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Humanities PhD Journalist Project

Entering its third year, the Humanities PhD Journalist Project is intended to serve two purposes: to heighten the visibility of attention-worthy work and events in the humanities at Stanford, and to give Stanford PhD students in humanities fields experience and training in writing for non-specialist audiences.
 
Graduate students from humanities departments serve as reporters for the Stanford News Service and the Stanford Humanities Center website, working with Corrie Goldman, the Director of Humanities Communication, on the development and production of each story. The aim is to produce news-style stories about humanities research for a broad, non-academic audience.
 
The student journalists receive a stipend for each completed story, with a required length of approximately 1,100 words. The program receives support from the School of Humanities and Sciences and the SCORE (Strengthening the Core) Academic Innovation Funds program, which is administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.
 
With editorial assistance from the Director of Humanities Communication, humanities PhD candidates have written dozens of stories that have been published by the Stanford News Service. The majority of the stories appear in The Stanford Report and are issued as University news releases, both of which are read by audiences around the globe.
 
Each story is subsequently publicized on the humanities at Stanford social media platforms and in the monthly humanities e-newsletter. The stories continually garner attention well beyond the campus, catching the attention of reporters, bloggers, and social media outlets, which have repurposed, shared and/or covered Stanford humanities news as a direct result of seeing stories written by the PhD students.
 
Student journalists are accepted on a rolling basis and should contact Corrie Goldman if they are interested in joining the project: corrieg@stanford.edu.
 
Here’s what a few PhD Journalists had to say about the news writing experience:
 
“The process of writing short, informative pieces about the humanities for audiences well outside my discipline has pushed me to think more creatively about how to better communicate my ideas and arguments.”
 
“Whether angling for a non-professorial career post-graduation or seeking to become a public intellectual, training oneself to write clear, limpid prose for a lay audience proves a hugely productive enterprise.”
 
“Speaking from the graduate student perspective, we are shaped to be so highly specialized that occasionally we lose sight of the larger conversations within the humanities.  Writing about faculty research therefore strengthens the scholarly community through public communications.”
 
“It has really been eye-opening to see the amazing research that other humanities scholars are doing. But don't be mistaken: this is not just a distraction from my thesis; quite on the contrary: it is in fact very, very inspiring to see the other sort of work that humanities professors are doing, and it inspires and influences me to do as well as possible, and to be even more demanding, with my own writing. Moreover, the stylistic and tonal elements that I have acquired have been directly useful in my clarity of writing in my thesis.”
 
“The project represents one of the best aspects of the Stanford experience: interdisciplinary collaboration. I've worked with Creative Writing, Ethics, and History, with Art History on the horizon. I've learned an enormous amount and made some generative intellectual connections that I'm sure will inform my dissertation. Perhaps best of all, it's just been plain fun to work with such an enthusiastic team of writers and editors and to hear colleagues and faculty say, 'By the way, I really enjoyed reading your article!'.”
 
Some recent stories: