Undergraduate Bulletin, 1999-2000

Journalism Program


Associate Professor
Carolyn Yalkut, Ph.D.
University of Denver

Robert Miner, M.S.
University of Connecticut

William Rainbolt, M.A.
State University of North Texas

Adjunct Faculty
Jane Alderdice

The Journalism Program is for students interested in becoming journalists as well as for those entering other careers and fields of graduate study.

The Journalism Program's courses and internships prepare students for work in cyber media, magazine and book publishing, government, public relations, and freelance writing, as well as for graduate work in law, literature, history, education and government.

The program introduces students to innovative media technologies, such as computer-assisted reporting, the use of the Internet, and online journalism. Our internship program opportunities give students the chance to work at television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines, publishing houses, government agencies, and public relations firms.

Students may choose to minor in Journalism, but our courses are open to undergraduates in all fields. We offer workshops that concentrate on editing and writing, as well as challenging courses that address the complex issues confronting journalists today-such as law, ethics, and media criticism.

Declaring the Journalism Minor:

Students should declare the minor no later than the first semester of their junior year by applying to the Director of Journalism after completing A Jrl 300Z.


A Jrl 300Z Introduction to Journalism (3)
General Education: WI
A newswriting and reporting course emphasizing working journalism. Regular guest lectures by working journalists and media professionals, and weekly workshops in which students discuss their own work. About 10 news and feature stories are assigned each semester, covering the courts, politics, and the metropolitan scene. Prerequisite(s): enrollment limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors who have taken an English course or a writing intensive course.

A Jrl 308Z (= A Eng 308Z) Journalistic Writing (3)
General Education: WI
A writing workshop in which students write at least six newspaper features or magazine articles on topics they chose, as well as several analyses of published stories by major journalists of the modern age. Students try a variety of journalistic styles beyond straight, objective news. Designed for students in the journalism minor but open to others. Admission is limited, and those seeking to enroll should submit a sample of their work to the Director of Journalism. Intended primarily for juniors and seniors. Only one of A Jrl 308Z and A Eng 308Z may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): permission of the program director. S/U graded.

A Jrl 364 & 365 Journalism: Special Topics (3)
Study of various issues in journalism. May be repeated when content differs. A Jrl 364Z and A Jrl 365Z are the writing intensive versions of A Jrl 364 and A Jrl 365. A Jrl 364 and A Jrl 365 do not meet the writing intensive requirement. Prerequisite(s): intended primarily for juniors and seniors and with permission of the program director.

Topics: Among the topics regularly offered under A Jrl 364 and 365 are the following:

"History of the American Press, 1833-1914" traces the development of the American print medium from the advent of the Penny Press through the influence of the muckrakers. It examines this evolving press in terms of its role in issues of public policy, gender, race and culture, thus providing an insight into the roots of contemporary American journalism.

"Media Law and Ethics" examines the current state of media law and ethics, with some attention also given to the historical roots. Topics include: First Amendment, conflicts between the values of a free press and a fair trial, libel, invasion of privacy, protection of confidential sources and information, freedom of information, copyright, telecommunications, and ethical dilemmas.

"Media Criticism" explores content and context of print journalism. Why do some stories get printed while others do not? Whose voices are heard and who is silenced? How do newsroom decision influence the audience? Do editorial and advertising pages represent the reader differently? Do readers have avenues of recourse? Should they? Close reading and writing assignments.

"News as History and Literature" contrasts the historian's advantage of knowing what happened after the fact with the journalist's advantage of immediate, first-hand knowledge of events. The memorable non-fiction that can result when these advantages coalesce is examined in such areas as war, crime, catastrophe, social afflictions, culture, and politics.

"Images of Journalism in Literature and Film" explores several depictions of American journalism and journalists in a variety of genres, including novels, short stories, nonfiction, and films. Diverse images of journalists are followed from early colonial America to today.

"Public Relations: The Art and Craft of Marketing Newsletters and Speechwriting" explores through case studies and guest speakers the strategies and tactics of public relations, its relationship to journalism, and such ethical and philosophical questions as: Is it journalism? Is it bad journalism? Is it biased, and if so, how?

A Jrl 364Z & 365Z Journalism: Special Topics (3)
General Education: WI
May be repeated when content differs. A Jrl 364Z and 365Z are the writing intensive versions of A Jrl 364 and 365. Prerequisite(s): A Jrl 300Z. Intended primarily for juniors and seniors and with permission of the program director.

Topics: Among the topics regularly offered under A Jrl 364Z and 365Z are the following:

"Magazine Article Writing" is a workshop in which students explore a variety of nonfiction styles and techniques, revise their work after discussing each other's manuscripts, and get a sense of market realities by reading work published in magazines as well as that of established writers.

"Interviewing" examines the interview as both a source for news stories and an end in itself. Students develop interviewing techniques, assuaging hostile subjects and drawing out those awed or fearful in the presence of a tape recorder, in order to write different kinds of interviews, from the Q&A to the profile.

"Writing Reviews, Editorials, and Columns" is a writing course in which students study and write pieces of subjective journalism, such as personal columns, arts reviews, editorials, and others.

"Computer-Assisted Journalism" introduces students to the concepts of computer-assisted reporting (CAR), fast becoming as fundamental a reporting tool as the telephone, and teaches the basic uses of spreadsheets, databases and the Internet for journalism.

"Editing for the News Media" demonstrates that editing is less an exercise in grammar and punctuation and more one in critical thinking. Editing and writing exercises and class discussion will grapple with what makes something news and what is the clearest way to express that to the readers.

"Magazine Editing and Design" is a workshop on textual and conceptual editing of news and features, proofreading, writing headlines and captions, choosing and cropping photos, as well as page layout and overall design. Students edit their own work and each other's. For the final project, students propose and design a new magazine.

"Sports Journalism" provides an overview of the field, with focus on the unique writing and research style of sportswriters. Students learn to write game, advance, follow-up, feature, and human-interest stories and columns for newspapers and magazines, from covering Little League to the Olympics.

"Intermediate Journalism" requires regular in-depth reporting and writing on an advanced level.

"Advanced Journalism" requires newswriting work in several types of reporting normally done by experienced journalists. Assignments include: editorials, columns, news analyses, and specialized stories.

A Jrl 397 Independent Study of Journalism (1-4)
A project in journalistic investigation and writing, or a study of some specific body of journalism sponsored by a faculty member and approved by the director of journalism. May repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): intended primarily for juniors and seniors and with permission of the program director.

A Jrl 400 Internship in Journalism (3-9)
Students work for one semester on a newspaper, magazine, radio or television station, or with government, business, or public affairs publication. Students earn credit by completing an academic component consisting of required group meetings and conferences with the faculty supervisor, as well as a journal, portfolio and a final paper. Internships are open only to qualified juniors and seniors who have an overall grade point average of 2.50 or higher. Prerequisite(s): permission of faculty supervisor.

University at Albany