Areas of Study

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Classes

Journalism Department undergraduate classes cover Ethics of Convergent Media, Digital Journalism, Photojournalism, Investigative Reporting, Broadcast, Sports Journalism, Media and Politics, Graphics and Design, Public Affairs Reporting and more.

View the Journalism section of the SMU Meadows Course Catalog.

JOUR 2103: Writing and Editing Tutorial and Laboratory
Introduction to basic journalistic writing for all media. Students review English grammar and punctuation, and become versed in Associated Press writing style. Combines an online tutorial with a required weekly lab. This course is required before students may enroll in JOUR 2312.

JOUR 2302: Ethics of Convergent Media
An exploration of the ethical issues that provide the foundation for all communication fields. These issues have become more complex as media and industries have converged. Topics include free speech, privacy, government regulation and censorship.

JOUR 2304: Basic Video and Audio Production
Offers students practical hands-on training in the fundamentals of broadcast communication. Students learn to shoot video in the field, to edit using Final Cut Pro, and to work as a news team in a TV control room and studio. Convergence laboratory required.

JOUR 2312: Reporting I
The division’s rigorous foundation writing and reporting course. Students gain critical skills needed to complete the major, including the fundamentals of gathering, documenting, organizing and writing news stories in an accurate, fair, clear and concise manner. Convergence laboratory required.

JOUR 2313: Reporting II
Reporting II is the division's advanced reporting course. You can expect an intensive reporting and writing experience that will closely mirror a professional setting. You'll be covering in-depth, multi-sourced features and trend stories across Dallas as a reporter for the local news Web site, Beyond the Bubble. You'll also expand your Web writing and production skills through photo slideshows, Twitter, headlines, and briefs. And you'll strengthen your writing skills through one-on-one editing sessions with your teacher. Your reporting and writing must rise to a professional level in this class or you won't be published. Here's your chance to get some great clips for your portfolio.

JOUR 3345: Mass Media in Great Britain, Politics, Pin-Ups, and Propaganda
Explores the interaction between power, politics, and mass media in Great Britain; the history of the media in Great Britain; the health (or lack thereof) of mass media today and its impact on politics and popular culture; and how journalists report the news abroad and in the United States. Daily assignments include examination of newspapers and broadcast and Internet news available in the U.K. Students write papers based on visits to renowned sites such as the British Library and the Imperial War Museum. British journalists, scholars, and foreign correspondents present guest lectures. Final class projects that include papers and class presentations involve group studies in specialized areas of British media. (SMU-in-London program only.)

JOUR 3330: Digital Journalism
Students examine how the Web and social media have transformed journalism from a one-way lecture into a two-way conversation with readers, viewers and users. Students explore ways news organizations are harnessing digital technology to interact with the public through methods such as curation, aggregation, citizen journalism, crowdsourcing and live blogging. Students blog regularly about specific topics and produce audio slideshows that incorporate still images, natural sound and interviews with story subjects. They also learn the value of personal branding through the use of social media and professional online portfolios.

JOUR 3325: Technology Reporting
Students explore how social media, mobile technology, data-driven journalism, online startups and the many-to-many pattern of communication are changing the landscape of news and information around the world. Students analyze and critique the arguments of prominent "future of news" thinkers and debate the implications -- both in person during class, and online via social media. Students also collect and analyze public data as part of a class reporting project, using new tools such as Google Fusion Tables to create data visualizations. The class includes numerous guest speakers and field trips.

JOUR 3357: Photojournalism
Training in the techniques and execution of digital photojournalism including computer processing of images. Students produce digital photojournalism and have the opportunity to generate photographic images for the division’s convergence Web site. Convergence laboratory required.

JOUR 3358: New Media News
Focuses on using new media presentation methods and design skills to produce new forms of communication for news outlets. Convergence laboratory required.

JOUR 3360: Computer-Assisted Reporting
Emphasizes a hands-­on approach through the gathering and organizing of computerized data. Students learn techniques for locating, retrieving and verifying information from electronic sources, including libraries, research institutions, government documents, databases, court cases and experts. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2313. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 3362: Magazine Writing
This course will introduce students to the diverse world of magazines, and, through the reading of great magazine writing and the intensive practice of magazine reporting and writing, help prepare them for professional work in that world. Students will study and practice magazine feature writing, including profiles, narratives and analytical pieces.

