Students recording guest lecture with iPhones

Broadening the traditional curriculum, Miami's Journalism major has evolved as an interdisciplinary program that includes the fields of Media & Communication, Interactive Media Studies and Political Science. In addition to courses teaching fundamental reporting, writing, and editing skills, the program's integrated media focus blends the art of communication with the science of digital technology to prepare Miami students for an increasingly diverse, yet converged environment for the practice of journalism.

The Journalism major requires a double major, but virtually all students finish in four years. Our 200 current students are double-majoring in 15 different areas. Political science and English are the most popular double majors, but others include psychology, business, history, theater and even zoology.

Our faculty—many of whom have won national journalism awards—ground students in basic and advanced reporting, interviewing, storytelling and editing skills. That ably prepares them for careers in daily news (print and web), broadcast news, non-fiction writing and documentary film.

About half our majors want to become professional journalists, and half just want to be better writers and communicators.


What are the features of the Journalism major?

Interdisciplinary approach

The program's interdepartmental framework brings together insights and applications from various disciplines while providing access to resources across several departments.

Double major

The program offers time to pursue interests in other areas by requiring a second major in a non-media-related field.

Small classes

Writing and editing classes are small—typically limited fewer than 25 students—to facilitate an effective learning environment.

Writing Scholars

The Writing Scholars in the Department of Media, Journalism & Film — part of the campus-wide University Academic Scholars program — comprise a small community of Miami students who share a devotion to the written word and an ambition to write for the media. They are invited to join the program on the basis of their record in high school, their entrance exams and their choice of writing-related majors. They take writing-intensive first-year courses as a group; meet with professional writers visiting the campus; and enjoy priority access to MJF writing courses. Many develop their writing skills through strong associations with Miami's student publications. (The English Department has a second cadre of Writing Scholars whose interests lie in fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction.)

Practical experience

Students can gain practical experience at both on- and off-campus news organizations. On campus choices include The Miami Student, RedHawk Radio, MQ and UP magazines, Miami Television News and more. Off campus, students regularly service as interns at The Columbus Dispatch, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati magazine, The Dayton Daily News and TV stations and websites in Ohio and beyond.

What courses would I take?

During your first year of study, you'll begin taking the College of Arts & Science requirements, such as literature classes and foreign language courses, as well as the journalism pre-major requirements and Global Miami Plan courses. In your sophomore year, you'll begin taking courses in the journalism major along with courses related to your second major. In your junior and senior years, you'll concentrate on upper-level journalism courses, continue coursework in your second major, and participate in internships.

What can I do with this major?

Journalism graduates seek careers in many areas. Our students are well-prepared, not only for any job requiring writing, editing, or publication design. Graduates may become magazine editors, newspaper or TV reporters, freelance writers, or copywriters. Typically, about 10 percent pursue graduate degrees in fields such as journalism, creative writing, literature, technical writing, history, or law.

Who can I contact for more information?

Rosemary Pennington, JRN Area Coordinator
149 Williams Hall
Oxford, OH 45056


Major in Journalism (36-40 Credits)

The Journalism Program eliminated its pre-major requirements in spring 2012. Students who wish to earn a bachelor's degree in Journalism declare this major during their freshman or subsequent years, and also must declare and complete a second major. The program offers personal advising to help each student complete the two majors in four or fewer years.

In addition to completing a second major, Journalism students take an array of Miami Plan foundation courses, including COM 143 Introduction to Mass Communication and JRN 101 Introduction to Journalism. Majors must complete eight required courses—which range from JRN 201 News Reporting/Writing I to JRN 412 Public Affairs Reporting—as well as a Capstone. Majors also must take two of seven analytical courses designated by the Journalism Program, and two of six approved creative courses.

We strongly encourage all majors to complete internships.

Course Descriptions

Journalism 101: Introduction to Journalism (3 credit hours). This Miami Plan course introduces issues facing news media in a democratic society. These include ethics, law, and press performance in the context of news criticism and journalism history. Students explore several journalistic modes and a variety of careers in journalism. They learn critical news consumption and several basic writing styles.

