University of Arizona students now have the opportunity to develop journalism skills to enhance their careers and community life through gathering information, evaluating it critically, and disseminating it through any medium to their co-workers, employers and fellow citizens.
The School of Journalism is launching a minor to start summer 2013. The 18-credit program provides students skills and knowledge in reporting, writing, photography, video, social media, web development, acquiring public records, and media literacy to enhance their careers and community. The emphasis of the program is on online communication and building civic engagement.
"These skills are essential to anyone who wants to learn how to effectively communicate and participate in public life," said David Cuillier, School of Journalism director. "Everyone – professional journalist or not – needs to be able to gather information, think critically, and communicate clearly to hold government accountable and empower their fellow citizens to self-govern in a democracy."
The School of Journalism suspended its minor in 2003 because increasing majors outpaced the ability for the school to cover classes needed to ensure majors could graduate on time. Now that the number of majors in the school has stabilized, the minor can be restarted.
Classes will include an introduction to journalism, writing and reporting, taking photos and video, media law and ethics, watchdog journalism, and a final journalistic professional project tailored to each student’s area of interest. Courses will emphasize new media skills, such as web design and using social media effectively, in addition to the fundamental skills of writing and gathering information accurately and ethically. The program also will provide skills that everyone needs to be engaged citizens, such as acquiring public records, sifting through government budgets, and understanding public agencies.
Students will be able to finish all but one of the classes in one summer, if they wish, and the last course fall semester, or they may spread the classes out over several years. At least two of the classes will be offered online to provide flexibility for students, and most of the classes will be taught by award-winning full-time faculty, all with professional experience in newspapers, television, magazines and other media.
"If students want to work in journalism, then being a journalism major is still the right path," Cuillier said. "But we think the minor is perfect for students who want to learn more about the media, hone their writing and multimedia skills, and become better communicators as scientists, business owners, teachers, or whatever they want to accomplish in life."
The school will accept 45 students into the minor the first year, first-come, first served, with the introductory class to be taught 2013 summer pre-session on campus. For more information about declaring a minor in journalism, go to the "Advising" link on School of Journalism main website.