Journalism, Film & Media Arts

Experience journalism, discover the power of the media

The National Student Leadership Conference’s Journalism, Film & Media Arts summer program for high school students uses an interactive approach to learning that gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the challenging complexities of the communication field. Together with American University’s School of Communication, Discover the World of Communication program you will learn from working journalists, media professionals, public relations experts, web designers and animators.

Program Highlights:

  • Interactive classes and workshops: Learn the latest techniques as you work with professional equipment during classes taught by American University School of Communication faculty.
  • Guest Speakers: Meet with professional journalists, filmmakers, and other leading media professionals.
  • Visit media institutions: Go behind the scenes during exclusive trips and tours.

Interactive Coursework

Tailor your experience to what interests you…

This unique program will provide an introduction to journalism and mass communication, while allowing you to personalize your experience with one of 16 different hands-on classes in one of the three fields below.

American University
Washington, D.C.
June 23 – July 1
American University
Washington, D.C.
July 6 – July 14
San Francisco, CA
July 30 – August 7
Public Relations & Communications

Entertainment Communication

Public Relations & Communications

Entertainment Communication
Public Relations

Public Relations & Communications

Entertainment Communication
Public Relations

Writing, Journalism & Broadcasting Workshops

Backpack Journalism

Backpack journalists do it all—and you can too. Learn to pitch an idea, shoot video, write a story, and record voiceover. Edit a final news piece and post it on the web. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, July 6 – July 14.

Broadcast Journalism

This course introduces you to the field of broadcast journalism and related legal, ethical, and technological issues. Develop interviewing, reporting, and writing skills. Produce a brief radio documentary or a television field report for your portfolio.

Investigative Reporting

Learn about the emerging news landscape, the history of investigating people in power and powerful organizations, the 10 types of interview, and how to research an interview subject. Speakers will explain how they developed major investigative stories. Tours will show you the latest in data and investigative journalism. In addition, discover comics journalism, sensor journalism and drone journalism. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, June 23 – July 1.

Professional Newswriting

See what it takes to write a news story for print, broadcast, and the web. Get practical instruction in effective writing techniques for your school newspaper, neighborhood newsletter, or website. Learn how to distinguish between news and promotional writing. Hear professional journalists talk about their careers and visit a local newsroom.

Sportswriting & Broadcasting

Learn to write for a live broadcast. Discover secrets of play-by-play commentary. Enhance your skills as a sportswriter. Students produce stand-ups at a Major League Baseball game, in Washington, DC have press box seats to blog for a WNBA game and visit Comcast Sports NET and ESPN 980. In CA, you will interview CAL athletes and held a mock press conference at the Oakland Coliseum and broadcast from AT&T Park.

Film, Video & Photography Workshops

Acting for the Camera

Develop skills to interpret a script and build character, and learn acting techniques for the small screen. Explore physical and vocal aspects of character development for camera work. Team up with student directors to create visual portfolios. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, July 6 – July 14.

Digital Photography

Explore and learn the powerful photographic techniques to make the most of your digital camera. Abundant opportunities to hone your digital photography skills by capturing images of plants, animals and the environment; to city sites, individuals and chance encounters. Assemble a portfolio and have the opportunity to publish your images. This class is offered only in California.

Directing for the Camera

Refine your basic visual vocabulary and learn essential skills to break down a script, tell a visual story, and communicate your ideas to those behind and in front of the camera. Team up with student actors to create visual portfolios. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, July 6 – July 14.

DSLR Photography

DSLR cameras are a game changer. Place the creative power of photography and video in your hands. Ignite your creativity, have the clout of communicating a story in true multimedia fashion. This course will expand your abilities and vision in producing a short film, documentary or multimedia story. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, July 6 – July 14.

Graphic Design

This course introduces you to the powerful potential of Adobe Photoshop, where you will learn the tools for manipulating digital images for book covers or movie posters and for creating vector graphics for powerful branding packages and logos. Learn the basics of color and graphic design theory that will communicate your message through both streamlined graphic art and complex digital photo manipulation. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, June 23 – July 1.

