Art & Design Programs

Film, Journalism &
Media Arts

Experience journalism and discover the power of the media at the NSLC on Film, Journalism & Media Arts.
  • Level: High School
  • Grades: Enrolled in 9-12
  • Length: 9 days
The National Student Leadership Conference’s Film, Journalism & Media Arts summer program for high school students uses an interactive approach to learning that gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the challenging complexities of the communication field. Together with American University’s School of Communication, Discover the World of Communication program you will learn from working journalists, media professionals, public relations experts, web designers and animators.

Program Highlights

COMM Program Highlights

Guest Speakers
Meet with professional journalists, filmmakers, and other leading media professionals.

Interactive workshops
Learn the latest techniques as you work with professional equipment during classes taught by American University School of Communication faculty. Workshops include broadcast journalism, video production, animation, photography, and more!

Visit media institutions
Go behind the scenes during exclusive trips and tours.

Dates & Locations

Interactive Workshops

Partnered with American University’s School of Communication, the NSLC provides a unique opportunity to spend nine days working in real classrooms, labs and in the field. You will work closely with professors in AU’s School of Communication and experience college-level lectures on various topics within the fields of journalism, film, and media arts.

Tailor your experience to what interests you. 
This unique program allows you to personalize your experience with one of a variety of hands-on workshops.

American University, Washington, D.C.
June 12 – June 20
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Newswriting & Investigative Reporting
  • Scriptwriting & Video Production
  • Graphic Design
  • Documentary Filmmaking
American University, Washington, D.C.
June 23 – July 1
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Newswriting & Investigative Reporting
  • Scriptwriting & Video Production
  • Directing & Acting for the Camera
  • Animation
American University, Washington, D.C.
July 5 – July 13
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Graphic Design
  • Newswriting & Investigative Reporting
  • Scriptwriting & Video Production
  • Virtual Reality Filmmaking
  • DSLR Photography
American University, Washington, D.C.
July 20 – July 28
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Newswriting & Investigative Reporting
  • Scriptwriting & Video Production
  • Entertainment Communication
  • Digital Photography

Animation Learn the core concepts of animation production in this experiential course. Each student will have a computer and drawing tablet to practice computer-based and hands-on-techniques. Learn the fundamentals of drawing motions, character design, timing and syncing in animation, and cleanup. Go to our student work page to view examples.

Broadcast Journalism This course introduces you to the field of broadcast journalism and related legal, ethical, and technological issues. Develop interviewing, reporting, and writing skills. Produce a brief radio documentary or a television field report for your portfolio.

Digital Photography Explore and learn the powerful photographic techniques to make the most of your digital camera. Abundant opportunities to hone your digital photography skills by capturing images of plants, animals and the environment; to city sites, individuals and chance encounters. Assemble a portfolio and have the opportunity to publish your images.

Directing & Acting for the Camera Develop the skills directors and actors need in order to communicate the overall vision in television and film. When do you need a close up? How do you best describe your needs to an actor? Refine your basic visual vocabulary and learn how to break down a script and communicate your ideas from behind the camera. As an actor, learn how to interpret a script and hit your mark for a blocked scene. Explore the aspects of character development while working closely with your director to reach the desired creative vision.

Documentary Filmmaking This interactive hands-on class focuses on the core skills for making great documentaries: how to determine a good story that needs to be told visually, how to film compelling interviews, how to capture dynamic real-life on location scenes, and how to shoot effective b-roll footage while making the most of a limited budget and time. Students will research, write produce and edit a final mini-doc and post it to the web.

DSLR Photography DSLR cameras are a game changer. Place the creative power of photography and video in your hands. Ignite your creativity, have the clout of communicating a story in true multimedia fashion. This course will expand your abilities and vision in producing a short film, documentary or multimedia story.

Entertainment Communication Television, film, theater, music, sports, fashion, gaming…It’s all entertainment today. Learn from experts in the field and understand the importance of messaging. Why are ratings important in television? How do you promote a film? Could you represent a celebrity—be it an actor or athlete? What is that red carpet all about? Who gets $$ every time you hear a song? Is the gaming industry the next big blockbuster? An inside look and what you need to be successful in the entertainment industry.

Graphic Design This course introduces you to the powerful potential of Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC and InDesign CC, where you will learn the tools for manipulating digital images for book covers or movie posters and for creating vector graphics for powerful branding packages and logos. Learn the basics of color and graphic design theory that will communicate your message through both streamlined graphic art and complex digital photo manipulation.

Newswriting & Investigative Reporting See what it takes to write a news story for print, broadcast, and the web. Get practical instruction in effective writing techniques for your school newspaper, neighborhood newsletter, or website. Learn how to distinguish between news and promotional writing. Hear professional journalists talk about their careers and visit a local newsroom.

Scriptwriting & Video Production Write an original short script. Produce a video, including shooting, sound recording, and nonlinear editing on Final Cut Pro, all in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution. No prior experience required; students grouped by ability. Equipment provided.

Virtual Reality Filmmaking Dive into the fast emerging world of immersive filmmaking. Learn how to film stunning visuals that can work in a virtual reality environment. Discover the best way to film using a 360 camera and how to employ traditional filmmaking techniques to a new era. Edit your film using Final Cut Pro X and their 360 editing capabilities. Test out your films on headsets and see how your films compare to other immersive content.


Meet the Experts

While at the NSLC’s high school Film, Journalism & Media Arts program, you will meet with and learn from experts in the those fields.
Examples of past guest speakers include:

Mr. Walter Mears
Political Correspondent/Pulitzer Prize Winner, AP

Mr. Ron Edmonds
Photographer/Pulitzer Prize Winner, AP

Mr. Jim Morin
Cartoonist/Pulitzer Prize Winner, Miami Herald

Ms. Stu Seidel
Senior Editor, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition Sunday

Mr. Tim Kurkjian
Reporter & Analyst, ESPN

Mr. Linton Weeks
Staff Writer, Washington Post

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

An important part of the NSLC high school summer journalism program is seeing the sites around some of our nation’s greatest cities. These trips are designed as both sightseeing tours and exclusive educational trips specifically tailored to the area of Journalism.
Trips may include:

American University

  • American Film Institute
  • Newseum
  • C-SPAN
  • The Smithsonian Institution
  • Capitol Hill
  • Comcast Sports NET & ESPN 980
  • Voice of America
  • National Public Radio
  • The National Press Club
  • Baltimore Harbor
  • Historic D.C. Monuments at Night

University of California, Berkeley

  • KQED, National Public Radio
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • The Working Group Non Profit Media
  • Pier 39
  • Fisherman’s Wharf

Leadership Training

At the heart of the NSLC is a leadership curriculum designed to build concrete leadership skills that will help you succeed. Interactive lectures and small-group workshops will give you an opportunity to build upon your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
Leadership topics tailored to the Film, Journalism & Media Arts program include:


Program tuition includes housing, all on-campus meals, course materials, academic expenses, and activities. Tuition also includes chartered, air-conditioned motor coaches for off-campus briefings and tours. 

Note: Students are responsible for the cost of travel to and from the program as well as individual spending money for souvenirs, laundry, and a few off-campus meals during fields trips and tours.

Scroll to Top