The primary mission of the School of Journalism is to educate students to think critically and skeptically; gather a wide range of information accurately, honestly and fairly; hold institutions, individuals and themselves accountable for their promises and their deeds; and produce stories in various media platforms that communicate clearly, concisely and powerfully to the general public.
We strive to produce journalists who are grounded in traditional values yet familiar with all of the tools for information-gathering and communication that modern technology provides. We seek to use these new tools not only to teach journalism but also to create and present original stories that better inform and educate our students and the public. And because we are part of a great state university with a public trust, our mission extends beyond training journalists to preparing all students to be discerning, critical and knowledgeable members of our democracy.
Journalists seek to connect things: ideas, information and communities. We want to break down the barriers between disciplines and institutions and create partnerships of learning and knowledge.
In all of our courses, we seek to emphasize the value and power of good writing, which is crucial to the educational process. Whether for professional or scholarly purposes, the best writing is direct, clear, concise, lively and accessible. Our goal is to teach you to communicate clearly and demystify information without devaluing its richness or complexity.
This curriculum, for students who enter the School of Journalism starting in Fall 2018, has four levels (see clickable PDF below). Not all courses are offered every semester or every year. Please consult with your academic adviser for up-to-date information and to work on a degree plan to keep you on track.
A Sampling of Our Courses
- J 301F Fundamental Issues in Journalism
- J 302F Digital Storytelling Basics
- J 321F Reporting on City and County Government
- J 324F Business and Financial Journalism
- J 326C Intro Coding for Journalists
- J 326F Reporting Sports
- J 327D Reporting Data
- J 328S Reporting en Español
- J 330F Television Reporting and Producing
- J 331G Audio Storytelling
- J 331M Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- J 333G Advanced Visual Journalism: Photo
- J 334G Advanced Visual Journalism: Video
- J 336D Graphic Design for Print and Online
- J 336F Social Media Journalism
- J 337F Long-form Feature Writing
- J 335 Narrative Journalism
- J 335G Advanced Television Reporting and Producing
- J 336M Music Journalism
- J 339F Investigative Reporting
- J 342G Reporting the World
- J 346F Reporting on the Environment
- J 347F Reporting Latin America
- J 348D Gender and the News
- J 350F Media Law
- J 358N Online Incivility
- J 360F Supervised Internships
- J 363D Digital Innovation Capstone
Level 1 – Fundamentals (6 credits)
Students will start the program with two required courses that introduce you to the critical values and sensibility at the heart of the journalistic method and the digital tools to communicate that method. J 301F Fundamental Issues in Journalism grounds you in the role of news media in a democratic society and focuses on the changing nature of the profession and key controversies journalists have faced and created. J 302F Digital Storytelling Basics presents multiple technologies for digital delivery of text, photos, audio and video news across journalism platforms. These courses may be completed in the first year.
Also available: COM 316, an introduction to Photographic Communication recommended for those seeking to understand the role of photography in the modern world, and required for students who decide to pursue advanced photojournalism coursework.
Courses in this level (both required)
J 301F Fundamental Issues in Journalism
With democracy and news media facing serious challenges, journalistic ideals are more important than ever. Learn about the centrality of journalism in our political life.
J 302F Digital Storytelling Basics
Today’s multimedia storytelling requires mastering multiple technologies. Learn the basic skills journalists need in the digital age.
Level 2 – Foundations (6 credits)
All good journalism begins with reporting -- the gathering of a wide range of information in a comprehensive, independent, even-handed, thorough and ethical manner and the critical processing of that information. J 310F Reporting: Words focuses on reporting, writing and editing skills. Its companion course, J 311F Reporting: Images does the same with documentary video. They are both required for journalism majors. You must complete Level 1 coursework with a C- or higher before taking Level 2 courses, and journalism majors must earn a B- or higher for each Level 2 course.
Courses in this level (both required)
J 310F Reporting: Words
Technology may change, but crucial reporting, writing and editing skills remain vital. Learn the basics from faculty with professional journalism experience.
J 311F Reporting: Images
Images have always told stories in powerful ways, and digital tools expand that storytelling. Learn about video from faculty with professional journalism experience.
Level 3 - Specializations (18 credits)
Having acquired basic digital journalism tools, skills, and sensibility in Levels 1 and 2, you are ready to drill down into specialized, content-driven courses that give you the opportunity to do in-depth reporting and go deeper into various subjects and themes, as well as the chance to develop more specialized journalistic skills. The idea is to deepen your skills, knowledge and critical thinking, while at the same time prepare you for a professional world. You must complete Level 2 coursework with a grade of B- or better before attempting most coursework at Level 3 or above. In addition to Media Law, which is required, you will take 15 hours at this level: 3 hours of Concepts, 9 hours of Skills, and 3 additional hours of your choice (Skills or Concepts).
J 350F Media Law (required)
Lessons in legal rights and restrictions for journalism, including Constitutional guarantees, libel, invasion of privacy, and contempt of court. (May be taken with Level 2 courses).
Level 4 – Professional Practices (6 credits)
This stage offers you the opportunity to produce high-impact journalism across multiple platforms. All students are required to take two courses at this level, which will help prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the professional world.
Courses in this level
J 360F Internship
Professional internships are a crucial experience for anyone seeking to enter and understand the fast-changing world of modern journalism. Internship to be arranged by student and approved by the instructor. Offered on the pass/fail basis only. Students must first complete both Level 2 courses with a B- or higher.
J 362F Journalism Portfolio
A synthesis experience offering students the opportunity to polish their skills across journalistic platforms. To take this course, you must have completed six hours of upper-division coursework in journalism with a grade of at least B.
J 363D Digital Innovations Capstone
The development of cutting-edge media products for The Dallas Morning News and other outlets. Students conceive, pitch, plan, design and create projects inspired by their own passions or by the needs of news media organizations under the guidance of a professor, graduate students, and professional mentors.
J 363K News Documentaries
The news documentary capstone introduces you to “long-form” visual journalism. Working on individual projects, students will produce documentaries rooted in journalism, short films in the vein of those award-winning pieces seen on Vox, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
J 363N Newsroom Capstone (replaced with J363W in Fall 2020)
J 363P News Magazine
This course focuses on the production of a news ‘magazine’ type program in the tradition of 60 Minutes or 20/20. The goal is to produce a broadcast quality news magazine show during the semester. The early part of the semester will focus on story selection, interviewing and content collection. Stories will move through the editing, revision and post-production process focusing on effective storytelling with sound and images. The course will culminate with the production of a magazine program incorporating the best stories into a finished deliverable program.
J 363V Visual Capstone
Designed to give students an opportunity to challenge and deepen their traditional news photography skills. Stresses proficiency in visual reporting by emphasizing professional skills and habits in order to develop their personal style and storytelling ability.
J363W Reporting Capstone
Reporting Capstone provides an opportunity for students to learn and put into practice the varied techniques required of today’s journalism professional. Participants will practice innovative techniques for promoting stories through social media channels. The newsroom will publish its collaborative work on the school’s Reporting Texas website, as it helps students hone skills in print, visual and other forms of multimedia storytelling.