Course: JOUR 5570 Introduction to Travel Journalism

Instructor: Dodie Cantrell-Bickley

Congratulations! You have enrolled in a course that offers you the opportunity to solidify your foundation as a serious journalist. Whether you are passionate about travel, politics, health, business, the environment, history, or culture, you have chosen a study abroad experience that will enable you to put into practice your journalist’s credentials through one of the most valued experiences—a living classroom in an unfamiliar environment.

This environment will challenge you to call upon all of your skills and talent to gather information, to vet that information for truth, authenticity and credibility and to disseminate that information to the public in a compelling and engaging manner on multiple platforms. I encourage you, as Professor John F. Greenman states in his Introduction to the textbook we will use in this course, to “…take seriously this large, fast-growing industry (travel.) Doing so now is especially important, as spending on foreign news coverage is in sharp decline. Indeed, it makes sense to think of travel journalists as a type of independent foreign correspondent.”

Whether you dream of a future where you write and sell the stories of your travels, or one where you work in hostile countries as a war correspondent, this singular course, offered in the unique city of Prague can provide you with many of the tools you will rely on in that future, and the knowledge to use them with confidence to make your mark. If you choose to follow another career path you may rest assured that the skills you learn in this program will serve you in any professional endeavor in this world of 24/7 news and information and constant communication.


1. To learn and practice the essential skills and knowledge required of today’s multimedia journalists with an emphasis on travel journalism.

2. To produce two complete multimedia stories; one that is essentially a travel guide topic and a second that allows the student to dive deeper into his or her particular area of interest, whether historical, cultural, political, etc.

3. To learn about diverse audiences with an interest in travel journalism and how to reach them.

4. To learn how to sell and fund your work.

Readings for the course

Greenman, J. Introduction to Travel Journalism: On the Road with Serious Intent. Peter Lang (Oxford, 2012).

Clark, R.P. Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. Little Brown (Boston, 2008).

Course outline

Monday, May 16

• Arrive, check in
• 6:30 p.m. — Welcome dinner, Purple Basil, Marriott Courtyard Prague Flora.
• Distribute cell phones and phone numbers to students.

Tuesday, May 17

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – Introduction to the course, review of the syllabus. What is travel journalism? Who is the travel journalist? Read Greenman, Chapter 1 and its Case Study
• Reporting exercise: We will take a tour of old town Prague and learn about its history. Begin preliminary fact-gathering/reporting on both stories.
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m. – Debrief reporting exercise

Wednesday, May 18

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – Who is the audience for travel journalism? Read Greenman, Chapter 2
• Reporting exercise: Continue preliminary reporting on both stories. Learn to use the subway, trams and buses. Ride the length of Tram #22, the “tourist” tram.
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m.– Debrief reporting exercise
• Due: Memo on your in-depth story idea-not more than 1-page double spaced

Thursday, May 19

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – How do you reach the audience for travel journalism? Read Greenman, Chapter 3
• Reporting/writing exercise: Finish preliminary reporting and write initial rough draft on first travel guide story.
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m.
• Due: First rough draft of travel guide story-700-1,000 words-depending on number of interviews.

Friday, May 20

• 10:00-Receive schedule of one-on-one sessions with Prague journalists.
• 10:30-4:30 One-on-one coaching sessions with Prague journalists. Each student will have three coaching sessions, spaced between 10:30 and 4:30 p.m.
• Due: If your in-depth idea has changed based on coaching sessions please revise original story memo.

Saturday, May 21

• Off – Optional, on-your-own, in pairs or larger group, travel away from Prague

Sunday, May 22

• Off – Optional, on-your-own, in pairs or larger group, travel away from Prague

Monday, May 23

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – Story approaches and sourcing. Read Greenman, Chapter 4 and its Case Study. Feedback from faculty on first drafts.
• Apply feedback to produce final draft of first story. Continue reporting on indepth story.
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m. – Debrief reporting (Note: By end of the day, students will receive feedback from Cantrell-Bickley and Crist on their revised story idea memos for the in-depth story.)

Tuesday, May 24

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – Approaches and sourcing … (continued)
• Continue reporting on in-depth story-Complete first story-due 4:45 pm.
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m.– Debrief reporting
• Due: Final draft of first story complete with accompanying photos, videos

Wednesday, May 25

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – Story elements including video elements
• Continue reporting on in-depth story
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m.– Debrief reporting and video story highlights
In Class Exercise: Faculty feedback on first story-Class will post stories and populate social media for these stories. Congratulations!!!

Thursday, May 26

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – Story structure-narrative writing-video package structure
• Continue reporting/writing on in-depth story
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m. – Debrief reporting
• Due: First rough draft of in-depth story due

Friday, May 27

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. – Narrative reporting tools review
• Depart for Berlin, those taking the optional reporting trip

Saturday, May 28

• Off – Optional, on-your-own, in pairs or larger group, travel away from Prague

Sunday, May 29

• Off – Optional, on-your-own, in pairs or larger group, travel away from Prague

Monday, May 30

• Off – Optional, on-your-own, in pairs or larger group, travel away from Prague

Tuesday, May 31

• Class: 9 a.m.-10:15 – Feedback from faculty on in-depth first drafts.
• Writing final draft of in-depth story
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m. – Publishing no longer about query letters: finding opportunities online. Read Greenman, Chapter 5 and 6 and its Case Studies.

Wednesday, June 1

• Class: 9-10:15 a.m. — Funding at the center of the debate about travel journalism: finding opportunities. Read Greenman, Chapter 7 and its Case Study
• Writing day on in-depth story.
• Class: 4:45-6:00 p.m. –DUE: Final draft of in-depth story

Thursday, June 2

• Class: 9-Noon – Faculty feedback on in-depth stories. Final student polishing as desired or required.
• Noon-1:15-LUNCH BREAK
• 1:15-6:00– Let’s load and share your stories with the world!

Friday, June 3

• 9-10:15: Class and program evaluations
• Site Review-Social Media responses if public feedback from stories required
• 10:15-Noon and 1:15-4:00—One-on-one writing critique sessions with faculty as requested and scheduled by students.
• 6:00pm-Farewell dinner-Purple Basil-Prague Marriott

Saturday, June 4

• Travel day-Check-out by Noon. SAFE TRAVELS EVERYONE!