Journalism Minor (Department of English)
Description. Asking the right questions — condensing complex information — writing for an audience — these are the core skills of a journalist. The Journalism minor will provide knowledge and experience in these areas, while also introducing students to the emerging tools of the journalistic trade in the 21st century and the media’s vital but complicated role as a public service in a democratic society. The minor will sharpen critical thinking skills, information literacy, and the ability to write for a public stage. It will engage students with the news of the day, expose the inner workings of the media and communications professions, analyze the freedoms and limitations of the American press, allow for hands-on experiences in new media, and provide a space where students create and publish their own journalistic work. For students interested in graduate study in journalism, or in a communications-focused career, the minor provides an ideal educational and vocational foundation. For others, it offers a chance to develop skills and insights that will serve them well across the professional spectrum.
- Develop an understanding of how the media functions in society historically, theoretically and practically.
- Learn how newspapers and online content delivery systems are structured, and how news value, medium, audience, bias and other factors shape stories.
- Practice and master the rules specific to journalistic writing, including journalistic attribution, AP style and grammar, the aim for objectivity, nut graphs, leads and copy editing.
- Hone research methods in a journalism-specific manner by learning to access public records, conduct background research, identify legitimate sources, adopt sound interviewing techniques, work with sources fairly and ethically, and understand the basics of libel law.
- Work as news gatherers, editors and page designers in order to get a sense of real-world deadlines, production and collaboration, resulting in published student work in The John Jay Sentinel, while also learning the basic skills of creating and editing video, digital audio, slideshows, blogging and other forms of online media.
Rationale. Students of all disciplines can benefit by learning about the power of a free press and by learning the most responsible, effective ways to wield such power. Such education is more – not less – important given the changes buffeting the journalism industry today. As technology democratizes media access and multiplies public voices exponentially, students need the information literacy and critical thinking skills to navigate among the chaos as consumers and cultivate their own public voices as producers.
PART ONE. Required Courses Subtotal: 15 credits
PART TWO. Electives Subtotal: 3 credits
Option One. General Elective
LAW 213/SPE 213 The Impact of the Mass Media on the Administration of Justice
LIT 284 Film and Society (when offered as documentary film)
SOC 201 Urban Sociology: The Study of City Life
SOC 222 Sociology of Mass Communication
SPE 240 Contemporary Media in Everyday Life
Interdisciplinary Studies - There are possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration depending on what is offered semester to semester. Contact the ISP department for more details, and consult with one of the Journalism minor coordinators before registering.
Option Two. Crime Reporting
Under the advisement of the minor coordinator, students may choose a semester of journalistic work focused on criminal justice in lieu of an elective.
English 3XX Crime Reporting Capstone
On an independent study basis, students read and analyze examples of criminal justice reporting, and produce a piece of long-form criminal justice journalism. Their general topic and schedule must be approved by the program director and English Department chair.
Total: 18 credits