In 2000, WMI Director Amos Gelb was recruited by American University to develop a broadcast track for its Semester in Washington Program. Over six years, the program grew to include all journalism, including digital.George Washington University poached Amos to create its own journalism semester in DC. As media changed, so did this program – now including public relations and broader styles of media.
In 2011, after seeing the success of the GW program and how it had grown and evolved, Northwestern University’s Medill Graduate School of Journalism asked Amos to join its faculty as a professor and Director of Broadcast to rebuild its Washington DC program. As part of the move, Amos converted the GW program into the independent Washington Media Institute designed to serve undergraduates.
In March of 2014, as the WMI program grew, Amos made the decision to leave Northwestern to focus solely on the WMI experience by building the right curriculum and team, with alumni using the program to launch their careers.
Matthew Bin Han Ong
Matthew participated in Washington Media Institute the summer of 2012. He is currently a reporter for The Cancer Letter.
In a two-year investigation, he covered the controversy over power morcellation, a then-common gynecological procedure for hysterectomies and removal of fibroids performed in more than 100,000 women a year in the United States. Using the power morcellator in women with undetected uterine malignancies can spread cancer to other parts of the body.
Matthew’s stories have been picked up and featured by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, the British Medical Journal, FOX News, NBC News, ABC News, CBS affiliates, The Boston Globe, Science, Nature, Inside Higher Ed, The Houston Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the American Association for Cancer Research.
At The Cancer Letter, his work has contributed to changes in public policy and federal action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Food and Drug Administration, Government Accountability Office, and a Congressional subcommittee. Matthew has won national and regional journalism awards:
- The 2015 National Press Club Award for Best Analytical/Interpretive Journalism
- The 2015 Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Public Service Journalism
- The 2014, 2015 and 2016 Dateline Award from the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
- 2016 Best in Business Award for Outstanding Business Journalism, Society of American Business Editors and Writers (second place)
- 2016 Health Care Journalism Award, National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation (finalist)
- 2016 Azbee Award of Excellence, American Society of Business Publication Editors (second place)
- 2015 Iris Molotsky Award, American Association of University Professors (finalist)
Matt says, “I owe my work in journalism to WMI—I would’ve never gotten a job at The Cancer Letter if WMI did not make the connection, and if I didn’t have Mr. Gelb for a personal and highly engaging mentor.”
A Word from our Alumni
The WMI program was the best thing that ever happened to me. WMI taught me so much in so little time. I learned how to make websites, improve on my writing skills, and how to shoot video at a professional level. While learning new skills during the WMI program, I was able to bring my new skills into my internship as well as develop as a media professional long after the program ended. The semester passes by quickly but I loved everything about the program.
This was a great program; I had no idea how much I would be affected by just 10 weeks in a new city/new internship. I not only learned about myself but made great connections with others.
The collective work experience I gained from my internship, the coursework for WMI, and the commission project were invaluable to to my resume, personal skill level, and confidence. The people I met along with the perspectives they gave me provided a much clearer view of the way things work in the “real world” as opposed to what I might have thought before WMI.