About this Course

In a vibrant democracy, journalism and media have the power and responsibility to both inform and inspire the public to political action. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of current social problems and how policy is formulated, alongside the ability to tell that story in a manner that drives an otherwise apathetic public into action.   The goal of this online course is two-fold: 1) to teach students of journalism, public policy and social work how to use journalism and media as an implement of social change; and 2) have those students become effective change agents themselves. This class is not theoretical – students should be prepared to dig in deep and make meaningful contributions to policy change on both the state and federal level. At first glance, prospective students may find the subject matter – Child Maltreatment and Vulnerable Children – narrow. But, choosing a single issue area is a deliberate choice. If this course were structured more broadly, with a host of different issues, the effectiveness of each student’s contribution would be limited. Instead Journalism for Social Change intends to leave each student with the experience of being a player in promulgating policy reform around the issues facing vulnerable children. Further, the umbrella of children allows us to explore the broad, but deeply interwoven policy areas concerning: communities, poverty, child protection, child maltreatment prevention, foster care, and the courts.   In as much, student work will be published throughout the semester and have a direct, immediate impact. Through precise, rigorous reporting and policy analysis students will substantively contribute to public discourse on this issue, and by virtue of that contribution drive political will toward positive policy solutions to the myriad social issues vulnerable children face.   With that experience, students will be better prepared to use journalism and media for social change in whatever field they explore beyond the class.

Course Staff

Daniel Heimpel

Daniel Heimpel

Daniel Heimpel, Lecturer U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy
Daniel Heimpel is a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy where he teaches graduate students in social work, public policy and journalism how to use journalism and media to drive social change. In 2010, Heimpel founded Fostering Media Connections (FMC), a non-profit organization, which harnesses the power of journalism to drive public and political will behind improving the lives of vulnerable children. Since its inception, FMC has used solution-based journalism to impel child welfare reform on the state and federal level. In 2013, Heimpel launched The Chronicle of Social Change, a news website dedicated to issues facing children and families. Prior to founding FMC and publishing The Chronicle, Heimpel worked as a journalist and received numerous prizes, including the Los Angeles Press Club's Online Journalist of the Year. 



Students must have undergraduate level writing skills; be willing to pick up the phone and call strangers in the pursuit of stories; and have accounts on Twitter and Facebook.