Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

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The Western Knight Center

The Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism (WKC) offers competitive fellowships to mid-career journalists for short, intense seminars on timely topics that are critical to the interests of the western United States and beyond, including but not limited to the environment, the Pacific Rim, entertainment and immigration issues. In addition to enhancing the journalists' expertise on complex issues, each seminar provides opportunities to develop new media skills. Every seminar, regardless of length, has and will continue to provide the following key components: on-line/new media introduction, ethical issues, field trip(s), case studies, diversity/multiculturalism, stories from the frontline, source lists and reference materials. WKC fellowships cover lodging, meals, instruction and a partial travel subsidy for up to 20 professional journalists who benefit from the expertise of academic, public and private sector leaders in the focused topics.

The Western Knight Center is a partnership of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. The program is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Mission Statement

The Western Knight Center (WKC) is dedicated to fostering excellence in journalism through intense educational seminars on timely topics of broad significance. The philosophy of the WKC is to maximize the interaction of fellows with each other, with guest experts and with real world experiences that illustrate the topic issues.

History

On September 22, 1999, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a round of major grants including funding of the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, to be hosted by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and operated jointly by USC and the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. The $1.33 million grant, distributed over three years, supports five to seven annual seminars for mid-career journalists on timely topics rooted in the western United States.

"USC and UC Berkeley, located in areas that symbolize the multicultural, high-tech America of the 21st Century, look forward to learning from the University of Maryland's successful program," said Loren Ghiglione, then-director of USC's Annenberg School of Journalism, shortly after being notified that USC had been awarded the grant. "Together we can train more journalists and dramatically increase the number and range of subjects covered annually."

USC received the first round of funding for the Western Knight Center in November 1999; however the Center was not officially underway until the following spring, with the naming of the director, and the WKC's first seminar that fall.

The Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, hosted by the University of Maryland and also funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, offers week-long educational training seminars for mid-career journalists on topics including economics and finance, law, health care, science, religion, social issues and business. Nearly 1,400 journalists have attended the programs offered by the Knight Center since it was founded in 1987. It was the success of the Knight Center's short, intense seminars that spawned the idea that ultimately created the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism.

 
What fellows have to say about past seminars:
"The program was wonderfully organized. The attention to detail made the difference between an excellent program and a merely satisfactory one."
- Mark Sherman, Associated Press (National)
A partnership of...

Funded by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation