When we moved into the Belo Center for New Media in 2012, we launched a new digital-based, state-of-the-art curriculum for undergraduates. So what does this mean for our students?
It means you’ll be learning multimedia skills, producing your own websites and creating your own digital portfolio from the day you enter the school.
It also means you will likely have a professional internship and finish your studies with a capstone course in multimedia journalism. You’ll be learning to think like a journalist, learning to report and write like one as well, and you’ll emerge prepared to tell stories in different ways across many news platforms.
We have eliminated the old walls between print, magazine, photojournalism, multimedia and broadcast, and we’ll be emphasizing good writing and critical thinking from Day One.
The curriculum also streamlines the number of courses and your path from entry to graduation. This will assist students in effectively completing their degree requirements within a four-year graduation plan.
The curriculum provides the tools and sensibility -- solid independent research, critical thinking and direct, accessible writing -- that can help you succeed in a wide variety of fields, many of them outside of newsrooms.
Some fine print: There are five levels of coursework, and not all courses are offered every semester. The listings below are preliminary; please check your appropriate course catalog and consult with your undergraduate advisors for up-to-date information and to work on a degree plan to keep you on track for a four-year graduation.
The primary mission of the School of Journalism remains the same: 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. The goal of our new curriculum is to further this mission.
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. Our new curriculum reflects the need for help you gather deeper and more specialized knowledge in your chosen field of study, and to engage with the outside world through professional internships and participation in our own news-gathering platforms.
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.
A Sampling of Our Courses
- J 301F Fundamental Issues in Journalism
- J 302F Digital Storytelling Basics
- COM 316 Photographic Communication
- J 310F Reporting: Words
- J 311F Reporting: Images
- J 321F Reporting on City and County Government
- J 326F Reporting Sports
- J 330F Television Reporting and Producing
- J 331F Entrepreneurial Journalism
- J 332F News Editing for Online and Print
- J 327D Reporting Data
- J 324F Business and Financial Journalism
- J 336D Graphic Design for Print and Online
- J 336F Social Media Journalism
- J 337F Long-form Feature Writing
- J 339F Investigative Reporting
- J 339T Intro Coding for Journalists
- J 340F Covering the Global Economy
- J 348D Gender and the News
- J 331G Audio Storytelling
- J 333G Advanced Visual Journalism: Photo
- J 334G Advanced Visual Journalism: Video
- J 335 Narrative Journalism
- J 335G Advanced Television Reporting and Producing
- J 342G Reporting the World
- J 347F Reporting Latin America
- J 349T Music Into Words
- J 350F Media Law
- J 358N Online Incivility
- J 362F Journalism Portfolio
- J 360F Internship
- J 361F Reporting Texas
Level 3 - Specialized Issues and Skills (9 to 15 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 coursework at Level 3 or above.
You must take one course from each of three categories:
Category One: Public Affairs Reporting
These are the traditional beat reporting courses in areas such as courts, city hall, schools, sports and state government. We require you to take one of them, so that every student undergoes the experience of learning and covering a beat. Here are our current courses. Check the course schedule for prerequisites and semester offerings:
J 321F Reporting on City and County Government
Like all politics, all news coverage is fundamentally local. You'll learn and apply basic beat reporting skills as you navigate city and county governments and report, research and write on issues and people at the local level. Usually taught during state legislative session (spring semester, odd years).
J 322F Navigating State Government
Training and instruction in specialized reporting, research and writing skills as applicable to covering state governments. Analysis of enduring issues and politics at the state level. Fieldwork at the Texas Capitol and state agencies.
J 322J Reporting Social Justice
Explore how to cover social justice issues such as poverty, inequality and disenfranchisement and the skills needed to research, report and write on people in underrepresented communties.
J 323F Education Reporting
Education is at the heart of the American dream of social and economic mobility and a flashpoint in the struggle for political control. You will learn how to cover school districts and higher education and produce stories that humanize the bureaucracy of public education and compellingly depict issues, structures and policies.
J 324F Business and Financial Reporting
You will learn how to conceptualize, source and prepare news reports on global financial markets, commercial transactions and company performance. The course is global; the U.S. is a subset of material covered. This is a hands-on course during which you produce multiple news packages for publication.