JOUR 3365: Investigative Reporting
Intensive introduction to the art of generating original news ideas about issues of public significance; developing critical news judgment; unearthing often difficult-­to-­access information; and organizing the information into focused, well-­documented and compelling stories. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2313. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 3370: Fashion Journalism
Students receive intensive training on reporting and writing for journalism outlets with a focus on fashion. Coursework includes producing spot news as well as short fashion features for student media. Students meet with fashion writers and other fashion media professionals and obtain first-­hand exposure to Dallas' fashion media industry through field trips. Offered in the spring. Prerequisite: JOUR 2303 or instructor permission.

JOUR 3382: Feature Writing
Emphasizes the conceptual and technical skills needed to develop one’s own voice, bring a literary quality to one’s journalism, and produce professional-level descriptive pieces and features for various media. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2313. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 3385: Broadcast I
Builds on skills learned in JOUR 2304 (Basic Video and Audio Production), with more emphasis on deadline-driven, original campus-based reporting and broadcast producing. Students will learn how to assign coverage, enterprise original story ideas, write cogent broadcast stories and turn them on deadline using video and/or set debriefs as well as Web components. Convergence laboratory required.

JOUR 3390: Literary Journalism
Discover literary nonfiction through this semester-long exploration of some of the best reportage ever written. You’ll strengthen your analytical, thinking and verbal communication skills through in-depth readings of essays, articles, and books, past and present. You’ll learn about the different forms of literary nonfiction through the study of genres like New Journalism, biography, sports writing, humor, and true crime, and by studying stories on subjects like war, gender, race, poverty and adventure. The emphasis is on content and context: you can’t read in a vacuum! That means you’ll have to do a little research on our subjects and writers if you are to fully understand them. When you do, you’ll gain a whole new appreciation of the art of fact.

Through essays and articles, books and anthologies, you will be introduced to the nonfiction work of such diverse, award-winning writers as:

Alice Walker, Gay Talese, Stephen Crane, Michael Herr, Sonia Nazario, Marie Colvin, Erik Larson, Tom Friedman, Nelly Bly, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Brent Staples, Bharati Mukherjee, Dave Barry, Laura Hillenbrand, Ernest Gaines, Maya Angelou, Hunter S. Thompson, Martha Gellhorn, John McPhee, Marvel Cooke, Ted Conover, Lars Eighner, Zora Neale Hurston, John Hersey, Tom French, Anne Hull, and many others.

In addition to articles and essays, you’ll read books and anthologies such as:

“The Art of Fact” by Kerrane and Yagoda
“Literary Journalism: A Reader” by Chance and McKeen
“Journalistas” by Mills and Cochrane
“50 Essays: A Portable Anthology by Cohen
“Death in a Texas Desert and Other True Crime Stories from the Dallas Observer” by Stowers
“From Beirut to Jerusalem” by Friedman
“In Cold Blood” by Capote
“Into the Wild” by Krakauer
“Into Thin Air” by Krakauer
“Isaac’s Storm” by Larson
"The Devil in the White City" by Larson
“Nickel and Dimed” by Ehrenreich
“Conspiracy of Fools” by Eichenwald
“The Informant” by Eichenwald
“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Thompson
“Where Dreams Die Hard” by Stowers
“Seabiscuit” by Hillenbrand
"Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia" by Sasson
“Mean Little deaf Queer” by Galloway
"Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals and the Call to Mercy" by Scully
“The Liar’s Club" by Karr
“Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History” by Spiegelman
“The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” by Wolfe
“Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives” by French
“Random Family” by LeBlanc
“Thank You for Smoking” by Buckley
“A Lesson Before Dying” by Gaines

JOUR 3396: History of Journalism
The story of how American journalism became what it is today. The course emphasizes the people and events that transformed the media from the colonial printer into 21st century media conglomerates.

