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WJI 2023 review: Mid-career


WORLD Radio - WJI 2023 review: Mid-career

Plus: an invitation to apply to the 2023 WJI College Course

Journalist at news conference Mihajlo Maricic via iStock

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, March 13th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Well, this week, we held the 2023 World Journalism Institute mid-career course, one week of journalism training in Asheville, North Carolina, with professionals in other fields or in other media.

Lee Pitts is director of WJI. Thanks for taking a moment here. Good morning.

LEE PITTS, GUEST: Good morning, Nick. Thanks for having me.

EICHER: What a great week. exhausting, but exhilarating is what I always say.

PITTS: Yeah, yeah, they grow a lot. And they learn a lot and they laugh a lot. We have a lot of fun, but their writing muscles and their storytelling muscles, really, we really stretch them and they come out stronger storytellers.

EICHER: But this group is done and what we're doing now is we're getting ready for a group of collegiate WJI students up in your neck of the woods, Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa. But really importantly, we're coming up on a deadline, and that's a big deal in journalism. So talk a little bit about that.

PITTS: Yeah, the end of this month in March, March 31st. We have a deadline for the WJI Collegiate, where we each year invite 28 students from around the country. Last year, they represented 17 states and even from around the world. We had a student last year from the Ukraine. They come together and they they learn writing from practicing professional journalists, they get good mentoring and good feedback.

But we don't lock them in the classroom and make them endure lecture after lecture. We make the community our classroom and we send them out to explore the world and, you know, that's worth a thousand lectures to actually do their own stories, really from the first full day they're there.

But one of the things that we do that might be different from many journalism programs, is we recognize the humanity in the subjects we cover. We teach our students that you don't just reach down the throats of the person you’re interviewing and yank out some quote. You know, we understand that a person is created in God's image and they're not just a mere subject for story assignments.

You know, and we do emphasize that journalists are storytellers and in the world God created, stories matter. And we focus, in a world so, so full of bureaucracy and institutions, we focus on the story is not about healthcare, but the patient; not about education, but the teacher and the students.

So we have that very person-focused, centered on our stories.

EICHER: wji.world is the website. The deadline for application is the last Friday of this month, an important date to keep in mind. So we're getting down to the end. WJI.world. Lee Pitts is the director of WJI. Any final words?

PITTS: Yeah, I would just say to students out there, they're thinking about applying that I firmly believe we firmly believe WJI is a great way to spend your life-stories, telling the stories of others. So I invite you to join us, where we'll ask you for two weeks, you know, what stories do you want to tell? And we'll take you out there and allow you to go tell those stories.

EICHER: Lee, thanks a lot. We'll see you up in Iowa.

PITTS: Thanks, Nick. Look forward to seeing you there too.

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