Medill + USA Today: The Navy’s Wake-Up Call

National Security Journalism Initiative
Medill School of Journalism
Northwestern University
Published June 25, 2018

As an adjunct professor for the Medill School of Journalism (DC satellite campus), I taught the National Security Journalism Initiative course. For this class, students work all quarter on one large capstone project. The other adjunct, Eric Pianin, and I led the class. He worked with the text reporters and I supervised the video and photography elements.

As a class, our students decided to focus on the deadly collisions involving two U.S. warships in 2017. 

During the course of the semester, our students had the opportunity to go on reporting trips. I led six of the students on one of these trips, to Yokosuka, Japan. I planned flight itineraries, hotels and transport, and a visit to the U.S. Naval base where the USS John S. McCain was being repaired. I also planned and booked a reporting trip to Guam for two of the students, who traveled independently. 

With my previous experience producing stories with multiple assets, I led the overall project management. I created a project schedule with deadlines for each student to complete drafts, file images, rounds of edits, headline brainstorming, final drafts, etc. There would be six text stories, plus two video features. Each text story would also have original photography and graphics. 

Our publishing partner was USA Today, so part of the project management was gathering and delivering story assets to their team to publish in coordination with our own website.

We also worked with an adjunct who specialized in infographics. I worked with the students on what elements of their stories would lend themselves to a graphic presentation and coordinated delivery of the final graphics with the adjunct. 

The final project was published as a stand alone website to feature all of the students’ reporting. We worked with a freelance website designer on planning the layout and I coordinated the gathering and delivery of assets.

Visit: The Navy's Wake Up Call →