Program in Journalism
- Joe Stephens
- Matthew Desmond, Sociology
- Simon E. Gikandi, English, ex officio
- Bernard A. Haykel, Near Eastern Studies
- Amaney A. Jamal, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs, ex officio
- Alan W. Patten, Politics, ex officio
- Esther H. Schor, English, ex officio
- Joe Stephens, Council of the Humanities
- Christy N. Wampole, French & Italian
Sits with Committee
- Deborah Amos
- John A. McPhee
Ferris and McGraw Professor
- Deborah Amos
- Michael Calderone
- John A. McPhee
- Terence W. Samuel
- Joe Stephens
- Helen L. Thorpe
The Program in Journalism provides an interdisciplinary framework of courses through which students 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 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 learn the practice of reporting and verification and the art of crafting compelling non-fiction narratives in a variety of media. They 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 normally apply during the spring semester of their sophomore year, but no later than the fall semester of their junior year.
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 overseas 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 are required to "do journalism"—to report, write, workshop, and revise.
2. At least two additional JRN courses at the 300- or 400-level (including cross-lists in which JRN is listed first):
These courses are taught by distinguished, practicing journalists. Some seats will be reserved for certificate students.
3. At least two journalism-related courses with a grade of B or above (no PDF). Each of these courses must be approved by the program director to fulfill this requirement, unless they are cross-lists in which JRN is not listed first (as these will count automatically).
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 an original piece of fact-based journalism based on field reporting or exploring 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.