Welcome to the Journalism Minor! Our program prepares students for working in print and online media. Students learn a variety of rhetorical strategies to report news accurately and quickly, conduct interviews, gather information and cultivate sources, act ethically, think critically, and write clearly.
Why Minor in Journalism?
Make a difference.
There's no doubt that the traditional newspaper industry is in decline, and that jobs calling for bona fide journalism skills have grown scarcer in recent years. But the world still needs good journalists, maybe now more than ever. We need them to tell, and find, the important stories that—in a world of context-free, entertainment-driven "journalism"—just aren't being reported.
Supplement your major.
If you want to make a difference in the world of journalism, we believe you should declare our minor. But you should also major in a liberal arts subject such as Literature, Writing, Economics, History, or Political Science that will give you a body of knowledge to write about. We'll train you how to write for the media, but we also want you to learn something about the world while you're at it.
Think like a reporter.
The Journalism Minor will help you learn to think like a reporter: it'll train you to be open-minded enough to hear multiple points of view and to represent those viewpoints objectively in a news story; it'll also help you hold corporate and political powers-that-be accountable for their actions.
Seek the truth.
The professors who direct the Journalism Minor are committed to the idea that reporters (even citizen journalists) should follow industry standards of truth, verification, and the development of reliable sources, and that they should be held to the highest standards of ethics and excellence in writing.
Answer a higher calling.
Journalism is a higher calling. It's about doing the service of citizenship. There may or may not be a career in it for you, and we can't guarantee that journalism will bring you wealth or fame. But what we can offer you is the satisfaction and fulfillment that you'll gain from learning to be a watchdog of the public interest.
The mission of Journalism Minor is to maximize the intellectual, personal, and social capabilities of our students so that they can contribute to the preservation and advancement of our democratic society.
Students in the Journalism Minor will learn to:
- Develop an understanding of the journalistic writing style
- Become familiar with current events and their social, historical, and political contexts
- Develop a critical media literacy and be able to evaluate sources of information in the pursuit of truth
- Write clearly and effectively in multiple genres
- Practice technologies for writing, video, audio, and photographic production
- Work in a collaborative setting
- Produce media to a deadline
- Think critically, creatively and independently
Like most minors at WCU, the Journalism Minor requires students to take six courses, or 18 credits, in order to complete the program. Three core courses—JRN 200, JRN 212, and JRN 411—are required; the remaining three courses are journalism electives. Please see below for the complete list of required and elective courses. View our updated Journalism Minor Advising Sheet .
The English Department offers at least four to five Journalism Minor courses each semester, but students should check the online Schedule of Classes to learn about course availability for a given term. Also, all Journalism Minor students should choose their electives in consultation with the Minor Coordinator. Finally, please note that students in the minor may also take COM 212 but, if they do so, they must add a second JRN elective in order to complete the program.
JRN 200: Communications Media
An introduction to the media of communications, emphasizing the development and characteristics of print and electronic media and their impact on American society. Note: Students may substitute COM 212 for JRN 200, but if they do so, they must take a second JRN elective.
JRN 212: Digital Journalism
This is a multimedia course which introduces students to various social media platforms and offers them an opportunity to publish blogs, commentaries, reviews, profiles and other features on the Web. Students will also create Web pages use online resources to gather, write and edit information, use digital cameras to shoot photos/videos and edit them using digital editing software. Typically offered in Spring.
JRN 411: Journalism PracticumProvides practical experience in writing news stories, columns, and features for print and online media. Students are strongly encouraged to submit their stories to The Quad, the student weekly newspaper of West Chester University, or some other weekly, daily, or online newspaper or publication. Publication of stories submitted to The Quad or to professional editors will be at the discretion of those editors, depending on the quality of the work and availability of space in the newspaper or on the website.
JRN 225: News Writing
A course designed to develop proficiency in the writing of news stories for daily and weekly newspapers. News values, the structure and style of news, and the preparation of copy in accordance with professional standards will be stressed. Writing Emphasis course.
JRN 226: Public Affairs Reporting
Instruction and practice in covering public affairs events in the local community, including borough council meetings, municipal hearings, and campus speeches. PREREQ: JRN225 or equivalent.
JRN 272: Feature Writing
Practical instruction in the skills for successful feature writing for print and electronic media, with an emphasis on techniques used in personality profiles, critical reviews, column writing, and op-ed pieces.
JRN 312: Sports Reporting and Writing
Instruction and practice in basic sports reporting techniques, including live-event coverage and feature writing, as well as an introduction to routine duties associated with working on the sports desk. PREREQ: JRN 225 or equivalent.
JRN 325: History of Journalism
A historical survey of the American press from Colonial times to the present, with special emphasis on the continuing struggle for press freedom and the new journalistic environment created by the emergence of mass media.
JRN 335: Ethical Issues in Mass Media
This course investigates ethical issues in the mass media and shows how newspapers and television, in particular, shape American perceptions of political and economic power and help establish public standards of morality. Special emphasis will be placed on journalistic issues such as freedom of expression, invasion of privacy, censorship, the protection of sources, stereotyping, libel law, objective vs. subjective points of view, and the debate over professional codes of ethics. PREREQ: JRN 225 or equivalent.
COM 202: Writing for Broadcast and Public RelationsStudents are required to analyze, evaluate, and produce scripts for a variety of mass media formats. The course will focus on writing for radio and TV and will also emphasize public relations writing within those media. The primary course objective is to develop effective writing, critical analysis, and communication skills. COM 202 is designed to help you improve your research and writing skills for each of these media and is geared toward students with a genuine interest in a media career. Typically offered in Fall.
COM 311: Communication Professions in SportsCourse focuses on the communications businesses related to sports in America, including marketing, public relations, journalism, emerging media, etc. Includes sections on media history, communication ethics, race relations, and gender issues in sports media. Guest speakers from major media and local professional teams provide insight into communications-related professions in sports.
COM 317: Advanced Video ProductionThis course explores advanced television production processes. Topics covered include proposal and budget writing, visualization and storyboarding, composing and staging shots and the advanced use of editing tools in pre-production, production, and post-production.
Pre / Co requisites: COM 317 requires prerequisites of COM 217, COM 219 , COM 224 and SPK 208.
Typically offered in Spring.
Main Hall 542
News and UpdatesThe Journalist's Creed
The Journalist's Creed
The Journalist's Creed was written by the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, Walter Williams (1864-1935). One century later, his declaration remains one of the clearest statements of the principles, values, and standards of journalists throughout the world. Read the Journalist's Creed.
Declare the Minor
Interested in declaring the Journalism Minor? Visit the WCU Registrar's Registration page for instructions on how to submit an Academic Plan Change Request in myWCU.