Course Descriptions

JOURNAL 191: First-Year Seminar: Journalism Success - Thriving as a Major (Fox, Kyle)

This course introduces first-year and transfer students to the traditions and expectations of the journalism major. Students will learn about how the major works, campus resources, the role of internships and campus media in working through the major, and other topics intended to help them succeed in their first year at UMass. (1 credit)
This course is required of all journalism majors.

JOURNAL 201: Introduction to Journalism (Sibii, McDermott, McBride, Zamith, Ciampa, Wallace)

This course covers the basic principles and practices of contemporary journalism. Students will explore the foundations of journalism, learn key skills involved in reporting and writing, and critically evaluate the role of journalism in democracies. Other topics include the changes in the production, distribution, and consumption of news, journalism ethics, key legal decisions involving the practice of journalism in the U.S. and analyzing and critiquing news content. (4 credits)
This course is required of all journalism majors who entered UMass after Fall 2018. It is open to freshmen and sophomores of any major and meets the SB and DU general education requirements. 

JOURNAL 225: Readings in Journalism (McBride)

In this course, students will read works of journalists from a variety of genres to gain insights into how they gathered and reported news and information. From the drama of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the impact of the Trump presidency, students will examine the techniques and ethical standards of those who gather, write, and broadcast the news. (3 credits)
This course meets the international course or elective requirement of the journalism major. It is open to all students of any major.

JOURNAL 235: Introduction of Public Relations (Donohue, Lee)

This course introduces students to public relations as a strategic communication management process in the private, public and non-profit sectors. Students will explore the history and modern development of the field, as well as relevant theory, law, ethics and practices targeting various publics and stakeholders. The course also will address career opportunities and skills necessary for successful professional practice. (3 credits)
This course is open to freshmen and sophomores of any major. It is a prerequisite for all upper-level public relations courses. It fulfills the elective requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 250: News Literacy (Fox)

In this course, students will become more discerning consumers of news. Students will use critical-thinking skills to determine what news sources are reliable in the digital world. Through readings, class discussions, and written assignments, students will deconstruct stories to determine those that are well-sourced and can be considered real news. Students will also discuss concepts such as objectivity, opinion, bias and fairness, and how all contribute to the mix of news reports in today's digital landscape. (4 credits)
This course is open to freshmen and sophomores of any major. It meets the SB and DU general education requirements. 

JOURNAL 297P: The Politician and The Journalist (Neal)

This course explores the relationships among reporters, publishers, and politicians, and how each uses the media. Using historical biographies and other texts, the class will examine past strategies by politicians and media figures. Topics include campaign strategies, Washington politics, day-to-day effectiveness in office, making arguments through the media, and how those not elected use the media. Taught by Congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the class offers an opportunity for students to hear how elected officials work with the press. (3 credits)
This course is an elective of the journalism major. It is open to all students of any major. 

JOURNAL 300: Newswriting and Reporting (Sibii, Foudy, Forcier, Fox, Carey)

This course introduces students to the basic requirements of news writing and reporting, including interviewing, covering news events, speeches and press conferences, public records, and more. Students will complete a variety of in-class and outside reporting assignments in a journalistic style. (4 credits)
This course is required of all journalism majors. It fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement.

JOURNAL 301: Introduction to Multimedia Reporting (Fox)

In this hands-on course, students will build on the skills learned in Journalism 300, while gaining the technical skills to tell stories in a digital format. Students produce online news stories using WordPress, digital images, audio podcasts, infographics, and social media. They will also learn how to find and use government and other online sources in areas like the environment, climate change, economy, education, and other topics. (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the multimedia/visual course requirement of the journalism major. 

JOURNAL 310: International Journalism (Sibii, Zamith)

This course explores the challenges and issues facing journalists covering global affairs. Students will learn about intercultural communication, overcoming biases in reporting, and the use of social media as a platform for news reporting. They will also examine the work of foreign correspondents from a critical perspective. Through a mixture of readings and news writing, the course will broaden students' understanding of current affairs on the global stage. (4 credits)
This course meets the international course or elective requirement of the journalism major and fulfills the SB and DG general education requirements.

