Program in Journalism

Faculty

  • Director

    • Joe Stephens
  • Executive Committee

    • Matthew Desmond
    • Simon Gikandi
    • Eric S. Gregory
    • Bernard A. Haykel
    • Alan W. Patten
    • Cecilia E. Rouse
    • Tracy K. Smith
    • Joe Stephens
    • Christy N. Wampole
  • Sits with Committee

    • Deborah Amos
    • John McPhee
  • Ferris and McGraw Professors

    • Deborah Amos
    • Kushanava Choudhury
    • Carol Giacomo
    • Jonathan Gertner
    • Susan Hansen
    • William Keller
    • Kimbriell Kelly
    • John McPhee
    • Joe Richman
    • Joe Stephens
    • Errin Whack

     

Program Information

The Program in Journalism provides an interdisciplinary framework of courses through which students will produce rigorous, verified journalism, developing a strong command of the literary, ethical, analytical, and political dimensions of telling a compelling story in order to have a meaningful impact on public policy.

The program takes an integrative approach across disciplines and divisions, understanding journalism as exemplary of the liberal arts: deeply rooted in the arts and humanities but concerned with questions of public policy, national security, technology, computational science, social and political science, and business and economics.

The program highlights journalism’s function as a public service and raises awareness about the critical role of credible journalism in an informed democracy and of accountability reporting in upholding civil institutions.

Students will learn the practice of reporting and verification and the art of crafting compelling non-fiction narratives in a variety of media. They will learn to write clear and dynamic prose and to communicate complex ideas in ways that can help shape the public conversation.

Admission to the Program

The program is open to students of all concentrations. Students may apply for the certificate after having completed one journalism course with a grade of B or above. Students will normally apply during the spring semester of their sophomore year, but no later than the fall semester of their junior year.

Program Requirements

To obtain the certificate, students must complete three requirements: coursework (students must complete at least five courses, with a grade of B or above), an approved fieldwork experience, and participation in a required senior colloquium.

1. At least one gateway course (200-level) selected from the list below:

  • JRN 240/CWR 240 Creative Non-Fiction (LA): This is a course in factual writing and what has become known as literary non-fiction, emphasizing writing assignments and readings of leading work in the genre.  
  • JRN 260 The Media in America (SA): This seminar explores the challenges and opportunities that today’s rapidly evolving media landscape presents to freedom of the press, and to the democracy that the media serve. Discussion focuses on where news comes from and how citizens can best assess the credibility of individual news reports.
  • JRN 280 The Literature of Fact (LA): Students in this course strive to identify and emulate the best writing in a variety of journalistic genres, from news analysis to arts criticism to foreign correspondence.

Gateway courses focus on the ethics of journalism, media literacy, and fact-based reporting, developing a common vocabulary and methodology including interviewing, storytelling, and verification skills. Courses are writing-intensive, as students will be required to "do journalism"--to report, write, workshop, and revise.

2. At least two additional courses with a primary designation of JRN, at the 300- or 400-level:

These courses are taught by distinguished, practicing journalists. Some seats will be reserved for certificate students.

3. At least two journalism-related courses, each of which must be approved by the program director to fulfill this requirement, unless they are courses that are cross-listed with JRN, in which case they will automatically count toward this requirement.

4. Fieldwork Experience:

Students must participate in sustained journalistic activity for a minimum of six weeks—doing work that involves reporting, interviewing, researching, writing, copy editing, web design, photography, videography, etc.—contributing to factual news stories outside the classroom and/or beyond the University. Examples include interning at a major news organization, working for approved student journalism organizations, undertaking an independent reporting and writing project advised by a Princeton journalism instructor, or successfully completing a summer journalism seminar abroad. To fulfill this requirement, fieldwork experiences must be approved by the program director.

5. Senior Colloquium:

Students must produce a piece of journalism based on field reporting or reflecting on the challenges facing modern journalists and, near the end of their senior year, present this work to peers and a jury of current and former Princeton journalism instructors at an interdisciplinary year-end colloquium.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all the requirements of the program will receive a certificate of proficiency in journalism upon graduation.

