If you’re between the ages of 22 and 35, live in the New York City area, and are interested in writing about the Jewish world, you should consider applying to a free seminar that New York Times columnist and Columbia University Journalism School Professor Sam Freedman will be teaching this fall. It will be Sam’s third year running the Writers’ Seminar on the Jewish People, and I can say from personal experience that it is a fantastic resource. (Full disclosure: The seminar is sponsored by the Avi Chai Foundation, a relative of the Keren Keshet Foundation, which founded Nextbook—Tablet Magazine’s parent organization—in 2003.)
First there’s Sam himself, who teaches (and models) a combination of reportorial skills and deep background knowledge of subject matter in a way that I think would have inspired me even had my beat been technology or theater or anything, rather than Jews. He provides feedback on student work that, frankly, would ordinarily cost you upwards of $50,000 a year. The students in my class ranged from talented freelancers just out of college to tenure-track Jewish studies professors, which meant highly engaged discussion during class—and a cohort of folks helping each other get their stories published, to this day.
My favorite thing about the class, though, was that I got to read, discuss, hear from, and meet about a dozen of our foremost experts on Jewish history and Jewish life: The same scholars and writers one often needs to call when writing, say, a Tablet Magazine article, would show up as guest lecturers.
All of this gets done in only four or five all-day meetings over the course of a school year—which I found to be a reasonable time commitment even as a full-time reporter.
Application guidelines and more information about the seminar are here. Enjoy.