Exploring Journalism through Film, Concepts, and Writing Techniques

Investigative and Documentary Journalism

Students interested in investigating important news and explaining its impact might enjoy writing feature stories. Students interested in documenting the world around them might enjoy photojournalism or documentary courses.

In this lecture course, students explore the depiction of journalists and journalism in a selection of films. Students will also examine issues of relevance to contemporary media.

Introduction to Journalism

In this course, students will learn the concepts, tools and writing techniques that enable them to write simple news stories. They will also explore the history and evolution of journalism.

This introductory class helps students learn the fundamental skills and principles that form the basis of quality journalism across all media platforms. Seminars, guest lectures, field trips, project critiques and daily assignment deadlines will help students develop and practice the critical thinking and storytelling skills that are foundational to the profession.

Journalists rely on a solid understanding of the world around them in order to find and tell meaningful stories that have the potential to impact people’s lives for the better. This course provides an in-depth look at the nuances of discerning newsworthiness, guiding students on how to select and unearth subjects worthy of deeper investigation. It also teaches the value of integrity and reiterates the solemn duty journalists owe to society. This is a four-credit course.

Electronic Publishing

Electronic publishing is an all-encompassing term for a variety of digitally produced materials (Jones & Cook, 2000). Such electronic publications can include everything from newsgroups/forums, mailing lists, bulletin boards and websites to CD-ROM based media. Some of these materials can be categorized as communication tools while others like newsgroups/forums and mailing lists can be classified as information management tools.

E-publishing addresses the need for immediate access to information in today’s world. It also enables new authors and independent publishers to have a global audience that may not otherwise be possible.

Another advantage of e-publishing is that the process can be streamlined. Unlike print journals, where the review and publication process can take 1-2 years, an article can be published as soon as it is ready with an electronic journal. This also helps to reduce costs associated with printing and distributing journal articles. Readers can also easily locate back files and use them, although the ease of access varies among journals.

Investigative Journalism

Investigative journalism is a form of reporting that uncovers corruption, injustice or maladministration. It also strives to identify and draw attention to social, economic, political or cultural trends. It is also known as advocacy journalism, muckraking journalism, in-depth journalism, public service journalism or watchdog journalism.

Investigating a story requires significant time and effort to research the topic, interview sources and write a report. This type of reporting is often lengthy and requires multiple revisions before it can be published. It is not a substitute for daily news reporting, but rather an attempt to provide the public with an alternate perspective of events that impact them.

In order for a story to be considered investigative, it must expose something that is not otherwise widely available. It should focus on matters of national interest, not prying into the private lives of celebrities. Scholars such as Waisbord (2000) have argued that the IRE definition of investigative journalism is heavily influenced by American culture and values, and does not fit the media and political environment in South America.

Literary Journalism

The class will introduce students to literary journalism, which has gained prominence in recent years as a form of narrative nonfiction. It focuses on the craft of writing narrative non-fiction and examines how narrative techniques can be used to explore complex issues in contemporary life.

Its point is to comprehend subjects at what Henry James called the “felt life” – a frank, unidealized level that includes individual difference, frailty, tenderness, vanity, generosity, pomposity and humility. It shoulders right on past official or bureaucratic explanations for things, and it leaves quirks and self-deceptions, hypocrisies and graces intact and uncovered.

Conventions literary journalists nowadays talk about following to keep things square with readers include no composite scenes, no misstated chronology, no falsification of discernible drift or proportion, no invention of quotes, and no attribution of thoughts unless sources have said they’d had those very thoughts. It also means that writers delve into cultural or political issues hinted at in personal essays without violating the sanctity of their subjects’ privacy.

Go Home