JOUR 4101-2: Journalism Practica 4101-2
Journalism Practica. One credit hour for work at on-­campus media positions. Maximum of two credit hours may be earned and counted toward degree requirements. See restrictions on allowable credit hours in the Internships and Practica section above. Offered on a pass/fail basis only. Prerequisites: Junior standing and permission of instructor and adviser. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 4125, JOUR 4225, JOUR 4235: Internships in Journalism
Internship credit for off-­campus work in the field during the regular term or in the summer. Students will be limited to a total of three credit hours for internships and practica. These three hours will not count toward the six hours of required elective credit in the division. Offered on a pass/fail basis only. Prerequisites: Junior standing and permission of adviser. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 4300: Broadcast News Seminar
A small group of selected students conduct an in-depth study of current events, examining and analyzing issues and producing sophisticated television programming.

JOUR 4302-5: Washington Term Directed Studies
Offers students an opportunity to study and practice journalism in the nation's capital. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 4306: Business Journalism
An intensive introduction to business, financial markets, and economics, combined with practice in reporting and writing about these complex topics. This course gives aspiring business journalists the tools to make business information understandable and accessible to news audiences. Offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2312.

JOUR 4307: Business News Seminar
This course builds upon the skills and insights gained in the prerequisite, JOUR 4306 Business and Journalism. Combines close reading and analysis of business coverage, detailed exploration of how to gather and understand financial and economic information, and intensive practice in reporting and writing business stories. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 4306. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 4310: Editorial/Opinion Writing
Examines the role of opinion writing in American journalism and teaches techniques that will help students develop clear and effective editorials and columns on a range of topics. The course emphasizes critical thinking and writing skills. Convergence laboratory required.

JOUR 4316: Communication Law
Exploration of the historical and philosophical basis for freedom of expression. Practical applications of the law in such areas as libel, censorship, access, privacy, obscenity, copyright and government regulations affecting broadcasting, advertising and the press.

JOUR 4326: Washington Term Internship
Internship opportunities in the nation’s capital.

JOUR 4331: Current Issues in the News
Encourages students to think critically about important issues in journalism today, acquaints them with the classic writings and ideas that have shaped modern journalism, and identifies the key concepts that have formed recent journalism criticism. Goal is to teach communication majors to become more creative problem-­solvers as professionals, and more critical as media consumers. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

JOUR 4344: Sports Journalism
Emphasizes the particular narrative style and newsgathering techniques of sports stories and coverage. Students will learn how to interview sports personalities and compose stories relating to the competitive events and social issues surrounding the world of sports.

JOUR 4345: Media and Politics
Increased understanding of political and elections processes enables students to evaluate and practice political journalism. The course covers campaigns and governance, and features analysis of media coverage and practical application. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2312.

JOUR 4350: Human Rights and the Journalist
Students analyze human rights issues affecting the world today and how both U.S. and international media cover these issues. The course examines topics such as the role images play in conveying the harsh truth of any human rights story, and how everything from new media formats to shrinking budgets is changing the way journalists who cover these stories do their job. This course is offered periodically. Pre-­ requisite: Sophomore standing.

JOUR 4360: Women and Minorities in the Mass Media
Examines the impact and representation of women and minorities in the mass media from historical and critical perspectives.

JOUR 4370: Law and Ethics in a High-Tech World
Encourages students to investigate the real and possible boundaries in cyberspace between open and closed systems of code, commerce, governance and education, while examining the relationship of law and ethics to each. Students will engage with a wide spectrum of Internet issues, including privacy, intellectual property, antitrust concerns, content control and electronic commerce. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

JOUR 4380: Objectivity and Bias
Identifies the various forces that critics say bias the news media and looks for evidence of these biases in media products.

JOUR 4384: Broadcast II
Furthers foundation established in Broadcast I. Curriculum emphasizes deadline-driven, off-campus beat reporting and broadcast producing. Students will learn how to enterprise original off-campus story ideas, including investigative and long-form pieces. Convergence lab required.

JOUR 4385: Graphics and Design
Introduction to the principles and processes associated with visual design. Students examine the roles of visual design as both a tool and a medium of communication and cultural production. Assignments include creating, altering, editing and processing images; conceptualizing, formatting, analyzing and refining typography; and preparing materials for production and publication, utilizing one or more media. Convergence laboratory required. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2312.

