Courses in Journalism

A JRL 100 Foundations of Journalism (3)
Introduction to contemporary journalism as a major institution in American democracy. This course will help students become more informed about media and introduce them to the major issues in journalism. Topics range from media history and the economic structure of the industry to broad questions about the impact of media on individuals and society in a fast-changing technological society. Also addressed will be ethical and legal issues related to media practices in news media. A student must earn a grade of C or better in this course in order to take A JRL 200Z.

A JRL 200Z Introduction to Reporting and News Writing (3)
In this introductory workshop, students develop the skills of practicing reporters and news writers. They acquire the news judgment that allows them to identify what should be reported and written about, and they learn the fundamental forms of journalistic writing. Students familiarize themselves with journalistic sources and evaluate their reliability. They practice editing and revision and learn to use The Associated Press Stylebook.

A JRL 201Z Reporting and News Writing II (3)
This course will continue to build on the best practices of introductory news reporting and writing that students will have learned in A JRL 200Z.  The 201Z course will move students into the "next level" of news reporting by focusing on beat reporting; advanced assignments such as covering budgets, public hearings, covering community issues; and researching public records.  At the end of this course, students will be expected to demonstrate strong competence in news judgment, reporting, writing simple and advanced news stories, editing, and meeting deadlines; and will have a basic understanding of critical thinking for journalists, as well as familiarity with common issues in media ethics and, to a lesser extent, media law. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 200Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 225 Media Law and Ethics (3)
It is often said that "law and ethics have the same center point, but law has a smaller circumference." The center point focus on what is "right" to do in varying circumstances.  This is especially true for journalists, whose practices in gathering, reporting, writing, and publishing news in many different forms and media often involve overlapping dilemmas of ethical questions and legal ramifications.  This course will introduce students to the foundations of media law and ethics, explaining historical and contemporary theories and practices, and applying close analysis through actual cases and hypothetical situations.  It will pay special attention to some of the most common dilemmas for journalists - libel, for example, or free press/fair trial conflicts, or confidentiality, or going "undercover" to investigate wrongdoing, or publishing what could be offensive content, as a few examples.

A JRL 230 Media and War in U.S. History (3)
This course explores the roles, functions, and responsibilities of the mass media in times of war from a historical perspective. It focuses primarily on the news media and may also give some attention to entertainment media. Questions raised include: what impact have reporters' struggle for access and the government's struggle for control of information had on reporting methods and ultimately, on the news product? What has been the relationship between media representations of war and public attitudes toward war? And, how may have popular media constructed/influenced the way Americans remember and memorialize war? Relevant periods may include the Revolutionary and Civil Wars; World Wars I and II; and Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq Wars.

T JRL 230Z The Mass Media and War in U.S. History (3)
T JRL 230Z is the Honors College version of A JRL 230Z; only one version may be taken for credit.

A JRL 308Z (= A ENG 308Z) Narrative Journalism (3)
Students will explore a variety of journalistic styles, with emphasis on compelling narrative and description, combined with the skillful use of quotes and dialogue. The class features intensive critiques of students' work. A variety of formats will be studied: newspapers, magazines, non-fiction books, and online publications. Readings for the course include works by Janet Malcolm, Barbara Ehrenreich, Ellen Ullman, Mary Karr, Edward Abbey, Edmund Wilson, Michael Herr, and James Baldwin. Students submit weekly writing assignments and a final portfolio of edited work. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 330 History of Journalism in the United States (3)
This course examines the development of journalism in the United States, emphasizing the role of the press as a social institution. Subjects covered include the function and purpose of the press, evolving definitions of news, changing interpretations of the First Amendment, and the ethical and legal dimensions of free speech. Also examined will be the social, economic, political, technological, and cultural forces that have shaped the practices of journalism today.

