M.A. Professional Emphasis

About the Program

This program is well suited to those who obtained bachelor’s degrees in other fields and want to become journalists, as well as for those who recently received a journalism degree and are seeking more advanced training.

We also welcome mid-career professionals who want to gain greater knowledge of the legal, ethical, technological and management challenges that confront 21st-century journalists. Opportunities exist to tailor a program suited to your interests, such as science or environmental journalism.

Curriculum

The skills-oriented curriculum includes writing, multimedia and on-the-street reporting for print, television and online media serving communities in southern Arizona. Those interested in the professional emphasis program are expected to demonstrate outstanding English and writing skills because of the rigor of the assignments and the expectation that after graduation they may begin working immediately in a news organization. 

The program typically requires four semesters for full-time students. Students also can enroll part-time.

Course Requirements

You must complete a minimum of 33 units to graduate. This includes four required courses, including a thesis or final project, plus three highly recommended skills courses and a choice of four electives. Most electives allow you to specialize in your choice of an area of interest. These other electives can be drawn from journalism or, with permission from the director of graduate studies, from other disciplines.

An internship, apprenticeship or fellowship may be taken as an elective. It is recommended that students enrolled in the two-year master’s program earn no more than 3 units of internship credit for JOUR 593. Up to 6 units may be allowed in consultation with the director of graduate studies.

No 400-level credits will be accepted toward graduate degrees. All course work will be based on graduate-level work. Credits earned in the 500-level section of a co-convened course (400/500) will be accepted toward graduate degrees.

Required Courses

  • Complete four courses (12 units)
  • You can choose to complete either a master's project (JOUR 909) or thesis (JOUR 910)
This course introduces graduate students to the major theories related to the critical study of the media. Fieldwork may include publication of conclusions. Requirements include a major research paper.
Basic legal concepts for media in an international and U.S. context, including access to courts, public records and meetings; subpoenas and shield laws; prior restraint; libel; privacy; source confidentiality; intellectual property; obscenity; and broadcast regulations.
Students will be exposed to qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as historical and legal research, media analysis, content analysis, in-depth interviewing and discourse analysis.
Individual study or special project or formal report thereof submitted in lieu of thesis for certain master's degrees.
Research for the master's thesis (whether library research, laboratory or field observation or research, artistic creation, or thesis writing). Maximum total credit permitted varies with the major department.

Skills Courses (Highly Recommended)

  • Complete 9 units
  • Choose between 590C or 590F
This course is both an introductory and advanced reporting course for graduate students in the School of Journalism. It is intended for first year graduate students.
This course is designed to give graduate students an intensive hands-on introduction to multimedia reporting. Multimedia reporting is defined as the effective and ethical use of text, still photographs, video clips, audio, graphics and interactivity for the Web.
Through extensive hands-on experience in this capstone course, students learn how to write, report, shoot, produce and edit news for broadcast. Graduate-level students serve as producers, directing efforts of undergraduate reports, camera operators, and film editors. They are responsible for accuracy, completemess, fairness and objectivity of news packages. Composition of a major paper concerning a media management issue is also expected.
Students in Arizona Sonora News produce strong enterprise stories in written and multimedia formats, which are then provided to media for professional publication. Students learn the techniques of search engine optimization and key word construction, and apply what they have learned in their other classes through the major. This engaged learning news service class enables students to demonstrate that they can produce professional quality work. Graduate-level requirements include an additional assignment and/or taking on a leadership position.

Electives

  • Complete 12 units
  • Some courses are offered only occasionally
  • See lists below for options; other courses in journalism or outside the school may be counted with permission

At least one elective must be from the following list of professional emphasis courses:

