Jun 23, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Journalism, BA

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The digital revolution has changed the way we gather, produce and disseminate news, but journalists are more in demand than ever. People always want to know what’s going on and need responsible, ethical, accurate journalists to tell them. Our journalism program provides hands-on, multimedia experience in reporting, writing, editing, producing and publishing in state-of-the-art newsrooms and on mobile devices. The curriculum is structured around a core of courses, introducing students to new technologies as they progress through increasingly more complex and topical courses. The core courses aim to prepare students for advanced work in one of the major’s five concentrations: Broadcast Journalism: Radio; Broadcast Journalism: Television; Magazine; News and Features; and Sports.

Practicing and studying journalism enhances critical thinking: figuring out what the story is and how to get it quickly, accurately and fairly. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to place news in a context that helps readers, listeners, and viewers make sense of the world. Good writing is paramount. Students are taught how to find, report and tell engaging stories that stand out in today’s complex world using social media, audio, video and still photography on smart phones and DSLR cameras.

Students produce the highly-respected Columbia Chronicle, named best college weekly in the nation by the Society of Professional Journalists. Every spring, students in the Magazine Program team up with students in Design to create Echo magazine, which regularly wins top awards in student magazine contests, along with its website. Broadcast Journalism students, in collaboration with the Television Department, produce Newsbeat, a live TV newscast, and Metro Minutes, a TV news magazine. Broadcast TV students have won highly competitive recognition from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Emmy Awards. Students can write and produce news for college radio station WCRX 88.1 FM, and host their own talk and music shows. We stress portfolio-building, so students can show internship providers their professional and high-quality work they produce with mentoring by faculty who are actively engaged in the fields they teach. With outside grant support, professors founded ChicagoTalks and AustinTalks, online publications that cover the neighborhoods of the nation’s third-largest city, increasing multi-platform publishing opportunities for our students. 

As a result of successfully completing program requirements, students should be able to:    

  • write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the media professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  • gather and report information thoroughly and accurately using a wide range of sources;
  • design and present audio, images, video and other stories using current tools and technologies;
  • create and produce work that can be shared publicly in various media;
  • demonstrate and apply an understanding of professional journalistic ethical principles in pursuit of truth, independence, accuracy, fairness and diversity; and
  • understand and apply the principles and laws of copyright, freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the United States


Broadcast Journalism: Radio

Broadcast Journalism is an interdisciplinary program taught in cooperation with the Television and Communication departments. Students will have the opportunity to learn to report, write and produce radio news, features, and in-depth stories. Radio news students get hands-on training at Columbia’s radio station, WCRX 88.1 FM. Students intern at major media outlets, including Chicago affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS and NPR.

Broadcast Journalism: Television

Broadcast Journalism is an interdisciplinary program taught in cooperation with the Television and Communication departments. Students will have the opportunity to learn to report, write and produce television news, features, and in-depth stories. Student-produced television news programs, such as Metro Minutes, a news magazine focusing on arts and entertainment, and Newsbeat, a live TV newscast (news, weather, sports and features), are program highlights. Students intern at major media outlets, including Chicago affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, Fox, and Telemundo.


The Magazine concentration prepares students for freelance and staff positions at consumer and business-to-business magazines. Students take courses in multi-platform magazine writing and editing and have the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency by working with students in Design and Photography to create Echo magazine, Columbia College’s national award-winning student publication, which is distributed throughout Chicago and contributes to students’ portfolios. Students also are encouraged to work as interns during their junior and senior years, in Chicago and elsewhere.

News and Features

The News and Features concentration focuses on storytelling across media platforms, from deadline news to in-depth analysis, all against the backdrop of Chicago’s diverse communities. Students learn to tighten their writing skills, and also get the opportunity to take advanced specialized courses in a number of areas, including covering the courts, business writing, investigative journalism and reporting on the city from a global perspective. Multimedia skills, such as shooting and editing video and audio are infused throughout the curriculum from core courses to electives. Through the College Newspaper Workshop, students have the opportunity to write for the award-winning Columbia Chronicle, the College’s weekly student newspaper, and its companion website. Many students also write for the ChicagoTalks and AustinTalks websites, and several of them have been winners and finalists in professional journalism award competitions.

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