• Journalism
    Journalism students learn how to work in a variety of media
  • Journalism
    Renowned journalists, such as Leonard Pitts, share their expertise
  • Journalism
    Learn multiplatform journalism from our expert faculty

Journalism

Journalists provide news, information, and commentary that help citizens make decisions affecting their lives and participation in a democratic society.  Because of this responsibility, the press is the only institution mentioned by name -- and protected -- in the Constitution. Students can learn to appreciate this responsibility by specializing in newspaper, magazine and web-based media, plus take courses in related sequences like photography and visual communication. MTSU's accredited program emphasizes writing/reporting skills, theory, history, law, ethics, design, management, research, new media and freedom of expression. Faculty have a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds, and the School of Journalism offers on-campus practicum and off-campus internship opportunities, including the Seigenthaler News Service-MTSU in Nashville. The School has close ties to the independent student newspaper, Sidelines, and other outlets housed in the Center for Innovation in Media.

Alumnu thrives at UC graduate school, earns fellowship

Alumnus earns UC Berkeley master’s degree

Byron Wilkes, a 2009 MTSU graduate and former Sidelines editor-in-chief, completed editing the final cut of his University of California-Berkeley master’s thesis project—a documentary he directed about the largest U.S. city (Stockton, Calif.) to ever file for bankruptcy—and earned his graduate journalism degree with a specialty in documentary filmmaking in May 2013. After graduation, Wilkes traveled to Germany and Poland on a fellowship for the Study of Professional Ethics, engaging in intensive study of the historical framework of Auschwitz and learning about ethical issues facing journalists today. Wilkes worked as a reporter for the Meridian (Miss.) Star immediately after graduating from MTSU’s School of Journalism and served as a crime reporter for the Richmond (Calif.) Confidential for 11 months while in graduate school.

Covering the courts while learning

Covering the courts while learning

Journalism professor and Pulitzer Prize winner Wendell Rawls, Jr. initiated the Seigenthaler News Service-MTSU in fall 2012 at the urging of Tennessean  former editor-publisher John Seigenthaler and has since supervised a staff of elite School of Journalism students covering the U.S. District Courts and federal justice operations. Rawls, a former reporter for The Tennessean, The New York Times and other newspapers, is a director of of the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies. He assembled a staff of students to work out of The Tennessean newsroom and provide daily coverage of the courts for The Tennessean and other newspapers. Those gaining invaluable experience include former Sidelines reporters and editors Amanda Haggard, Richel Albright, Christopher Merchant, Emily Kubis, Kate Prince, Kylie Kolz, Alex Harris, Amanda Gambill and Alex Hubbard. 

The Mass Communication major with a concentration in Journalism prepares students who wish to be journalists for a number of jobs in the media. The sequence helps graduates attain careers with newspapers, trade and consumer magazines, book publishing, websites, multimedia, public relations firms, health care, education, advertising, television, radio, film and video production, and other professional media organizations. Journalism professionals can literally go as far as they want, from small media companies to larger outlets that include travel all over the world.  Possible professional positions to pursue include

  • Advertising executive
  • Arts/entertainment critic
  • Author/novelist
  • Book editor
  • Business communications specialist
  • Copy editor
  • Editorial writer
  • Editor
  • Feature writer
  • Freelance magazine writer
  • Graphic designer
  • Media website entrepreneur
  • News reporter
  • Online or multiplatform journalist
  • Photojournalist
  • Public relations / marketing manager
  • Radio/TV broadcaster
  • Scriptwriter/playwright
  • Sports journalist
  • Television/radio/video producer
  • Textbook editor/writer
  • Trade publication editor/writer


Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Associated Press
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution 
  • Chattanooga Times-Free Press
  • CityPress Communications /Nashville Scene
  • CJ Advertising
  • Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro)
  • Daily Oklahoman
  • Detroit Free Press
  • Gallatin News-Examiner
  • Gannett Design Studio
  • Journal Communications
  • LifeWay Christian Resources
  • Murfreesboro Post
  • Murfreesboro Pulse
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Professional Bull Riders Inc.
  • Raleigh News & Observer
  • South Central Media
  • The Tennessean (Nashville)
  • Travelocity
  • Warner Music Nashville
  • WPLN-FM public radio
  • WSMV-Channel 4 (Nashville)
  • WTVF-Channel 5 (Nashville)

Leon Alligood
Assistant Professor 
leon.alligood@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-2205
Office | Room 249, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Feature writing
Immersion journalism
Interactive media
Reporting

Degree Information
M.F.A., Goucher College, MD (2007)
A.B.J., University of Georgia, Athens (1975)
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Dr. David Badger
Professor 
dave.badger@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-2204 
Office | Room 266, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 298, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Feature writing
Motion picture history
Magazine writing
Reviewing & criticism

