Skip to main content

Covering Conflicts, Terrorism and National Security (D.C.)

This course is an introduction to a range of national security topics. It will span from the basics of U.S. national security structure and military theory to a healthy dose of current events -- and talk of future events. It will do so primarily by drawing on Washington’s wealth of experts to provide the most authoritative information and analysis. 

Even though this is a lecture class, not a reporting class, you are required to create one reported blog post based on Washington news and one story based on our Medill Explores briefings. You also will have one quiz. 

War, whether the clashing of armies or the stealth of terrorists, is the most complex and destructive of human activities. Covering it is perhaps the most challenging assignment a journalist can have. 

Most of you haven’t worked or lived in a conflict area. But in the years ahead, you very well might need the skills to succeed in journalism in a difficult scenario. What may be rooted far away has a broad impact wherever you live. Conflicts overseas can cost money, restrict civil liberties, invade personal privacy and can leaves the nation caring for – or burying – those who fought. In addition, conflict and hostile environments can occur within the U.S. – look at white nationalist mayhem and murder Charlottesville, Virginia, or the Baltimore, Maryland riots. 

As our guest speakers often are newsmakers, analysts or current or former government officials with top security clearances, the class sessions will be on background to facilitate a free exchange of ideas and information. Some may be off the record; we will discuss the ground rules at the start of each class. In each class, however, you are encouraged to take extensive notes, engage the lecturers and ask challenging questions, as any good reporter would. You will be expected to be keeping up with current events.  

We will leave the classroom on several occasions, including a morning at the Pentagon.