Game Design & Animation

Over the past few years, the NSLC in partnership with American University’s School of Communication, has offer Game Design and Animation as part of the Journalism, Film & Media Arts program. Since the workshops/classes were so popular we have decided to create an entire NSLC program on Game Design! The material, activities/projects and professors formerly part of the the Game Design and Animation workshops within the Journalism, Film & Media Arts program will now be part of this more in-depth program. Look to the NSLC program on Game Design for more information.

Music Entertainment Production

Music has the power to excite and inspire. But how are songs actually put together? In a professional recording studio, learn about multitracking, mixing, and matching music to film or video. No prior experience required; students grouped by ability. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, June 23-July 1.

Scriptwriting & Video Production

Write an original short script. Produce a video, including shooting, sound recording, and nonlinear editing on Final Cut Pro, all in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution. No prior experience required; students grouped by ability. Equipment provided.

Special Effects

Special effects are necessary to boost the “wow” factor in any science fiction or action film. Through the powerful 2D and 3D tool Adobe After Effects, learn digital tricks and methods for creating simulations like fire, explosions and rain, and masking for flying, teleportation, and sky replacement. This class is offered only in Washington, DC, June 23 – July 1.

Public Relations & Communications Workshops

Entertainment Communication

Television, film, theater, music, sports, fashion, gaming…It’s all entertainment today. Learn from experts in the field and understand the importance of messaging. Why are ratings important in television? How do you promote a film? Could you represent a celebrity—be it an actor or athlete? What is that red carpet all about? Who gets $$ every time you hear a song? Is the gaming industry the next big blockbuster? An inside look and what you need to be successful in the entertainment industry.

Public Relations

Discover what goes into a blockbuster PR campaign—for example, how did the Taco Bell dog ring the bell at the N.Y. Stock Exchange? Learn how to strategize, develop, and implement your own campaign. Explore the art of messaging and talk to media reps about placing your story. This class is offered in California and Washington, D.C., July 6 – July 14.

Meet the Experts

While at the NSLC’s high school journalism program, you will meet with and learn from leaders in the many areas of journalism. Aside from the extensive time spent with an American University professor, in past years, NSLC students have heard from guest speakers including:

  • Mr. Walter Mears, Political Correspondent/Pulitzer Prize Winner, Associated Press
  • Mr. Ron Edmonds, Photographer/Pulitzer Prize Winner, Associated Press
  • Mr. Jim Morin, Cartoonist/Pulitzer Prize Winner, Miami Herald
  • Ms. Stu Seidel, Senior Editor, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition Sunday
  • Mr. Tim Kurkjian, Reporter & Analyst, ESPN
  • Mr. Linton Weeks, Staff Writer, Washington Post
  • Mr. Andy Pollin, co-host, The Sports Reporters, WTEM Sports Radio

College-Level Curriculum

Partnered with American University’s School of Communication, the NSLC provides a unique opportunity to spend two weeks working in real classrooms, labs and in the field, studying a part of journalism that interests you. You will work closely with professors in AU’s School of Communication and experience college-level lectures on the various fields of mass communication. The lecture series will provide you with a foundation of knowledge that will be vital to your success not only during the conference but in your future career in the communications world.

Topics include:
  • The History of Media
  • The First Amendment, Electronic Media
  • Journalism and Blogging
  • Ethics in Journalism
  • The Power of Documentary Filmmaking
  • Graphic Design

Leadership Workshops

At the heart of the NSLC is a leadership curriculum designed to build concrete leadership skills that will help you succeed. From the beginning of your program you will learn to work as a team during an exciting Ropes Challenge Course. Interactive lectures and small-group workshops will give you an opportunity to build upon your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

Leadership topics tailored to the Journalism & Mass Communication program include:
  • Personality Styles and Group Dynamics
  • Public Speaking
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Stress and Time Management

Trips & Tours

An important part of the NSLC high school summer journalism program is seeing the sites around some of our nation’s greatest cities. These trips are designed as both sightseeing tours and exclusive educational trips specifically tailored to the area of Journalism:

Washington, D.C.
  • Newseum
  • The Smithsonian Institution
  • Capitol Hill
  • Comcast Sports NET & ESPN 980
  • Voice of America
  • National’s Park
  • National Public Radio
  • The National Press Club
  • Baltimore Harbor
  • Historic D.C. Monuments at Night
San Francisco, CA
  • KQED, National Public Radio
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • The Working Group Non Profit Media
  • Pier 39
  • Fisherman’s Wharf