School of Journalism


Jonathan Kaufman, MA
Professor and Director

102 Lake Hall
617.373.8773 (fax)

For more information contact:
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.

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 1102. Journalist’s Toolbox. 1 Hour.

Introduces the tools journalists use to tell stories that will be utilized in Journalism 1 and beyond. Covers introductory photo, audio, video, and data visualization skills. Exposes students to other journalistic tools including social media and blogging. Offers students an opportunity to become familiar with composition of photos, recording and editing audio and video on nonlinear software, and how data visualizations can enhance journalistic storytelling.

JRNL 1150. Understanding Today’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 2250. Spotlight: The Story of Journalism and Democracy. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of groundbreaking stories and the journalistic methods used to produce them. Seeks to facilitate broad understanding of why a free press matters in a democratic society. Offers a behind-the-scenes look at examples of great investigative journalism that changed American history and explores the media's capacity to hold the powerful accountable. From Watergate to WikiLeaks and beyond, students critically analyze important news stories that helped reshape society. Reviews major stories, films, and interactive media and studies the methods used to report and produce such stories, including methods used by the Boston Globe Spotlight team and seen in the Oscar-winning movie "Spotlight." Focuses on researching documents as well as interviewing techniques.

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. The History of Journalism: How the News Became the News. 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 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

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

JRNL 2991. Research in Journalism. 1-4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct introductory-level research or creative endeavors under faculty supervision.

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 eight times.

JRNL 3370. Podcast and Radio Journalism. 4 Hours.

Covers the fundamentals of audio journalism in a hands-on environment. Offers students an opportunity to learn how to record and edit audio, write for the ear, interview for broadcast, and experiment with a wide range of radio and podcast formats and narrative techniques. Listening sessions and assignments explore the different requirements of spot news, radio features, reporter debriefs, host interviews, and longer-form audio storytelling, including documentary and serial-style podcasts. Emphasizes journalistic principles and ethical considerations.

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 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. The First Amendment and the Media. 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 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 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 3650. Science Writing. 4 Hours.

Explores the role of journalism in delivering science news and information to a general audience through print and digital media. Through readings and analysis of a variety of news media, offers students an opportunity to learn how political debates intersect with and shape scientific developments and how scientific developments can be sensationalized or misunderstood. Students also have an opportunity to learn and apply best journalistic practices to communicate effectively in the media about science, health, environmental, and technology issues whether headed to a newsroom, corporate press office, or scientific institution.

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 3700. Data Storytelling. 4 Hours.

Explores select topics in data journalism and supports data-driven storytelling projects of various kinds. Course units foster moderate technical learning of applications and software; incorporate theories from relevant fields in data visualization and data science; and emphasize storytelling for broad public audiences. Seeks to foster knowledge of both the classic and cutting-edge forms for telling stories with data. Offers students an opportunity to obtain a sense of rigor in analyzing and using data and statistics and to build knowledge of a variety of tools to clean, analyze, and visualize data. Journalists are becoming more sophisticated in their approaches to quantitative information, drawing on the growing amount of open data sets and using software and techniques borrowed from the social sciences and data science.

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. Ethics and Issues in Journalism. 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 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 5250. Gender in the Newsroom. 4 Hours.

Explores the obstacles women in journalism face and examines how a lack of diversity can damage news organizations’ credibility. Studies the historical underpinnings of journalism’s gender gap and practical strategies to navigate identity politics in a modern newsroom. For decades, women have represented the majority of journalism and mass communication students, but they remain the minority at most U.S. news organizations. This gender gap is, of course, not unique to journalism, but the paucity of women in newsrooms negatively impacts society. When news narratives are constructed primarily by men, those narratives often perpetuate “symbolic annihilation”—a term commonly used by feminist and queer scholars to describe the ways the media overlooks or stereotypes women and other marginalized identities.

JRNL 5309. News Documentary Production. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to research, write, and produce a short news video documentary and acquaint themselves with a range of professional documentary styles through screenings and discussions. Emphasizes analyzing and addressing the ethical challenges facing documentary filmmakers and their interaction with subjects historically and in the new media age.

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 for Storytelling. 4 Hours.

Covers basic principles of print and digital design with lectures, skills training, and a maker’s workshop. Introduces students to the foundations of typography, color, grids, and use of images for storytelling. Students design, prototype, and produce a print magazine and website.

JRNL 5314. Video News Reporting and Producing. 4 Hours.

Engages 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 and produce news stories and upload them to their websites with a variety of software programs for dissemination across video and several multimedia platforms, in line with journalistic and ethical standards.

JRNL 5316. The Newsroom. 4 Hours.

Immerses students in a real-life television newsroom experience. Exposes students to all aspects of TV news production: from news gathering, producing, and being in front of the camera to the behind-the-scenes work of operating multiple cameras, live switching, audio mixing, and studio lighting. Allows students to be an integral part of a newsroom team, working as reporters, anchors, videographers, and editors to gather content and work in the studio to produce a Northeastern newscast covering news on campus and beyond. Involves hands-on reporting and production where the stories are real and so are the deadlines.

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.

JRNL 5400. Media and Advocacy in Theory and Practice. 4 Hours.

Examines time-tested and cutting-edge methods for shaping and presenting messages across multimedia platforms to effectively disseminate an organization’s message, change a public conversation, or shift public opinion. Examines case studies in mainstream media, public advocacy, and strategic communications to explore the motivations and methods of the organizations as well as the tools and techniques used. Examines the practice of digital advocacy by exploring and applying pertinent findings from politics, advertising, and behavioral science that are increasingly employed by professionals looking to “micro-target” voters, “convert” customers, or “nudge” the public. One major component of the course is hands-on workshops through which students are offered an opportunity to learn how to leverage the latest digital tools for communicating across social media and online platforms.

JRNL 5460. POV: The Art and Craft of Opinion Journalism. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to learn how to write a variety of opinion articles in a journalistic context. Articles may include blog posts, op-ed columns, personal essays, reviews, and magazine-style stories that combine reporting with a strong point of view. Students are also offered an opportunity to learn about the ethics of opinion journalism, become familiar with the best practitioners in the field, and use social media to inform and promote their work.

JRNL 5480. Research for Media Strategy. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of the concepts, methods, and tools for social science research with a focus on media strategy. Covers how social science methodologies—including developing skills in gathering, organizing, interpreting, and presenting research information using competent and ethically defensible methods—are critical to in-depth media advocacy research.

JRNL 5500. Coding for Digital Storytelling. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to learn essential skills in coding across a wide range of technologies commonly used today in data-driven, multimodal, web-based storytelling. Focuses on building skills in basic web development, as well as exploring additional topics and technologies that fit into the broader landscape of data storytelling practice (JavaScript visualization library D3.js, basic Python, working with APIs, and working with databases). Course work consists primarily of team-based projects that focus on reverse-engineering real-world examples of data storytelling to demystify the question, “How did they do that?” Reveals the ways fluency in code can transform storytelling.