The world of journalism is changing fast. Once-divergent media forms are rapidly coming together in ways that make it essential for 21st-century journalism education to reflect the complexity of actual practice. Graduates must be prepared to function and lead in a new and changing environment. The Division of Journalism prepares students to succeed in this dynamic setting.
Majors will study multimedia journalism, including broadcast, print and online formats. They will learn professional skills that will enable them to adapt swiftly to a changing journalism environment. Content that is useful and interesting will have value regardless of the delivery system or systems of a particular era. For this reason, students also are taught the intellectual and theoretical skills they will need to help them interpret the world around them and understand the role of the media in society. They will graduate as clear, concise thinkers and writers.
The role of the journalist in today’s society has become increasingly complex and important because of a paradox: as the world shrinks amid the communication revolution, the journalist's horizons and responsibilities have vastly expanded. The rapid development of converging media technologies means journalists of the 21st century must know more about the world and also be capable of working in a variety of new media.
At the same time, the next generation of journalists must retain the core ethics and values of the craft. Journalism students will study multi-media journalism, learning the basic skills and conventions of broadcast journalism, print journalism and the emerging skill set needed to practice journalism on the Internet. The major requires 37 credit hours within the division. A total of 80 credit hours must be taken outside the division. At least 65 of these hours must be in the arts and sciences.
The only exceptions for the 65 hours in arts and sciences allowed are for those students with a second major or minor in a field not related to arts and sciences.
Courses may be used to fulfill only one of the student’s divisional requirements (i.e., a student may not fulfill two divisional requirements with one course). Note: All journalism majors must declare and complete a second major or a minor of their choosing. Ideally, any second major or minor would be outside the Meadows communications divisions.
Note: Only JOUR courses passed with a grade of C- or better will count for credit toward the major in journalism.
Internships and Practica
Upon achieving junior and senior status, students are encouraged to take on experiences that enable them to work under the guidance of professionals in the news industry (internships). Many on-campus activities also offer practical experience (practica), and students are strongly urged to take advantage of the opportunities available to them through both the Student Media Company, which publishes a daily newspaper and a yearbook, and the Journalism Division. Practica are taken for one credit hour at a time. Internships may be taken for one, two or three credit hours at a time, depending on the number of hours worked. A total of three credit hours of internships and practica may be counted toward a student’s degree requirements but no more than two internships may be taken for credit. Internships and practica may not be counted toward the required nine credit hours of electives within the division. All internships and practica are taken on a pass/fail basis only and are restricted to journalism majors and minors.
Due to limited class space and enrollment pressures, a student who fails to appear on the first day of class may be administratively dropped from the class at the instructor’s discretion. Furthermore, students must comply with any more specific attendance policies spelled out in course syllabi; creation and enforcement of such policies are entirely at the instructor’s discretion. The division strives to keep class size small enough for individual attention, and large enough to ensure discussion and interaction among students. Very large enrollments will be limited and very small classes may be merged or canceled.
The honors program in journalism is highly selective. At midterm of the sophomore year, and again at midterm of the junior year, declared journalism majors with a GPA of 3.500 or better can apply to the honors program. All interested students, including those who have been previously awarded honors scholarships, need to apply for admission to the program. Those wishing to graduate with distinction in journalism must complete six hours of honors coursework within the Division of Journalism. Where specific honors sections are not offered in the Division of Journalism, students may work with individual professors to develop appropriate honors coursework within regular classes, subject to approval of the honors program director. Three hours must be in honors skills; the remaining three hours must come from either honors topical studies or honors critical studies. In addition, seniors must complete JOUR 5308 as a directed study and produce an honors thesis. For further information, students should contact the honors program director, Division of Journalism, Meadows School of the Arts, 280 Umphrey Lee, Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX 75275. The honor society is separate from the honors program. At midterm of the senior year, the top 10 percent of the graduating class is invited for membership in Kappa Tau Alpha, the Journalism Mass Communication Honor Society.