve as translators and cultural guides as necessary. All students have equal editorial authorship of the final project. Following the fieldwork, students spend time together on UBC’s campus, working together to edit their pieces and pitch them to major media organizations.