New program: Jerusalem, with notepad in hand

Certain aspects of writing and reporting can be taught in a classroom. But any seasoned journalist can attest that some skills are gained only through on-the-ground experience — especially in a place that inspires as much media controversy as Israel.

A new program from the Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) aims to give college journalists exactly that. The organization, which has facilitated study abroad courses for student journalists in Italy, France, Ireland and Turkey for the past decade, is now offering its first summer journalism program in Israel, which will take place this year.

Rachele Kanigel at the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa

From June 25 to July 25, participants will live and study at Hebrew University in Jerusalem under a faculty headed by two academics from San Francisco State University: Rachele Kanigel, an accomplished journalist and associate professor of journalism at SFSU who also serves as ieiMedia’s executive director; and Eran Kaplan, an acclaimed author and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Israel Studies at SFSU.

In addition to coursework on Israeli history, politics, culture and current events, students will get hands-on training in international reporting, Kanigel said. They’ll develop sources, conduct interviews and report on the city of Jerusalem and its surroundings, publishing their stories on a multimedia website and possibly in other professional publications. Participants will also have the opportunity to travel to Haifa, Tel Aviv and other sites of interest in Israel.

The program is open to all English-speaking college students and recent graduates, and has room for up to 18 students, Kanigel said. Current students may be able to earn college credit. Though the application deadline is Feb. 15, she said the program will accept applications beyond that date until the cohort is full.

For Kanigel, who began teaching with ieiMedia in 2007 and has previously directed programs for the organization in Italy and France, getting the program off the ground will be the culmination of nearly three years of work and passion.

“I think these programs are, in general, a great way to experience foreign reporting,” said Kanigel, a former Oakland Tribune reporter. “But I wanted to do something that was a little harder-hitting, that gave students more of a sense of what it’s like to be a foreign correspondent. Israel seemed perfect … in part because it’s so important to learn how to talk to people of different religions and cultures. Jerusalem, in particular, as the holy site for three religions — you sit down at a café in Jerusalem and you have the world walking by.”

The program, which is in the process of moving its office to Florida, has no funding or sponsorship other than its partnerships with universities, including SFSU. Cost is $4,995 per student, not including airfare, although some scholarships of up to $1,000 are available. For more information, visit

Emma Silvers

Emma Silvers is a former J. staff writer.