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Journalism Students to Study Holocaust at Auschwitz

Journalism Student Fellowship

Rebecca Lim (G'11) and Emily Shenk (G'11) will travel to Berlin and Auschwitz this summer to examine ethical challenges in reporting human rights abuses by studying survivor testimony and historical and documentary sources from the Holocaust.

March 14, 2011 – Two Georgetown graduate students will participate in a trip this spring to Berlin and Auschwitz in Poland to study the Holocaust as a framework for ethical challenges in contemporary reporting of human rights abuses.

Rebecca Lim and Emily Shenk, both in their last year of Georgetown’s Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program, have been awarded 2011 Fellowships At Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE). 

“Our students are required to explore the minefield of ethical dilemmas that professional journalists confront every day and to understand the implications of the choices they may make as future reporters, ” says Denise Li, associate dean of the program, part of the School of Continuing Studies. “The fellowships will allow Rebecca and Emily to expand upon what they’ve learned and to think more deeply about the challenges that come up in reporting on sensitive issues. They are dedicated young journalists who will make the most of this wonderful opportunity.”

Future Generations

FASPE is a set of graduate studies dedicated to exploring the role of journalism, law, medicine, business and theology during Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.  The all-expenses paid trip lasts from May 25 to June 6.

“As more and more survivors of the Holocaust leave us, I think it’s incredibly important that we continue telling the story of the Holocaust and teaching future generations about what happened,” says Shenk (G’11) of Lancaster, Pa. “I hope to gain a better understanding of how to find and highlight unreported human rights abuses through the FASPE fellowship and to use this knowledge as I move forward in my journalism career.”

Shenk, an editor for Child Welfare League of America, says she’s always been interested in the Holocaust and recently interviewed a survivor who escaped from a moving train on its way to Auschwitz.

Personal Values

Lim (G'11), of Singapore, is a production intern for BBC World News America.

“The focus and objectives of the fellowship are very much in line with my personal values and interests,” Lim explains, “as well as the topic of the thesis I’m currently working on – looking at the impact of social media on the reporting of politics and human rights issues in Burma.”

She hopes to eventually develop her master’s thesis into a doctoral dissertation.

The fellowship competition drew university applicants from all over the world for only 12 spots. According to FASPE, students will study survivor testimony and historical and documentary sources from the Holocaust during their trip.

Institutional Blindness

“I think it’s a lens that forces us to raise questions about institutional blindness,” said Rev. John Langan, S.J., of the program in a video on the FASPE website.

Langan, Georgetown’s Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, has served on the faculty and steering committee of FASPE.

Michael Goldman, Jewish Chaplain to Georgetown’s law and medical centers, has also served on the FAPSE faculty, as has Leroy Walters, a philosophy professor and Kennedy Institute member.

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