Shira Telushkin, a student at Harvard Divinity School, is one of 12 journalism students and early-career journalists chosen by Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) to participate in a two-week program in Germany and Poland this summer.
Now in its eighth year of operation, FASPE provides a unique historical lens to engage graduate students in professional schools as well as early-stage practitioners in five fields (business, journalism, law, medicine, and seminary) in an intensive course of study focused on contemporary ethical issues in their professions.
“By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and the power of their chosen professions, FASPE seeks to instill a sense of professional responsibility for the ethical and moral choices that the Fellows will make in their careers and in their professional relationships,” said C. David Goldman, founder of FASPE.
The FASPE Journalism program offers an approach that differs from the usual classroom experience by providing a holistic curriculum that looks beyond the specifics of formal or informal rules to focus on ethical problems faced by individual journalists in contemporary media settings.
The program examines the role of journalists in the Nazi state, underscoring the reality that moral codes governing the profession can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. With this historical background, the Journalism fellows are better positioned (and more willing) to confront contemporary issues.
“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for journalists to come together and think through the ethical demands of our profession,” said Telushkin, a master of theological studies degree candidate at HDS. “Like most journalists, my professional training was on the ground, and I usually resolve serious questions with no more guidance than my own moral instinct. I believe in the mission of making ethics a central concern of professional life, and the opportunity FASPE offers to consider the ethical obligations of journalism in a rigorous, thoughtful manner is unique and exciting.”
Telushkin, who is focusing her studies on early Christian monasticism and the history of suffering and sacrifice as virtues, enjoys writing on modern religious trends, and exploring the role of faith in American politics and culture. She has published work in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Global Post, and elsewhere. She also produces Unorthodox, the weekly podcast of Tablet Magazine, where she is a regular contributor. Telushkin received her BA in religious studies from Yale University, where she wrote about changing afterlife beliefs in modern America and the popularity of books on near-death experiences.
Telushkin joins a diverse group of 63 FASPE fellows across all five programs who were chosen through a competitive process that drew close to 1,000 applicants from around the world. FASPE covers all program costs, including travel, food, and lodging.
In 2017, the Journalism program will be led by Gabriel Kahn, Professor of Professional Practice of Journalism at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and Ilene Prusher, an award-winning journalist on the faculty of Florida Atlantic University's School of Communication & Multimedia Studies.