J 325F Covering Politics
This course aims to provide the next generation of political reporters with specialized research, reporting and writing skills to cover issues, candidates and campaigns. It also explores the profound impact that the digital revolution and social media are having on election campaign coverage.
J 326F Reporting Sports
Sports media have a major impact on our culture, economy, schools, health and aspirations. You will learn how to apply the basic skills and sensibility of journalism to the world of sports.
J 327D Reporting with Data
An investigation of the basics of computer-assisted reporting. Subjects include finding compelling data sets, cleaning and analyzing the contents and presenting the results online through stories, charts and maps.
J 328S Reporting en Español
Produce multimedia news stories in Spanish for a local audience.
Category Two: Specialized Journalistic Skills
Here's where you learn to master journalistic tools that are sharper and more sophisticated but not necessarily connected to a specific topic. Categories include: investigative, advanced photojournalism, oral history as journalism, documentary storytelling (photo and video), long-form narrative, magazine writing and production, digital entrepreneurship, community journalism and the various specialized broadcast courses. Most of these are "meets with" courses open to both undergraduate and master's students. Check the course schedule for prerequisites and semester offerings:
J 330C Television Reporting
Basic television news gathering skills, including shooting and editing videotape, planning and executing visual storytelling, and writing and producing news packages. Students assist in the production of a television news program.
J 330G Creative Non-Fiction for Magazines and Books
Reporting and writing skills needed to produce narrative nonfiction and includes writing book proposals, magazine pitches and sample chapters.
J 331D Intermediate Photo Communication
Learn intermediate-level photograph skills and techniques. Evaluate recent trends, visual design, and use of images in the media.
J 331F Entrepreneurial Journalism
Focuses on creation of for-profit and nonprofit journalistic enterprises in the news media ecosystem. The class studies the impact of digital technology on the news industry, with emphasis on changes to business and distribution models, and ways people consume and produce news and information. Students dissect successful and unsuccessful digital initiatives. The class pursues projects and prototypes that include business plans and content planning.
J 331G Audio Storytelling
Examination and practice of writing news for podcast.
J 332D Web Production / Editing
Advanced multimedia editing and production techniques. Emphasis on news judgment, language use, editing of textual elements, and use of digital software for print and web publication.
J 332G Explanatory Journalism: Storytelling in a Digital Age
Examination of long-form journalism, from print to new forms of digital storytelling.
J 332J Sports for Reporting Texas
Writing and reporting sports articles for the Reporting Texas website.
J 333G Advanced Visual Journalism, Photo
Explores intensive photographic reportage and documentation using the camera as a tool of investigation and interaction. Emphasis on creation of photo stories, photo essays, and feature stories, with editing and page layout.
J 333J Photography for Reporting Texas
Photography and visuals for the Reporting Texas website.
J 334F Oral History as Journalism
Instruction in the use of oral history to generate journalistic coverage. Modules include concepts and methods of gathering oral history; illustration of the techniques using the Vietnam War as a topic, and generating oral history-based coverage focusing on the Mexican-American experience.
J 334G Advanced Visual Journalism: Video
Explores intensive video reportage and documentation using the camera as a tool of investigation and interaction. Emphasis on creation of video news and feature stories.
J335 Narrative Journalism
Development and production of feature stories for publication, focusing on underrepresented groups and issues.
J 335G Advanced Television Reporting and Producing
Advanced writing and reporting skills for collaborative production of television news programs on deadline. Students assist in producing a television news program.
J 335J Mobile Programming for Journalism
Learn coding and other skills needed to design mobile news apps.
J 336D Graphic Design for Print and Online
Learn design for online and print storytelling. Subjects include design principles, visual perception, typography, manipulation of images and photographs and page design for media platforms.
J 336F Social Media Journalism
The role of journalism in emerging digital social networks, examining current and traditional theories about social media as a form of journalism. Practice in the use live chatting, tagging, geotagging, wikis, Twitter, Flickr and digital avatars as newsgathering techniques.
J 336J Lifestyle Journalism
Learn how to report and write about subjects such as travel, dining and cultural criticism.
