Academics

journalism 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 descriptions.

Bachelor of Arts—Journalism

All students seeking the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism must complete I, II, and III below, and the foreign language/global issues requirement for the major#. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h.

  1. University General Education Curriculum: 43 s.h.
  2. Core Courses: 15 s.h.
    BC&J 100; JOUR 231, 232, 415, 417
  3. Other Requirements
    1. One Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course chosen from among: BC&J 330†, 344†, or 346†: 3 s.h.
    2. Journalism Electives: 18 s.h.
      In choosing Journalism Electives, students are encouraged to select courses that will allow them to develop expertise in one of the three available areas: advertising, news/editorial, or public relations. Included must be 6 s.h. of Journalism Electives at the 400 level.
    3. Any Minor: 16–20 s.h.
    4. Open Electives: 21–25 s.h.

# The foreign language/global issues graduation requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following: 1) a designated foreign language requirement [see Foreign Language/Global Issues Requirement]; 2) a General Education global issues course; 3) Broadcasting and Journalism (BC&J) global issues course; or 4) an approved Study Abroad program.
† BC&J 330 or BC&J 344 or BC&J 346 fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID graduation requirement.

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