New national security journalism specialization available for graduate students

The Medill National Security Journalism Initiative has announced the creation of a national security journalism specialization for graduate journalism students. The initiative is also offering a $7,500 scholarship for graduate journalism students who participate in the fifth quarter specialization program in national security reporting.

The new specialization capitalizes on courses already offered by Northwestern, along with the initiative’s relationship with the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies and Roderick MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern, the National Strategy Forum in Chicago and the Military Reporters and Editors organization in Washington.

For the national security specialization, students will take five units of national security courses. Students can choose from required classes and approved electives. Some of the courses are not through Medill.

Course options for the specialization include business, urban issues or health and science reporting; U.S. security and civil liberties reporting; covering conflicts, terrorism and national security; and the global journalism seminar.

Students in the specialization also will be given preference for the fifth quarter specialization program in national security reporting project, which takes place in Washington, D.C., during the fall quarter. It is an 11-week program that involves multimedia projects.

Participants in the program will report on a special topic; past projects have focused on national security implications of climate change, the guard and reserve and energy security. Travel is involved as part of the coverage of the topic, along with briefings and seminars from officials with extensive national security experience and expertise.

Graduate journalism students who have completed a minimum of three quarters of graduate school are eligible to apply. The application deadline is May 1, and participants will be chosen by May 15. Students taking part in the new national security journalism specialization will receive preference if they apply, though all concentrations are eligible.

To apply, students should email Meyer a one-page memo outlining reporting project ideas; story samples (either as links or attachments); a faculty reference; their resume and a list of proficiency levels (literate, proficient or advanced) for audio reporting, video shooting and editing, Flash, HTML5, photography, database (computer-assisted) reporting.

As preparation for the reporting projects, participants will complete short research assignments and attend daylong meetings this summer. Examples of work completed during the program can be found at, and

Interested students should email Josh Meyer, director of education and outreach for the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, at or call him at 202-661-0106. They can also contact Ellen Shearer, co-director of the Initiative and William F. Thomas Professor of Journalism, at or 202-661-0102.