Considering journalism? Consider IU!

Are you considering a major in journalism? Then look no further than Bloomington, Indiana!

Education Portal listed IU as one of the 10 best journalism schools in the entire country. The IU School of Journalism, with its prestige and all its opportunities, was one of the main factors that drew me to IU. The journalism school gives you so many options, between the classes you can take and the organizations in which you can get involved. (Photo courtesy of IU School of Journalism.)

Most students must take a certain number of classes before they can officially be admitted to the school as journalism majors. However, some will be admitted directly based on an application filled out after being accepted to the university. If you meet certain test scores and GPA, you're eligible to apply for direct admission or even an honors program

Regardless of how you're admitted, everyone eventually takes the same six core classes. They are:

  • J110 - Foundations of Journalism and Mass Communication, an overview of different areas of journalism and a preview for other classes you can later take.
  • J155 - Research Techniques for Journalists, a 1-credit, 10-week online class that most people take at the same time they take
  • J200 - Reporting, Writing & Editing I, the basics of news writing and interviewing, as well as learning AP style and appropriate grammar for news stories. Most of your work is writing four actual articles as if they were going to be published. In my class, we also did some in-class activities where we had to write a broadcast script and cover a fake "breaking news" event on a short deadline.
  • J210 - Visual Communication, basics of photography, video and graphic design. You'll create a photo story, a 2 1/2 minute news or PR video and two magazine spreads in InDesign. 
  • J300 - Communications Law. You'll talk about the First Amendment, free speech, libel, privacy laws and all that good stuff. 
  • J410 - The Media as Social Institutions, which I won't be taking until senior year. I do know that this class discusses journalism ethics.

You're also required one "advanced writing" class, two "advanced skills" classes, one "research" class and 11 credits of electives that don't fit into any of these categories. With these requirements, you can choose classes that fit your particular journalistic interests - in fact, you can specialize in an area like broadcast or sports journalism and have that specialization marked on your transcript. I'm specializing in public relations and will be fulfilling my requirements through mostly PR classes that I would have taken anyway.

You also have to pick a second concentration of 24 credits outside of journalism or communications. You can choose anything based on your interests, and you can even make your second concentration a minor or another major! Also, you don't have to know your second concentration right away. I still haven't declared mine, so it's giving me a good opportunity to explore many other areas of study. (Photo courtesy of iub.edu.)

And of course, you have general education requirements (some of which you may fulfill before graduating high school). They are:

  • One English class
  • One math class
  • One statistics class
  • Three Arts and Humanities classes
  • Three Social and Historical classes
  • Three Natural and Mathematical classes (your math class will count as one of them)
  • Two years of foreign language (four semesters)
  • One "Diversity in the U.S." class and two "Global Civilizations and Cultures" classes 

Outside of the classroom, you have plenty of opportunities for real-world experience and networking. Do you like to write and see your work in print? Join the Indiana Daily Student newspaper, Arbutus yearbook or INside magazine. Interested in radio or TV journalism? We have WIUX student radio and IU Student Television. Want to expand your work beyond campus? Students also intern at local nonprofits or in local media such as the public TV station.

We also have some student organizations for different interests, which usually include workshops, speakers and networking opportunities. Some of these clubs include the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). I'm a member of PRSSA, and we provide opportunities like resume workshops, speaker panels and committees, where we do PR for actual clients on campus (WeAreIU.com is one of our clients this year!)

Finally, another great opportunity our journalism school offers is travel courses. Each spring semester, the school offers classes that include a trip (usually abroad) during spring break. Next semester, people will be traveling to Italy through an international PR class, to England and France through a class about Ernie Pyle and Beijing through a class about media in China. The school also offers a summer class about HIV/AIDS reporting that travels to Kenya.

Unfortunately, I wasn't eligible for any travel courses this year, but I will get to take part in the school's Summer in London program starting in May. I will spend eight weeks in London, completing an internship and taking a class about British media. I can't wait! 

The life of a journalism major is certainly busy but rewarding. I've had some amazing experiences and have met some wonderful students and faculty. I've gotten real world experience and some great clips for my portfolio. The journalism community here is something very special. I'm so glad to be a part of it.

To learn more about the journalism program at IU, go to http://journalism.indiana.edu/.

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About The Author
Alyssa SchorProud IU Student, Class of 2016

Hello Hoosiers! My name is Alyssa Schor and I'm a journalism major specializing in public relations with a minor in psychology. I've previously written for the Indiana Daily Student and this fall will serve as editor-in-chief of The Odyssey, a publication geared for students in Greek life. It's the perfect cross between my passion for Greek life, my skills in journalism and my career goals in PR.

I'm a member of the PR committee for IU Dance Marathon and have also helped out the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) with their annual Greek media training event. I like chocolate and food in general a lot, and you'll occasionally find me at Hillel eating their delicious challah and matzah ball soup (or whatever else they're serving that day). 

This is now my third year (what?!) blogging for WeAreIU.com, and I keep doing it because I'm so excited to share my stories with you and serve as a great resource for current and future IU students. If there is anything you want me to write about, let me know!