My best teaching experience is usually what I’ve done most recently, so since Fall 2008 that’s been running Mission Local, an online news lab covering San Francisco’s Mission District. Journalism students have never had better hands-on training and, honestly, I’ve never had more fun. Not only does it teach students how to cover the news, Mission Local also gives UC Berkeley a useful role to play in the community – providing solid reporting, opening its doors to residents and giving a more human face to the university.
In spring 1991, I initiated the J-school’s international reporting courses. That semester I drove with 16 students to Tijuana. For 12 days our reporting team swarmed over the city; we shared a two-bedroom apartment and spent less than $1500 for the trip. The experience launched an annual international reporting course; I’ve continued to teach some of the classes, others have been taught by UC faculty or visiting journalists from other countries. The program has also generated an in-house magazine, stories for various media, websites and a book.
Currently I run the India Reporting Project, which invites an Indian journalist to spend a semester at Berkeley and prepare students for a reporting trip in India.
As for my own teaching, after 22 years it’s still a work in progress. Each new crop of students exposes the fault lines in my well-laid plans. Not a year goes by that I don’t change and improve my syllabus.
I’ve linked below a general outline for my basic Reporting and Writing Course. And because others wanting to take students abroad have asked for advice, I’ve also attached a memo I wrote some time ago on what I’ve learned teaching international reporting.