JOURNAL 320: History of American Journalism (Forde)

This course surveys the history of American journalism chronologically, using a series of case studies grounded in historical scholarship and primary sources. Students will consider the ways the practice, institution, technologies, and values of journalism have changed over time. Topics include the functions, roles, institutions, practices, standards, norms, and values of the U.S. press and the news ecosystem in the United States; the role of journalism in democratic struggle, with attention to the black press and issues of race, gender, labor, immigration, and other important social issues across time; the practices of newsreaders; the changing technologies of journalism; and the changing meanings of the speech and press clause of the First Amendment and the consequences for journalism. (4 credits)
This course meets the general education historical studies course requirement and the critical concepts course requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 330: Literary Journalism (Forde)

This course focuses on the study of what is often called literary journalism, which uses the classic tools of fiction writers — character, plot, conflict, theme — to tell factual, nonfiction stories of the present moment. Students will read some great works of literary journalism and analyze their potential meanings and craft. Students will write critically about the works and write their own works of literary journalism. (3 credits)
This course fulfills the elective requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 332: Sports Journalism (Fox)

In this course, students will learn to report, write, and edit sports stories, ranging from straight game coverage to previews, features, and breaking news. Students will read and analyze successful writing styles from sportswriters in all media. Students will need a flexible schedule to cover games outside of classes. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the requirement of the Sports Journalism Concentration and fulfills the advanced writing and reporting requirement.

JOURNAL 333: Introduction to Visual Storytelling (McDermott)

This course introduces students to the concepts and practices of visual storytelling, including visual ethics, aesthetics, representation, and the currents of the modern visual journalism ecosystem. This is a hands-on class, in which students will learn the basics of visual storytelling by using a DSLR camera and capturing and editing video. (4 credits)
This course meets the general education AT course requirement and meets the multimedia/visual course requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 336: Writing for Public Relations (Donohue, Carey)

This advanced, writing-intensive course builds on the fundamentals covered in Newswriting and Reporting to address the development and distribution of client content, including earned, shared, and owned media. Students will gain practical, hands-on experience researching, writing, editing, and evaluating various public relations materials, resulting in the creation of professional writing samples at the end of the semester. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300 and JOURNAL 235. This course meets the advanced reporting/writing course requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 339: Video Content Creation (Kyle)

This course offers an introduction to visual storytelling, writing for video, videography, and editing. Students will create videos that will help build their portfolio for whatever their journalistic goals might be. Students will learn to shoot professional-quality video, how to write for the ear, and how to edit with professional software. Students will also produce multimedia stories to expand on their video pieces. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the multimedia/visual requirement of the journalism major for Fall 2018 UMass entrants and later. This class also meets the advanced writing and reporting requirements for those who entered before Fall 2018.

JOURNAL 345: Media Criticism (Braun)

This course examines the ecosystem in which reporters do their work — how the economic, political, infrastructural, and regulatory environment affects the media we get. Topics include the influence of media ownership and commercial business models on the news; the impact of public and governmental control of media; the influence of tech platforms on the editorial practices and business models of the news; and networked attempts by "trolls" to manipulate the media and drive the news agenda. Students will also consider strategies — government regulation, media literacy education, etc. — for mitigating various issues facing the news industry. (3 credits)
This course meets the critical concepts requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 380: African American Freedom Struggle and the Press (Forde)

This history course looks at the Black freedom struggle in the United States across the 19th and 20th centuries, and students will study it through the lens of the news media. The narratives that survive from our past shape our perception of who we are and how our world works. But some narratives get shoved aside and ignored. One goal of this course is to revive some of those discarded stories and present a deeper and more complicated view of American history, with a focus on the Black experience. Students will consider the way African American history has been retold and re-imagined over time by political actors and others who were eager to make use of it in our nation's political discourse. (4 credits)
This course fulfills the critical concepts requirement of the journalism major, and the HS and US diversity general education course requirements.

JOURNAL 390B: Live Digital Sports Production I (Kyle)

In this course, students will work in conjunction with UMass Athletics to produce live video sports content for ESPN+, NESN, web streaming, and in-house video. Through lectures, observation, analysis, hands-on labs and working as crew for UMass sporting events, students will gain an understanding of the production elements of a live sports broadcast. (3 credits, offered in Spring)
This course is an elective in the journalism major.

