School of Journalism


Jonathan Kaufman, MA
Professor and Director

102 Lake Hall
617.373.8773 (fax)
Susan Conover, Academic Coordinator,

The School of Journalism seeks to prepare students for careers in news and related communication fields. The program prepares future journalists and professional communicators in writing, editing, digital and social media, photography, video and audio production, design, and public relations. These skills have broad applications. Graduates of the program also go on to work in government, business, law, and teaching.

Students may enroll in a four- or five-year cooperative education program or a four-year program without co-op. The school strongly advises students to obtain cooperative education experience. The program offers some of the best co-ops and internships anywhere.

Graduates work for some of the world’s best newspapers and magazines, radio and television stations, online publications, wire services, public relations departments, and advertising agencies.

Academic Progression Standards

Journalism majors and minors must be in good standing in accordance with university-wide requirements to remain in the major or minor.

Preapproved Template Program in Journalism

The School of Journalism offers a preapproved template program that may be paired with another preapproved template program to create a combined major; to see a list of current preapproved template programs, visit the combined majors webpage.

Students may request admission to such a combined major via the Combined Major Approval form, which requires approval by both disciplines/colleges together with an approved curriculum. For additional information on preapproved template programs, see “Student-Requested Combined Major.” For template program requirements, visit the myNEU web portal, click on the “Self-Service” tab, then on “My Degree Audit.”

Journalism Courses

JRNL 1000. Journalism at Northeastern. 1 Hour.

Intended for first-year students in the College of Arts, Media and Design. Introduces students to liberal arts; familiarizes them with their major; develops the academic skills necessary to succeed (analytical ability and critical thinking); provides grounding in the culture and values of the University community; and helps to develop interpersonal skills—in short, familiarizes students with all skills needed to become a successful university student.

JRNL 1101. Journalism 1: Fundamentals of Reporting. 4 Hours.

Covers foundations of news writing for print media, including leads, story structure, objective tone, and attribution. Introduces fundamental reporting skills such as interviewing, researching, and observation. It then asks students, in their reporting, to step back and analyze the institutions they are writing about and the media itself in order to understand how societies and its institutions function and the validity of theories that explain these processes.

JRNL 1150. Interpreting the Day’s News. 4 Hours.

Examines the media institutions that shape the news and how the challenges of economics, politics, diversity, and globalization change the function of the website, newspaper, news magazine, and news broadcasts. Examines stories and news decisions from different perspectives to evaluate national, political, local, foreign, sports, and science news in the U.S. media. Topics include responsibilities of the press and the changing ways news is gathered, processed, and disseminated. Explores how other societies in different parts of the world view the news; freedom of the press; and the role of reporters, producers, and editors.

JRNL 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 2201. Journalism 2: Intermediate Reporting. 4 Hours.

Continues JRNL 1101. This is the second writing course for undergraduate journalism students with an emphasis on learning how to report news stories. Offers students the opportunity to find sources and interview them, do background research, and use public records. Developing story ideas using computer-assisted reporting will be covered. Examines how to develop a story idea and then focus and organize it. Covers basic principles of online journalism including writing, design, and integration of visuals and text for the Web. Introduces elements of design and layout.

JRNL 2285. America and the Holocaust. 4 Hours.

Examines the American response to the Holocaust, in terms of both contemporaneous knowledge and actions and the lasting impact on policy and culture. Starts with early twentieth-century events, such as the Armenian genocide, that shaped later attitudes. Explores the prewar period, particularly U.S. immigration and isolationist policies. Assesses Americans’ knowledge of European events as the extermination campaign unfolded and fights ensued over rescue possibilities. Examines changing depictions of the Holocaust that emerged in the postwar period as a result of critical events such as the Eichmann trial and popular television and film portrayals. Finally, considers how perceptions of the Holocaust have shaped subsequent U.S. responses to genocide. HIST 2285, JRNL 2285, and JWSS 2285 are cross-listed.

JRNL 2301. Visual Storytelling in Journalism. 4 Hours.

Continues JRNL 2201. Covers basic principles of journalistic storytelling with video, sound, and still images. Introduces students to the foundations of writing with audio and video, and explores the concept of “convergence,” preparing stories for presentation in different formats. Fulfills the Advanced Writing in the Disciplines requirement for journalism majors.

JRNL 2350. History of Journalism. 4 Hours.