A JRL 340 Global Perspectives on the News (3)
This course provides a global perspective on news production and the distribution of media around the world. After studying the political and legal constraints under which international media operate, including the operating procedures of American journalists working as foreign correspondents, the course will explore topics including censorship, information warfare, Internet piracy, the blogsphere, and conflicts between national interests and the media technologies that are unconstrained by national borders. Readings include works by Marshall McLuhan, Umberto Eco, Benjamin Barber, Susan George, and others.

A JRL 355 Public Relations Writing (3)
Students are introduced to the history of Public Relations tracing its modern development in the 20th century and current rise to political prominence. Topics to be discussed include branding, logos, packaging, and other corporate practices. Students will review the legal and ethical rules of governing PR. Only after exploring how the goals of PR may be antithetical to those of journalism, will students be asked to produce a variety of writing samples, including advocacy journalism, press releases, speeches, position papers, web content, and other forms of PR. Some of this work, simulating crisis management, will be produced on deadline. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 363 Visual Culture (3)
The course explores the increasing predominance of visual media in contemporary life. It examines how traditional narrative forms of storytelling are being replaced by visual forms of storytelling in journalism, photojournalism, film, television, the internet, video games, anime, graphic novels, and advertising. Particular emphasis will be paid to the global flow of visual culture and the technologies that facilitate these cultural exchanges. Readings range from Marshall McLuhan and Laura Mulvey to contemporary writers on visual culture. May not be taken by students with credit for A JRL/T JRL 220.

A JRL 366/366Z Magazine Writing (3)
This course gives students experience in conceptualizing, researching, writing, rewriting, and submitting for publication different types of articles that are found in magazines, webzines, and the features section of newspapers. Ethical issues and writer-editor relationships are also examined. Students write several articles of varying length and complete other assignments, such as writing query letters and analyzing magazine content. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 380 Photojournalism (3)
Students develop the critical skills for evaluating and the technical skills for producing, editing, and publishing digital photographs in a variety of formats, including traditional newspapers, satellite transmissions from the field, and Internet websites. While developing their aesthetic and technical skills, students will critique each other’s photos in a workshop format.

A JRL 385/385Y Broadcast Journalism (3)
Students will report, write, produce, air, and record a variety of television and radio news stories with a degree of professionalism resembling what might be found in local newscasts, whether they be short reports or longer, feature-length stories. Working individually or in groups, students will use analog and digital video technologies and recording devices to produce their stories. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 390 Digital Media Workshop I: Web Publishing (3)
This workshop teaches the editing and design skills required to produce literary websites, webcasts, blogs, and other forms of online digital journalism. The class is taught as a hands-on workshop in a digital classroom. Students, working on individual and team projects, will produce digital media using a variety of tools, ranging from Photoshop and Flash to Dreamweaver and HTML. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 392 Digital Media Workshop II: Desk-Top Publishing (3)
This course develops the skills required for writing, editing, designing, and publishing on the web, primarily webzines, and Internet news sites. This hands-on workshop is taught in a digital media lab. Working individually and in teams, students will produce and publish three major media projects. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 410 Images of Journalism in Film (3)
This course explores the depiction of American journalism and journalists in a variety of fictional films and selected works of prose. Students study the history of filmed representations of journalists; they also study the images that journalists have presented of themselves and their profession. The course does not involve journalistic report and writing, but it does require close analysis of films, attentive reading, participation in class discussions, and a willingness to explore.

A JRL 420 Media in the Digital Age (3)
An examination of media and society in the digital age. The course explores the nature of media, their social role, and means of production.  It surveys new technologies and their effect on effect on print, film, broadcast, web, and other media. Topics include recent developments in communications technology, news, social media, intellectual property, censorship, surveillance, and gender differences.

A JRL 460Z Advanced Reporting and News Writing (3)
After prior work in lower-level courses, students in this advanced workshop will develop their skills as investigative reporters and writers of news stories and articles that are thoroughly researched and compellingly written. Students may choose to write and rewrite one article throughout the semester or a cluster of articles on related subjects. Students are expected to develop a sense of journalistic tenacity and appreciation for applied research. They will learn how to develop a story through multiple drafts and how to produce articles that are noteworthy for their journalistic flair, emotional impact, or informative power. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 200Z, A JRL 270X, and either A JRL 308Z, A JRL 360Z or AJRL 366Z.