Degree Information
Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1987)
M.S.J., Northwestern University, IL (1972)
A.B., Duke University, NC (1971)
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Dr. Kenneth Blake
Associate Professor 
ken.blake@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-2226 
Office | Room 114A, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Internet-based instruction
Mass media and society
Public opinion theory and methodology

Degree Information
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1997)
M.A., Marshall University, WV (1990)
B.A., Marshall University, WV (1988)
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Dr. Dwight Brooks
Professor | Director
d.brooks@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-494-8925 
Office | Room 249, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Electronic media program management
Media diversity
Media literacy
Media representations of sports and popular culture
Race, class and gender in media

Degree Information
Ph.D., University of Iowa (1991)
M.A., Ohio State University, Columbus (1979)
B.A., East Stroudsburg University, PA (1977)
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Dr. Larry Burriss
Professor 
larry.burriss@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-2983
Office | Room 204, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 272, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Media law
Quantitative research methods

Degree Information
J.D., Kaplan University, IA (2006)
Ph.D., Ohio State University, Columbus (1983)
M.A., University of Oklahoma (1978)
M.A., Ohio State University, Columbus (1972)
B.A., Ohio State University, Columbus (1971)
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Dr. Katherine Foss
Assistant Professor
katie.foss@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-494-7747
Office | Room 249, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Breastfeeding discourse in media (from advertising to entertainment television)
Constructions of health responsibility and representations of deafness and hearing loss
Cultural studies approaches to media and qualitative methods
Discourse of television theme songs
Gender and media
Gender and victimization in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Criminal Minds
Health communication
Pioneer medicine in television
Portrayals of journalists in comic book films

Degree Information
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (2008)
M.A., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (2004)
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, MN (2001)
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Dr. Edward Kimbrell
Professor 
ed.kimbrell@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-904-8331
Office | Room 249, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 366, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
American Media and Social Institutions
Freedom of Expression
Mass Media Law

Degree Information
Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia (1972)
M.S., Northwestern University, IL (1967)
B.S., Northwestern University, IL (1961)
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Dr. Jane Marcellus
Associate Professor
jane.marcellus@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-5282
Office | Room 112E, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM)
Mail | MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Feature writing
Media history

Degree Information
Ph.D., University of Oregon (2004)
M.A., University of Arizona (1993)
M.S., Northwestern University (1982)
B.A., Wesleyan University, CT (1980)
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Wendell Rawls Jr.
Professor
wendell.rawls@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-2814 
Office | Room 249, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Advanced reporting
Ethics and mass communications
Investigative reporting
Political reporting
Reporting and newswriting
Sports writing

Degree Information
B.A., Vanderbilt University, TN (1970)
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Dr. Jason Reineke 
Assistant Professor
jason.reineke@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-494-7746
Office | Room 112E, Bragg Mass Communication Building (COMM) 
Mail | MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Specialties
Political communication
Public Opinion 


Degree Information
Ph.D., Ohio State University, Columbus (2008)
M.A., Ohio State University, Columbus (2005)
B.S., Miami University, Oxford (2002)
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MTSU's School of Journalism offers work leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a major in Mass Communication. Concentrations are available in

  • Journalism (newspaper/magazine)
  • Advertising-Public Relations
  • Media Studies
  • Visual Communication

Undergraduate or graduate students outside the College of Mass Communication may choose to minor in Mass Communication with an emphasis in any of the School of Journalism’s concentrations.

A Master of Science (M.S.) degree is available in Mass Communications, and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Recording Arts and Technologies.

An academic map is a suggested four-year schedule of courses based on degree requirements in the undergraduate catalog. This sample schedule serves as a general guideline to help build a full schedule each term. Milestones, courses, and special requirements necessary for timely progress to complete a major are designated to keep you on track to graduate in four years. Missing milestones could delay your program. 

This map based on the 2013-2014 undergraduate catalog is not a substitute for academic advisement - contact your advisor if you have any questions about scheduling or about your degree requirements. Also see the current undergraduate catalog (catalog.mtsu.edu) for a complete list of requirements and electives.Note: Requirements are continually under revision, and there is no guarantee they will not be changed or revoked; contact the department and/or program area for current information. 

You may choose to attend a summer term to reduce your load during fall or spring terms but still stay on track to graduate in four years (see below). NOTE: Learning Support courses will alter the sequences on this map.

