Journalism School at MU: Real-World Experience and Leadership Opportunities

The Missouri School of Journalism

The Missouri School of Journalism is the world’s first journalism school, founded in 1908. Today, MU J-School students tell the world’s stories through the Columbia Missourian, our daily general-circulation newspaper; KOMU-TV, a broadcast newsroom; and AdZou, our student-staffed strategic communication agency.

This course explores the changing media landscape and teaches you how to interpret and develop audience engagement strategies steeped in data. Graded on A-F basis only.

Real-World Media Experience

MU students get real-world experience in the field from day one. Whether you come in with some background or no prior experience at all, the curriculum is designed to have you diving into journalism and strategic communication from your first semester.

As the world’s first School of Journalism, we pioneered a hands-on philosophy that allows you to learn by doing. We call it the Missouri Method. And it’s what top editors, reporters and other professionals say makes our graduates ready to work on day one – and stand out in the workplace.

Throughout your time at the Journalism School, you’ll have the opportunity to gain experience reporting and writing stories that are published online and in print for a number of campus media outlets, including a newspaper, magazine and radio station. You’ll also have the chance to take on a field assignment for Missouri Business Alert, an authentic newsroom environment that puts your storytelling skills to the test.

The Missouri Method

Walter Williams founded the world’s first journalism school in 1908. Today, that hands-on philosophy of learning by doing lives on. The J-School, as it’s known, offers a heavy dose of real-world media experience with its six professional newsrooms, including an NBC affiliate, NPR member station and digital-first community newspaper. Two advertising agencies with paying national clients also are part of the mix.

Students learn through a series of assignments — from writing long feature stories to putting together a daily broadcast — that help them develop the skills they need to become successful storytellers in the omni-platform media industry. The curriculum also includes courses in the use of social media to support storytelling and multimedia production.

MU student Jacob Jones says the hands-on approach is one of the reasons he chose the J-School. He joined MUTV, the campus television station, as a freshman and remains involved as its general manager. He believes the immersive environment helps to ingrain the journalism skills he’s learned better than listening to them in a classroom lecture.


Students learn how to write, design and use the various forms of information graphics that are an essential component of contemporary journalism. The course includes a heavy emphasis on generating and gathering data for infographics.

Students will learn how to research, plan and execute a story using converged media tools. Students will also work on assignments at a real news organization to develop experience in reporting, writing and production under deadline conditions. (cross-leveled with JOURN 4340)

Keeping the powerful accountable and informing the public about what those in charge are doing are the core of what journalists do. This course will teach students the background needed for effective government reporting and provide hands-on experience in covering state government.

Students will have access to our state-of-the-art media classrooms and production spaces, which include a multi-camera digital broadcast studio equipped for newscasts, interviews and webinars; a sound stage with lighting grid and green-screen; and iMac based post production media labs that run the latest versions of video, audio and photo editing software.


Graduates from Missouri are in leadership positions at The New York Times, Washington Post and other major newspapers; overseeing multiplatform news operations at NBC, CNN and CBS; leading public relations, advertising and marketing teams for firms such as Ketchum, Fleishman-Hillard, BBDO and Ogilvy; writing articles and taking photographs for National Geographic; and conducting groundbreaking research.

Students in the Journalism program can learn from and collaborate with seasoned journalists at professional student media outlets on campus, including MUTV, Maneater and the Columbia Missourian. The School also has six professional newsrooms that partner with the Reynolds Journalism Institute, including KOMU-TV (NBC), Vox Magazine, KBIA-FM (NPR), the Missouri Business Alert and the statehouse bureau.

Research is important to the School, and Dean Kurpius emphasizes this area of study. He has led growth in grant expenditures, built a strong science communication focus and increased partnerships with MU Extension and Engagement. He also connects scholars’ work with industry through RJI.

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