Academics

journalism student typing football game notesjournalism student taking photosjournalism student conducting an interviewjournalism students looking over page layouts

Journalism

Program Details

Program of Study

The Department of Broadcasting and Journalism offers a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. People are storytellers. Narratives are the main ways we explore, understand, and explain our time and world to each other. Journalism helps students learn to gather information and relate material with clarity and brevity across multiple platforms. Content is key. The Journalism major requires core courses in basic newswriting and reporting, media law, and research methods. Students complete their Journalism coursework by choosing an emphasis such as news/editorial, public relations, or advertising. Some examples of content in each area include the following:

  • News/editorial – newswriting, sportswriting, editing, reviewing, photojournalism, etc. Students can cover city council meetings and presentations by visiting speakers, interview athletes and artists, and take part in press conferences with government officials and other public figures.
  • Public relations – PR principles, campaign strategies, etc. PR students make plans for businesses, nonprofits, and other clients.
  • Advertising – copy and layout, media planning, etc. Writing copy, planning various media, and creating visuals complement interaction with commercial interests.

In addition to being an excellent major, Journalism also makes a great minor when coupled with an assortment of major fields: broadcasting, political science, business, graphic communication, or health, to name a few. Journalism adds value to students’ talents by strengthening communication skills. Journalism graduates become lawyers, entrepreneurs, grant writers, and creative designers as well as reporters, editors, and photographers.

Journalism's essentials include the ability to focus on what's important, the skill to write clearly, concisely and entertainingly as well as the background to bring broad knowledge to the events of the day. The WIU Journalism Program covers these bases with a liberal arts framework taught by faculty who are experienced journalism professionals and scholars.

It is suggested that aspiring journalists in high school write all kinds of material—and read even more. At community colleges, they are encouraged to use media of all kinds and to try a variety of courses. Transfer credits may be accepted; for transfer policies and procedures, contact the Admissions office at (309) 298-3157.

Faculty

Journalism faculty members bring decades of real-world experience at daily newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio stations, an advertising agency, and TV stations, among other work. Several remain active in writing and researching, producing journalism, scholarly articles, books, and conference presentations.

Student Activities

Recognized student organizations for Journalism majors and minors include chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the American Advertising Federation (WAF: the Western Advertising Federation), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and the Society of Professional Journalists (Western SPJ). Learn more at wiu.edu/osa.

Special Opportunities

Students are encouraged to contribute to the student-run newspaper, the Western Courier, which publishes three times per week, or to take advantage of opportunities with University Relations or other campus media. In the classroom, Journalism has a student-faculty ratio that encourages close working relationships between teachers and students, a computer lab, electronic classrooms, and internship opportunities. Our students have gained valuable experience, references, and industry contacts at sites ranging from newspapers in Topeka, Pekin, and Burlington to magazines in the Quad Cities and Peoria, to Ebony magazine and WLS-AM in Chicago.

Careers

Journalism graduates are not confined to print media, of course. Although WIU’s Journalism graduates work in daily and weekly newspapers in a variety of markets, they also have careers in public relations offices of corporations, the offices of public officials and political figures, advertising agencies, nonprofits and advocacy groups, and magazines. Others pursue graduate study in journalism, liberal arts fields, business, law, or education. As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman says, "Imagination is the single most important characteristic; the liberal arts is the best fountain for imagination."

Possible Careers
  • Account executive
  • Ad copywriter
  • Analyst
  • Announcer for TV/Radio
  • Broadcaster
  • Consultant
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Correspondent
  • Creative director
  • Critic/commentator
  • Desktop publisher
  • Editorial assistant
  • Environmental researcher/writer
  • Fantasy sports journalist
  • Freelance writer
  • Information services
  • Interpreter
  • Legislative aide
  • Legal assistant
  • Lobbyist
  • Manuscript reader
  • Media planner
  • Online editor
  • Photojournalist
  • Proofreader
  • Public Administrator
  • Publishing assistant
  • Public information staffer
  • Public relations specialist
  • Sales representative
  • Sportswriter
  • Teacher
  • Technical writer
  • Web producer
journalist interviewing US Representative Darin LaHood

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

Journalism (JOUR) Courses

100 News/Media Literacy. (3) Survey of the news and examination of ways that content and form affect people’s judgments, beliefs, and attitudes about news and entertainment and views of public policies, violence, consumerism, sex, class, gender, race, age, appearance, sexual orientation, and culture. Open to all students.

