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 30108 - Advanced Reporting

This is an advanced course in journalistic reporting and writing devoted to learning how to prepare in a professional manner in-depth articles for national and local publications and on-line. Emphasis will be on going out to get the news, through record searches, interviews and covering events. Stress also will be on the ethics and responsibilities of journalists in obtaining and presenting information.

JED 30109 - Multiplatform Journalism

Journalists today are expected to write, edit and produce content across multiple platforms. This course will expose students to a variety of media by focusing on the opportunities and challenges faced by journalists in the digital world. Course content includes the impact of speed on reliability, fact-checking and analyzes the unique design and presentational problems faced by online journalists. The course provides groundwork in storytelling techniques across multiple platforms, writing and editing for the web and mobile media, search engine optimization, critical thinking, ethics and copyright law, blogging and social media. Students will be trained and produce published journalistic content on several digital tools, including Wordpress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Photoshop, video, audio editing, Periscope, mobile reporting tools and visualization tools from the Google News Lab and the Knight Lab.

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 30120 - Fieldwork and American Documentary

This course is fashioned more like a workshop. Students will be engaged in fieldwork either on campus or in the surrounding community. By investigating and documenting people and their settings, students will combine the imaginative work of the writer with the analytical work of the intellectual. Whether conducting journalistic inquiry, in-depth interviewing, oral history, or participant observation, students will take the initiative in making contact and building rapport with their respective research subjects. This ongoing fieldwork (supplemented by readings) will be the basis for classroom discussion. That is, in addition to considering classic and exemplary texts in creative and documentary nonfiction, we'll focus on students' fieldwork process and results in class. Final projects may take a variety of written forms: a feature or profile, an essay, or a scholarly article. Along with a written account of the fieldwork, an oral presentation is required. Students wishing to pursue community-based learning will be expected to spend at least two hours per week in a field placement for a 10-week period. 

JED 30121 - Metamorphosis of Journalism

New Media and the Metamorphosis of Journalism. The traditional categories of journalism subsumed by the figures of the journalist-witness or reporter, as well as the journalist-creator and the journalist-activist (or socially engaged), might still apply in today's world. But the social function, the profession and the industry have probably changed more during the past 20 years than during the previous five decades or so. The increasing diversification of media outlets and the accessibility to technologies has generated a very large spectrum of journalistic expressions. The goal of this course is to reflect on today's profound transformation of the document, of the expression and of the audience within the activity known as journalism with a special focus on social realism. We will study a wide range of expressions including film, comics-journalism, photo-journalism, digital journalism and art. We will pay special attention to citizen journalism, media critique and social crises, journalism and war, journalism and dictatorship, journalism and literature (including theatre), corporate vs. not for profit journalism, journalism and politics, and ethics of journalism. Renowned journalists, authors and creators will join our class: photo-journalists, comics-journalists, documentary filmmakers, and writers. 

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 30123 - American Political & Media Culture

This course is an introductory and interdisciplinary examination of American political and media culture, particularly contemporary political thinking and behavior. Although we will examine the roots and development of U.S. political culture from the nation's founding into the 21st century, a principal concern of this class will be the involvement of the mass media (journalism, broadcasting, advertising, etc.) in our political life since the 1930s. In considering politics, government, and the media, we will attempt to come to terms with the role and influence of different forms of popular communications in modern political culture. Are traditional media forms fading in significance with the rise of social media? What methods of media assessment work most effectively in analyzing political and governmental issues? Does emphasis on a public figure's personality or image--as transmitted by the media--become more important than policy positions in the citizenry's assessment? Students will read several books and individual articles throughout the semester. Grading will be based on a mid-term and a final examination as well as a short paper and a more comprehensive, detailed essay. 

JED 30124 - TV Newsroom Survival Skills

This course covers four topics essential for students to develop the competence and confidence to work in a TV or visual electronic media newsroom: (1) Writing for broadcast and visual storytelling media with emphasis on grammar, form, and style in the construction of effective news stories. (2) Anatomy of a newsroom: Understanding who does what in the newsgathering process, and how economics, ratings, and marketing affect the flow of information. (3) Journalism ethics: Analysis of personal, societal, and professional values, ethical principles, and journalistic duties that influence newsroom decisions. (4) Legal considerations in news gathering with special attention to libel/defamation laws and invasion of privacy. Note: This is not a production course. While students will write news stories and come to better understand studio production, technology, visualization, photography, and video editing as important parts of the storytelling process, the course is not designed as a vehicle for technical field training.

JED 30126 - Data Storytelling Politics, Crime and Sports

Students will learn how to produce interactive infographics, data visualizations and charts for news consumption. They will explore how to gather data through original research, data portals and freedom of information requests. They also will learn basic computational skills and analyze data for crime, politics and sports news. Students also will learn how to map data and study how data can be flawed in the pursuit of truth-telling. Software used in the class: Google Fusion Tables (maps and charts), Datawrapper, Venngage/, Google Trends, Timeline JS, StoryMap JS, Excel.

JED 30127 - Journalism and Society

This course is a conceptual immersion into the role of journalism in America as a catalyst for social, political, economic and cultural change. Students will learn the role and value of a free press, examine the principles of reporting and consider the evolving impact of social media and digital technology on the field today.