J 337F Long-Form Feature Writing
Advanced instruction in reporting and writing long-form narratives, including lessons in analyzing story-telling tools, strategies and techniques. The course also explores the similarities and differences in narrative strategies and techniques across different media platforms.
J 338G Data Visualization
Storytelling via the integration of text, maps, graphics and other visual forms. Includes hands-on and conceptual experiences.
J 338J News for a Mobile Audience
A theory course examining the mobile world and how journalism and the news audience fit in it.
J 338F Advanced Visual Design
Advanced exploration of principles and processes of visual design, including design principles, visual perception, typography, image making, uses of color, printing techniques, and publication design.
J 339F Investigative Reporting
This course focuses on determining what an investigative story is, finding those stories and developing strategies and tactics in pursuing them.
J 339G Mobile News App Design
Planning and building a mobile app for various journalism-related topics.
J 339T Documentaries for Sports
Learn the basics to create a short sports documentary.
J 339T Introduction to Coding for Journalists
The basics of coding for journalism.
J 339T.1 Mapping in Storytelling
Storytelling via the integration of text, maps, graphics and other visual forms. Includes hands-on and conceptual experiences.
J 339T.2 Music into Words
The basics of music journalism.
Category Three: Understanding and Reporting Social Issues
These are theme-oriented courses in a broad range of areas such as education, health, environment, sports, business, women and ethnic minorities, technology, business, politics, poverty, urban development, religion and international affairs. They provide you with historical context, depth and critical thinking as well as opportunities to do reporting and/or research. Some will be more scholarly, others more practical, depending upon the subject matter and the expertise of the teacher. Check the course schedule for prerequisites and semester offerings:
J 340F Covering the Global Economy
Examines the enduring financial, economic and business issues journalists confront in covering the global economy.
J 340J Documentary Tradition in Latin America
Contemporary social, professional and intellectual concerns with the practice of journalism. Study of still photographic and video documentary work by Latin Americans about Latin America. Production of photographic essays on Latin American culture.
J 341F Understanding African-Americans and the Media
Examination of documentaries and films, readings and discussions, writing and research assignments, and group projects to increase understanding of the historical context of African-Americans in American society. Focuses on evaluating media representation and coverage of African-Americans.
J 341J Media and Minorities
Issues concerning minority or non-dominant groups within the United States. Survey of minority communication problems: alienation, fragmentation, media and Internet access; criticism and feedback for minority groups based on racial/ethnic background, age, sex, disability, social or economic class, and sexual orientation.
J 342G Reporting the World
Provides a dynamic way of looking at, thinking about, and reporting the world, both abroad and at home. Establishes a framework for analyzing how the news media cover key events, issues and processes that shape our lives in a global society.
J 343F Journalism and Religion
Critical examination of how religion traditionally has been covered in the United States and guidelines for developing individual thinking and reporting on religious issues.
J 343G Exploring Digital Media and Society
Combining both theoretical and skills components, the class will explore the implications of the use of technology and digital media in influencing our community, social relationships and the profession of journalism.
J 346F Reporting on the Environment
Instruction in and supervised fieldwork in environmental coverage. Issues to be covered include climate change, energy, air and water quality, and sustainability. Course is occassionally offered as a study abroad in Australia.
J 346G Domestic Issues and Global Perspective
Comparative reporting and how to cover social issues from global and intercultural perspectives. Proper positioning of the U.S. globally in terms of recession, food, health care, education, energy consumption and climate change.
J 347F Reporting Latin America
Skills in foreign reporting and a better understanding of international news production processes, with special emphasis on Latin America.
J 347G Cultural Survey of Photography
Development of photojournalism and commercial, documentary, amateur, and art photography: historical processes, the evolution of stylistic trends, and the careers of major photographers.
J 348D Gender and the News
Historical and contemporary exploration of gender and the news. Examination of the role of marginalized gender groups in producing news and the construction of gender within news texts.
J 348G The Business of Sports Media
This lecture course, cross-listed with Advertising and Public Relations, provides a basic understanding of sports media as a business.
J 349F Reporting Public Health and Science
Specialty reporting to help news consumers understand complex health and medicine issues.
J 349T Reporting Consumer News
Reporting news from the perspective of American consumers.
J 349T News Media and Politics
A theory course that examines the role of the news media in American politics.