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Undergraduate students in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication get the best of the old and new journalism worlds: They learn the values and principles that have long formed the core of the journalism profession, and they master the highly specialized, practical skills needed to succeed in today’s digital world.
And, of course, they focus heavily on a broad-based liberal arts curriculum. Two-thirds of the Cronkite students’ coursework is outside of journalism in liberal arts courses.
Under the Cronkite undergraduate curriculum, students take 30 journalism credits in common: four core values classes, four basic skills courses, a multimedia class and a required internship.
The values classes start in the freshman year with Principles and History of Journalism. The school's top leadership, including Dean Christopher Callahan, contribute to the teaching of this class. The commitment underscores the importance placed on getting each year’s incoming freshman class off to the right start.
In their sophomore year, students take a seminar-style class in journalism ethics and diversity, while juniors study media law. Seniors delve into the business and future of journalism under long-time practitioners who are now Cronkite faculty.
Basic skills classes also start in the freshman year with a beginning news reporting and writing class, after which students move on to editing and intermediate reporting classes. These three classes form the foundation for later specializations for Cronkite students.
Recognizing that multimedia skills are now essential for all journalists, all Cronkite students take a course in online media. The school has one of the strongest digital media programs in the country, with seven full-time faculty members as well as adjunct faculty with specialties in this fast-growing area of journalism.
A rich variety of elective offerings and high-intensity capstone experiences distinguish the Cronkite program, known as "the teaching hospital."
Among these advanced offerings are a number of exceptional, full-immersion professional program experiences. Students specializing in digital media, for example, may work in the school’s New Media Innovation Lab, where they conduct cutting-edge research on online media usage habits, or they may choose the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, where they create their own ground-breaking products. Print students may find themselves reporting around the region for Cronkite News Service, which distributes student work to newspapers and Web sites across the state. Broadcast students may do a broadcast version of Cronkite News Service or work on Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s award-winning student-produced newscast. Public relations students will gain experience in a school-operated PR agency.
Students get even more valuable hands-on experience through internships. Located in the nation’s 13th largest broadcast market, the Cronkite School has long offered students a wide range of internship opportunities. Hundreds of students fan out every semester to newspaper and magazine newsrooms, public relations firms and agencies, Web sites, and TV and radio stations across the Valley to practice their professional skills. In the summer, Cronkite students can be found doing internships at media outlets across the country. All Cronkite students are urged to do multiple internships, and they are required to do at least one under the direction of the school’s full-time director of career services. This required credit also entails resume, interview and other career preparation in a seminar course called After Cronkite.
Grounded in the ethics and principles of journalism and armed with practical experience as well as a broad liberal arts education, Cronkite graduates are well prepared for jobs as reporters, editors, photographers, designers, producers and public relations and communications professionals not only in the mass media but a variety of other fields.