Change in JMS Curriculum

By: Tia Magenheim


Rutgers University students majoring in journalism and media studies will have many new courses to choose from for the upcoming semester, as well as a new curriculum for new majors.

The change in curriculum was inspired by the transition journalism has made into the digital world. The curriculum was also changed in order to keep up with competing journalism schools around the country.

Undergraduate coordinator Steve Miller says, “One of the reasons that drove the switch in curriculum was the necessity to stay abreast and stay in touch with what’s going on in the real world. What’s going on in the real world is digital.”

All student JMS majors must complete three core requirements with a grade of “C” or better in each course.

The first core requirement, 04:567:324 News Writing and Reporting, has been renamed and renumbered to 04:567:205 Digital News Writing and Reporting, which is now a second-level course.

“News Writing and Reporting no longer exists as a course. We turned it into a course that highlights the digital quality of all reporting and writing,” said Chair of the JMS department Jack Bratich.

In 04:567:205 Digital News Writing and Reporting students will be writing blogs, writing for our hyperlocal news site, and perform multimedia reporting.

“We’re going to keep teaching students the time-tested way of doing things, like the inverted pyramid, but we’re going to involve more digital dissemination tools,” Miller said.

04:567:205 Digital News Writing and Reporting will now be a second-level course instead of a first-level course. Therefore, the new course, 04:567:200 Writing for Media, will be a prerequisite for Digital News Writing and Reporting.

04:567:200 Writing for Media is open to anyone in the major, and those who don’t want to become journalists (e.g. PR professionals, working in radio, etc.) can take classes concentrated in what he or she wants to pursue, rather than being forced to take 04:567:205 Digital News Writing and Reporting.

Miller says, “Why should we force you to take a news writing course? Why not let you go straight from Writing for Media to Broadcast News Writing and Reporting?”

04:567:325 Writing for Print will no longer exist as a course because of the goal to adapt courses to a multi-platform, digital environment.

“Dropping a course that specializes in print is a first step. Students will get the writing skills they need in other courses, recognizing that the results will not always be in print form,” Bratich says.

If students still need a second-level course, 04:567:310 Broadcast News Writing and Reporting, 04:567:328 Hyperlocal Newsroom, 04:567:200 Writing for Media, and 04:567:210 Media Management and Strategy (renumbered and renamed from 04:567:464 Mass Media Management) are available.

In addition to the change in curriculum, five new courses will also be available for JMS students.

“Students were the primary motivation for these changes,” Bratich says.

The new courses include 04:567:415 Media, Science, and Public Engagement, 04:567:453 Documentary and Video Storytelling, 04:567:452 Travel Writing, 04:567:471 Media and Movements, and 04:567:477 Fashion Journalism.

Students say they are thrilled about the additional courses that will be available in the upcoming semester.

Third year student, Laura Chapas, is particularly excited about the fashion journalism course available in the fall, listed as 04:567:477 Contemporary Issues in Media Studies V.

“So many students want to work at the fashion end of journalism, and there’s never really been a class offered for that until now. I think this course will fill up fast,” Chapas said.

The new course 04:567:452 Travel Writing will be setting up a study/learning abroad experience for spring 2016.

Mary D’Ambrosio will be teaching 04:567:452 Travel Writing where students will be traveling to places such as NYC during the holidays, or even possible foreign locations such as Cuba, Istanbul, or Rome. The destinations are undetermined at this time.

“The aim of the course is to help aspiring writers learn to write commandingly about places, in both commercial and literary styles,” D’Ambrosio said.

The already existing course, 04:567:420 Global News, will also be offering a study/learning abroad trip for spring 2016 for the first time.

Students will have the opportunity to travel from London to Paris over the week of spring break with Professor Susan Keith leading the trip.

“It will be a 1-credit course offered in association with the 3-credit Global News course,” Keith said.

The cost of the trip is still unknown, but the ultimate goal is to have JMS students become more aware with what’s going on in the world.

“Learning about the world, learning about what’s going on through a global perspective is fantastic. Being there is even better,” Miller said.

Students can register for classes for fall 2015 here.