Written by Elizabeth Santoro
The Umbra Institute kicked off its first journalism club meeting for its study abroad students on Wednesday, Nov. 11th. The first workshop presented by the club, known as the Umbra Voice, revolved around brand journalism and was presented by Umbra Marketing and Student Services Intern, Ashley Webb. During the meeting, students discussed the pros and cons of marketing’s effect on the journalism industry, both in the United States and in Italy. To finish the meeting with a collaborative activity, members brainstormed to develop ideas for brand journalism strategies designed to market popular Italian companies, while maintaining journalistic ethics.
Started by Webb and two Umbra students, Kali Shulklapper and Katherine Reed, the new club aims to create a platform for dialogue about international communication. With its educational focus, the Umbra Voice is a way to involve students with different academic interests ranging from journalism to political science and other international studies. Here they can listen to both Italian and American professionals present communication related topics, learn how said topics relate to their study abroad experience, and share their opinions through group activities, as well as open discussion and debate. Students do not need journalism experience to participate. Just curiosity.
“I feel like it makes me think that the Umbra Institute cares about its students’ voices. I really like that the club is not just lectures but is more about free discussions and voicing out your opinion. This meeting is the first step towards many more meaningful discussions about communications on an international level,” says Umbra student Connie Lee.
The club’s next step is its meeting during the first week of December, when a guest lecturer will come speak to the students about the strength and influence of journalism in Italy. While this semester will only have two meetings, the Umbra Voice will continue in the semesters to come. One possibility for students who participate in the Umbra Voice is to work as student bloggers, published across Umbra media, in a way that allows them to share their Umbra experiences with a wider audience.
Elizabeth Santoro is a current study abroad student at the Umbra Institute. She is a junior at Northwestern University studying journalism and international studies.