JOURNAL 390C: Live Digital Sports Production II (Kyle)

In this course, students will work in conjunction with UMass Athletics to produce live video sports content for ESPN+, NESN, web streaming, and in-house video. Through lectures, observation, analysis, hands-on labs and working as crew for UMass sporting events, students will gain an understanding of the production elements of a live sports broadcast. (3 credits, offered in Fall)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 390B, or permission of instructor.

JOURNAL 390S: Short Form Documentary (Kyle)

This course is where documentary filmmaking and traditional journalism meets. Students will learn how to shoot, write and edit video while providing viewers with more depth, deeper questions, and alternative perspectives. By the end of the course, students will produce a short, sharp, strong micro-documentary. (4 credits)
This course meets the multimedia/visual requirement for entrants to UMass after Fall 2018 and fulfills the advanced writing and reporting requirement of the journalism major for entrants before Fall 2018. This course may also be used to satisfy a Sports Journalism Concentration requirement.

JOURNAL 391PR: Social Media and Public Relations (Lee)

This course serves as an introduction to social media as part of the strategic communication management process. Students will explore how to research, develop, execute, monitor, and measure social media tactics as part of an organization's broader integrated communication plan, applying what they have learned to professional practice. (3 credits)

JOURNAL 391SB: Sports Talk LIVE! (Kyle)

This hands-on course will familiarize students with the duties of a sports broadcast journalist. Students will host and appear on "SportsTalkLIVE!" our in-class, live, radio show, and "Amherst Wire," our TV Sports Show. Work includes on-mic and on-camera, calling highlights live, game previews and recaps, analysis and anchoring. Students will gain experience behind-the-scenes production experience, and by the end of the semester, a productive student will have enough material to put together a performance reel. (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the multimedia/visual requirement of the journalism major for Fall 2018 and later, and the Sports Journalism Concentration.  Students who entered UMass before Fall 2018 may count this course as an advanced writing and reporting requirement.

JOURNAL 393N: Reporting for Radio and Podcasting I (Whipple)

This course introduces students to writing and reporting for radio or podcasting. Students will practice pitching stories, arranging and conducting interviews, as well as writing and mixing radio scripts. This course explores how writing in broadcast journalism differs from print. Students will practice writing in a conversational style that works for "the ear." This is a "hands-on" course that requires students to report, record, and write several stories on deadline. (4 credits)

Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the advanced writing and reporting requirement of the journalism major. 

JOURNAL 394C: Community Journalism I (McBride)

In this experiential learning course, journalism students work with students at the High School of Commerce and Renaissance High School in Springfield to collaborate on multi-platform storytelling. By sharing ideas, resources, and knowledge, students engage in an exchange of ideas and insight that engenders what progressive educator Henry Giroux describes as "educated hope." Each Wednesday, students travel to Springfield to work with students in concert with our community partner, New England Public Radio Media Lab. (3 credits)
This course meets the elective requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 395L: Science Journalism (Braun)

In this course, students will learn an array of essential skills for reporting, writing, and analyzing news about science and technology. In addition to breaking down how scientific discoveries and controversies are framed and discussed in the news, students will learn tools of the trade, including how to apply quantitative literacy skills to scientific claims; an ability to assess the role of scientific evidence in policymaking; and a detailed understanding of how science is conducted, as well as how the public understands scientific research. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the advanced writing/reporting course requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 397DJ: Data-Driven Storytelling (Zamith)

This course provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to begin gathering, analyzing and visualizing interactive, data-driven stories. Students will work in small groups to tackle questions around ethical data sourcing, data analysis and making data meaningful for the public, and will ultimately produce a digital news story geared at a general audience. Topics include story idea generation using data; finding sources of public data to report stories; managing data sets and using appropriate analytical strategies. (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300 or instructor approval. This course meets the multimedia/visual course requirement of the journalism major. Prior experience with statistics, web design or computer programming is neither assumed nor necessary.

JOURNAL 397G: Multimedia Journalism (Fox)

In this course, students will develop their online writing skills through blogging, while learning how to create packages using audio and video. This class focuses on ways to merge traditional storytelling methods with a digital presentation. Students will learn what makes a good web presentation and they'll be introduced to tools to edit photos, video, and audio. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the multimedia requirement of the journalism major or the advanced writing and reporting requirement. 

