Journalism

Program Offerings

Offering type
Minor

The minor 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 conversation.

The program takes an integrative approach across disciplines and divisions, understanding journalism as an exemplar of the liberal arts: deeply rooted in the humanities but concerned with public policy, national security, data analysis, technology, 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 reliable 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 nonfiction narratives in a variety of media. They learn to write clear and dynamic prose and to communicate complex ideas.

The program enriches and expands on students’ work in their major in a number of ways. Their new reporting skills and familiarity with the ethics of journalism empower them to write papers clearly, persuasively and responsibly, potentially bringing their research to a wide audience. Conversely, the knowledge gained in their major field coursework provides future journalists and nonfiction authors with compelling raw material from which to craft stories, books, podcasts and interactive media. Taught by working journalists with a wide range of expertise, our courses illuminate the value of a broad but integrated plan of study. Our goal is to produce graduates able to articulate and pursue the highest values, aspirations and best practices associated with excellent journalism, and to bring these into wider circulation both nationally and globally.

Goals for Student Learning

Minors in journalism will encounter a rigorous framework of courses through which they acquire critical thinking skills empowering them to identify, analyze, synthesize and convey to others significant issues and innovations.

The learning goals of the minor program include:

• Media Literacy

To promote media literacy and familiarity with journalistic ethics for students as both consumers and producers of journalism. To impart critical thinking skills that will empower students to identify crucial, untold stories and write distinguished, rigorous, verified journalism (e.g., “The Media in America”; “Investigative Reporting”).

Writing and the Art of Storytelling

To teach students to write clear and dynamic prose, to communicate complex ideas and to craft compelling nonfiction narratives in a variety of media, old and new, with the aim of shaping public conversations (e.g., “The Literature of Fact”; “Creative Nonfiction”; “The McGraw Seminar in Writing”).

Public Service and Global Citizenship

To promote the values inherent in the University’s unofficial motto, “In the nation’s service and in the service of humanity”; to teach the importance of accountability reporting and the critical role of verified journalism in an informed democracy; to discuss the particular cultural and ethical challenges that face international correspondents. To help students become more informed and globally minded citizens, voters and participants in public life (e.g., “The Media and Social Issues”; “Politics and the Media”; “International News”).

Digital Entrepreneurship

To empower students to use and design digital tools for producing and verifying news accounts, and to craft new, financially viable business models for journalism to inform the public about current affairs and democratic institutions (e.g., “Digital Journalism”; “Audio Journalism”).

Admission to the Program

The program is open to students of all majors. Students may apply for the minor 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.

Program of Study

Students complete three requirements: coursework (students must complete at least five courses, with a grade of B or above), an approved experience of journalism practice, and participation in a required senior colloquium. Courses used to satisfy the journalism minor requirements also may be used to fulfill other majors and minors.

Coursework must comprise:

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

JRN 240/CWR 240 Creative Nonfiction (LA): This is a workshop in factual writing and what has become known as literary nonfiction, 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 art criticism to international 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 perform journalism — to report, write, record, workshop and revise.

     2. At least two additional JRN courses at the 300- or 400-level (including cross-lists in which JRN is the first cross-list): These courses are taught by distinguished, practicing journalists. Some seats will be reserved for journalism minors.

     3. At least two journalism-related courses with a grade of B or above (no pass/D/fail). Each of these courses must be approved by the program director to fulfill this requirement, unless they are cross-listed with JRN (as these will count automatically).

     4. Journalism Practice (either fieldwork experience or an independent writing project): Students must participate in sustained journalistic activity for a minimum of six weeks, whether working within an approved news organization or writing an independent creative nonfiction project. The practice should involve reporting, interviewing, researching and writing and may also involve copyediting, web design, photography, videography, data analysis, etc. Examples include interning at a major news organization, working for an approved student journalism organization, undertaking an independent reporting and writing project advised by a Princeton faculty member, or successfully completing an intensive summer journalism seminar abroad. To fulfill this requirement, students must obtain approval for their proposed journalistic practice from 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.

Students may only integrate their journalism practice writing (fieldwork or independent project), or their senior colloquium presentation, with independent work in their major with the express prior approval of both their director of undergraduate studies and the director of the Program in Journalism.

Students in the Class of 2025 will be the first to be eligible to earn a minor. The Class of 2024 will earn certificates.

Faculty

  • Director

    • Joe Stephens
  • Executive Committee

    • Allison Carruth, Effron Center Study of America
    • Matthew Desmond, Sociology
    • Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Sociology
    • Bernard A. Haykel, Near Eastern Studies
    • Tera W. Hunter, History
    • Alison E. Isenberg, History
    • Yiyun Li, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Stephen J. Macedo, Politics
    • Nolan McCarty, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Simon A. Morrison, Music
    • Arvind Narayanan, Computer Science
    • Laurence Ralph, Anthropology
    • Gideon A. Rosen, Philosophy
    • Esther H. Schor, English, ex officio
    • Joe Stephens, Council of the Humanities
    • Janet A. Vertesi, Sociology
    • Christy N. Wampole, French & Italian
    • Autumn M. Womack, African American Studies
  • Sits with Committee

    • Deborah Amos
    • Dimitri H. Gondicas
    • John A. McPhee
  • Ferris and McGraw Professor

    • Deborah Amos
    • Joe Stephens

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Courses

JRN 240 - Creative Nonfiction (also CWR 240) Spring LA

This is a workshop in factual writing and what has become known as literary non-fiction, emphasizing writing assignments and including several reading assignments. Students will examine masterpieces about social inequality and to what extent it is possible for authors to know the struggles of their subjects, and to create empathy for them. One three-hour seminar. A. Elliott

JRN 260 - The Media in America 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. J. Stephens

JRN 280 - The Literature of Fact Fall 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. J. Prager

JRN 327 - Mass Media, Social Media, and American Politics (also POL 327) Spring SA

JRN 349 - Writing about Science (also ENV 349/STC 349) Fall SEN

JRN 415 - Topics in Literature and Ethics (also AFS 415/COM 446/ENG 415) Fall CDEM

JRN 441 - The McGraw Seminar in Writing (also GSS 442) Not offered this year LA

Each year a different kind of writing is featured, depending on the specialty of the McGraw Professor of Writing. One three-hour seminar. Staff

JRN 445 - Investigative Journalism Fall 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. J. Stephens

JRN 447 - Politics and the Media Fall 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. K. Richburg

JRN 448 - The Media and Social Issues 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. 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. D. Amos

JRN 450 - Audio Journalism Spring 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. Staff

JRN 452 - Digital Journalism Spring 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. Staff