Journalism 201: News Reporting and Writing I (3). Introduces basic news gathering, interviewing and writing techniques for print and web. Field Trip to WCPO-TVThe emphasis is on learning and practicing interviewing skills, journalistic research techniques, article organization, storytelling techniques, and reporting for visual and multimedia elements, as well as media ethics and libel.

Journalism 202: News Writing and Reporting II (3). Introduces students to the broadcast reporting and writing process, and helps them understand how and why broadcast differs from other media formats. The writing-intensive course also introduces radio and television production techniques. Prerequisite: JRN 201.

Journalism 280: Introduction to Literary Journalism (3). Acquaints students with the genre of literary journalism – first as readers, then as writers. The genre – known also as creative nonfiction and narrative nonfiction – includes such works as John Hersey’s “Hiroshima,” Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” These works combine the painstaking research and observations of the reporter and historian (even the anthropologist and sociologist) with the narrative techniques of the novelist. It is journalism in its most sophisticated and artful form.

Journalism 301: Journalism Law and Ethics (3). Focuses on statutory and common law limitations on freedom of the press in America, and the legislative and judicial rationales for them. It considers ethical theories and their application to situations that journalists commonly encounter. Cross-listed with COM 301.

Journalism 303: Online Journalism (3). Students edit videoFocuses on the theory and practice of online journalism. Topics include the current forms and social impact of online news, and the creative potential of the internet as a news medium. Students develop online multimedia news projects. Prerequisite: JRN 201. Cross-listed with IMS 303.

Journalism 314: Digital Video Reporting (3). Advanced-level coursework emphasizing digital video writing, reporting and editing. Students will learn to produce video news stories across broadcast television and mobile platforms. Prerequisite: COM 211 and JRN 202, major status, or permission of instructor.

Journalism 316: Editing and Design (3). Introduces students to the concepts and practices involved in presenting news, with emphasis on journalistic storytelling through combining words and images. Topics include editing, design and visual storytelling. Prerequisite: JRN 201.

Journalism 318: Advanced Storytelling in Journalism (3). The art and craft of telling in-depth stories that inform, engage, compel and entertain. These techniques involve reporting and writing alike, and they can be put to use in magazines, newspapers, books, websites, documentary film and multimedia formats. Prerequisite: JRN 201.

Journalism 333: International Journalism (3). Focuses on the role of journalists and the press in other countries, as well as the practice of being an American reporter working abroad. Prerequisite: JRN 201.

Journalism 340: Journalism Internship (1-3). Internships can be arranged at an array of print, broadcast and web news media, both locally and nationally, during the semester or over winter or summer breaks. Contact Journalism Internship Coordinator Patricia Gallagher Newberry.

Journalism 350: Specialized Journalism (3). Specialized reporting seminars are offered on a rotating basis. They include Sports Journalism, Newsroom Leadership, Political Reporting, Reporting on Business, Reporting on the Environment and Science, and Reporting on Arts and Culture. JRN 350W is offered through Miami’s Florence, Italy, summer program for students of all majors to report on European culture and travel.

Journalism 412: Public Affairs Reporting (3). This course focuses on reporting news generated in public forums, including city councils, school boards and courts. Students cover breaking events (meetings, trials, etc.), then go beyond the vote/verdict to develop enterprise stories on underlying civic issues that affect people’s lives. Prerequisite: JRN 202.

Journalism 415: Practicum in Television Journalism (4). Practicum experience in which students write, report and produce a television newscast aired on Oxford's cable television system. Participate in and evaluate all aspects of television news gathering and reporting process. Cross-listed with COM 415. Prerequisite: COM 211, COM 245, and either JRN 314 or applied journalism experience.

Journalism 418: Critical Writing in Journalism (3). Theory and practice in reviewing books, stage productions, motion pictures and concerts for mass media. Prerequisite: JRN 201.

Journalism 421: Capstone in Journalism (3). A senior-level seminar with topics that vary each year and focus on specific depth aspects of journalism, such as investigative reporting, law, ethics, history or literary nonfiction. Prerequisite: JRN 202 and senior standing.