2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin

Journalism Minor

Description. Asking the right questions-condensing complex information-writing for an audience-these are the core skills of a journalist. The Journalism minor will provide knowledge and experience in these areas, while also introducing students to the emerging tools of the journalistic trade in the 21st century and the media’s vital but complicated role as a public service in a democratic society. The minor will sharpen critical thinking skills, information literacy, and the ability to write for a public stage. It will engage students with the news of the day, expose the inner workings of the media and communications professions, analyze the freedoms and limitations of the American press, allow for hands–on experiences in new media, and provide a space where students create and publish their own journalistic work. For students interested in graduate study in journalism, or in a communications–focused career, the minor provides an ideal educational and vocational foundation. For others, it offers a chance to develop skills and insights that will serve them well across the professional spectrum.

Learning Outcomes. Students will:

  • Develop an understanding of how the media functions in society historically, theoretically and practically.
  • Learn how newspapers and online content delivery systems are structured, and how news value, medium, audience, bias and other factors shape stories.
  • Practice and master the rules specific to journalistic writing, including journalistic attribution, AP style and grammar, the aim for objectivity, nut graphs, leads and copyediting.
  • Hone research methods in a journalism–specific manner by learning to access public records, conduct background research, identify legitimate sources, adopt sound interviewing techniques, work with sources fairly and ethically, and understand the basics of libel law.
  • Work as news gatherers, editors and page designers in order to get a sense of real–world deadlines, production and collaboration, resulting in published student work in the John Jay Sentinel, while also learning the basic skills of creating and editing video, digital audio, slideshows, blogging and other forms of online media.

Rationale. Students of all disciplines can benefit by learning about the power of a free press and by learning the most responsible, effective ways to wield such power. Such education is more-not less-important given the changes buffeting the journalism industry today. As technology democratizes media access and multiplies public voices exponentially, students need the information literacy and critical thinking skills to navigate among the chaos as consumers and cultivate their own public voices as producers.

Credits. 18

Minor coordinators. Professors Devin Harner (dharner@jjay.cuny.edu, 646.557.4604) and Alexa Capeloto (acapeloto@jjay.cuny.edu, 646.557.4546), Department of English

Requirements. A maximum of two courses can overlap with a student’s major, other minor or program.

Part One. Required Courses

ENG 230Journalism in the 21st Century


ENG 233News Reporting and Writing


ENG 334Intermediate News Reporting and Writing


ENG 336Digital Journalism


Total Credit Hours: 15

Part Two. Electives

Option One. General Elective

Select one

LAW 213/COM 213The Impact of the Mass Media on the Administration of Justice


LIT 284Film and Society


SOC 201Urban Sociology: The Study of City Life


SOC 222Crime, Media and Public Opinion


SPE 240Contemporary Media in Everyday Life

Interdisciplinary Studies - There are possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration depending on what is offered semester to semester.

LIT 284: When offered as documentary film.

Option Two. Crime Reporting

Under the advisement of the minor coordinator, students may choose a semester of journalistic work focused on criminal justice in lieu of an elective.

ENG 3ZZCrime Reporting Capstone


On an independent study basis, students read and analyze examples of criminal justice reporting, and produce a piece of long–form criminal justice journalism. Their general topic and schedule must be approved by the program director and English Department chair.

Total Credit Hours: 3

Total Credit Hours: 18