JOUR 4387: Arts Beat
Students gain experience in a convergence class in reporting on arts and entertainment, writing reviews, etc. The course includes sessions with local critics and experts in various areas of arts and literature. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2313. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 4388: Print Design and Editorial Decision-Making
The fundamentals of newspaper layout and design, including an emphasis on news selection, decision-­making and publication trends. Convergence laboratory required. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2312.

JOUR 4390: Advanced Web Mastery
Builds on the online journalism skill sets of students and trains them to create dynamic online news packages to leverage the flexibility of the Internet in order to increase the public's understanding of news stories. Students will learn how to create their own website, how to use technology to assist in newsgathering and how to unleash their creativity in online presentations. Convergence laboratory required. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2380.

JOUR 4392: Journalism and Religion
Introduces students to the basics of the world’s major religions and describes how journalists should cover faith-based organizations and interview religious leaders.

JOUR 4393: Civil Rights and the Media
Prior to the 1950s, the mainstream press was one of the major obstacles to African-­American progress. But during the civil rights movement, the media became a primary force in helping African-­Americans achieve equal rights. The course explores how and why this revolutionary change took place. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

JOUR 4394: Media Effects
Media’s social, political and cultural effects have been shown to influence people’s knowledge, thoughts and behaviors. Journalists and media producers have the power to influence society, in different levels, and therefore need to be able to critically approach their work and understand the potential effects. This course aims to make you, future media professionals, aware of these potentials. In this course, we will explore three main topics: introductory and historical perspectives to the study of media effects; the prominent effect theories and how they relate to everyday journalism; journalism coverage of key issues and its influence in society. We will also scrutinize how these theories apply to current media scenarios and project how new media may affect knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of society.

JOUR 4395: Public Affairs Reporting
Emphasis on skills required for the reporting of news emanating from governmental bodies or politics. This course is offered periodically. Pre-­ requisite: JOUR 2313. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 4396: International Reporting
Prepares students to work as foreign correspondents by helping them understand international production processes. Students profile current American correspondents who work in foreign countries, comparing their work to those of their contemporaries. Students also engage in newsgathering assignments to encourage them to publish on matters of international interest. This course is offered periodically. Prerequisite: JOUR 2313. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 4397: Journalism in Latin America
Journalism in our neighboring region of Latin America is a dynamic enterprise and an essential institution for the democratic process. It has faced strict and direct censorship, weathered military dictatorships, regime changes, re-democratization and, more recently, economic and drug trafficking pressures. This course will take you through a historical, cultural and political journey of Latin American journalism, providing a comparative perspective of the role of news media in fostering a healthy democracy. This course aims to emphasize the importance of press freedom in the region and the role of journalism in the democratic process. It also aims to provide you with the tools to critically analyze the role of the media in the region: with the evolution of struggles and successes.

JOUR 5110, JOUR 5210, JOUR 5310: Directed Study
Independent study under the direction and supervision of a faculty member. In close collaboration with the instructor, the student conducts a rigorous project that goes beyond the experience in course offerings. Written permission from the instructor is required and a completed directed studies form must be filed with the Division of Journalism before the start of the term during which the study is to be undertaken. Pre-­ requisites: Junior standing and permission of instructor. Restricted to journalism majors and minors only.

JOUR 5301-4: Topics in Journalism
Designed to provide a study and discussion setting for an issue or topic of current interest in the journalism profession. The courses will be offered on an irregular basis, depending on the significance and timeliness of the topics to be studied.

JOUR 5305: Topics in Critical Studies
Designed to provide a study and discussion setting for a critical media studies issue. The courses will be offered on an irregular basis depending on the significance and timeliness of the topics to be studied.

JOUR 5306: Topics in Journalism
Practice Designed to provide an introduction to new, cutting edge areas of journalism practice. The courses will be offered on an irregular basis, depending on the significance and timeliness of the topics to be studied.

JOUR 5308: Honors Thesis
Students research and write a thesis examining an aspect of or an issue in the field of journalism. This course is required for all students wanting to graduate with an honors degree in journalism.

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