Traces the development of American journalism from its European and English beginnings. Topics include the colonial press, the great personal journalists of the nineteenth century, and the impact of major technological changes in mass communications media in the twentieth century.

JRNL 2410. Radio News Gathering and Reporting. 4 Hours.

Covers writing and editing news for radio, with practice in interviewing, organizing news scripts, and integrating audio materials into broadcast.

JRNL 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 3300. Covering Conflicts: Peace, War, and the Media. 4 Hours.

Examines the media’s portrayal of conflicts and the peace process in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Rwanda, and elsewhere. Evaluates the limits of fairness, balance, and accuracy in the coverage. Looks at the U.S. and international media—print, broadcast, and online—and some of the major stories in recent years and attempts to put these stories in historical, political, and social context. Analyzes the wide-ranging criticism of coverage from a variety of perspectives. INTL 3300 and JRNL 3300 are cross-listed.

JRNL 3305. Special Topics. 4 Hours.

Offers specialized topics in journalism for the twenty-first century. Topic matter changes each semester. May be repeated up to four times.

JRNL 3425. Public Relations Principles. 4 Hours.

Presents the principles, history, and methods of public relations; processes of influencing public opinion; responsibilities of the public relations practitioner; and analyses of public relations programs. Through case studies and class discussions, offers students an opportunity to confront real-life ethical dilemmas and learn to apply ethical frameworks to evaluate and resolve them. COMM 3445 and JRNL 3425 are cross-listed.

JRNL 3430. Local Reporting. 4 Hours.

Discusses coverage of town/city government, with emphasis on the “beat” approach to reporting public affairs. Focuses on practical, in-the-field experience with town meetings, meetings of boards of selectmen, and other governmental agencies.

JRNL 3435. Techniques of Journalism. 4 Hours.

Provides practice in writing in-depth and multiple-source stories requiring significant research. Provides an introduction to investigative reporting, practice in feature writing, and a review of legal issues.

JRNL 3440. Editing. 4 Hours.

Provides practice in copyediting, headline writing, and origination editing. Presents assignments in photo selection, cropping, and cutline writing. Introduces page layout and discusses the principles of online editing.

JRNL 3455. Sports Writing. 4 Hours.

Provides practice in journalistic coverage of amateur and professional athletics. Focuses on the role of sports writing in the news media and examines such topics as game coverage, feature profiles, and opinion columns.

JRNL 3550. Law of the Press. 4 Hours.

Examines legal problems of libel, invasion of privacy, and access to government information; discusses the balance between private rights and the public’s “need to know.”.

JRNL 3610. Digital Storytelling and Social Media. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of digital journalism. Emphasizes hands-on instruction in multimedia skills. Topics may include blogging, photography, video and audio production, use of social media as a reporting tool, and mapping and data visualization. Guest speakers and a consideration of the future of news may also be part of the course. Requires students to produce a final project that consists of storytelling across a range of platforms—for example, a written article, a photo story, and a video.

JRNL 3615. Advanced Digital Storytelling. 4 Hours.

Continues JRNL 3610. Journalists now have access to more storytelling tools—blogs, smartphones, high-quality DSLRs, Facebook—than at any other time in our industry’s history. Offers students an opportunity to learn advanced techniques in using video and audio production, social media, and crowdsourcing to create compelling, professional-grade multimedia stories. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

JRNL 3625. Public Relations Practice. 4 Hours.

Demonstrates practices and techniques employed in the field including organization of events and functions. Studies campaign planning, research, and media relationships. COMM 3625 and JRNL 3625 are cross-listed.

JRNL 3627. Critical Thinking about Public Relations Strategies. 4 Hours.

Designed to bring together upper-level students from multiple disciplines who are interested in taking a microscopic view of how issues are purposefully driven by professionals interested in promoting causes, political candidates, public policy, and corporate image. Examines how corporations and others make decisions and which theories of institutional behavior best explain those choices. Are companies motivated solely by economics as Marx would argue, or do they approach their image in a more functional way? Are the messages of politicians determined by race and class, or do they respond to a different framework? Requires students to follow current issues and dissect significant past campaigns. Knowledge of public relations tactics is helpful but not necessary. COMM 3627 and JRNL 3627 are cross-listed.

JRNL 3630. Magazine Writing. 4 Hours.

