What makes a good journalist today? Learning the foundations and skills to report with responsibility and effectiveness is based on reporting techniques like researching, interviewing and transcribing. Learning through theory as much as practice forms students - not just those who will pursue a career in journalism but also other industries since curiosity, deep research, understanding context, developing an expertise (or “beat”) and critical thinking can be applied to all jobs and situations. 

These and more secrets to greatness in journalism are taught in this Fall ‘21 semester’s “Issues of Journalism” course. As part of the Communication and Media Studies major, this class is instructed by Elettra Fiumi, a journalist and an award-winning documentary film director, producer and editor. Surrounded by the film jet-set as a child, Elettra started out working in magazines and decided to pursue an MSc degree at the Columbia University School of Journalism of New York City. She recalls “They gave me a camera on the first day, teaching me that journalists have to be able to tell stories in all sorts of ways today.” She later went on to establish her own production company, Fiumi Studios, and creates documentaries for leading news outlets, brands, and independent features.

Today, Elettra is excited to be able to share her expertise and multidisciplinary journalistic skills with Franklin students, introducing them to various writing and journalistic techniques, including researching, reporting, understanding context, interviewing, writing, and basic recording and filming. They learn to record interviews as back up but the transcripts from these help them select important quotes, a skill upon which they can build when they make video journalism. The learning outcome of the class is to enable students to produce high quality written work (and some audiovisual content) through a process of researching, drafting, workshopping and editing, to find their own beat reporting, a particular chosen journalism genre which focuses on a particular issue, sector, organization, or institution over time. This helps build deep knowledge, context and a book of sources the students learn to develop. It is especially important to comprehend the nuances and implications of the selected theme, building up a base of knowledge and familiarity with the topic. The students are engaged in case studies and on-the-ground, practical exercises combined with in-class discussions, workshops, and guest lectures.

Second-year student Sofia Rojo-Kratchovil ’23 enrolled in the course comments “This is one of my favorite courses! Professor Fiumi offers excellent insight into the journalism world as she guides us through the process of writing. I have complete creative control over my stories and am supported by not only Professor Fiumi but my classmates as well. Every class is like stepping into an active newsroom where we can discuss and update on our stories and current events.”

Follow and read the assortment of student journalistic pieces on the Adventures At Franklin blog starting this Saturday, November 13. Up this week, don’t miss “Purpose, Fate, Destiny: The Endless Costs of Student Leadership” by Destiny Brown ‘23. Next off, a captivating autobiography by Danielle Lopez-Cecetaite ‘21, and a deep dive article on the effects of the Internet Age and in particular the rise of TikTok by Letizia Stefani ’22. Other curious and absorbing themes from students span from Crypto Currency, the Lugano Art Scene, Fake news, and the Latinx representation.