Journalism Track

The Journalism track provides students with the conceptual and practical skills required of journalists in an age of multimedia news delivery.  Our curriculum builds on the liberal arts and Communication Department core classes, thus giving the students the broad training required to understand the world they cover as journalists. The track’s mission is to develop skilled, resourceful, ethical reporters and storytellers.

You’ll find graduates from Journalism track writing today for the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and an array of other publications. Notable graduates include Tom Curley, former President and CEO of The Associated Press and former president, publisher, and co-creator of USA Today; Tim Legler, former NBA player and current analyst for ESPN; Bill Raftery, college basketball analyst for ESPN and CB Sports; and A.J. Daulerio, editor-in-chief of Gawker.com and former editor-in-chief for Deadspin.com

Students who complete this track will be well-prepared for jobs in print, broadcast, and online journalism. And our faculty and alumni network is wired throughout Philadelphia and national media organizations.

Portfolio Piece

Students will research, report, and write about non-fiction issues facing the Greater Philadelphia area. This package of writing, photography, video, and audio assets can be used in students’ portfolios and presented in job interviews.

Curriculum Overview

Communication majors are required to take the courses below to complete the Journalism track. You can also view full course descriptions.

To help direct potential areas of interest, journalism students are also required to complete a minor or a concentration (at least four courses) in one of the following areas: American Studies, Business, Digital Arts and Multimedia Design, Education, English, Environmental Science, Forensic Studies, Health Science, Health Care Administration, History, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Political Science, Religion, or Sociology. (These courses may be counted towards the University core curriculum.)

Fundamentals of Journalism (COM 206)

This is a beginning journalism course that teaches basics around news reporting and writing for various platforms. Topics include:

  • Reporting and writing for print, broadcast, and online media
  • News reporting best practices
  • Introduction to feature writing

Video Field Production (COM 208)

This is a hands-on course introducing fundamentals of effective audio and video production. Topics include:

  • Application of preproduction, production, and postproduction
  • Emphasis on storytelling
  • Audience research and planning
  • Scheduling and proper resource application
  • Fundamental audio and video production techniques

Broadcast Journalism (COM 302)

This course offers a basic introduction to reporting for television, radio, and podcasts. Topics include:

  • News writing best practices
  • Understanding of audiences
  • Hard news reporting and feature stories
  • Prerequisite: COM 208 (above)

In-Depth Reporting (COM 306)

This is an advanced journalism course dedicated to teaching effective techniques for “getting to the bottom of the story.” Topics include:

  • Reporting and writing feature stories
  • Interview skills
  • Similarities and differences regarding in-depth stories broadcasted online, on television, and over radio
  • Prerequisite: COM 206 (above)

Communication Law (COM 308)

This course offers a background on First Amendment implications and the interpretation of communication rights in America. Topics include:

  • Review of history, development, and interpretation of the First Amendment
  • Impact upon journalists, mass communicators, and citizens
  • Case studies of communication law in practice

Online Journalism (COM 356)

This course provides an interesting and important take on contemporary journalism in the Internet age. Topics include:

  • Core technical and journalistic skills for storytelling on the Web
  • Individual blog creation and management with original content
  • Accurate, fair, and compelling reporting of community-based stories incorporating photography, video, and audio

Public Relations Writing (COM 357)

Solid writing ability is the cornerstone of being a successful public relations practitioner or journalist. You will be challenged to learn brevity and how to write to engage readers. Topic include:

  • Planning and pre-writing
  • Press release writing and distribution
  • Writing backgrounders, brochures, newsletter articles, and public service announcements
  • Writing to engage various publics as well as an organization’s internal key stakeholders

Community JournalismCapstone Course (COM 406)

This service-learning courses challenges students to apply journalism skills learned to create non-fiction stories about Philadelphia community issues. It provides an opportunity to create solid writing samples to be presented in interviews. Topics include:

  • Review of community journalism as a means of giving news organizations greater insight into the communities they cover
  • Semester-long reporting on and writing about real issues facing the Greater Philadelphia area
  • Implementation of in-depth reporting, editing, production, and design skills
  • Responsible for producing work in print, broadcast, and Web-based formats

Prerequisites: COM 206, COM 306, and COM 356 (above)

 
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