Communications and Information Sciences
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DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM (JN)

Dr. Jennifer Greer, Chairperson
Office: 490 Phifer Hall

The Department of Journalism offers a curriculum that mixes academics with practice to ensure that students are well schooled in writing, editing, and production across media platforms. Students also analyze issues, ethics, conventions, and practices of journalism. The departmental requirements give journalism majors both guidance and flexibility in their selection of courses.

The department’s emphasis on information gathering, writing, and production in the practice of journalism — as well as the attention given to the liberal arts — qualifies graduates for careers in news and mass media. The major also lays the foundation for careers in teaching, business, law and other professions.

Some of the career options for journalism majors and minors are:

Newspaper reporting and editing. The newspaper industry – in print and online – aggressively seeks our graduates. Newspapers offer some of the best opportunities for journalism majors who are still in school and want the professional experience of internships or who have just graduated and are seeking their first jobs. Journalism majors are sought after for reporting, copy editing, photography, graphic, online production and design positions. Newspapers also seek staff for specialty products, including lifestyle magazines and specialized Web sites.

Magazine writing and editing. Our majors go on to write for, design, and edit general circulation magazines as well as those that cover almost every specialized subject in which Americans have an interest. Magazines employ managing editors, manuscript editors, department editors, production managers, art designers, photographers, designers, copy editors, writers and other staff members for both their print and online editions.

Graphics and design. Visual presentation of news and information is a key component of journalism. Choosing the best way to visually organize information has been emphasized by news organizations and mass media producers in recent decades – especially with the explosion of digital media. News organizations need people who understand the rules, conventions, and customs of design and graphic presentation in a journalistic context. Graphics and design careers are grounded in the journalistic traditions. These careers gather and synthesize information concisely and present it in ways that enhance audience understanding.

Photojournalism. Photojournalism is a fast-paced, on-the-spot approach to gathering the news through still and moving images. News organizations, magazines, sports organizations, corporations and other entities hire staff photojournalists whose primary assignments are gathering news and information with a camera. Most organizations seek photographers who can tell stories through still images and video. Many media and business organizations prefer to hire writers and reporters who also have basic photography and Web video skills, enabling more efficient and cost-effective operations.
Digital journalism. Traditional mass media, including newspaper, magazine, radio and television outlets, have taken the lead in publishing on the Internet. Most students who work in other areas of journalism (newspaper, magazines, radio, and television) also will produce for online media. Many graduates go on to work for online only organizations. Good writers, editors, designers, and photographers with a strong commitment to accuracy and fairness are in demand by any organization with an online presence.

Newsletter editing or publishing. A fast-growing area of journalism is the specialty newsletter in print and online. These publications exist in business, politics, sports, leisure, recreation and hobbies; in other words, in almost every area of interest. Producing a newsletter takes a combination of reporting, editing, design, photography and marketing skills, making the journalism major highly valued by people in this field.

Corporate communications. Many journalism majors find jobs in corporate communications as writers, editors, photographers, designers, online producers and advisors to management on message strategy and communication techniques. Corporate communication offices seek out majors skilled in writing, photography, and design to produce newsletters, magazines, Web sites, press releases, letters, brochures, graphics, annual reports, and other materials.

Graduate studies, law school, and business. The journalism major provides students with excellent preparation for a variety of careers outside of journalism. Solid grounding in the social sciences and humanities — along with specialized journalistic training in writing, gathering information, organizing information, critical thinking, and public affairs — can open many doors. Students also find that the journalism curriculum provides solid preparation for graduate studies in a number of fields, including law school and other professional studies. Students who do well in the journalism curriculum typically perform very well on graduate school and law school examinations because of the emphasis on writing and critical thinking in our courses.

Requirements for Journalism Majors—Upper Division

A journalism major must complete 120 hours for graduation, 35 of which are in the major. The following are the University Core Curriculum courses that journalism majors must take:

I. Written composition: EN 101 (3 hours) and EN 102 (3 hours), or
EN 103, if eligible, or by exam.
   
II. Humanities (HU) and fine arts (FA):  
fine arts (3 hours)
English literature (6 hours)
(choose from courses EN 205–210, and EN 249)
COM 123 (3 hours)
   
III. Natural science (N) and mathematics (MA):  
natural sciences (8 hours)
(must include labs)
mathematics (MATH 110 or higher) (3 hours)
   
IV. History (HI ) and social/behavioral sciences (SB):  
history sequence (6 hours)
social/behavioral courses (6 hours)
   
V. Computer (CS) or foreign language (FL )  
foreign language (4–8 hours)
computer (6 hours plus CS 102)
V. Writing (W)  
Writing fulfilled with required
journalism courses (6 hours)

In addition to the general education requirements in the University Core curriculum, journalism majors are required to complete 18 hours of special requirement (300 and 400-level courses outside the mass communication units) and a minor.