Journalism (Newspaper/Magazine) Academic Map

School of Journalism
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710* ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710*
MATH (Math)3  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
JOUR/EMC/RIM 10203  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3  COMM 2200 (Comm)3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL16 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  JOUR 3090/30914 
JOUR 27103Prereq: B or higher in ENGL 1010 and 1020 Minor 1 course3 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  Minor 1 course3 
Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3 
CSCI 1150, INFS 2200, or INFS 31003  JOUR 36503 
SUBTOTAL16  SUBTOTAL16 
*2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism *2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
JOUR 3450 or VCOM 29503  JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor
Minor 1 course3  JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor
Minor 2 course3  JOUR 3520, JOUR 3590, or JOUR 43003 
JOUR 3530 or JOUR 44403  Minor 1 course3 
Minor 1 course3  Minor 2 course3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor
Minor 1 course 3  JOUR 3580 or JOUR 40001–3 
Minor 2 course3  Minor 2 course3 
JOUR 48003  Minor or elective course3 
Minor 2 course3  Minor or elective course2 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL12–14 
Note: Journalism students must have two minors.

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

FRESHMAN SUMMER
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710* Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710* Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
MATH (Math)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
JOUR/EMC/RIM 10203  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  CSCI 1150, INFS 2200, or INFS 31003 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL16 
SOPHOMORE SUMMER
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  JOUR 27103Prereq: B or higher in ENGL 1010 and 1020
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4  Minor 1 course3 
Minor 2 course3  Minor 2 course3 
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  JOUR 3090/30914 
JOUR 36503  Minor 2 course3 
Minor 1 course3  JOUR 3530 or JOUR 44403 
SUBTOTAL16  SUBTOTAL16 
*2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism *2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism
JUNIOR SUMMER
Minor 1 course3  JOUR 3450 or VCOM 29503 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor
JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor
Minor 1 course3  Minor 1 course3 
JOUR 48003  Minor 2 course3 
JOUR 3520, JOUR 3950, or JOUR 43003  Minor 1 course3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
SENIOR SUMMER
Minor 2 course 3  JOUR 3580 or JOUR 40001–3 
    Minor or elective course5 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL6–8 
Note: Journalism students must have two minors.

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

Graduation information may be accessed at www.mtsu.edu/records/grad.php.

Journalism

JOUR 1020 - American Media and Social Institutions
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 1020/RIM 1020.) The power of the mass media and its effect on social institutions and practices. Develops skills of qualitative and quantitative social science research in the area of mass communication processes; examines media as social, cultural, and economic institutions that shape the values of American society, its political dialogues, its social practices, and institutions.

JOUR 2710 - Media Writing
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020 or equivalents. Theory and practice of writing for print and electronic media according to the techniques, styles, and formats of various media. Laboratory required.

JOUR 3000 - Introduction to Motion Pictures
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 3000.) Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. The development and role of motion pictures in America, including the history of films and filmmakers, the influence of film on American culture, and film criticism.

JOUR 3050 - Principles of Health Communication
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 3050.) Introduces students to fundamental issues in Health Communication. The development of health communication, the role of interpersonal communication in health care, the design and challenges of public health campaigns, intended and unintended health messages in news and popular media, the structure of health care organization, and key ethical issues in creating and disseminating health messages to diverse audiences. 

JOUR 3090 - Reporting
4 credit hours
Prerequisite: JOUR 2710. Corequisite: JOUR 3091. Theory and practice of basic journalism skills, including content gathering, storytelling, evaluating, writing and processing of news. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory where hands-on instruction acquaints journalism students with the technology and techniques used in multiplatform media convergence and establishes a base for more advanced reporting, writing, and editing courses.

JOUR 3091 - Reporting Lab
0 credit hours
Corequisite: JOUR 3090. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory.  

JOUR 3100 - Music as Popular Culture
3 credit hours
(Same as RIM 3100.) Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy. Introduces range of scholarly approaches to the study of popular music. Encourages perspectives other than those of "producer" or "consumer." Requires applications of analytical and critical methods in research paper assignment.

JOUR 3450 - Editing
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy. Theory and practice in the art of copy editing, including editing, language skills, newspaper style, news judgment, headline writing, photo editing, cutline writing, and page design.

JOUR 3510 - Media History and American Culture
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 3510.) Development of American journalism and the mass media from Colonial times to the present, including the role and influence of mass media on American culture, technical advances, and contributions of individual personalities.

JOUR 3520 - Special Topics in Professional Issues
3 credit hours
(Same as ADV/PR/VCOM 3520.) Prerequisites: JOUR 3090 and admission to candidacy. Special topics in journalism, advertising, public relations, and visual communication focusing on practical applications. Topics change each semester and have included investigative, environmental, sports, and political reporting; visual editing; international public relations; and advertising account management. May be repeated up to 6 credits.

JOUR 3530 - Feature Writing
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy or permission of instructor. Theory and practice of writing feature stories for newspapers and magazines. Assignments in writing for professional publications as well as the student newspaper.

JOUR 3580 - MC Practicum
1 to 3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; junior standing; permission of instructor. Practical experience in an on-campus mass communication setting. Note: Total credit for practicum and internship courses cannot exceed 3 credits. Pass/Fail.