A JRL 468 Literary Journalism (3)
This course invites students to read and analyze literary journalism, with attention to its historical context. Readings include works by Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens, Samuel Clemens, Stephen Cane, Janet Flanner, Lillian Ross, Rebecca West, John Hersey, James Agee, Dorothy Day, Meridel LeSueur, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Tracy Kidder, and others. While reflecting on the relations between journalism and literary fiction and nonfiction, students will complete bi-weekly assignments. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z.

A JRL 475/475Z Topics in Journalism (3)
This course may be either an intensive skills-oriented workshop or a conceptual course on a topic in journalism that bears serious study. More than one section may be offered in a semester. May be repeated for credit if content varies. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 200Z or 270X.

A JRL 480/480Z Public Affairs Journalism (3)
The Capital District offers a unique laboratory for reporting on public affairs at all levels, from the local to the national. These include governmental affairs, but also judicial matters, relations between New York State and the State’s indigenous Indian tribes, and policy issues concerning medicine, technology, business, and education. Public affairs journalism is now part of a large debate about the lengths to which journalists should go in hosting community events and creating an informed citizenry. Along with numerous writing assignments, students will engage in wide reading of journalists who have staked out positions to this debate and operated effectively as reports or advocates in the public arena.  Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z, or permission of instructor.

A JRL 487Z Investigative Reporting (3)
Intensive reading and analysis of the history, strategies, techniques, ethics and practical problems of the craft of investigative reporting. Emphasis will be on hands-on experience with documents, sources, state agencies and ethical dilemmas. The goal is to produce a substantial piece of original, in-depth reportage by semester's end. Prerequisite(s): A JRL 201Z.

A JRL 490Z Digital Publication (3)
This workshop is devoted to electronic publishing in a wide variety of contemporary contexts - from the Web, to blogs, to E-zines, to Webcasts, and others.  Most often, the course will involve publishing at least one issue of a journalistic E-zine, in addition to other assignments that require using other forms of contemporary electronic media.  Students will be expected to exercise news judgment; report, write, and edit stories; work with digital imagining; utilize graphic design and layout principles; and work through a publishing process. Prerequisite(s):  A JRL 201Z, and either A JRL 390 or A JRL 392; or permission of instructor.

A JRL 495 Internship in Journalism (3-6)
The course is limited to Journalism majors and minors. Internships in a variety of media are offered for variable credit. The internship requires that students work on-site in a professional media organization, under the direct supervision of a qualified supervisor. A faculty supervisor will also design an academic component for the internship, based on readings, daily journals, and the writing of papers that analyze and reflect on the work experience. The faculty supervisor will meet regularly with interns, both individually and as a group. The Journalism Program Director will establish the specific requirements that must be fulfilled to receive credit for this course. 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. S/U graded.

A JRL 497 Independent Study in Journalism (1-3)
For variable credit (1-3), students in Journalism pursue an independent project under the supervision of a full time faculty member. A student might use this course to enhance a portfolio, gain expertise in journalistic practices, research a special topic, or complete work on a major assignment. An application to a faculty member is required. A written agreement outlining the goals and work to be completed during the independent study is also required. The course is limited to seniors with prior journalism experience, although they do not have to be a journalism major or minor.

A JRL 499 Senior Honors Project in Journalism (3)
Students will define, develop, research, and write or produce in electronic or visual form an individual project of serious merit. The project is intended to demonstrate the range of skills acquired during the student’s training in Journalism. The project should also demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the ethical and legal issues of the profession. Work on the project will be supervised by advanced arrangement with a faculty member. The decision on whether a student’s final project merits receiving Honors in Journalism will be made by the faculty of the Journalism Program.