JOURNAL 397TG: Investigative Journalism and The Web (Fox)

In this class, students will be introduced to basic investigative techniques. Students will learn first-hand how to scan police records, court records, land records and such. We will study some of the great investigative stories of our time and the techniques reporters used during their investigations. This will be a hands-on class where students will learn the basics of computer-assisted reporting, database reporting and mapping the results of your investigations. This will be a project-oriented class with students in the class reporting and investigating a topic for the majority of the semester. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course fulfills the advanced writing and reporting requirement of the journalism major. This course is open to juniors and senior journalism majors only.

JOURNAL 410 Social Justice Journalism I (Sibii)

This is an explanatory journalism class with an emphasis on the intractable structural issues confronting contemporary American society. Each semester, the course focuses on one such issue (e.g., immigration, mass incarceration, gender inequality, racism in higher education), and will seek to work in collaboration with at least one non-government organization and one media institution. Students will report and produce journalistic stories on the topic. They will also read and discuss professional and scholarly literature on subjects related to social justice/advocacy journalism, including the questions of journalistic objectivity, framing, media effects and agenda setting. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the advanced writing and reporting requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 425: The Politics of Sport (McBride)

This course examines how the politics of gender, sexual identity, and race play out in the arena of sports. Through readings, writing, documentary viewing, and discussion, students will explore how sports either constructs or breaks down barriers among individuals and groups and how journalism is involved in the process. (3 credits)
This course meets a requirement of the Sports Journalism Concentration.

JOURNAL 428: Sports in Film, Journalism and Literature (Fox)

The subject of sport has long been the source of inspiration for journalists, novelists, and filmmakers. In this class, students will explore some of the most brilliant examples of sports narrative in words and images as they pertain to various pursuits, including a range of endeavors which might include running, baseball, soccer, rugby, basketball, climbing, boxing, and football among others. We will meet on THREE select Fridays as a group to watch longer feature films. Accommodations will be made for individual students in the event of unavoidable time conflicts. (3 credits)
This course meets a requirement of the Sports Journalism Concentration.

JOURNAL 432: Public Relations and Integrated Communication Cases (Donohue)

This seminar-style course uses research, analysis, and discussion of cases and campaigns to expose students to the professional practice of public relations and integrated communication management. Students will explore a variety of strategies and tactics and learn how to identify, explain, and apply what they have learned to different publics and stakeholders, as well as communication and business scenarios, through a variety of experiential and other active learning opportunities. (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 235, Introduction to Public Relations. This course is open to juniors and seniors.

JOURNAL 433: Photojournalism (McDermott)

This course will cover the theory and practice of photojournalism and documentary photography. Students will photograph a diverse range of community events, including news, sports, portrait and photo essay assignments. They will also learn about the history, philosophy, ethics, aesthetics and contemporary multimedia practice of photojournalism. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the advanced writing and reporting requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 435: Web Design for Journalists (Braun, McDermott)

In this course, students will learn basic web design and development skills to better pursue their journalism goals online. Topics include basic design principles, HTML, CSS, working with images, logo design, typography and how to incorporate external plugins and modules. Students will build a personal portfolio website and collaborate on class digital projects while exploring digital ethics, the role of social media in online journalism, mobile issues, data visualization, and contemporary trends in design and presentation. (3 credits)
This course meets the multimedia requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 445: Journalism and Law (List)

This course focuses on the principles underlying First Amendment law in a democratic society and the relevant court cases, with emphasis on precedents. Students will explore how the law impacts the way journalists can do their jobs and what information they can report to their audiences — or if they can report at all.  Students will become familiar with legal concepts underlying freedom of the press in such areas as sedition, prior restraint, libel, privacy, protecting sources, free press/fair trial, access, and copyright. The case study approach generally is used, with emphasis on the principles underlying various aspects of the law as it affects the daily work of journalists. Students will learn to apply the law in a variety of situations common to journalistic work and to identify these issues both in the media and in their own lives as working journalists, as consumers of the news and as citizens in a democracy. (3 credits)
This course is open to juniors and seniors. It fulfills the concepts and critical thinking course requirement of the journalism major.

