For the past seven years, SCM Professors Steve McCarthy and David Sanders have brought students on reporting trips, both within the United States and abroad. The pair and their students have traveled to every corner of the world, covering stories like the Arab Spring in Tunisia, the refugee crisis in Greece, and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
This year, McCarthy is about to embark on a whole new adventure with students enrolled in TVDM 455-05, Producing in the Field: Travel Storytelling. In conjunction with the school’s #FOCUSClimateChange project, students will travel to New Orleans over spring break to report on the growing impact of climate change on Louisiana.
Unlike past trips that were funded by Global Ed, the New Orleans trip will be rooted in a course. Students will earn course credit as they work on every stage of the project, from pre to post production.
“I’ve been doing trips like this for more than 30 years professionally,” McCarthy said. “I’m doing [this class] just like I do a real trip. It’s an exact replica of what I’ve done for most of my career, around the world and around the country.”
Before traveling to New Orleans, students will work on pre-production: finding stories, scheduling interviews, and deciding which shots to get. Students will pair off into teams and map out the stories they plan to tell.
“Collaboration is an important part of what we teach here,” McCarthy said in regards to the nature of the projects.
Students enrolled in the course will be responsible for a course fee of $1500, which will be added to their tuition for the semester. This fee covers all travel, both in and out of state, as well as lodging for the week.
The course provides students with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from seasoned field reporters and find stories outside the walls of Montclair State.
“I really think it prepares somebody to be a storyteller outside their own backyard,” McCarthy said.