Journalism Course Descriptions

Spring 2024


Introduction to Media Studies II| 021:086:202 | 
Topic: Current Issues in Media
Instructor:Instructor: Larry Durst

Tuesdays/Thursdays 10am-11:20am

Sometimes it seems “the media” gets the blame for much of the world’s social and political ills. Other times modern digital communication is seen as a powerful means toward achieving positive social action. What is clear is that with every advancement in media technology, new issues arise that have profound implications for the shape of cultural and political discourse. Introduction to Media Studies I introduced theoretical and historical contexts to understand media in general terms. In this course, we turn our focus to some of the pressing issues which confront those who work in, study, and consume contemporary media and journalism. How can media consumers determine what is fact from “fake news?” Are we permanently polarized within media bubbles? Why are we influenced by influencers? Is personal privacy at all possible anymore? Where is the balance between the problems and promises of AI? Can full media access ever be truly free or equal? We will examine and discuss these and other issues through contemporary journalistic writing, video essays, podcasts, artwork, film, and other forms of current critical expression.

Convergence | 021:086:304
Topic: The Rise of Machines
Mondays, 2:30-3:50 & Wednesdays, 1-2:20 p.m
Required for Majors
Instructor: Frank James Pensiero

The study of convergence in American journalism used to concentrate on the transition of traditional news and information outlets such as newspapers and magazines to digital platforms like the Internet and social media. Taken more broadly—and accurately, in my opinion—the convergence we’ll focus on in this course is the ever-evolving, real-time merger of journalism, media, technology, commerce, politics and culture. Add Artificial Intelligence products like ChatGPT to this mix and we have a media world today that couldn’t have been imagined just two years ago. Our converged media world isn’t some faraway planet dreamed up by a science fiction writer. It is the world you’re living in now, and we’ll study how we got here and where we think it will go from here. Instead of a traditional term paper, the key end-of-semester assignment will be a team-based project where you’ll learn proven project-management techniques, find a problem that you want to fix, and create a digital product that does just that. Only hard workers need apply.


Photojournalism 21:086:334I
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 1:00 -2:20 p.m.
Required for Majors; Required for Minors
Instructor: Juan Arredondo

This course aims to teach all students, regardless of their skills or declared major, to grasp foundational skills that can be applied to many types of storytelling. 

In this course, students will:  

  • Learn how to pitch, report and produce photo-driven news stories. 
  • Demonstrate critical thinking, independence, and creativity appropriate to the role of journalism in a democratic society. 
  • Deconstruct, analyze, and critique multimedia news stories. 
  • Work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness, and diverse perspectives. 
  • Enhance your fluency in editing and workflow with Lightroom Classics software. 


Journalism, Ethics & the Law 21:086:334I
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Required for Majors; Required for Minors
Instructor: Carla Murphy

What is journalism? Is the First Amendment still relevant? – These are fundamental questions of our time. Much, if not most of the U.S. public remains unaware that throughout the 21st century, the U.S. journalism ecosystem has been in a state of system-wide collapse. Crisis, however, is also an opportunity for innovation, reflection and creation. This real-world course equips students to identify what journalism is, what it is not and most importantly, why knowing the difference matters. Therefore, this course covers the difference between journalism and media; traditional journalistic ethics; the effect of industry instability and social media networks on ethical decision-making when gathering, creating and sharing information; new journalistic ethics for our time; and the past and current role of the First Amendment.

Questions and lively, respectful debate are expected. While all majors or undecideds are welcome, this course is designed for those who want to engage “the public” in the public sphere.  As journalism is a profession with unique responsibility to the public and the democracy, attention will be paid to your ideas and how you communicate, with authority, via the written word.


Basic Reporting and Newswriting | 21:086:337
Instructor: Larry Jaffee
Mondays/Wednesdays, 4-5:20 p.m.
Required for Majors; Required for Minors; Writing Intensive

Basic Reporting and Newswriting will provide students with an overview of journalism, how it works, and how it’s changed since the advent of the Internet. We’ll explore how journalism is different from other types of writing and the basics of news reporting and writing (the 5Ws) no matter the medium. We’ll explore the different types of media that provide journalism (newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, Internet, and social media). We’ll explore issues such as the importance of alternative media to disseminating information not covered by the mainstream media, whose standing with the public has diminished. Students will learn how to spot what’s really “Fake News.” You will interview individuals in and outside of class for homework assignments. We’ll learn interviewing techniques: how to ask the right questions, listen carefully to what people tell you (thus prompting other questions), and observe things that deserve further probing. You’re expected to follow the news closely daily, and there might be pop quizzes on the news. We’ll also learn how to use the Internet for research.


