The 2008 presidential election night provided an opportunity for students to do live political reporting by posting to Mission Local and other community reporting news sites from cafes or street corners and produce live coverage of election results and commentary here by webcasting from the school. Hands-on election coverage is one of the many ways our students use their multi-media reporting skills. Students also traveled to Washington D.C for the inauguration and then covered President Obama's first 100 days in office.
Our aim is to prepare the next generation of political reporters by deepening their knowledge of history, demography, economics and policymaking at all levels of government. In practical terms, that means we ask students to look at the big picture whether they're covering the Berkeley City Council or a presidential campaign. Because we collaborate closely with the Institute for Governmental Studies and Goldman School of Public Policy, we are able to open doors for students to some of the country's foremost political scholars, economists, working politicians, policymakers and journalists.
The program offers a range of opportunities to report, write and broadcast from Sacramento, Washington, D. C. and state and national campaign trails. We begin, though, in small classes where students can sit down with mayors, budget directors, campaign finance experts, pollsters and lobbyists to get an insider's view of how politics and government operate.
Background seminars that introduce students to the issues and players in state and local politics generally are offered in the fall semester, leading to election coverage in November. Advanced reporting courses dealing with national politics or specialized issues such as immigration, poverty, education and urban affairs generally are offered in the spring semester so that students can report from the field during both the winter and spring breaks.
Political reporting students have produced in-depth magazines on the working poor and the California economy and their stories have been published in such outlets as The Sacramento Bee, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and Santa Barbara News-Press, and broadcast on NPR.