Welcome to the Department of Journalism
Students graduating from Western with a degree in journalism should have a strong liberal arts background, skills in research, critical thinking and analysis, and an ability to write clearly and reasonably quickly on complex topics. Graduates should be prepared to present information to the public in a clear and concise manner, using the latest in information technology.
At the heart of the journalism program are its writing courses: newswriting, editing and design, reporting and feature writing. Students in all of the department's sequences take these courses. Students in journalism may choose from three sequences – News Editorial, Public Relations and Visual Journalism. Each of these sequences includes specific courses tailored to that area of expertise. See our graduation requirements for individual sequence information. Individual course descriptions are also available and the course schedule for the 2017-2018 academic year is available on classfinder.
The journalism department is dedicated to staying relevant in industries that are constantly changing. This includes up-to-date software and computers in the department labs. In addition, faculty members work to stay abreast of the latest changes in the industries. Department faculty combine professional and academic training and expertise. All faculty members have extensive professional backgrounds, as well as appropriate graduate degrees. They are regularly published in both academic and professional publications.
All majors and minors are required to gain practical experience on student media. Most required staff courses are with the twice-weekly student newspaper, The Western Front, but one is required with the twice-quarterly student magazine, Klipsun. All journalism students may also work on The Planet, the quarterly environmental magazine. Student publications and their writers and editors consistently win the top awards in regional Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and Washington Press Association (WPA) contests.
Students also gain practical experience through service-learning courses, which enable them to work with outside organizations relevant to their sequence through individual classes. In addition, all majors undertake field internships of at least six weeks working under supervision in professional newsrooms, public relations agencies or other organizations appropriate to student needs and approved by the department. Typically, internships are during the summer but may also be arranged during the regular academic year.
Students planning a journalism major may obtain advising information from the online department brochure, department office, Communications Facility 255, (360)650-3252, by writing the department at Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9161, or Karen.Smith@wwu.edu.