The Department of Journalism develops young professionals into lifelong self-learners who will be able to detect disruptive technologies on the horizon and courageously adapt by leveraging their experience and learning new skills. The Emerson Journalism curriculum is centered around four principles: Discovery, Adapt, Illuminate, and Respect.

“Discovery” describes the way journalists approach their work with an open mind and clean slate. They are resourceful and inquisitive in their information gathering. Journalists weigh the validity of their sources as they seek to expand the public’s understanding of their world. 

“Adapt” characterizes the need to continuously explore different ideas, approaches, and tools. Journalists need to be self-reflective of their successes and failures to learn from their mistakes. Adaptable journalists create, learn, adjust, and try again.

The principle of “Illumination” defines journalists and separates them from all other types of writers. Journalists expose, uncover, clarify, and contextualize issues, policies, and behaviors. Journalists illuminate when they ask questions that challenge the powerful to respond. They enliven the public conversation by bringing new ideas for consideration, and they broaden the forum by enabling voices that are often not heard.

The principle of “Respect” hopes to rebuild the relationship between journalists and the public. Journalists need the trust of the public to justify their purpose and the outcome of their work. Journalists must treat others respectfully to obtain information and tell accurate stories. Journalists must have self-respect to work honestly and faithfully serve the public interest. Gaining respect involves keeping promises, respecting confidentiality, and protecting privacy while in pursuit of the public interest. Respectful journalists act independently, portraying the truth as they see it.

The four principles are defined through the program’s Learning Objectives.

Students will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of the ways of government and communities to produce journalism that uses public information and diverse community and government sources to examine culture and concerns.
  2. Cultivate and utilize a diversity of people, information, and perspectives to provide insight into the journalism about communities and institutions.
  3. Incorporate best practices and values of the profession to produce journalism that is independent, truthful, representative, accountable, and respectful of people as subjects and as audience.
  4. Apply a variety of media to reporting and producing journalism that best serves the story and the audience. Write accurate and precise news stories synthesizing information using the most effective formats, style, and language.

The Emerson Journalism curriculum is designed to challenge emerging professionals with assignments that progressively increase in complexity. Emerson journalists are encouraged to connect what they have learned in other parts of the College to their journalism classwork and pursue story topics that interest them.

Degree Requirements for Bachelor of Science in Journalism

Journalism Essentials

Students pursuing a major in Journalism must complete 44 credits in the major, including at least three courses at the 300 or 400 level. Students pursuing this degree are required to have a Creativity Kit to ensure the strongest pathways for success in the department’s learner-centered curriculum.

Number Course Credits
JR 101 Discovering Journalism 4
JR 102 Foundations of Journalism 4
JR 103 The Digital Journalist 4

Daily Journalism 

All Journalism majors must complete 4 credits in the Daily Journalism level of courses that emphasizes an innovation workflow by creating short news stories, learning from mistakes and rapidly turning in another assignment to improve on one’s abilities. Students will follow a topic or neighborhood from a community other than their own. 

Number Course Credits
JR 202 Beat Reporting 4
JR 216 Advanced Audio-Video Journalism 4
JR 217 Public Affairs Reporting 4
JR 219 Topics in Daily Journalism 4
JT 221 Photojournalism 4

Analytical Journalism

In the Analytical Journalism course level, students will complete 4 credits by examining the journalist’s role in preserving the rights of citizens in a democratic society.

Number Course Credits
JR 250 Law for Journalists 4
JR 251 Ethics for Journalists 4
JR 260 Topics in Critical Issues in Journalism 4

Conceptual/Examination Journalism

The Conceptual/Examination level of courses asks students to read or view great works of journalism, recognize common characteristics and critique their own work based on the criteria they have discovered by analyzing professional journalism. These courses are designed to inspire students to reach excellence and feel that quality journalism is attainable.

Number Course Credits
JR 300 History of the Alternative Press 4
JR 301 Cultural Criticism 4
JR 302 Covering Immigration 4
JR 303 Reporting Issues of Diversity 4
JR 310 Topics in Great Works of Journalism 4

Advanced Reporting Skills

The Advanced Reporting Skills tier requires every student to have a public affairs reporting experience. Students will also gather data or documentary evidence, analyze and synthesize a story based on what they have found.

Number Course Credits
JR 320 Environmental Journalism 4
JR 321 Entertainment Journalism 4
JR 322 TV News Reporting 4
JR 323 News Editing & Design 4
JR 324 Data Visualization 4
JR 325 Sports Reporting 4
JR 330 Topics in Advanced Reporting 4

Profiles/In-Depth Journalism

The Profiles/In-depth Journalism level of courses will have students write a long narrative profile about a person, institution or company, based on research from multiple sources. Students will be asked to analyze the information that has been gathered to reach an understanding of their subject’s motivation and decision-making.

Number Course Credits
JR 370 Interactive News 4
JR 371 Feature Writing 4
JR 372 Reporting & Writing Complex Stories 4
JR 373 ENG/TV News Reporting 4
JR 374 Narratice Journalism 4
JR 380 Topics in Profiles/In-depth Journalism 4

Enterprise Journalism

The Enterprise Journalism tier of courses is designed to prepare students to accomplish their capstone portfolio. Students will enterprise a story topic to illuminate a new perspective of a topic. They will gather information and write a narrative story over a semester, using emerging techniques.

Number Course Credits
JR 470 Online Publishing 4
JR 471 Deep Reporting 4
JR 472 TV News Magazine & Documentary 4
JR 480 Topics in Enterprise Journalism 4


The capstone course requires Emerson Journalists to refine what they have learned and create a portfolio of professional work that can be shown to a prospective employer.

Number Course Credits
JR 491 Broadcast Journalism Capstone 4
JR 493 Backpack Journalism Capstone 4
JR 495 Multimedia Journalism Capstone 4

An additional 4 credits Journalism courses are required for the major. Only 4 credits of internship may be counted toward the major requirements.

Journalism Diversity Requirement

Students select 4 credits from the following; this requirement may be satisfied along with another Journalism requirement above:

Number Course Credits
JR 300 History of the Alternative Press 4
JR 302 Covering Immigration 4
JR 303 Reporting Issues of Diversity 4
JR 470 Online Publishing 4