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Essentials of Journalism




Admissions requirements



This is an introductory course seeking to give students a basic understanding of the essential elements of print journalism. There will be lectures on what is news, news judgement and how to get and write a news story. There will be further lectures on the specifics of reporting, news writing, interviewing, sourcing, feature writing, the “new journalism” and investigative reporting. Students will be given articles by a variety of journalists to study. The emphasis is on print journalism and students will be required to go out and report and write their own news stories and features on a weekly basis.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate clear insight and understanding of what print journalism entails, of how it has changed over the past few decades, of what it can achieve and of the ethical quandaries journalists face

  • report and write news stories and features –by actually going out and reporting stories, doing interviews – short and long

  • describe and review the different techniques of reporting, interviewing and writing that journalists have used and developed over the past 150 years


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Most of the classes will be in the form of lectures, always with time for discussion. There will also be several in-class assignments – writing news stories to time limitations.

Every week students will be given writing assignments – initially based on articles handed out by the lecturer, later on the basis of reporting each of the students has personally done – either in the form of news stories or of a news feature. One of the reporting assignments will follow a visit to a court session of the ICTY – the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or the ICC. The news stories will be relatively short (300-400 words); the feature longer. Students will be graded both on the quality of their stories and on their participation in class discussions. Outside of class I will show at least one film.


  • In class participation: 10%

  • 3 initial news articles: 10% each

  • 2 reporting assignments: 10% each

  • 1 bookreview: 10%

  • 2 news features: 15% each


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The Elements of Journalism – Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel
Blur: How to know what’s true in the age of information overload – Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote