Course Descriptions

Jed Notebook


JED 30100 - Fundamentals of Journalism

What is news? What are the most effective ways of presenting news to the public? What ethical decisions are involved in gathering and reporting news? These are a few of the questions addressed in this class. The course also provides an introductory framework on the use of reporting tools, newswriting techniques, journalism history, and digital media. Please note: This is the gateway course to the journalism minor; admission to the class is by application only. 

JED 30101 - Broadcast Journalism 

Four major topics are covered: (1) writing for broadcast: emphasis on developing the student's understanding of grammar and style in the construction of effective news stories; (2) newsroom structure: understanding who does what in today's broadcast newsroom and how economics affects the flow of information; (3) journalism ethics: analysis of personal values, ethical principles, and journalistic duties that influence newsroom decisions; and (4) legal considerations in news gathering with special attention paid to libel laws and invasion of privacy. 

JED 30105 - Craft of Journalism

This class will focus on how print, broadcast and online journalists work—how they think and act as well as the ethical dilemmas they face today in delivering news, analysis, and commentary. We will study the processes involved in the creation of news and the effects or consequences of the news on the public. This is not a course that teaches the techniques of journalism. Rather it is an examination of the practices of professional journalists and a survey of the impact of what they do. 

JED 30112 - Persuasion, Commentary and  Criticism

This course will consider the roles of persuasion, commentary, and criticism in contemporary American culture and will explore the techniques of these forms of expression. Students will prepare and discuss their own writing assignments, including opinion columns, editorials, and critical reviews of performances or books. Ethics and responsibilities in contemporary American journalism in expression of opinions also will be explored. Assignments will serve as the examinations in this course. Open to Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy minors only. Other applicants must submit writing samples for review. 

JED 30122 -  Witnessing the Sixties

The purpose of this interdisciplinary course is twofold: to examine the social context and cultural change of the sixties and to explore the various journalistic and aesthetic representations of events, movements, and transformations. We will focus on the manner in which each writer or artist witnessed the sixties and explore fresh styles of writing and cultural expression, such as the new journalism popularized by Tom Wolfe and the music/lyrics performed by Bob Dylan. Major topics for consideration include the counterculture and the movement--a combination of civil rights and anti-war protest. 

JED 30131 - Sports Media Newsroom

This course is a practical and conceptual immersion into the world of contemporary sports journalism. Students will learn how to write and report for multiple journalism platforms, including newspapers, magazines and digital media. Students will practice a variety of reporting techniques and study writing styles ranging from features to news articles to profiles, while also taking a rigorous look at the legal, ethical and cultural issues surrounding the intersection of media, sports and society. In addition, students will gain hands-on sports writing experience by preparing articles for the university's independent, student-run newspaper, The Observer.

JED 30132 - Applied Multimedia for Journalists

This course is a hands-on examination of the latest digital tools and techniques used by journalists as they produce stories on multiple platforms. Students will learn how to take digital photographs, how to shoot and edit high-definition videos, and how to produce audio stories and podcasts. Students will also study the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use, creation and publication of digital media.

JED 30134 - Investigative Reporting

This course will explore the techniques of investigative journalism and produce high-quality public service projects based in the local community. It begins with a survey of the history of investigative reporting, from early 20th century muckrakers like Upton Sinclair to Woodward and Bernstein to new models in today's online world. Students will learn how to identify and judge potential investigative topics, work with databases to find solid documentation, interview a wide range of sources, and write stories appropriate for multiple journalism platforms. Students will work toward producing a piece that is publishable in a local newspaper or website.

JED 30177 - Magazine Writing

This course will examine various forms of magazine journalism, from the direct presentation of information to narrative journalism to the art of the first-person essay. The class, requiring students to complete a variety of written assignments while performing in a workshop setting, will emphasize those storytelling techniques essential to writing for publication. 

JED 30468 - Ethics of Journalism

"The primary purpose of journalism," according to media observers Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, "is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing." That's a lofty goal in any age - but it's especially difficult in the current era of market-driven journalism that has produced fabrication and plagiarism scandals, political cheerleading on news networks, "gotcha" videos on the internet and social media, and an outright obsession with celebrities. Students in this course will come away with a deep-seated understanding of journalism's purpose, develop a disciplined and repeatable process of making sound ethical choices when confronted with tough situations, and be able to articulate ethically defensible arguments explaining their decisions. They will accomplish these goals by reading, viewing, debating, analyzing, and writing about actual cases and issues in the news. The focus will be as much on what journalists should do, as on what they should not do.