JOURNAL 460: Journalism Ethics (List, Braun, Sibii)

This course focuses on ethical journalism — no matter the medium — and its pivotal role in a democratic society. It aims to help those who plan to become journalists make ethical decisions and to help those who are consumers of the news recognize responsible journalism at a time when it is more important than ever to give voice to the voiceless and hold the powerful accountable. Students will develop an ability to understand and evaluate the ethical decisions that journalists make every day and the consequences of those decisions. As journalism's role in society, its values, and its best practices are all undergoing radical transformations, students will become familiar with traditional codes of ethics in areas such as accuracy, fairness, diversity, sources, conflicts of interest and privacy. But the course also will emphasize the need for students to create their own systems of ethics – principles students have thought through and are always ready to apply, explain and defend. (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course fulfills the concepts and critical thinking course requirement of the journalism major and the integrative experience (IE) general education requirement. This course is required for UMass Fall 2018 and later.

JOURNAL 491CJ: Community Journalism II (McBride)

The Community Journalism Project is an intermediate reporting class that sends students into ghettoes, barrios, and poor white and working-class communities of Western Massachusetts. Journalists have become increasingly out of touch with the majority of the population. The working class, the poor, the minority often are overlooked by the mainstream media. This course will put you into the homeless shelters, food pantries, health clinics, community centers, public schools, and low wage job sites in hope of finding solutions and answers from the real experts. Intensive field work, substantial newswriting, and devotion to reading comprise the calculus of this course. (3 credits)

JOURNAL 492M: Magazine Writing (Tuttle)

This four-credit writing course introduces students to the different forms of magazine writing, including short features and essays, longer-form pieces, first-person narratives, profiles, and human-interest feature stories. Students will generate story ideas, develop research strategies, cultivate sources, research markets, and submit queries for publication in print and online formats. Students will read and discuss articles from a range of popular, literary, and trade magazines, and, in a community of peer writers, they will write, review and revise several works of their own. (4 credits)
Prerequisites: JOURNAL 300. This course fulfills the advanced writing/reporting course requirement of the journalism major. 

JOURNAL 494MI: Media, Technology & Culture (Braun)

This course provides students with a framework for critically examining the intersections between media, digital technologies, and the wider socio-cultural environment. Students will learn to think critically about the technologies of media as containing — and at times enforcing — assumptions about the culture in which they're deployed, as well as about how these assumptions can be manipulated and circumvented by users. The class challenges the notion of technologies as inert tools and encourages students to develop an integrated understanding of media, technology, and culture that informs their reporting and consideration of a wide array of societal problems. (3 credits)
This course fulfills the concepts and critical thinking course requirement of the journalism major and the integrative experience (IE) general education requirement.

JOURNAL 495BP: Broadcast Performance (Kyle)

This course is designed to help students understand the principals of on-camera presentation, including using the voice, face, and body as a tool for communicating. There is an emphasis on performing journalism for television and online media. Through in-class exercises, drills and homework assignments, students will build skills in narration and on-camera news delivery, including field reporting and in-studio anchoring. Upon completion of this class, students should be comfortable performing on-mic and on-camera. They'll understand how a broadcast studio operates, and they'll be well practiced in recording reports as well as doing live broadcasts. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the multimedia/visual requirement of the journalism major for Fall 2018 and later, and the advanced writing and reporting requirement for before Fall 2018.

JOURNAL 495N: Video Content Creation II (Kyle)

This course takes students beyond the simple mechanics of visual storytelling and into the area of craftsmanship, where they will take their camera work, lighting, audio and editing to the next level. This class will prepare students for a career in video content creation, and the myriad of situations and stories they'll encounter, whether for a newsroom, website, company or non-profit. Students will learn to produce a professional quality video on deadline. Students will produce 1500-word or longer multi-media web stories to expand on their video pieces. Students will also build a website as an online portfolio of their work, and prepare themselves for the job hunt. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300 and JOURNAL 339. This course meets the multimedia/visual requirement of the journalism major for Fall 2018 and later, and the advanced writing and reporting requirement for before Fall 2018.

JOURNAL 497M: Long Form Narrative (Forde)

In this class, students will gain a thorough grounding in the art of nonfiction narrative by using both classic and contemporary exemplars as templates. Also, each student will produce a major long-form piece that upholds the hallmarks of the genre, which include excellent prose, imaginative and far-reaching reporting, high professional standards and an immersive approach to the subject matter. Every effort will be made to pair student work with a worthy publication. (4 credits)
Prerequisite: JOURNAL 300. This course meets the advanced writing and reporting requirement of the journalism major.