For the major, journalism students must select either the general sequence or the visual sequence and complete at least 35 hours within the journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations, and telecommunication and film departments, as outlined in the sample schedule.

General Journalism Track (35–38 hours)

Visual Journalism Track (35–38 hours)

Journalism majors must complete 18 hours of 300- and 400-level courses outside the journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations, and telecommunication and film departments. The major is required to have up to 27 semester hours in a single minor or 22 hours maximum in each of two minors or hours as required in a second major. The course of study for the minor(s) or second major requires approval by the Department of Journalism.

Minors and electives. Popular minors and upper-level special requirements are found in history, political science, psychology, English, American studies, women’s studies, anthropology, art, classics, human development and family studies, criminal justice, sociology, philosophy, religion, economics, consumer sciences, and theatre.

Grades. To receive credit toward graduation, a student must receive a “C-” or higher for all journalism and all other courses in the college.

Major status. Students should declare their majors as soon as possible by filling out a form in the Department of Journalism office, 490 Phifer Hall.

Advising assistance. Students will be assigned individual faculty advisors after they have completed JN 311. Freshman and sophomore students will be advised in group sessions. Students will be advised during a two-week period each semester just prior to registration. However, if questions or special problems arise, students may make appointments with their academic advisors or in the journalism office at any time during the semester.

Professional experience. Students should seek a variety of media work experience, exploring opportunities at the campus newspaper, digital publications, WVUA-TV, campus radio stations, the yearbook, literary magazines, departmental and alumni newsletters, and in University public relations and sports information offices.

Students are strongly encouraged to seek internships with professional media organizations following throughout their study at UA. The Department of Journalism has ongoing internship programs with The Tuscaloosa News, WVUA and several other local media outlets. Internships may be completed for credit when the student has completed 60 semester hours and JN 311. Job and internship listings are posted on the departmental Web site and outside the JN office at 490 Phifer Hall. An internship before the senior year makes students marketable when they graduate. The College placement office, 297 Phifer Hall, also assists students with finding internships and jobs.

Minors in journalism. Three journalism minors are available to students who wish to study journalism in conjunction with other major areas of coursework.

General Journalism minor (20 semester hours): Students must complete the following courses: MC 101, JN 101 (1 hr.), JN 150 (1 hr.), JN 261, APR 260, JN 311, JN 312 OR JN 315, and MC 401.

Photojournalism minor (20 semester hours): Students must complete the following courses: MC 101, JN 101 (1 hr.), JN 150 (1 hr.), JN 261, APR 260, JN 311, JN 361, and JN 461 or 382.

Journalism Design minor (20 semester hours): Students must complete the following courses: MC 101, JN 101 (1 hr.), JN 150 (1 hr.), JN 261, APR 260, JN 311, JN 312, JN 320.

Sample Curriculum for the Major in Journalism

FRESHMAN YEAR
   
First Semester  
Courses Hours
EN 101 3
MC 101 3
JN 150 1
JN 101 1
Natural science (NS) 4
Math 3
  ___
  Total: 15
   
Second Semester  
Courses Hours
COM 123 or fine arts course 3
EN 102 3
Natural science (NS) 4
Social behavioral (SB) 3
APR 260 3
  ___
  Total: 16
   
SOPHOMORE YEAR
   
First Semester  
Courses Hours
HY sequence course 3
JN 311 3
COM 123 or fine arts (FA) 3
JN 261 3
Foreign language (FL) or computer science (CS) 3–4
  ___
  Total: 15–16
   
Second Semester  
Courses Hours
HY sequence course 3
JN 315 3
Foreign language (FL) or computer science (CS) 3–4
JN 312 3
Minor 3
  ___
  Total: 15–16
   
JUNIOR YEAR
First Semester  
Courses Hours
JN 411 or 415 (general majors)/JN 320 or 325 or 361 (visual majors) 3
Social behavioral (SB) 3
Minor course 3
English literature 3
Special requirement 3
  ___
  Total: 15
   
Second Semester  
Courses Hours
JN upper division (general)/JN 426, 430, or 461 (visual) 3
Literature, fine arts (FA) or humanities (H) 3
Minor course 3
Special requirement 3
Minor or special requirement 3
  ___
  Total: 15
 
SENIOR YEAR
First Semester  
Courses Hours
MC 401 3
JN 382, or other JN/APR/TCF/MC elective 3
Minor 3
Minor 3
Special requirement 3
  ___
  Total: 15
   
Second Semester  
Courses Hours
JN 499 3
Elective 3
Minor 3
Special requirement or minor (as needed) 3–6
  ___
  Total: 12–15
   
   

 

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