Prerequisites: JRN 110 or any equivalent beginning news writing course

Credits: 3-6 (three additional credits for an independent study)

I. Purpose of the Course:

This study abroad program is designed to enable journalism students to understand modern China and prepare sophisticated, multimedia stories about the country and its people. The program is divided into two components, each worth three credits.The first component is a 3,500 mile roundtrip journey along the fabled Silk Road through the western heartland of China. This journey serves as a classroom without walls. Students learn about China through visiting historically important places, meeting and interviewing all different types of people and listening to distinguished professors discuss what is being seen and heard. The program draws on professors from both Stony Brook and Tsinghua University, among China’s most prestigious universities. In addition, about a half dozen Tsinghua students who are fluent in English will accompany the group, serving as guides and interpreters. Students will work as a team to produce multimedia stories that will be published during the journey on the School of Journalism’s Web site. Content will include text, video, photographs and sound.
The second component of the program is an independent study. Students will write a research paper, drawing on their experiences and research in China, on a major issue affecting China or its media. Research will be conducted in China and the paper will be written after students return home. Students will meet one-on-one with faculty throughout the program to develop the idea for their independent project.

II. Required Texts And Materials:

The New Chinese Empire, Ross Terrill
Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu, Laurence Bergreen
Selected magazine and newspaper articles

III. Course Requirements and Policies:

Decorum: Students are required to participate in all activities of the program unless ill or given advanced permission from the instructors. They will treat one another, their hosts and the people they meet along their travels with respect and dignity. Students must also keep themselves clean and presentable when meeting instructors and other people as a group. No antisocial or disruptive behavior will be acceptable. Anyone violating these rules will be sent home by the instructors.

Plagiarism and cheating: Any form of plagiarism or cheating will result in a failing grade. Here is the University’s statement on academic dishonesty: “Plagiarism is the use of others’ words and/or ideas without clearly acknowledging their source. As students, you are learning about other people’s ideas in your course texts, your instructors’ lectures, in-class discussions, and when doing your own research. When you incorporate those words and ideas into your own work, it is of the utmost importance that you give credit where it is due. Plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, is considered academic dishonesty and all instances will be reported to the Academic Judiciary. To avoid plagiarism, you must give the original author credit whenever you use another person’s ideas, opinions, drawings, or theories as well as any facts or any other pieces of information that are not common knowledge. Additionally quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words; or a close paraphrasing of another person’s spoken or written words must also be referenced. Accurately citing all sources and putting direct quotations – of even a few key words – in quotation marks are required. For further information on academic integrity and the policies regarding academic dishonesty, go to the Academic Judiciary Web site at

IV. Grades: Final grades are weighted as follows:

Participation: 10 %
Blog entries: 50 %
Final paper: 40%