Internship with a news organization supplemented with professional development, analysis of industry trends and best practices. Graduate-level requirements include a major research paper. Graduate-level requirements include a major research paper.
Writing the feature articles for newspapers, magazines or other media; specialized reporting and writing techniques. Graduate-level requirements include additional in-depth assignments.
Theory, principles and practice of layout, typography, and design for a variety of media. Graduate-level requirements include critically analyzing a major publication and redesigning it according to newest principles.
Learn how to find, request and create databases, uncover stories using various software programs, and turn them into compelling visuals. Whether you call it data journalism, computer-assisted reporting, precision journalism, or power reporting, these skills will set you apart from your peers in any line of work. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper on a topic of their choice related to CAR. Please confer with the course instructor early in the semester to have topic approved. This project will substitute for participation points for graduate students.
This applied course teaches you to write compelling, substantive stories that illuminate environmental subjects, trends and issues, often in human terms. This course emphasizes the role of the environmental journalist not as an advocate but as a reporter who accurately and fairly reports the news. We examine the principles of journalism, the scientific process and the differences between environmental journalism and environmental communication. Guest speakers - journalists, researchers and other experts - explore key issues involved in communicating with the public about the environment. Readings and discussions examine issues of balance, scientific uncertainty, risk, accuracy and ethical codes. Graduate-level requirements include writing an additional story and leading the writing workshops and case study discussion.
Science is one of the most powerful forces of change in the world. This applied course covers the fundamental elements of producing news reports about science events and issues. We'll examine the principles of journalism, the scientific process and the differences between science journalism and science communication. Guest speakers and prominent science journalists and scientists will explore key issues involved in communicating with the public about science. Readings, case studies and discussions will examine issues of balance, scientific uncertainty, accuracy and ethical codes for science journalists. You'll write professional-quality science articles for general interest and specialized news media. You'll learn how to gather, evaluate and organize information in ways that will produce accurate, comprehensive information for the public. Each student will write one short piece, and in pairs you'll research and produce an in-depth article. Graduate-level requirements include writing an additional story proposal, query letter and news report plus the in-depth story or multimedia piece will be longer that at the undergraduate-level.
Students will gain an understanding of best practices and challenges specific to reporting in the borderlands, and will conduct research in and about the border region, including interviews with area residents. They will report findings in the form of essays, oral histories, research projects and in-depth reporting projects. Graduate students are expected to take on a leadership role in the class and from time to time will be assigned to lead class discussions. Graduate students may also be assigned additional readings and duties, such as increased research, writing, and organizing responsibilities.
This is a hands-on advanced multimedia course that will provide students with the opportunity to refine their multimedia storytelling and technical production skills by producing journalistically interesting multimedia projects. The multimedia projects will be well researched and include some combination of text, video, audio, still photographs, graphics that will be presented on a website. Through interactive exercises and assignments, emphasis will be given to improving audio, video, still image capture and editing skills. This course is a combined lecture with outside lab work being required. Intermediate computer technical knowledge and skills, basic photojournalism and multimedia are required for successful completion of this course. Graduate students will be required to produce a well-researched and cited 30- to 45-minute in-class PowerPoint presentation on a documentary film or filmmaker. Acceptable subjects will be listed in the assignment sheet handout.
This course will be a hands-on, interactive class in which you research, and develop a mobile news application. You will develop and pitch an application, form teams and implement web technology to launch your application. By the end of the semester, you and your team will have a working application deployed on the internet. This course will take you from idea to application launch. Graduate students will be required to also research an emerging trend in news application design and functionality. The student will write an eight-page paper on the subject and present findings to the class and local media outlets.

Other electives include the following courses:

