The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Journalism, Publishing, & Media

click to view a video profile of Rachel White

Alumna Rachel White '91 (STPEC, Journalism) 
Director, The Guardian

"The STPEC program, it's a program that I don't think could exist anywhere else except at the University of Massachusetts. It gives you the body of knowledge across topics like race, and class, and gender. And so it not only forces you to think critically about those things, but it forces you to examine your own perspectives on them. College is such an idealistic and ideological place. And everything seems possible. Find the ways to hold onto those ideals and to carry them into the other parts of your life, and into your professional life, no matter what you end up doing. "

Watch Rachel's video profile to learn more about how she applied her education to her career.

About the Industry

Journalism is, in it’s most basic form, reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news.  Students who are deeply curious, detail oriented, love to follow a story to get the most information they can, and share that story with others, and students who seek to find the truth will excel in this field.  Media is the method of distribution of news or other communications.  Sources include tv and radio broadcasting, newspapers and magazines, and digital media, the newest and fastest growing medium.

Sample Classes

We urge you to talk to your major/departmental advisor and explore available courses in SPIRE. Remember not to constrain yourself to classes within your major.*

COMM 226 - Social Impact of Mass Media: The effects of television and other media on thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors.  Topics include politics and the media, the influence of news, public service campaigns and advertising, and media influence on health. 

JOURNAL 300 - Newswriting and Reporting: The basic requirements of newswriting and reporting, including interviewing, covering news events, and more.

JOURNAL 301 -Intro to Multimedia Reporting: Using digital images and audio podcasts in reporting. Learn how to find and work with online sources, and produce online news packages in areas like the environment, the economy, education and other topics.

POLISCI 391 MP - Media & Politics: From the power of the political pamphlet and partisan press in the 18th century to the hyper-connected digital age of Facebook and Twitter, this course explores the relationship between media and politics in American society. We'll ask: How do politics and governance change as the media landscape changes? How does media and news influence advocacy, politics and governance?

POLISCI 308 - Public Opinion in Politics: Examine how people’s opinions influence their behavior, and whether or not political leaders follow the "will of the public" or manipulate public opinion to achieve their own aims.  Understand how surveys are conducted, including sampling and questionnaire design, and how to interpret their results. Become familiar with political science theories about how people form opinions and how those opinions change. Recognize when and how elites can manipulate public opinion. 

STPEC 296D IS - Propaganda in Film, Print, Art & Music: Understand and appreciate the art and science of propaganda by examining the techniques of crafting propaganda as well as its application to small and large scale populations. Analyze theoretical approaches to propaganda as well as its practical implications.  

Depending on your main area of interest, your ideal course load will shift. To explore this field, you can take courses that will provide you with knowledge and skills in:

  • Critical thinking - you will learn to reflect upon and evaluate your own ideas and to analyze problems using evidence-based information.
  • Analytical thinking and writing
  • Persuasive writing and speaking
  • Research
  • Technical media skills

*Check SPIRE for full course descriptions and availability. These are abbreviated descriptions, and details may change at the discretion of the instructor.

Co-Curricular Activities

Being involved in on and off campus activities and organizations will give you experience and help you hone in on what you really love doing. Consider joining organizations that will provide you with a deeper understanding of the professional areas you’re considering. You’ll learn more about the field, meet people who share your interests, and have something to include on your resume to show your dedication. Go to the RSO webpage and start searching!

Examples include:

  • The Daily Collegian
  • UVC-TV 19
  • Amherst Wire
  • WMUA
Internships and Experience

Explore the different aspects of this industry through internships, co-ops, job shadowing, and other experiential opportunities. This will help you hone in on your interests while building an impressive knowledge base and resume for when you enter the job market. Students who thrive in a fast-paced, deadline driven, competitive atmosphere will find a home in the field of journalism. Knowledge of and curiosity about current events is vital.  Strong writing is the key component for the industry. Anyone with the skills and interests can be a journalist.  You don’t need to wait for a job or internship. Start a blog, set up a Twitter account, and start sharing your thoughts, opinions, and facts.  SBS students and alumni have completed internships in this field at places like:

  • The Daily Show with John Stewart
  • WGBH PBS, Boston
  • Media Education Foundation
  • The Boston Globe
  • ABC News
  • Daily Hampshire Gazette
  • Northampton Media
  • WFCR

Find an internship or co-op that suits you by using these search and application tips and by searching the Career Connect database.

Sample Job Titles
  • Columnist
  • Contributing Editor
  • Content Developer
  • Content Manager
  • Editor
  • Copywriter
  • Publisher
  • Production Editor