MA Courses Taken:
News Now/Journalism in the Information Age - This course offered historic context in critically examining issues now facing journalism. Throughout the course we analyzed the impact that convergence and digital technologies are having on ethical decisions that must be made by socially responsible journalists during every news shift. Topics included: who is a "reporter" in the digital age and what are the rights and privileges of the online reporter in a converged environment that influence confidentiality, defamation, privacy, gate-keeping, sensationalism, the public's right to know, globalization, corporatization, and public opinion.
Backpack Reporting - This course give me the practical experience in news gathering and distribution within the converged landscape of electronic newsgathering. This involved the preparation needed in covering stories, writing reports, shooting pictures and videos, and downloading these files along with links to relevant sites online. It prepared to act independently and with others throughout the digital news gathering cycle, including the production of content in multiple information formats.
Newscast Practicum - This course taught how to construct a newscast, while fulfilling the social responsibility of the press. We learned how to utilize digital technologies to craft stories that empower citizens to participate more fully in public life. We rotate through different positions weekly---reporter, anchor, editor, technical director, director, floor director, and producer---in producing a weekly public affairs program. I tried myself as a cameraperson, anchor, floor director and associate producer. I enjoyed the latter the best and see myself taking on more production projects.
Niche Journalism - The course examined the explosion in online/magazine. Each student was to chose a topic of interest create a blog and be a real life online news publisher, reporter, technician and creative director all in one. As a result I mastered the art of blogging, producing and writing for online outlets. I was blogging about Chicago Architecture, visiting industry events, talking to architects, residents of historic buildings, residents who have enjoyed as well as hated living in old and modern buildings. By examining Chicago’s architecture I was revealing the soul of the city, its development and growth and the forces behind it: people. Photo galleries, surveys and rare stories found their home on my blog called Revel Chicago. It was an amazing experience.
Special Topics – The course examined how presidential elections were/are covered from John Hanson to President George W. Bush. By the end of the course a research paper was submitted analyzing un/bias coverage of a particular subject in the current presidential election race. It involved a lot of analytical writing where clips and readings were used as sources.
Opinion/Column Writing – I learned what makes for extraordinary opinion and column writing with an emphasis on strong reporting that enables writers to assemble arguments based on the firm foundation of fact. We also examined the new ways in which digital delivery systems both empower and threaten the free flow of ideas within and across interest communities.
International Reporting - This course analyzed the impact new technologies and the “War on Terror” are having on foreign correspondents and international reporting. During the course we chose a country of interest and acted as foreign correspondents by focusing on Diasporas here in Chicago. We followed stories, studied the country / community, identified and researched story ideas, sources and linked them back to the country of origin. We primarily used digital media and analyzed the effect on the ability of news makers and organizations to compete with governments in worldwide information flows. We also looked at the digital revolution in mainly in terms of how it has made citizens more inter-dependent while creating extraordinary opportunities for journalists to tell stories that increase the understanding and enlarge the imagination of the news consumers.
Public Relations - This course involved the study of the theory, history, practice and future of public relations in a comprehensive way. This course allowed me to understand the breadth of the field and to investigate specific areas of public relations (i.e., political, medical, financial, government, corporate, education, etc.). We also studied operations and objectives PR practice from both the corporate and non-profit sectors. I developed two PR strategy documents for entertainment and sports industries which included SWOT analysis and estimation of the issue, tactics developments and measurements of the results. It was a fascinating course that improved my performance at worked allowing developing and executing considerably better strategies and action plans for both traditional and digital Public Relations Management projects.
Advanced TV Reporting - This course went beyond the inverted pyramid of basic news writing and focus on some of the sophisticated newsgathering techniques used by journalists. During the course we examined story generation techniques along with interviewing techniques. The course we also explored how databases and documents can enhance a story, including the use of surveys, field experiments and participant observation. In teams and individually we shot and edited stand up news packages. To do this, I learned the basic elements in developing a broadcast news story--from originating the story idea, researching it, illustrating it, doing interviews, and then packaging the story for air.
Social Responsibility of Journalism - This course introduced me to the historic development of social responsibility theory and its continuing role in defining the obligations of journalists in creating an informed citizenry as a critical part of the democratic process. The course analyzed the ongoing tension between journalistic responsibility and the obligations of news organizations to turn profits for their shareholders and the constitutional imprimatur of journalism to offer the information that makes self-governance possible. During the course we studied numerous occasions of journalistic responsibility and irresponsibility and estimated the effects in research papers. Once, again we used real news clips and academic papers as sources for our papers / articles.