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Student reporting outside of the Capitol.Student reporting outside of the Capitol.

Politics Policy and Foreign Affairs

In the current politically charged environment, almost all news can be considered political news. Students in Medill’s Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs specialization relentlessly cover these hot topics from Chicago, Washington and across the globe.

About the specialization

From interviewing ward bosses in Chicago to attending congressional hearings and White House briefings as a credentialed reporter to gathering stories in a foreign country, you’ll have unique opportunities to cover history as it unfolds.

Why Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs?

These topics provide plenty of news to cover, even when it’s not campaign season—although you will get the chance to cover elections if the timing works out during your program. For journalists, the stakes are high: An informed electorate is crucial to democracy and journalists are needed to help consumers understand the real issues of the day.

At Medill, you’ll build a solid foundation in reporting that will allow you to cover complex issues such as the deficit, immigration, national security and foreign policy. In fact, almost every issue, from trade to education to housing, has a policy component. You’ll hear from experts in the political, administrative and legislative processes.

For many alumni, the experience has translated into positions at top-tier global news outlets, political organizations, think tanks, nonprofits, congressional offices and the federal government.

What will I learn?

You’ll report for Medill News Service in Chicago and Washington, covering news for print, broadcast and digital native publications. You will spend fall and winter quarters in Chicago and then spend spring and summer quarters at Medill’s Washington newsroom, which has trained top journalists for more than 50 years. In Washington, you’ll have the opportunity to report as a credentialed journalist from Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, the White House and even the Supreme Court.

You'll complete an annual reporting trip to a site related to your specialty. Previous locations have included campaign headquarters and military bases. You will participate in a three-month reporting project that will be published or aired in a major news outlet, thanks to Medill’s relationships and connections with the industry.

You’ll be able to compile your published clips and multimedia productions into an impressive portfolio that will showcase your professional, hands-on journalism experience as a journalist for Medill News Service and its clients. This portfolio will be an asset to show your experience when you are interviewing for jobs.

Watch an overview of the PPFA specialization

Your Medill Experience

Student interviewing someone on camera.


In class, you’ll analyze how news coverage has influenced election outcomes. You’ll hear directly from top-level current and former U.S. officials and other experts. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a professional hostile environment training course.

Learn about the Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs curriculum
Chicago skyline at sunset.


Our Chicago space in the heart of the Loop provides easy access to City Hall and other political hot spots. Chicago has hosted national political conventions and is known for its Democratic-machine politics and pro-labor union movement. Its tongue-in-cheek political motto is “Vote early and vote often,” a reference to its not-too-distant history of political corruption, making it an ideal place to cover politics.

Learn about Medill’s Chicago campus
Students reporting in DC.


As a credentialed journalist in Washington, you’ll report from Capitol Hill, the White House, the Supreme Court and the Pentagon. You’ll interview elected officials and political operatives and develop relationships with staffers on the Hill. You’ll develop original stories that will be published in the two dozen news outlets that are Medill News Service partners.

Learn about the Medill's DC Campus
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You will take seminars related to the specialization, including Covering the Presidency and Covering Conflicts, Terrorism and National Security. You will choose among elective seminars such as Creating Compelling Podcasts, Data and Demographics, Data Visualization and Reporting with Social Media. You may enroll in a practicum, interning two days a week at the media organization in Washington.

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Specialization Reporting Project

You will participate in a three-month reporting project. Recently, Medill students investigated the national security implications of climate change, and students traveled to the Arctic Circle, Bangladesh, Houston and more. The Washington Post published the series. Another project explored why the Navy is not prepared for the next war. USA Today published the entire series online and featured the final story on its newspaper front page. Students reported from onboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean, Guam and Japan.

Read one of the USA Today stories
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Career Services

Medill’s Career Services team provides support to all Medill students for life. From resume development to interviewing skills to salary negotiation techniques, Medill Career Services is available to you while you are in both Chicago and Washington.

Learn about Career Services
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Medill Network

You’ll be paired with several Medill alumni mentors to offer story feedback and career advice throughout your time as a student. By completing your degree, you will also become part of Medill’s alumni network, with more than 18,000 Medill alumni worldwide. Whether you want to end up in Washington or any number of places where politics is center stage, chances are Medill alumni already are there, willing and able to help you succeed.

Learn about the Medill Network
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Reporting Opportunities

You have the opportunity to interact with newsmakers and see first-hand the subjects of your stories. For example, recently some students covered the court proceedings at the Guantanamo Bay detention center while others covered the special election in Pennsylvania.

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Medill Fridays

We welcome top political journalists such as USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page (BSJ73) to speak with students in Evanston, Chicago and Washington as part of our Medill Fridays. In addition, we regularly welcome politicians, authors and foreign affairs experts.

Learn about Medill Fridays

Our Faculty

Elizabeth Shogren.

Elizabeth Shogren

Elizabeth Shogren was a senior reporter and producer for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Her primary focus was climate change. Previously, Shogren was an on-air environment correspondent for NPR’s national and science desks.

View Shogren's Bio
Peter Slevin headshot.

Peter Slevin

Slevin spent a dozen years as a Washington Post staff writer. Following his reporting on the 2008 presidential campaign and extensive writing on the Obamas, Slevin authored “Michelle Obama: A Life” in 2015.

View Slevin's Bio
Headshot of Jon Marshall.

Jon Marshall

Marshall has written for numerous newspapers and magazines and is author of "Watergate's Legacy and the Press: The Investigative Impulse."

View Marshall's Bio
Ivan Meyers headshot.

Ivan Meyers

In addition to video journalism classes at Medill, Meyers has also taught video courses geared for journalists at other institutions, including the National Press Club, the American Red Cross and Georgetown University.

View Meyer's Bio
Matthew Orr headshot.

Matthew Orr

Orr has reported internationally in China, Japan, Myanmar, Ukraine, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Dominican Republic. He also covered the U.S. presidential elections in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

View Orr's Bio

Our Alumni

Headshot of Josh Lederman.

Josh Lederman (MSJ11)


Lederman covers foreign policy, the White House and the State Department for the AP and has reported from more than 20 countries, including Iraq, Israel, Russia and Cuba.

Headshot of Kevin Schmidt.

Kevin Schmidt (MSJ18)

News Writer and Producer

Schmidt works with CBS affiliates across the country to gather and share content of interest on the national and international levels.

Learn more about Schmidt
Headshot of Tanvi Misra.

Tanvi Misra (MSJ14)

Independent Journalist (Freelance)

Misra writes about migration, criminal justice, economic equality, urban policy and tech equity. 

Headshot of Gillian B. White.

Gillian B. White (MSJ12)

Senior Vice President of Revenue & Programming

White has served as the senior vice president of revenue and programming at Capital B since 2021. Previously, she worked at The Atlantic for seven years, rising to managing editor.

Headshot of David Eggert.

David Eggert (BSJ00, MSJ04)

Statehouse Correspondent

David Eggert has covered Michigan government and politics as a reporter for nearly 11 years, writing about the legislature, governor and state and national elections, among other topics.