Experience journalism and discover the power of the media at the NSLC on Film, Journalism & Media Arts.

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.

Earn College Credit Hours

Program Highlights

Guest Speakers
Meet with professional journalists, filmmakers, and other leading media professionals

Interactive workshops
Learn the latest techniques as you work with professional equipment during classes taught by American University School of Communication faculty

Visit media institutions
Go behind the scenes during exclusive trips and tours

Interactive Coursework

Partnered with American University’s School of Communication, the NSLC provides a unique opportunity to spend nine days working in real classrooms, labs and in the field. You will work closely with professors in AU’s School of Communication and experience college-level lectures on various topics within the fields of journalism, film, and media arts.

Tailor your experience to what interests you. This unique program allows you to personalize your experience with one of a variety of hands-on workshops.


Animation Learn the core concepts of animation production in this experiential course. Each student will have a computer and drawing tablet to practice computer-based and hands-on-techniques. Learn the fundamentals of drawing motions, character design, timing and syncing in animation, and cleanup. Go to our student work page to view examples.

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.

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.

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.

Documentary Filmmaking This interactive hands-on class focuses on the core skills for making great documentaries: how to determine a good story that needs to be told visually, how to film compelling interviews, how to capture dynamic real-life on location scenes, and how to shoot effective b-roll footage while making the most of a limited budget and time. Students will research, write produce and edit a final mini-doc and post it to the web.

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.

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.

Graphic Design This course introduces you to the powerful potential of Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC and InDesign CC, 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.

International Communication We live in a 24/7 world. Whether you are a company, a media outlet, a foreign government, or a non-governmental agency (NGO), learning how to communicate and articulate your message is crucial. This class will help you understand the importance of recognizing other’s differences and how to communicate effectively. Students will hear from diplomats, foreign service officials and experts from various global nonprofits ( i.e. Amnesty International, the UN Foundation, or the United Way.) You will develop campaigns as well as small videos about the work of international organizations.

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.

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.

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, AP

Mr. Ron Edmonds
Photographer/Pulitzer Prize Winner, AP

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

Behind-the-Scenes 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:

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

Leadership Training

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

Your NSLC tuition is all-inclusive. Your tuition covers course materials, housing, on-campus meals, social events and transportation throughout your program.

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We offer a comprehensive scholarship program to assist qualified students with the cost of NSLC tuition, based on financial need, academic merit and extracurriculars.

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Fundraising is a great way to raise funds to contribute toward your NSLC program tuition while also forging relationships with leaders in your community.

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