Students practice podcasting, with two students operating cameras and lighting, and another two students being filmed at a desk
Category: Academics

Title: Mastering Modern Journalism: A Dive Into My Digital News Class

Author: Ninabella Arlis (C'26)
Date Published: December 7, 2023

As a Georgetown Storyteller and an assistant editor for the Georgetown Voice, I’m naturally drawn towards pursuing a minor in journalism. There’s six requirements for Georgetown’s program. You must take Introduction to Journalism, of course, and then three more core classes along with two electives. This past fall I took Digital News, a class that teaches you how to tell a singular story in any number of ways.

Our first week we set up our Georgetown Domains, which give us the ability to build our individual blogs and learn basic web hosting skills at no cost. I titled mine “Newsabella”, as Professor Ann Oldenburg told us it could be whatever we wanted, but just not boring. Our first blog post assignment was an “About Me” section. 

Last spring, I took Introduction to Journalism, the prerequisite for Digital News, with adjunct professor Saeed Ahmed. He shared his concern that many journalism classes tend to prepare students for the industry as it was 20 years ago, rather than addressing the demands of today’s constantly evolving landscape. However, our class actively tackles this issue by consistently exploring and adopting the most up-to-date methods for presenting and receiving news.

We now have experience in writing press conference profiles and “trend” stories, recording podcasts, taking photos for a gallery, and creating a news video.  

Prof. Oldenburg brought in a variety of guest lecturers to match the diverse media of our projects, including Georgetown alums like Ian Philbrick, a writer for the New York Times’ morning newsletter and Michelle Jaconi, an executive producer for the creative video team at the Washington Post. We also got the opportunity to speak to Jeff Pierre, the host and senior producer of the 7podcast at the Washington Post; Matt Mendelsohn, a freelance photojournalist with a long list of famous photos; and Joseph Olmo, a broadcast journalist for NBC4.

Georgetown pennant pinned on corkboard with a business card from Michelle Jaconi of The Washington PostMy favorite speaker was Jaconi. She was extremely informative and yet extremely lively and compelling to watch. I furiously took notes of her tidbits of wisdom as I genuinely wanted to memorize every word she said. At the end of class, I got her business card and a new LinkedIn connection.

On days that we don’t have a guest join us, we analyze our own projects or published news pieces, do “on the fly” creation sessions, or learn how to edit in workshops with staff from the library.

We first learned how to create podcasts in two workshops about recording and editing. The next class we used that knowledge to Professor stands in a glass room with podcasting equipment, demonstrating how to work with themcreate a short podcast episode within the timeframe of the class using only our phones and a partner. My team ran around interviewing students about the recent student election. 

The second workshop theme was video production in order to set us up to complete our final projects. We met at Lauinger Library’s Production Studio and Idea Lab to learn how to use a variety of equipment through different stations, including an anchor desk and a phone tripod. 

Following the structure of the podcast classes, we then ran around campus making short news videos and then had an editing workshop for our next two classes.

During these last few weeks of the semester I joined up with a classmate to complete our last project: the news video. This assignment essentially combines all the skills that we learned from the other works into one final deliverable. My partner and I began our journey by taking the Georgetown bus to Dupont Circle, where we boarded the metro to Judiciary Square, then disembarked to walk a few blocks over to the National Portrait Gallery, where we filmed footage covering the opening of the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. We recorded interviews using a phone microphone that we checked out from Lauinger Library. It was a really fun way to get off campus and experience DC in a new way — as journalists!

As a whole, this class has propelled me toward a future in journalism with enthusiasm and confidence. As I continue my journey as a Georgetown Storyteller, I am grateful for the foundation laid in this class and excited about the prospect of applying thStudents practice podcasting, with two students operating cameras and lighting, and another two students being filmed at a deskese skills to future endeavors, be it in my role with the Georgetown Voice or in my broader career pursuits.

Digital News has not only enriched my academic journey but has also opened doors to potential internship opportunities. The exposure to professionals in the field has expanded my personal network and provided insights into the various career paths within journalism. I’m optimistic that the skills and connections developed in this class will pave the way for future internship opportunities, allowing me to further apply and refine my journalism skills in a professional setting.