Michigan State University’s Reporting on Islam Course “Uncomfortable, Worthwhile”

Interesting course alert: Reporting on Islam, a 400-level pilot class jointly sponsored by the j-school and Muslim Studies program at Michigan State University. According to a UPI report, it is aimed at “teach[ing] students how to deal with the complexities of reporting on Islam in a post-Sept. 11 world.”

The course syllabus for this past semester explains further: “Students will analyze news stories on Muslims and Islam in the U.S. and international press.  They will be instructed in the complexity of Islam as a religion and the cultural practices of Muslims.  Students will also create content . . . focused on Reporting on Islam and Muslim peoples.  Some content will be based on interviews with scholars, expert journalists, and members of the Muslim community.  Students will also help develop ‘Best Practices in Reporting on Islam and Muslim Peoples.'”

During the fall, students visited a local Islamic Center, heard from relevant guest speakers, and completed news stories of their own, in part by conducting interviews with people via Skype in countries such as Iraq and Iran.  A number of enrollees published their classwork professionally, including a report on the birth of Islam punk rock that landed in the Wall Street Journal and San Francisco Sentinel.

One of the students provided possibly the best summary a class can get: “[The course] definitely made me uncomfortable at times, but honestly, that is how I know it was worthwhile. It helped me experience a part of the world and this country that I never had before.”

One Response to “Michigan State University’s Reporting on Islam Course “Uncomfortable, Worthwhile””
  1. Harumi Gondo says:

    The course was pretty awesome. Geri Zeldes, the instructor of the course, and her students video-conferenced with Muslim j-students in India and reporters from Washington and some of the students got their stories published to UPI. It was a great experience for us at UPI to work closely with MSU’s very bright students on UPIU.com, UPI’s site for j-students.