UChicago launches expanded program for careers in journalism, arts and media

The University of Chicago is expanding efforts to help students explore careers in journalism, arts and the media through the creation of a new Career Advancement program that will help them navigate the fast-evolving worlds of entertainment, publishing, multimedia and arts-related fields.

The new UChicago Careers in Journalism, Arts and Media program will add to the slate of offerings that were previously found in the UCIArts and UCIJournalism programs, including individual advising, workshops and guest speakers.

“The University’s rich palette for liberal learning is enhanced by the growing Career Advancement services, which launch our students into successful professions in varied fields with very positive consequences to society,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College.

Acclaimed performing artist and journalist Benjamin Waltzer will lead the new program as the Klingensmith Program Director. The position has been named in honor of University Trustee Michael Klingensmith, AB’75, MBA’76, in recognition of his generous support of UCIJAM.


“We are extremely grateful to Mike Klingensmith, a distinguished alumnus of the College and of the Booth School, for his farsighted support of our students interested in careers in the arts, journalism and media,” Boyer said.

Waltzer will offer participants in the program expert advice on preparing effective resumes and portfolios. Students also will gain invaluable work experience through internships, treks and apprenticeships.

“Ben Waltzer brings decades of experience in arts, journalism and media to UChicago, and will be a great resource for our students who are interested in these dynamic and often overlapping career paths,” said Meredith Daw, executive director of Career Advancement.

The program is a partnership between Career Advancement and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Waltzer will work closely with faculty and staff in arts and media from across the University.

While catering to the distinct needs of students interested in traditional careers in the arts and journalism, the UCIJAM program also will support those students whose interests cross these fields. 

“UCIJAM is designed to help our students reach their highest creative and professional goals,” said Bill Michel, executive director of the Logan Center.

Among the many careers that the program encompasses are documentary filmmaking, new media and gaming, numerous career paths in journalism, entertainment, graphic design, script writing, animation, public relations, and communications and marketing. The program also will support students interested in arts practice, programming, administration and criticism.

“We’re looking forward to Ben working closely with our faculty and staff, alumni, parents and friends to provide meaningful opportunities for our students,” Michel said.

national model for career services in journalism, arts and media

Career Advancement at UChicago has developed an array of programs that have become a national model for integrating meaningful career preparation into a rigorous liberal arts education. This spring, 80 percent of the graduating class from the College had substantive career plans upon graduation, and 83 percent of first-year students worked with the Career Advancement office.

Thousands of UChicago students have benefitted from the Jeff Metcalf Internship Program, which provides paid, substantive internships to undergraduates during the summer and the academic year. More than 850 UChicago students participated in Metcalf internships this year, with many related to the arts, journalism and media.

The UCIJAM program will join the other Career Advancement programs in offering pre-professional resources that supplement the University of Chicago’s curriculum.

The expansion was inspired in part by recent collaborations from the UCIArts and UCIJournalism programs, including last year’s joint arts and journalism treks, and the Chicago Journalism, Arts and Media Conference. These events demonstrated the large degree of overlap in students’ interests. The new UCIJAM program will be open to all students.

The program will facilitate each student’s post-graduate success in multiple ways. The arts apprenticeship program will expand, as will the popular “treks” that bring students to meet with alumni and employer partners in their workplaces.

These programs are successful largely through the support of alumni, who contribute by mentoring students and through philanthropy. 

“I am thrilled to be able to support our students’ development in these fields in which I have been fortunate to enjoy such a rewarding career,” said Klingensmith, noting that he got his start in journalism, arts and media “at the University as a student working on the Maroon and studying with great, inspirational faculty.”

Waltzer comes to UChicago from Columbia University, where he was associate director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program. He is a successful recording artist and jazz pianist, and has worked as a freelance journalist for the New York Times and various arts and news magazines. He has composed theme music for television and online media, and served as the music director for the Isaac Mizrahi Show on E! and Oxygen networks.

Waltzer’s training includes a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s from Harvard College in American history and literature.

He also brings deep expertise in mentoring young people.

“In a time of great flux, students have a unique opportunity to shape where journalism, arts and media are headed,” Waltzer said.

“I’m looking forward to supporting these students as they explore how fulfilling careers in these essential fields can be envisioned,” he said.