As an ambitious student looking to master the art of journalism, learning by doing instead of just watching is a beneficial theory to practice.
In the competitive era of new technologies and digitized media platforms, experiential education allows you to establish an impressive journalistic portfolio before employment.
That’s why the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism has a nonprofit student-powered news organization named the Capital News Service (CNS). With teams and offices in Washington, Annapolis, Baltimore and College Park, students are integrated into a real-life newsroom environment.
“The Merrill College has a long and distinguished legacy of teaching our students to practice ethical public affairs and investigative journalism,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, Dean of the college. “Capital News Service gives them the opportunity to learn by doing, to work with award-winning journalists and to have their work published by some of the best news organizations in the world.”
CNS: Behind the scenes
So, what goes on behind the scenes of the Capital News Service? Founded in 1990, the organization has been in action for 25+ years and shows no sign of slowing down.
Run by Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, the high-tech newsrooms allow Maryland students to experience life in a professional media environment long before they graduate, sending learners into the job market with first-hand experience and practical skills.
When you join CNS, you’ll be led by full-time faculty members who are distinguished journalists with extraordinary careers. By illuminating current affairs and issues deemed important to Maryland locals and national audiences, CNS acts as a laboratory for you to practice reporting and storytelling techniques.
With industry links that include The Washington Post, Associated Press, the USA Today network and more, you’ll set yourself up for career success with valuable connections to top companies.
Through in-field research, on-the-ground reporting and constructing your own stories, you’ll soon evolve from an aspiring student into a fully-fledged journalist. By collaborating with this college of journalism and its revered news service, you’ll receive a backstage pass into the inner workings of a dedicated media team.
The Maryland media advantage
“Working as a multimedia journalist as part of the Capital News Service program was by far the best experience I could have hoped for in college. Shooting, writing, editing, pitching stories – these are all skills I use every day in my job and I know that foundation started at Maryland,” says Alex Moe, NBC News Capitol Hill producer.
Many students gain the confidence to pursue their passions at CNS, so their Maryland experience often leads them to incredible internships and exciting jobs at major news organizations.
What’s great about the Capital News Service and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism itself, is that you have the freedom to explore your professional capabilities.
While you might go into your undergraduate or postgraduate degree with strict expectations on what your future will be like, this college encourages you to explore your individual talents through a flexible curriculum that allows students to specialize, but also experiment with various media.
This multifunctional approach to students’ journalistic abilities is what places Maryland’s Merrill College at the forefront of fearless journalism. By urging you to focus on the media tools and technologies of today, you’ll be ready to discover and define the journalism profession of tomorrow.
Create your own story
Capital News Service gives students the chance to delve into professional sports, public policy and investigative journalism. When applying for your future role, research and writing samples speak for your qualification. Going straight into an interview with an in-depth understanding of the industry, remarkable references and examples of your work will give you a leading advantage among the crowd of candidates.
As you can see from the many student accolades that Merrill learners have received, the college is full of bright, award-winning individuals who have produced coverage on both local and global events – including the Super Bowl, a terrorism trial at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and various national political conventions.
Students also get to participate in intriguing and rewarding investigative projects. One example would be “Home Sick”. By researching into the relationship between Baltimore’s neighborhoods and the high rate of asthma, this project won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award this year.
Alongside other projects such as “Strength and Shame”, “Pedestrian Casualties” and “In Poor Health”, the college’s latest investigation, “Trading Away Justice”, has partnered up with the PBS NewsHour and Injustice Watch to look into plea deals. With so many engaging initiatives, it’s no surprise that CNS won more than 30 awards from the MDDC Press Association in 2018!
CNS also welcomes around 100 student journalists per semester and represents a fantastic opportunity for all aspiring journalists.
As alumnus Chris Frates confirms, “CNS is the crown jewel of the Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. I think that every student who has the potential to succeed should do this program. You get to work with professionals and you’re always being mentored, that’s how I benefited from this school and will continue to do so for the rest of my career.”
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