College of Communication and Information Sciences Next      Previous      Contents      Search      UA

DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM (JN)

Office: 490 Phifer Hall

The Department of Journalism offers a curriculum that mixes academics with practice to ensure that students are well schooled in writing and editing and in analyzing the issues, conventions, and practices of modern journalism. The departmental requirements give journalism majors both guidance and flexibility in their selection of courses.

The department's emphasis on writing, reporting, and the practice of journalism—as well as the attention given to the liberal arts—makes those who complete the journalism program qualified for many types of jobs and professions.

Newspaper reporting and editing. The newspaper industry has been the traditional field of choice for the journalism major, but certainly not the only one (see below). Newspapers offer some of the best opportunities for journalism majors who are still in school and want the professional experience of internships, or who have just graduated and are seeking their first jobs. Journalism majors are aggressively sought after by newspapers for reporting, copy editing, graphics, and layout and design positions. Most newspapers are also developing new products, such as weekend magazines or website editions, and they need people trained in all aspects of reporting, writing, editing, and design.

Magazine writing and editing. The growth of magazines in the last 30 years has been of major importance in the field of mass communication. More than 10,000 magazines are published in the United States today. There are general circulation publications, along with magazines that cover almost every specialized subject in which Americans have an interest. They employ managing editors, manuscript editors, department editors, production managers, art designers, and other staff members. While few have full-time writers, many staff members are given the opportunity to write, and nearly all magazines solicit work from freelance writers. It is conservatively estimated that American magazines publish 100,000 articles each month.

Graphics journalism. Presenting information through graphic means has become a major part of the news and information business. The appearance of USA Today in 1982, the development of the Macintosh computer, and the Internet explosion of the 1990s have had profound effects on the way journalists and consumers think about information. News organizations need people who understand the rules, conventions, and customs of graphic presentation and who also know how to report and write news.

Photojournalism. All photographs are not necessarily worth a thousand words, but high-quality photographs—those that capture the essence of the moment—are used by newspapers, magazines, and organizational publications around the world. Photojournalism is a fast-paced, on-the-spot approach to gathering the news because the critical moment of action, once lost to the camera, can never be recalled. International news services, daily newspapers, and many pictorial magazines hire staff photojournalists whose primary assignments are gathering the news with a camera. Also, many media and business organizations now prefer writers who also have photographic skills, enabling more efficient and cost-effective operations.

New media journalism. Traditional mass media, including newspapers and magazines, have taken the lead in publishing on the Internet. Journalism graduates have an advantage over experienced journalists in getting jobs in this sector because technology has played a major role throughout their education. Good writers and editors with a strong commitment to accuracy and fairness and a flair for graphics and design are much in demand and will be more so as more publications, institutions, and businesses go online.

Newsletter editing or publishing. One of the fastest growing areas of journalism is the specialty newsletter. These publications exist in business, politics, sports, leisure, recreation, hobbies—in other words, in almost every area of interest. Producing a newsletter takes a combination of reporting, editing, design, and marketing skills, making the journalism major someone who is highly valued by people in this field.

Corporate communications. Many journalism majors find jobs in corporate communications as writers, editors, and advisors to management. Corporations need people skilled in writing, photography, and design to produce newsletters, press releases, letters, brochures, graphics, annual reports, and many other types of material.

Graduate studies, law school, and business. The journalism major provides students with excellent preparation for a variety of careers outside of the journalism field. Solid grounding in the social sciences and humanities—along with specialized journalistic training in writing, gathering information, critical thinking, and public affairs—can open many doors. Students also find that the journalism curriculum provides solid preparation for graduate studies in a number of fields, including law school and other professional studies.

Requirements for Journalism Majors—Upper Division

A journalism major must complete 120 hours for graduation. The following are the University Core Curriculum courses that journalism majors must take:

I. Written composition: Two courses in freshman composition (FC) or the equivalent
 
II. Humanities (HU) and fine arts (FA)English literature (6 hours)
fine arts (3 hours)
humanities or fine arts (3 hours)
 
III. Natural sciences (N) and
    mathematics(MA): natural sciences (8 hours)
mathematics (3 hours)
 
IV. History (HI) and social and
    behavioral sciences (SB):U.S. history sequence (6 hours)
SB courses (6 hours)
 
V. Preprofessional, major, and
    elective courses: foreign language (6 to 8 hours)
MC 101 Introduction to Mass Communication
JN 100 Introduction to Journalism

ADDITIONAL UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA CORE REQUIREMENTS

Writing (W): 6 hours

1Or EN 103, if eligible.
2 Courses in the major, minor, and special requirement with a W designation may be used to fulfill this requirement.