Advanced Reporting | 21:086:338
Instructor: Wendy Fisher
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 2:30-3:50 p.m.
Required for Majors; Required for Minors; Writing Intensive

In this course, students will learn to report and write about the news that matters most to their communities. Students will get the opportunity to choose a beat to cover, such as a local government or school district, and they will produce articles, including shorter daily stories and longer enterprise stories. Heavy emphasis will be placed on the reporting – doing in-person interviews and telling the stories of real people. Instruction will focus on news judgment, source development, interview skills, researching and backgrounding, and using data and public records. We will also stress the importance of clear and effective writing by studying examples of excellent journalism from newspapers, magazines, and books.


Introduction to Multimedia | 21:086:340
Thursdays, 6-9 p.m.
Required for Majors; Required for MinorsI
Instructor: Juan Arredondo

Today, journalists face many challenges regarding what stories to cover, how to cover them, and what formats are best for a story. This semester, you will learn how to pitch, produce, edit and choose which medium—video, audio, photography, graphics and text—best suits a story they wish to tell. Through lectures, readings, discussions, guest speakers, and fieldwork, students will explore the elements and forms of multimedia storytelling, learn the skills for newsgathering and story production, and learn the best use of media formats to tell compelling stories. 

Over the course of the semester, you will produce several projects —a photo essay, various videos, and an audio project. By the end of the semester, these projects will come together and be part of your final multimedia project.  


Photojournalism 21:086:385
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 1-2:20 p.m.
Instructor: Juan Arredondo

In today’s highly visual world, where technology often keeps us focused on ourselves, it can be challenging to truly understand and explore the world around us. In this course, students will focus on issue-driven photojournalism in the social documentary tradition, with you producing one major photography-driven project focusing on a newsworthy issue. Students will see examples of work that made an impact and critique the aesthetic strategies employed. By using photography as a means of engagement, students will not only develop their skills but also foster a sense of community. We will delve into the reasons behind people’s attraction to photography and the immense power that images hold. Additionally, we will explore the evolution of visual literacy in the digital era, specifically examining the role of photographic evidence in journalism. Regardless of academic background, all students are welcome to join this class. By the end of the course, students will feel a stronger connection to their physical community and will possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to interpret and create impactful photographs.

Independent Study in Journalism 

21:086:346:01 | Instructor: Gaiutra Bahadur
21:086:346:02 | Instructor: Carla Murphy
21:086:346:03 | Instructor: Juan Arredondo

With permission from the instructor, a student pursues an independent course of study, typically resulting in a long form reported piece. Interested students should contact the instructor before registering with a 350-word project proposal along with a list of sources to be interviewed and consulted. The student will produce an outline, a draft and a revision based on instructor feedback, with deadlines staggered over the course of the semester.


Journalism Capstone 21:086:400
Magazine Production
Mondays/Wednesdays, 10-11:20 a.m.
Required for Majors
Instructor: Troy Graham

With guidance from the instructor, students in this course will be responsible for producing an issue of Scarlet magazine. Students also will collaborate with Graphic Design students and faculty to create art and graphics and do the layout of the magazine. The magazine will focus on social justice with an emphasis on politics in and around Newark, a city that has a rich and sometimes tragic history with radical politics and the civil rights movement and continues to be at the forefront of today’s discussions on social justice. This is an opportunity for students to carry their work from conception to publication and to get the experience and work samples necessary for seeking internships and jobs in journalism. 


Journalism Internship 21:086:459:01 
Satisfies requirement for Internship or Workshop
21:086:459:01 | Instructor: Gaiutra Bahadur
21:086:459:02 | Instructor: Carla Murphy
21:086:459:03 | Instructor: Juan Arredondo

With approval from the instructor, students will intern with journalism organizations, working 120 hours throughout the course of the semester. Supervisors at the organizations will evaluate the work of the students and offer a suggested grade for the semester. Students *must have* secured an internship independently by the registration deadline.I


Newsroom Workshop 21:086:493
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 4-5:20 p.m.
Satisfies requirement for Internship or Workshop; Writing Intensive
Instructor: Robin Wilson-Glover

In this course, we’ll operate as the Newark Bureau of the Daily Targum, the campus newspaper of Rutgers University. Students will pitch story ideas and we’ll discuss tactics for reporting those stories, how to organize the information and how to write them. We’ll also hear firsthand from one or two of New Jersey’s best journalists about how they do their jobs.