Covers writing and freelancing magazine articles; analyzing magazines as markets; and selecting the best feature format—how-to-do-it, profile, personal experience, human interest, interpretive pieces, and others. Requires a firm grasp of journalistic concepts, including advanced reporting and writing skills; a prior journalistic co-op or internship or experience writing for a school, online, or professional publication is preferred.

JRNL 3680. Advanced Reporting. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to learn and apply advanced reporting techniques of the kind that editors and producers expect of their best reporters, especially those who cover demanding beats such as politics, government, healthcare, education, science, and business. Studies how to see and apply data and data visualization techniques, to develop and interview sources, to locate and decipher public records, to identify and conceptualize important stories, and to discuss and apply ethical theories to reporting to justify choices that may inflame or antagonize sources or readers. An assignment to do substantial enterprise stories for publication in major media outlets is part of the course.

JRNL 3945. Internship. 1-4 Hours.

Comprises academic credit for internship work in journalism. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 4650. Journalism Ethics and Issues. 4 Hours.

Discusses the responsibilities of news media and ethical problems confronting decision makers in various journalistic fields and the principles found in codes of various professional societies. Requires students to write a paper on an ethical problem they faced while working in the media and place it in a framework of at least two ethical theories, for example, utilitarianism and deontology.

JRNL 4970. Junior/Senior Honors Project 1. 4 Hours.

Focuses on in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Combined with Junior/Senior Project 2 or college-defined equivalent for 8-credit honors project. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 4971. Junior/Senior Honors Project 2. 4 Hours.

Focuses on second semester of in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.

JRNL 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 5214. The Online Newsroom Experience. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to report and write for publication, take photos, and edit news copy for the e-Bulletin, the online news site for the New England Newspaper and Press Association. The e-Bulletin, now a news Web site after a transition from a printed newspaper, reports news for journalists at about 800 newspapers in New England and their online operations. It is also a multimedia site, offering all the news-delivery methods of the modern newsroom—video, audio, still photos, and text. This course seeks to prepare students for co-op jobs and provide networking opportunities with New England journalists. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 5306. Beat Reporting. 4 Hours.

Covers advanced reporting in specific topic areas. Topics change from semester to semester. May be repeated without limit.

JRNL 5307. Video Newswriting. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the fundamentals of journalistic writing with video, audio, narration, and graphics. Emphasizes writing and producing in various television news formats.

JRNL 5309. Documentary Production. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to research, write, and produce a short video documentary and acquaint themselves with a range of professional documentary styles through screenings and discussions. Analyzes and addresses the ethical challenges facing documentary filmmakers and their interaction with subjects historically and in the new media age. Requires experience shooting video and editing on nonlinear editing software such as Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere, or Avid.

JRNL 5310. Photojournalism. 4 Hours.

Covers camera procedures along with cropping, assignment techniques, theory, and photo-caption methods. Engages students in the ethical choices photojournalists face in covering wars, disasters, and vulnerable people in societies—both historically and in the new media environment.

JRNL 5311. Design and Graphics. 4 Hours.

Introduces graphic design terminology and principles using software packages and leading desktop and web publishing programs. Covers how to plan a publication based on audience and budget. Design assignments include newspapers, magazines, brochures, advertisements, and corporate identity programs. Strict attention is paid to deadlines and quality of the printed publication.

JRNL 5314. Video News Production 1. 4 Hours.

Offers students hands-on opportunities to produce news stories for dissemination across video and several multimedia platforms. Seeks to engage students in the ethical challenges facing journalists historically and in the new media age. Students experiment with techniques used by TV and electronic news producers, including reporting, writing, videotaping, and editing on nonlinear digital editing equipment. Offers students an opportunity to create news stories and upload them to their websites with a variety of software programs, in line with journalistic and ethical standards.

JRNL 5315. Video News Production 2. 4 Hours.

Continues JRNL 5314. Offers advanced study of video news gathering including shooting, interviewing, writing, editing, and field producing.

JRNL 5360. Global Reporting. 4 Hours.

Discusses coverage of global issues and international public affairs and the function of the media in a global context. Topics include how news is gathered, processed, and disseminated by the various media abroad and how the media reflect culture, religion, and politics around the world. Focuses on practical, in-the-field experience with global governmental, business, and societal leaders. This course is part of the Dialogue of Civilizations program abroad. Graduate awards do not apply toward this program. International students wishing to register need to speak to the International Student and Scholar Institute prior to registration. May be repeated without limit.