Washington, D.C., Journalism Program
Visit the Boston University Study Abroad website to apply and to learn more about the program.
The Washington, D.C. Journalism Program offers graduate and undergraduate journalism students the opportunity to spend a semester reporting on Congress and the federal government for news outlets in New England and other regions of the county — meeting and interviewing newsmakers, as well as studying political reporting in the nation’s capital.
Students will enroll in a core course in political reporting, and also take part in informative weekly seminars aimed at giving them first-hand exposure to the insights of key Washington policy makers in government, media, and the K Street lobbying corridor. Upon successful completion of the semester, students earn 16 Boston University credits – eight for the newsroom and four a piece for two classroom courses.
Students have the chance to make valuable contacts with working journalists at national news organizations, both on the job and in the classroom: Several alumni/alumnae from the College of Communication hold key positions at the White House and in several Washington media outlets, and have been helpful to the program and its participants.
Students are reporters for the BU Washington News Service. Print journalism students serve as the Washington, D.C.-based correspondents for several New England newspapers, with readership in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. The current client list includes the Cape Cod Times, Montpelier Times Argus, Nashua Telegraph, New London Day, Portsmouth Herald, Quincy Patriot Ledger and Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Broadcast students work for such clients as Lilly Broadcasting, which owns several TV stations throughout the Northeast and Midwest. The B.U. Washington News Service newsroom, located near DuPont Circle just blocks north of the White House, is also equipped with state-of-the-art television and radio equipment. Students also have opportunities to utilize equipment and resources at the Boston University Center For Digital Imaging Arts, located just to the west in the Georgetown section of the city.
Through their reporting for both newspaper and broadcast outlets, students can amass clips and video to create portfolios and résumé reels of Washington stories involving Congress, the White House and a multitude of Cabinet departments and regulatory agencies. Many of the stories will deal with regional issues that reflect the clients’ interests, and which, in the past, have generated front-page bylines and high visibility in our media affiliates.
Students are housed for the semester in a new residence in Washington’s Woodley Park neighborhood, adjacent to Rock Creek Park and just a subway stop away from the BU Washington News Service newsroom at 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. All student correspondents are credentialed as members of Congress’ Daily Press Gallery or Radio-Television Gallery, and are provided with memberships in the prestigious National Press Club.
All newsroom participants take an advanced course in political reporting. This course examines how the changing media environment has changed the way political figures behave and how the press reports on them. It is also designed to teach journalism students about navigating in official Washington, and how to meld reporting on politics with reporting on policy.
For a second course, newsroom participants can select from a variety of courses offered at the BU Washington Academic Center on topics ranging from the factors that affect the legislative process on Capitol Hill to the crafting of foreign policy by U.S. presidents. Selected classes at the George Washington University in D.C. are also open to students in the BU Washington Journalism Program.
Walter S. Montaño
BU Washington Programs
Walter Montaño has been involved in the BU Washington Programs as a faculty member and administrator for the past 10 years. He currently teaches the American Governance course on the American presidency and U.S. foreign policy. A historian, writer and long-time Washington resident, his Ph.D. work in diplomatic history focuses on Nixon and Ford administration policies in Latin America. His background includes editing/writing for entities across the federal government as well as think tanks, consulting firms and publications.
Senior Faculty Adviser
Lester (Les) Kretman spent more than 30 years at NBC News, where he served as deputy Washington bureau chief and later was based at the White House -– coordinating the network’s daily coverage of the president for nearly a decade. A graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, he was executive producer at Boston’s WHDH-TV and WCVB-TV before moving to NBC News.
Adjunct Faculty Member
Susan Milligan covered the White House and national politics for the Boston Globe for more than a decade, after previous experience as a reporter for the New York Daily News and an Eastern European-based freelance journalist. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, she is currently a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.
Senior Newsroom Editor
Louis (Lou) Peck has spent 35 years in Washington, covering and supervising coverage of Congress and national politics. He was founding editor of National Journal’s CongressDaily, which he headed for two decades, and a Washington correspondent for Gannett newspapers. A graduate of Brown University, he also has taught at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
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