A print journalism major must select either the general sequence or the visual sequence and complete 30 hours within the journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations, and telecommunication and film departments as outlined in the sample schedule.

A visual journalism major must select either the general sequence or the visual sequence and complete 33 hours within the journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations, and telecommunication and film departments as outlined in the sample schedule.

General Journalism Track

Visual Journalism Track

A journalism major must complete 18 hours of 300- and 400-levelcourses outside the journalism, mass communication, advertising and public relations, and telecommunication and film departments as outlined below. The major is required to have up to 27 semester hours in a single minor or 22 hours maximum in each of two minors, or hours as required in a second major. The course of study for the minor(s) or second major requires approval by the Department of Journalism.

Minors and electives. Popular minors and upper-level special requirements are found in history, political science, psychology, English, American studies, women's studies, anthropology, art history, classics, human development and family studies, criminal justice, sociology, philosophy, religion, economics, consumer sciences, and theatre.

Grades. To receive credit toward graduation, a student must receive a "C-" or higher for all courses required in the major and for the required English literature courses, the required U.S. history sequence.

Major status. Students should declare their majors as soon as possible by applying in the Department of Journalism office, 490 Phifer Hall.

Advising assistance. Students may make appointments with their academic advisors at any time during the semester for help in understanding requirements and planning curricula.

Professional mentoring. Editors, reporters, photographers, and other representatives from leading weekly and daily newspapers around Alabama have spoken to classes and to student groups as have editors and reporters from national publications such as the New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Southern Living, and other regional and national magazines and newspapers.

Professional experience. Students should seek a variety of media work experience, exploring opportunities at the campus newspaper, the Web, the yearbook, the lifestyle magazine, literary magazines, departmental and alumni newsletters, and radio and cable television, and in University public relations and sports information offices.

Students are encouraged to seek summer jobs with professional media organizations following the freshman and sophomore years. An internship sometime before the senior year makes students marketable when they graduate. The College placement office, 297 Phifer Hall, assists students with finding internships and jobs.

Minors in journalism. Journalism minors are available to students who wish to study journalism in conjunction with other major areas of coursework. To receive a minor in journalism, a student must take JN 100, JN 311, JN 312, JN 499, MC 101, MC 401, and three additional hours of journalism courses.

Visual journalism. Students with an interest in photography, graphics, Internet, and layout and design have the option of specializing in visual journalism as part of their major.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM FOR THE MAJOR IN JOURNALISM

GENERAL JOURNALISM TRACK
FRESHMAN YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
EN 1013
MC 1013
(SB) course3
Fine arts (FA)3
Math3
___
15
Second Semester
CoursesHours
(HU or FA) course3
EN 1023
Foreign language (FL or C)3–4
JN 1003
Natural science (N)4
___
16–17
 
SOPHOMORE YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
HY 2033
JN 3113
English literature3
Foreign language (FL or C)3
Natural science (N)4
___
16
Second Semester
CoursesHours
HY 2043
JN 3153
English literature3
JN 3123
Minor3
___
15
 
JUNIOR YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
JN 317, JN 320, JN 325, or JN 4143
(SB) course3
Minor3
Special requirement6
___
15
Second Semester
CoursesHours
JN 411, JN 412, or JN 4263
Minor3
Minor3
Special requirement6
___
15
 
SENIOR YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
MC 4013
APR, JN, MC, or TCF elective3
Minor3
Minor3
Special requirement3
___
15
Second Semester
CoursesHours
JN 4993
Elective3
Minor3
Special requirement3
___
12

VISUAL JOURNALISM TRACK
FRESHMAN YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
EN 1013
MC 1013
(SB) course3
Fine arts (FA)3
Math3
___
15
Second Semester
CoursesHours
(HU or FA) course3
EN 1023
Foreign language (FL or C)3–4
JN 1003
Natural science (N)4
___
16–17
 
SOPHOMORE YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
HY 2033
JN 3113
English literature3
Foreign language (FL or C)3–4
Natural science (N)4
___
16–17
Second Semester
CoursesHours
HY 2043
JN 2613
English literature3
JN 3123
Minor3
___
15
 
JUNIOR YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
JN 3153
(SB) course3
Minor3
Special requirement6
___
15
Second Semester
CoursesHours
JN 320 or JN 3253
Minor3
Special requirement6
___
12
 
SENIOR YEAR
First Semester
CoursesHours
JN 361 or JN 4263
MC 4013
Minor3
Minor3
Special requirement3
___
15
Second Semester
CoursesHours
JN 461 or JN 4903
JN 4993
Minor6
Special requirement3
___
15

College of Communication and Information Sciences Next      Previous      Contents      Search      UA