Florida International University’s Department of Journalism + Media department launched its Washington, DC and New York City bureaus as part of an initiative to expand journalism students’ experience in the field.

On Monday, school officials opened the Washington bureau alongside with the program’s partner Alley. A similar ceremony occurred Tuesday in Manhattan.

The bureaus were created by College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts Dean Brian Schriner along with the journalism department faculty, and expands the South Florida Media Network. The network includes the South Florida News Service and Inspicio, an arts publication.

“Dean Schriner is doing great things and moving FIU forward,” Associate Professor Kate MacMillan said at the live-stream launch party at the Biscayne Bay Campus Monday.

Students at the bureaus will have the opportunity to work alongside professional journalists, community leaders and FIU alumni. At the Washington bureau students will be under the supervision of Patricia Guadalupe and concentrate on the relationship between journalism and politics.

“I’m really excited to cover the news in Capitol Hill. There is always some drama somewhere,” said Leo Cosio, a broadcast media major. “The people within the room are genuine and want to support the students.”

On Tuesday, Liza Gross was introduced as the New York City director. Students there will concentrate on how to respond to and solve social issues.

“We want to build an international brand,” said Schriner.

More than 20 students gathered to watch the Facebook live-stream Monday along with MacMillan and Chris Delboni, an adjunct professor for the department. Approximately the same number watched the Tuesday event.

Kate MacMillan's class watching the Washington, DC launch on Facebook live (Photo by: Maria Gil)

Kate MacMillan’s class watching the Washington, DC launch on Facebook live (Maria Gil/SFNS)

“I want to join, but housing situation is making me hesitant because funding might be a problem,” said senior Emily Hernandez, a broadcast journalism major. “I don’t have that much political experience, but I am open to the exposure and experience.”

The bureaus currently have a total of four students, but the plan is to grow the bureaus to house 15 students in each, said Assistant Dean Lilia Silverio-Minaya.

“FIU needs to understand how important they are,” said Ramon Escobar, vice president of diversity and inclusion for CNN Worldwide. “It needs to be and will be so much than that.”

Desk space for SFMN in Washington, DC (Photo by Allan Richards)

Desk space for SFMN in Washington, DC (Allan Richards/SFMN)

Correction 09/12/18 11:20AM: The live-stream event in the story was on Monday not Tuesday.