JED 30128 - Multiplatform Newswriting: Advanced Reporting 

This course is a skills-based survey of the world of online journalism. Students will learn the principles of digital journalism and acquire the technical skills to cover events using text, images, audio and social media. Students will also learn the nuances of writing for various contemporary media platforms, including digital print and social. It will also help instruct students how to tell textured stories - both with text and visual tools.This course aims to help students learn how to produce high-quality, quick-turnaround, short-form journalism - in short, the kinds of skills that will be required to be competitive for many entry-level journalism jobs. And the knowledge that is acquired in the course is not only applicable to journalism but also to online writing and multimedia production now commonly used in other fields. 

JED 30129 - The Digital Newsroom

Building on the skills acquired in Fundamentals of Journalism, this practicum course is centered around students preparing stories, photos and videos for The Observer, the university's independent, student-run newspaper. Students will acquire real-world experience in reporting, writing, and using their digital journalism skills by covering live news events on campus and in the surrounding community. Pre-requisite: Fundamentals of Journalism.

JED 30130 - Covering  America 

The course is a practical and conceptual exploration of the journalistic issues involved in reporting on topics of national interest. This is an advanced reporting course in which students will build on their digital and multi-platform journalism skills and learn to produce stories for audiences nationwide. The capstone assignment requires traveling to the site of an ongoing national story during Spring Break; the resulting stories, photos and videos will be published on a student-produced website. Please note: There are no additional costs for students in this course; all travel costs will be covered for any student who is admitted to the course. Admission to the course by permission only.

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 30133 - Editing and News Design

This course helps to provide a foundation for students to build their skills as editors, including the study and practice of professional standards in grammar, AP style, and the structure of news stories. Students will exercise analytical and creative thinking through a critical evaluation of written work with an eye toward developing a professional level of news judgment. In addition to building copy editing skills, students will also broaden their understanding of writing headlines, photo captions and other principles of display type for both traditional and digital media platforms. Special emphasis will be given to the use of search engine optimization for online news stories. Students will also learn the techniques and principles of layout and news design in both traditional and digital platforms.

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 30135 - Issues in Contemporary Newsrooms

This seminar will equip students with a framework for considering some of the most pressing issues in modern American newsrooms, including such topics as leadership and management in the Internet age, best practices for promoting equity and inclusion in media, and adapting to digital transitions at news organizations. The course will be taught by newsroom veterans who will be on campus through the Keifer Visiting Journalists Program. The perspectives and practices that will be discussed in the course will be particularly salient for students about to embark on their professional journalism careers, staffers at student media organizations, and those interested in management issues in the media environment, in particular, or the professional world, in general.

JED 30136 - The Art of Science Journalism

This course will prepare students for the way articles based on scientific research or technological advancements are developed, reported, and written. After a brief historic look at science journalism, from H.G. Wells to Rachel Carson, students will also read/listen to works by contemporary print and radio journalists. Students will learn how to find and use scientific journals to supplement their articles, how to recognize a solid study from “junk science,” and how to work with scientists to avoid jargon. Learning how to explain difficult concepts in detailed but accessible prose will not only benefit journalists who write about science, but also those who cover topics as diverse as city services or the arts. Students will create a short piece that can be published in a magazine or on a website with a focus on science.

JED 30137 - Sound Stories: Introduction to Audio Journalism

This course will teach students how high quality audio news stories are reported, written and produced. Students will gain skills in gathering ambient sound, interviewing for audio, and writing for the ear. Students will also acquire the technical knowledge needed for editing and producing audio stories using such software as Adobe Audition. Besides hands-on skills, students will also gain knowledge in how the public radio system in America was built, its history, and the rise of such story-telling forms as podcasting. Students will produce a radio feature piece in the style of National Public Radio that could be aired on a professional station.

JED 30138 - Food & Environmental Journalism

This course will explore the history of food and environmental journalism to investigate how it has been a catalyst for social and political change, and it will analyze current practice in covering climate change and other critical topics. The course will consider the ways in which food and environment intersect with issues of justice, in particular economic and racial justice, how they delineate the tension between journalism and activism, and what opportunities and challenges exist in this realm for the future. While primarily a course of subject-matter exploration and analysis, students will also pitch, write, fact-check, and revise a story toward a goal of publication or production.

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 and 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. 

JED 34110 - Journalism in Britain

Based in London, this course will explore both historical and contemporary issues in the production, presentation, and dissemination of news in the United Kingdom. It begins with an overview of British journalism - stretching from England's earliest newspapers in the 17th century, such as The Stamford Mercury, to modern, Pulitzer Prize-winning outlets such as The Guardian, to some of the experimental online story-telling platforms that may come to define the industry in the 21st century. The course will compare and contrast the reporting principles and writing techniques of British journalists with their counterparts in the United States and the rest of the world. Students will also examine how digital media is shaping the evolution of news in print, online and broadcast outlets in the U.K. The course also has a practicum component in which students will work at internships with professional British news outlets. Please note: this is an eight-week course. Prerequisites: to enroll, students must also be admitted to the Gallivan Journalism Summer in London Program.

JED 45900 -  Magazine Internship 

Apprentice training  with Notre Dame Magazine

JED 45903 -  News Internship 

Apprentice training with  newspapers. 

JED 47930 - JED Internship

A professional work experience in journalism for non-resident and resident internships.

JED 47931 - Special Studies

Special Studies offers students the opportunity to pursue an independent, semester-long reading or research project under the direction of a faculty member. The subject matter of special studies must not be duplicated in the regular curriculum.