JOUR 3590 - Magazine Writing and Editing
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; JOUR 3530. Types of magazines and editorial needs; practice in magazine article writing.

JOUR 3650 - Free Expression, Mass Media, and the American Public
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 3650/RIM 3650.) A general introduction to the issues surrounding free expression and its relationship to mass media in contemporary America. Comprehensive analysis of the history, philosophies, cases, and controls associated with freedom of expression.

JOUR 4000 - MC Internship
1 to 3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; upper-division standing; permission of the internship coordinator. Advanced students gain practical experience in a professional setting. Note: Total credit for internship and practicum courses cannot exceed 3 credits. Pass/Fail.

JOUR 4210 - Mass Communication and Society
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4210.) Prerequisite: Junior standing. Theories of the process of mass communication, how media affect society, the evolution within a social and cultural context, ethical and social dimensions. Extensive reading in theory, history, and research. Media-content emphasis varies depending on instructor's expertise.

JOUR 4250 - Mass Media Law
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4250.) Prerequisites: JOUR 1020; junior standing. Examination of legal guarantees and restrictions on the flow of information using the case study method. Focus on libel, privacy, obscenity, and the special restrictions placed on advertising, broadcasting, cable TV, and the Internet.

JOUR 4300 - Reviewing and Criticism
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy or permission of instructor. Theories and practice of reviewing and criticism in the mass media. Overview of current trends in film, theatre, music, books, and other entertainment media. Practice in critical and analytical writing.

JOUR 4440 - Advanced Reporting
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy. Advanced theory and practice in news reporting, emphasis on coverage of governmental affairs and other public affairs-related assignments, including an introduction to interpretive and investigative reporting techniques.

JOUR 4660 - Scientific Approaches to Media
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4660.) Prerequisite: Junior standing. Provides a critical overview of the historical, intellectual, and theoretical foundations of scientific inquiry with specific emphasis on quantitative research methods. Introduces major theories and methods of scientific inquiry in the field of communication including psychological and sociological perspectives, survey research, content analysis, experiments, observational research, and statistical analysis. Explores audience analysis, media effects, message testing, campaign evaluation, political communication, public opinion, and new media technologies.

JOUR 4670 - Cultural Approaches to Media
3 credit hours
Provides a critical overview of the historical, intellectual, and theoretical foundations of cultural studies with specific emphasis on research methods. Explores popular culture, comparative media systems, global media flows, and new media technologies, among other topics pertinent to media and journalism.

JOUR 4700 - Mass Media and National Security
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Junior/Senior standing or permission of instructor. Examines the role of the mass media in maintaining national security. Topics include history, legal, and operational concerns from both media and the government perspectives. Discusses the tension between maintaining national security and American traditions of civil liberties and the role of both the media and government in these discussions.

JOUR 4780 - Media and Markets
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Junior standing. Approaches to understanding media audiences. Examines tensions between the business and public functions of media, and social and ethical conflicts related to media marketing.

JOUR 4790 - Global News and World Media Cultures
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4790.) Prerequisite: Junior standing. Systems and philosophies associated with gathering international news and news coverage in different regions. Looks at global communication systems and ownership; examines how cultures shape news and the role of the individual in reporting news internationally. Includes discussion of development issues and role of global advertising and public relations.

JOUR 4800 - Seminar in Media Issues
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4800.) Prerequisite: Junior standing. Examination and critical evaluation of issues relevant to the operation and functions of mass media, including their relationships to each other and to government, advertisers, consumers, and other publics. May be repeated up to 6 credits.

JOUR 4810 - Global Comparative Media Systems
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4810.) Prerequisites: EMC 4790/JOUR 4790 or permission of instructor and junior standing. A close comparative study of chosen media systems in regions of the world. Examines print, broadcast, entertainment, and new media in Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim Region, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. Media interactions with an influence on the geographic, demographic, linguistic, cultural, economic, and political structures of countries.

JOUR 4820 - Race, Gender, and Class in Media
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4820.) Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor. Critical examination of diversity in mass communication with particular emphasis on media representations of race, gender, and class. Also examines audience interpretations of media texts.

JOUR 4850 - Ethics and Mass Communication
3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4850.) Prerequisite: Junior standing. Examination of ethical concerns of media practitioners illuminated by study of selected current ethical issues and an overview of the cultural and philosophical basis of socially responsive mass media.

JOUR 4900 - Independent Study In Mass Communication
1 to 3 credit hours
(Same as EMC 4900.) Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; permission of instructor. Independent study projects or research related to media issues or professions.

JOUR 4910 - Research in Media Issues
3 credit hours
Students work on developing good writing skills while conducting original research in their areas of interest. Students will critique each other's writing in a peer-workshop environment, as they edit and revise their own writing--building to a journal-quality research paper presented to the class in a conference-like setting.