Journalism BA

Total Units Required: 120

A journalist listens intently during a press conference as she stands next to her camera, which she has mounted on a tripod.

The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism has two options: news and public relations.

The option in news. Students who chose this option study the basics of journalism: information gathering, interviewing, reporting, writing, editing and visual presentation skills. The option focuses on thinking, researching, and understanding the diverse society in which we live. 

Journalists play an important role in a free and democratic society as they serve a public in need of information about its leaders, political institutions, and the culture. A journalist is part watchdog and part entertainer. The job requires guts, instincts, and talent. At its highest form, journalism educates and provides information that people need in their everyday lives. Students who graduate with a degree in the news option spend at least one semester and often two or three semesters working on the department's laboratory newspaper, The Orion, which may be the most honored college newspaper in the country. By practicing journalism, our students learn to tell the stories that need to be told. 

Students in the news option are trained to 

  • Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances; 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications; 
  • Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information; 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness, and diversity; 
  • Think critically, creatively, and independently; 
  • Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style, and grammatical correctness. 

The option in public relations. PR practitioners are the facilitators of communication between an organization and the outside world. It’s the job of the PR professional to be the voice of the company, to create goodwill, and to develop relationships with key internal and external audiences, such as employees, consumers, and journalists. 

At the same time, the practitioner is responsible for educating upper management about how others perceive an organization’s reputation, brand, image, messages, products, and services. 

The PR professional must constantly watch for new trends, monitor the news media and social networks, know what the competition is doing, and be able to identify opportunities and obstacles for organizations. 

Students in the public relations option are trained to 

  • Conduct effective primary and secondary research for clients; 
  • Help shape informed, ethical decisions that achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for clients and publics; 
  • Write for print, broadcast, and online media; 
  • Create strategic communication plans that connect clients with and target messages to a variety of stakeholders; 
  • Develop methods to measure and evaluate plan success; and 
  • Identify and engage with emerging technologies and identify their influence on communication.