Columbia Journalism School

Journalism & Computer Science (SEAS) Dual-Degree Program

With the exception of those doing a dual degree in computer science at SEAS, all other dual-degree students do the following sequence outlined here. The following is the semester-by-semester sequence of courses, which students in the Journalism & Computer Science (SEAS) Dual-Degree Program take at the Journalism School.

FIRST SEMESTER: FALL

Reporting - 6 points
Reporting is a 11-week course. The first four weeks are devoted to digital training, and the remaining seven to reporting methods.  During this course, faculty will cover such topics as how to gather and evaluate information, how to interview people, and how to write a story in a cogent and compelling fashion. Students will be assigned beats and will be expected to produce stories from those coverage areas.

Essentials of Journalism - 4 points
This program includes four required courses, each half a semester long.

  • Law of Journalism - 1 point
    This course provides students with a practical understanding of legal issues that most affect journalists. Students learn First Amendment basics, and then move to such issues as privacy, defamation, libel, fair use and copyright, agreements with sources, and liability for journalists. Many of these issues are addressed within the changing contexts brought on by the Internet.

  • Business of Journalism - 1 point
    This course gives students an understanding of the business of gathering and publishing news. Students learn about models that historically supported print and broadcast, as well as concentration of media and regulation by government. We also look at disruption in those models caused by the Web. Students learn about digital  media companies and, at the end, are challenged to conceive business models for the future.

  • Ethics of Journalism - 1 point
    Students deal with ethical issues that arise in the practice of journalism. Those include verification of information, the relationship between personal morality and journalistic decisions, issues brought up by competition and the ubiquity of news, and the way the Internet forces decisions within narrow time frames.

  • History of Journalism - 1 point
    How has the role of the journalist changed over the decades? This course looks at the influence of partisanship, technological change and varying definitions of objectivity. It includes several key factors, including how significant changes in technology, radio, television and online, have affected the way journalists operate.

The Written Word - 3 points
This course may encompass such topics as Deadline News, Profile Writing and Feature Writing.

One Computer Science Course - 3 points
More about computer science courses at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is available here and here.

TOTAL: 16 points - full-time enrollment

SECOND SEMESTER: SPRING

Four Computer Science Courses - 12 points
More about computer science courses at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is available here and here.

One Image and Sound or Audience and Engagement Module - 3 points
(whichever course is not completed this semester will be completed in the second fall semester)

  • Image and Sound
    Image and Sound modules may include classes in video, audio, photography and data visualization;

  • Audience and Engagement
    Audience and Engagement modules may include topics, such as Aggregation and Curation, Social Media for Journalists, and Digital News Design.

TOTAL: 15 points - full-time enrollment

THIRD SEMESTER: FALL

Frontiers of Computational Journalism - 6 points
The aim of the course is to familiarize students with current research and development within computer science that is directly relevant to journalism, so students will become more capable of participating in the design of future public information systems. The course is built around a "design" frame that examines technology from the point of view of its possible applications and social context. Students will learn about both the major unsolved problems of internet-era journalism, and the major areas of research within computer science that are being brought to bear on these problems. The scope is wide enough to include relatively traditional journalistic work, such as computer-assisted investigative reporting, and the broader information systems that we all use every day to inform ourselves, such as search engines. The course will provide students with a thorough understanding of how particular fields of computational research relate to products being developed for journalism, and provoke ideas for their own research and projects. Research-level computer science material will be discussed in class, but the emphasis will be on understanding the capabilities and limitations of this technology. Students with a CS background will have opportunity for algorithmic exploration and innovation, however the primary goal of the course is thoughtful, application-centered research and design.

Master's Project - 2 points
The master's project, which spans the autumn and spring terms, requires intensive research and writing of a substantial piece of journalism. The project is intended to demonstrate the student's ability to conduct and sustain in-depth research over several months, the ability to gather and organize large amounts of material, and the capacity to write that material in clear, accessible, and professional-quality prose. The project is also aimed at encouraging students to think beyond a daily deadline and to give them practice in the highest level of long-form reporting, writing, and producing. Although many projects end up being commercially viable, publication or broadcast is not the main goal. These projects offer a rare chance for students to experiment with topics new to them, and to practice a form of writing or production in which many journalists have little time to indulge until well along in their careers.

One Image and Sound or Audience and Engagement Module - 3 points
(whichever course that was not completed in the first spring semester)

  • Image and Sound
    Image and Sound modules may include classes in video, audio, photography and data visualization;

  • Audience and Engagement
    Audience and Engagement modules may include topics, such as Aggregation and Curation, Social Media for Journalists, and Digital News Design.

Two Computer Science Courses - 6 points
More about computer science courses at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is available here and here.

TOTAL: 17 points - full-time enrollment

FOURTH SEMESTER: SPRING

Seminar and Production - 6 points
Dual-degree students can choose any Seminar and Production course. Seminar and Production courses offered at the Journalism School are 15-week classes similar to seminars and workshops that have been offered in past years. These longer classes may include topics ranging from National Affairs Reporting to Video Storytelling, and from Literary Journalism to Data Visualization.

Master's Project - 4 points
The master's project, which spans the autumn and spring terms, requires intensive research and writing of a substantial piece of journalism. The project is intended to demonstrate the student's ability to conduct and sustain in-depth research over several months, the ability to gather and organize large amounts of material, and the capacity to write that material in clear, accessible, and professional-quality prose. The project is also aimed at encouraging students to think beyond a daily deadline and to give them practice in the highest level of long-form reporting, writing, and producing. Although many projects end up being commercially viable, publication or broadcast is not the main goal. These projects offer a rare chance for students to experiment with topics new to them, and to practice a form of writing or production in which many journalists have little time to indulge until well along in their careers.

Two Computer Science Courses - 6 points
More about computer science courses at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is available here and here.

TOTAL: 16 points - full-time enrollment
 

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