121 Introduction to Mass Communications. (3) How the mass media are organized and how they function in modern society; their technological basis, economic and political foundations, and social implications. Open to all students. IAI: MC 911.

231 Reporting for the Mass Media I. (3) Laboratory in news gathering, news writing, and news judgment. IAI: MC 919.

232 Reporting for Mass Media II. (3) Practice in news writing and reporting with emphasis on accuracy, gracefulness, and succinctness. Practice in leadselection and news judgment. Prerequisites: JOUR 231 or consent of instructor.

305 Reviewing and Criticism. (3) Practice in reviewing books, plays, films, concerts, radio-television programs, and exhibits. Prerequisites: JOUR 121, 231, and 232, or consent of instructor.

306 Editorials. (3) Practice in writing editorials and columns with an emphasis on calling for action, taking a position, analyzing events, and supporting assertions with research. Prerequisites: JOUR 121, 231, and 232, or consent of instructor.

328 Editing. (3) Functions, responsibilities, and techniques of news editing; evaluation and processing of news; practice in copy editing, headline writing, picture editing, and page makeup and rewrite. Prerequisites: JOUR 121, 231, and 232, or consent of instructor.

332 Sports Writing. (3) Development of reporting skills needed to cover traditional and new sports; development of critical thinking to clarify rules, regulations, and problems in sports. Prerequisites: JOUR 121, 231, and 232; or consent of instructor.

333 Specialized Press. (3) Makeup, illustration, copy preparation, advertising, and editorial policies of newsletters and other organizational publications. Prerequisites: JOUR 121, 231, and 232, or consent of instructor.

334 Public Affairs and Beat Reporting. (3) Practice in reporting various news beats, including government, business, environment, religion, education, health, seniors, transportation, agriculture, and science/technology. Prerequisites: JOUR 121, 231, and 232, or consent of instructor.

400 Topics in Journalism. (3, repeatable for different topics) Discussion, research, and creation of content about special topics related to gathering, packaging, and presenting nonfiction material to an audience in various media, and how audiences receive and respond to the communication. Prerequisites: JOUR 121, 231, 232.

414 Ethics in Journalism. (3) Explore ethical problems of media industries (including news, public relations, and advertising) and methods of resolution, including study of moral theories and application of case study techniques. Prerequisite: JOUR 121 or consent of instructor.

415 Mass Communications Research Methods. (3) Introduction to questionnaire construction, sampling, research design, and statistical methods used in mass communications research including those in advertising and public relations. Open to non-majors. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.

417 Law of Mass Communications. (3) Study of legal rights of and constraints on mass media; prior restraint, publicity control, source protection, libel, privacy invasion, and other relevant legal issues. Open to nonmajors. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.

425 Directed Study. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Opportunity for promising students of Journalism to pursue Journalism and mass communications material in depth. By arrangement. See department chair or Journalism coordinator. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.

428 The Press and Popular Culture. (3) Study of how the press and journalism have been viewed in popular culture, and of how changes in social climate and in journalists’ activities over the past century have affected these views. Open to non-majors. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.

440 Digital Media Skills for Journalists and Public Relations Practitioners. (3) The course will enhance digital media skills such as social media tools, multiplatform storytelling, and data visualization so students know how to generate and deliver news stories to web-based audiences. Prerequisite: JOUR 232 or consent of instructor.

Contact

Department of Broadcasting and Journalism

Chairperson: Dr. William Hoon
Office: Sallee Hall 306
Telephone: (309) 298-2888
E-mail: WG-Hoon@wiu.edu
Website: wiu.edu/bcj

Department of Broadcasting and Journalism Faculty & Staff

College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC)

Dean: William (Billy) Clow
Associate Dean: Sharon Evans
Office: Browne Hall 115
Telephone: (309) 298-1618
Fax: (309) 298-2695
E-mail: COFAC@wiu.edu
Website: wiu.edu/cofac

students outside Sallee Hall