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Experimental College

Behind the Reporter's Notebook: The Practice of Global Journalism in the 21st Century

Tufts alum provides a unique opportunity for undergrads to learn about global journalism in an interactive and engaging way. Students think critically about news consumption and navigate the dynamic between a reporter, a source, and the reader.

semi-transparent globe superimposed over newspaper text

Everyone wants to find a job they are passionate about. A job that's thrilling, engaging, and constantly changing in a way that sparks the same passion years-in as it did the first day. For Jonathan Rosen (A'04), the field of global journalism is the perfect fit.

As a Tufts undergraduate, Rosen was unsure about the direction of his future career. The summer before his senior year, he went on the Tufts Talloires trip and discovered an interest in international travel. His takeaways from Talloires, however, were a bit unconventional. As enjoyable as the trip was, it ultimately highlighted the immense wealth and privilege in that part of the world. Rosen wanted to learn more about areas that are still developing, leading to a curiosity in East Africa and the decision to teach English in Kenya after graduating. While there, Rosen wrote and published articles about his experience. 

He later received a Master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in Advanced International Studies, and got a job with Global Post in Rwanda as a correspondent. Rosen went on to become a freelance writer and award-winning journalist who's been reporting overseas for the last decade, mainly splitting his time between the Northeast U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. His work has been published by National Geographic, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, MIT Technology Review, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Al Jazeera, and many other outlets in the U.S., Europe, and Africa.

These experiences culminated in his Fall 2019 ExCollege course, Behind the Reporter's Notebook: The Practice of Global Journalism in the 21st Century. The class has two main objectives: to help students develop an appreciation for good journalism, and to give students a better sense of what it's like to work as an international journalist. Since Tufts does not have a journalism program, Rosen's course provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about global journalism in an interactive and engaging way, while learning to think critically about news consumption and navigate the dynamic between a reporter, their source, and their audience.

The class also focuses on the craft of journalism. Students analyze styles such as feature writing, broadcast media, and investigative journalism. Case studies cover topics such as social media and the spread of fake news, war correspondence, journalism in places like Rwanda and China, and how climate change affects other parts of the world. Furthermore, students are asked to write articles of their own, which provides them with valuable experience. 

Rosen hopes that Behind the Reporter's Notebook teaches students the powerful role journalism has in shaping world affairs. "It's something that still draws me to a part of the world where things are generally changing for the better." In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, we need good journalism now more than ever.

About the Author:
Grace Prendergast is a first-year student from Evanston, Illinois studying Biology. She enjoys reading, listening to music, and hanging out with friends in her free time.