Courses

JRN 202 Documentary Film and the City (See URB 202)

JRN 240 Creative Non-Fiction (also
CWR 240
) Spring LA

This is a course in factual writing and what has become known as literary non-fiction, emphasizing writing assignments and including several reading assignments. Enrollment is limited to 16 second-year students, by application only. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: J. McPhee

JRN 260 The Media in America (also
GSS 260
) Fall/Spring SA

This seminar will discuss such topics as secrecy, national security and a free press; reputation, privacy and the public's right to know; muckraking and the "establishment" press; spin and manipulation; the rise of blogging; and the economic impact of technological change on the news business. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: E. Whack, J. Stephens

JRN 280 The Literature of Fact (also
URB 280
) Fall/Spring LA

This course offers a chance to think about and practice different kinds of writing. Students will strive to identify and emulate the best--the smartest, the most vivid, the most humane--in a variety of journalistic genres. Specific content and approach vary from year to year, depending on the expertise of the professor. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: Staff

JRN 318 Environmental Conflicts and Indigenous Media (See ENV 318)

JRN 349 Writing about Science (See STC 349)

JRN 375 Crossing the Climate Change Divide (See ENV 375)

JRN 441 The McGraw Seminar in Writing Fall/Spring LA

Each year a different kind of writing is featured, depending on the specialty of the McGraw Professor of Writing. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: W. Keller

JRN 445 Investigative Journalism Fall/Spring SA

This course looks at investigative reporting both as a practice, with its own methods of research, and as a force in society. Specific content and approach vary from year to year, depending on the expertise of the professor. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: J. Stephens

JRN 447 Politics and the Media Not offered this year SA

This seminar is an examination of political journalism and the role of the press in society. Specific content and approach vary from year to year, depending on the expertise of the professor. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: Staff

JRN 448 The Media and Social Issues Not offered this year SA

This course is an examination of the ways in which the media both cover and influence social issues. Specific content and approach vary from year to year, depending on the expertise of the professor. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: Staff

JRN 449 International News Fall SA

This seminar explores the particular challenges of writing about other cultures, as well as the powers and limits of international reporting in shaping American public opinion. Specific content and approach vary from year to year, depending on the expertise of the professor. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: D. Amos

JRN 450 Audio Journalism Fall LA

In this course students will learn to combine precise writing, compelling interviews, sound, scene, and narrative to produce thoughtful, compelling, broadcast-quality news and features. Readings, listening sessions and guest speakers will explore style, ethical issues, and innovative models of audio storytelling in the digital landscape. Specific content and approach vary from year to year, depending on the expertise of the professor. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: J. Richman

JRN 452 Digital Journalism Not offered this year SA

Readers increasingly follow the news on television and the internet. This seminar explores the potential as well as the limitations and dangers of on-screen journalism. Specific content and approach vary from year to year, depending on the expertise of the professor. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: Staff

JRN 456 Local Reporting: Paris as a Case Study LA

Students will learn the basics of local reporting by plunging into Parisian life, from afar and on the ground. They will explore how small intimate places in a city can have larger meaning for an entire society. We will examine what makes certain spaces--a multi-ethnic suburb of Paris, a museum, or a building--more controversial or problematic than others. Students will produce a body of journalistic work based on historical and archival research, interviews, investigation, and field work in Paris during spring break. Instructed by: Staff

JRN 459 Reporting After War: Post-Conflict Nation Building in Bosnia SA

This seminar will examine reporting after war with a focus on post-conflict nation building in Bosnia. After conflict ends, most countries face a challenging period of physical, political, and societal reconstruction; it takes skilled journalists to cover these efforts deeply and intelligently on behalf of local citizens and global policymakers. Using Bosnia as a case study with in-field reporting over fall break, students in this course will explore broad themes of post-conflict reporting while developing journalistic skills to collect engaging material and craft impactful narratives. Instructed by: Staff