This course will investigate the interplay between terrorism around the world and media content about terrorism. It will focus on how news media portray terrorism and terrorists, and the effects of terrorism and media portrayal of terrorism on the public. While many of the assigned readings are about terrorism in the United States, including the 9/11 attack, perspectives from countries around the world are also explored. Students should keep up-to-date with developments in terrorism around the world, primarily through news reports. If events related to the course occur, be sure to bring the real-world perspectives into class discussions. Please note that some of the readings for this class will be challenging. Several explore academic theories and/or utilize complex statistical data analysis. While background in theory or data analysis can be helpful, no special knowledge is necessary to understand the material overall. Graduate-level requirements include an extensive research paper on a topic related to media and terrorism. The final product will be a 15 to 20-page paper that will account for 30% of the final grade.
Through historical, economic and political exploration of a country or the region, this course will provide students with an understanding of current events in the Middle East and of the challenges journalists face reporting from a region with competing narratives, authoritarian regimes, and sporadic or ongoing conflict. Graduate students are expected to read additional and more complex materials provided by the professor (in the schedule listed as Optional and For Grad Students - some require memos). They will also occasionally meet for additional sessions with the professor. In addition, they will be required to complete an in-depth country report on or a research paper on a specific element relating to international journalism, worth an additional 20% of their total grade. Graduate-level requirements include reading additional and more complex materials provided by the professor (in the schedule listed as Optional and For Grad Students - some require memos). Grad students will also occasionally meet for additional sessions with the professor. In addition, they will be required to complete an in-depth country report on or a research paper on a specific element relating to international journalism, worth an additional 20% of their total grade.
Analysis of ethical theory and how it relates to journalists' roles and responsibilities in a democratic society. Case studies involve questions of bias, accuracy, privacy and national security. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper examining a major ethical issue and providing a critique regarding how the media covered the issue.
The course will focus on access to government records and meetings. From the perspective of the journalist acting on behalf of the people in a democracy, it will look at the benefits and harms caused by access to government information. Graduate-level requirements include the research paper being twice as long as the undergrad. It is expected to be of graduate-level quality, and pose a suitable research question that could lead to a later study.
Science is one of the most powerful forces of change in the world. This discussion course introduces students to the professional, legal, economic and ethical factors that affect the science news agenda and the work of science journalists. We'll study the principles of science journalism, the scientific process and the differences between science journalism and science communication. We'll examine reporting methods used by print, television and online news organizations. Guest speakers -- prominent science journalists and scientists -- will explore the ways in which science news both reflects and influences the attitudes of the public and policymakers. Readings, case studies and discussions will look at issues of balance, scientific uncertainty, accuracy and ethical codes for science journalists. Graduate-level requirements include longer response papers and a longer research paper.
The course explores the evolution of U.S. journalism and its intersection with American politics, economics, and culture. Students will read original primary published sources as well as secondary historical works and develop skills in historical research methods. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper suitable for presentation at an academic conference or publication in a scholarly journal in the field.
How international media cover conflicts and other humanitarian crises, focusing on the Arab/Muslim world. Understanding of the business and culture of global news organizations. Graduate-level requirements include more extensive research and papers.
This course will examine the history and development of U.S. press coverage of Latin America. Graduate-level requirements include a longer research paper and leading a class discussion.
This course is about understanding the world as a journalist, an international specialist or an informed citizen. It teaches how foreign correspondents gather news and examines factors that shape the global exchange of information. Graduate-level requirements include a higher standard of quality than undergrads. Grad students meet for a short session with the professor each week to discuss more theoretical issues or to examine international news items in more depth. Assignments 1. Will be required to read at least two books from the list (on D2L) or of their choosing ¿run it by the professor ¿ and write short reflective book reports (format on D2L). Due anytime before the last class. (10 percent each) AND 2. Will write an additional, short analytical research paper on a specific facet of either media coverage of, or international reaction to some aspect of your beat (3000 words). OR, will do a reporting/writing project focusing on some aspect of a refugee group here in Tucson. Must be of publishable quality. Consult early with the professor on the topic.

Internships

  • JOUR 593 Internship
  • POL 593L Legislative Internship
  • JOUR 596D Environmental Journalism (Costa Rica summer study abroad)
  • JOUR 597B Advanced Photojournalism (Italy summer study abroad)

Suggested Schedule

First Year

Fall Semester

  • JOUR 506 Introductory and Advanced Reporting (3 units)
  • JOUR 507 Reporting with Multimedia (3 units)
  • JOUR 508 Journalism Theory and Practice (3 units)

Spring semester

  • JOUR 509 Media Law and Ethics (3 units)
  • JOUR 589 Research Methods (3 units)
  • Elective: Professional skills course (3 units)

Second Year

  • JOUR 590C or 590F (School Media; choose one) (3 units)
  • JOUR 909 Project or JOUR 910 Thesis (3 units)
  • Electives (9 units)