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International Storytelling 2013

Welcome to International Storytelling.

You’ve landed on this site because you are interested in the International Storytelling course offered by Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information.  The previous two years of International Storytelling included two-week reporting projects in China and India.  This year’s course promises to be even more exciting with plans to take a group of students to the emerging economy of Brazil.

The course will be offered during spring semester 2013, with travel anticipated March 15-31 (spring break and the week before).  The class will meet twice a week for the entire semester.  We’ll spend the first half of the semester preparing for the trip — studying the culture, considering potential stories and practicing convergence skills.  Once we get home we’ll spend the remainder of the semester publishing our finished projects on our project website.

Though our home base in Brazil will be Curitiba — a city of 1.7 million that’s a model of sensible growth — we also plan to spend time in Rio before we come home.

The course is by application only.  We want to attract the best reporters, photographers, videographers, storytellers and communicators in CCI to join us.  If this describes you, fill out the short application form listed below to be considered. The two faculty members and the CCI director of International Studies will select the class from the list of applications.

The students who went to China and India called their experiences life-changing.  We anticipate similar stories from those who join us in Brazil.

(Photo credit: Carlos Ortega/Creative Commons)


2nd info meeting and application deadline

Join Professors Gary Hanson and Mitch McKenney as we give an overview of the Brazil course and answer questions. It’s at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Room 213 of Franklin Hall (Hirsch Lab, overlooking the lobby). We’re planning on less than an hour.

We hope to close applications by the end of that week so we can announce the team on (or close to) Oct. 22.

If you can’t make the meeting but have questions, please feel free to call or email with questions: or 330-244-3364.


FAQ – International Storytelling in Brazil

Why go to Brazil?

Brazil is the fifth-largest country in world, an emerging economy of vital economic interest to the U.S. It will figure prominently in the years to come, not least of which when it hosts the Olympics in 2016. It is one of the so-called BRIC nations undergoing rapid development, along with Russia, India and China.

What will we do there?

We will work with English-speaking media students to produce stories, photography and videos on aspects of life in Brazil, including (but not limited to) growth, education, business, religion and the arts. These are stories you’ll propose and pursue, similar to how we handled International Storytelling in China and India. See the finished products at and

What are the goals of the class?

To provide an interesting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Kent State students to visit this part of the world, to practice your journalism skills and to produce cross-platform stories.

What do I get out of this?

Experience as an international reporter/storyteller. It will give you a strong item on interest for your resume and experiences that you can draw on for years to come. It’s a chance to meet people and work with peers from half a world away.

When does the class meet?

From 2:15 – 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays during spring term. Our sessions may be a little shorter before the trip as we prepare and get started on our reporting. Once we’re home, we’ll need the entire class periods to publish our stories, photos and videos.

When do we travel?

March 15-31, 2013. We’ll fly together from a local airport, most likely Cleveland Hopkins.

Where will we be, exactly?

We will be partnering with Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, which has a strong journalism program and students to help as story partners and translators. Our accommodations will be near the campus.

Will there be time for sightseeing?

Yes, toward the end of our stay. For much of our time we’ll be busy reporting, photographing, writing and producing the stories, though there will be time to enjoy the culture in the off-hours. Our plan is to fly from Curitiba to Rio around March 27, and then board our flight home to Cleveland around March 30.

Do I need to be a journalism student?

No. We’re looking for students from all across CCI. We need reporters, photographers, videographers, designers, graphic artists, web communicators, interviewers, people with good communication skills.

Are there prerequisites?

No, but we’re especially encouraging juniors, seniors and graduate students to apply, as they are more likely to have the skills needed to create the finished product. For the previous courses, that meant JMC majors should have at least completed the beat reporting course. Freshman and sophomore students should explain in their application why they’re right for this course.

How much will this cost?

There’s no additional tuition cost if you’re a fulltime spring student. You will need to pay the cost for flights and also a program fee to cover lodging, ground transportation and other group expenses. Some of these figures are a moving target, but we believe the program fee will be close to $2,000, while airfares (in addition to the program fee) are coming in at about $1,700 right now. Both of these costs will need to be paid in the first few weeks of spring term. You also will need to budget for meals and other purchases.

How will it count toward my degree?

The course is an upper-division CCI elective. Your adviser can you help determine exactly where it fits.

What if I have more questions?

Click on contact us to send an e-mail to professors Mitch McKenney or Gary Hanson. Our phone numbers are 330-244-3364 (Mitch) or 330-672-8300 (Gary).

(Curitiba photo credit: Francisco Anzola/Creative Commons)

See our DatelineShanghai and DatelineDelhi sites

This is the third year of International Storytelling. The prior two years went to other emerging economies, China and India. Here are the results: is the work of 16 Kent State students (below) who went to Shanghai in Spring 2011. It was the result of  collaboration of students studying multimedia journalism, magazine, broadcast news, photojournalism and communication studies. has stories by the 18 Kent State students who traveled to the Delhi region of India in Spring 2012. Their experience included travel to the Taj Mahal, Goa and Mumbai.


This is the application form for International Storytelling.

You’ll be asked to answer several questions about yourself.  These questions are important for the college and university for anyone who is traveling in a Kent State University sponsored trip.  The most important questions are ones that come later in the application in which you tell us the reasons you want to participate in this year’s  International Storytelling project.

Here is a preview of those questions.  You may want to think about your answers beforehand  (and even compose them off line) to get them “just right.”

1.  What appeals to you about this class?

2  What do you hope to get out of the International Storytelling course?

3. The is a course in multimedia and converged storytelling.  What skills do you bring to the table that set you apart from other applicants?

4.  How confident are you about your ability to fund your portion of the travel for this course?

5. Each student will be asked to develop an area of expertise during the trip. Which areas might be of interest to you?

Click the Read More button below to see the application. (This is a Google Docs form.)

Read more…