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Use Journalism to Change the World

This is a guest blog post from UC Berkeley’s Journalism for Social Change course team. 

Last year, I took my longstanding class at U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, Journalism for Social Change (J4SC), online.

With the help of edX, we were able to teach thousands of students from around the globe how to produce solution-based journalism that drives social change. I am happy to announce that we are offering the class again, and this time we will have a broader focus on some of the biggest human rights issues facing the globe today.

Whether it is the Syrian refugee crisis, women’s rights in Africa, gun violence, food insecurity, child abuse or any other human rights issue you want to tackle, this class will give you the skills to have an impact now.

In August, we released a report that summarized the results of the first offering. Whether it was learning basic journalism skills, understanding how solution-based journalism can be an implement of social change or understanding complex policy issues, students who responded to the survey said that they had improved on all counts.

I have learn[ed] what it takes to become a journalist,” wrote one student on the discussion board. “I have more respect for the work they do and what they do to put a story out there on paper for the public.

Another wrote:

Earlier, I had an impression that journalism was meant to mirror exactly what is happening in society, giving people a reflection of what they’re doing. This course has made me realize that there are always solutions … and writing about such stories can make journalism a tool for social change.

The goal of Journalism for Social Change goes far beyond just learning about how journalism can drive social change.

Students are encouraged to submit their stories for publication in The Chronicle of Social Change, an online news website that often sparks follow-up coverage in mainstream media outlets. By publishing student stories, we hope to impact public and social policy affecting vulnerable populations.

With our new self-paced course, you can move through the learning modules at your own pace. You’ll have an opportunity to share your story and ideas with thousands of peers from around the world, and will hopefully end up with a published story.

This is a great opportunity for aspiring journalists to learn skills; for established journalists to go deeper in their reporting; and a chance for advocates and policy experts to become better at communicating issues in a way that resonates with the public.

Join us on this journey and enroll in the free MOOC today.

Photo caption: Daniel Heimpel (left) discusses solution-based journalism and the Journalism for Social Change MOOC for a segment on UCTV with Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Henry Brady, the dean of U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.