Ask the Editor: How to become a WORLD reporter

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Friday, January 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, working for WORLD.

Maybe you’re a professional in another field, but you’re sensing a call to journalism.

And Mary that was you eight years ago.

REICHARD: Yes and it changed my life. Not overstating that.

EICHER: Yes and what you have done has changed things at WORLD.

Editor-in-Chief Marvin Olasky is here now to talk about a program for mid-career would-be journalists.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: In recent years I’ve received probably 200 letters that say something like this: I am a WORLD Magazine subscriber. My family and I have read WORLD faithfully for the past 10+ years.  I appreciate your willingness to ruffle feathers in the interests of truth and fair reporting. Is there any way I can be involved in the magazine or podcast?

The answer is yes, but it’s not easy. The way in is through the World Journalism Institute. Two days ago my wife Susan and I finished our tenth annual WJI mid-career course. Ten students spent a week in our home in Austin, Texas. They researched, wrote, and rewrote from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on the Sabbath, with homework afterward.

The 10, chosen from 25 applicants, included a lawyer, a professor, a science lab supervisor, and others. Previous classes have included bankers, engineers, psychologists, doctors, and retirees from the FBI, the Coast Guard, and the CIA. The common denominator: They are competent writers and are willing to work hard to become excellent ones.

Our mid-career students, ranging in age from 30 to 60, made enormous strides during the week. They wrote stories for WORLD’s website and scripts for WORLD’s podcast. They hit the streets to research and write a feature that will appear in WORLD Magazine. None of them will give up their day jobs, but you’ll see some of their bylines over the next few months and years as they write occasional stories and reviews.

You might wonder why I’m mentioning this now, since the next class isn’t until next January and the deadline for applying is Sept. 1. It’s because words on paper or online are the big difference between mid-career folks whom I accept and those I reluctantly turn down. I want to see some writing samples, feature articles or similar pieces the applicant has produced for local publications, blogs, or even church bulletins.

If you look at WORLD’s list of correspondents and editors on an early page of each issue, you’ll see 43 World Journalism Institute graduates. So if you’d like to be involved with WORLD on a part-time basis, please find ways to develop your writing during the next seven months. You’ll have something to show when you apply. To learn more, go to Hope to see some of you next January.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Marvin Olasky.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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