Columbia Journalism School

Cross Registration Fall 2014

Registration Information for Non-Journalism Students


Graduate students from other Columbia Divisions/Schools looking to register for Fall 2014 classes at the Journalism School must follow the steps outlined below . All classes listed below are 3 point electives and detailed information including course description have been listed. 

Cross-registration will be open on Monday, August 25, at 10am and it will close Friday, September 12, at 10am.

To cross register, students must submit this form:





3 points

Day/Time: F 12:00pm-3:00pm Location: To be announced

Dates: 9/5/2014 - 12/12/2014

Instructor: Jonathan Stray

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.





3 points

Day/Time: W 6:00pm-9:00pm Location: To be announced

Dates: 9/3/2014 - 10/15/2014

Instructor: Tom Edsall

This module will require a single 3,500-word, substantially researched story about politics and policy. I expect multiple drafts over the seven weeks of the course. I will give each draft a thorough line edit. Students may choose projects on any of the topics below -- or on a topic of their own choosing, with permission of the instructor. Students will meet with me regularly to discuss a written description of their selected topic, a multi-page written outline and increasingly detailed written drafts.

Suggested topics include:

*Impact of budget shortfalls on livelihoods

*Impact of immigration law-enforcement policies

*Conflicts in New York over gun rights legislation and impact on local or statewide elections

*Impact of the Affordable Care Act on health-care delivery in New York

*Profile (detailed) of a New York member of Congress, the state Legislature, the City Council or a candidate for elective office

*Profile (detailed) of a local political operative, strategist, lobbyist, activist, power-broker, or community organizer

*Analysis of a real estate development project in New York with emphasis on political aspects -- funding, permitting, zoning and other issues

*Portrait of a religious institution and/or community with a politicized congregation, leadership and agenda. 


Section 002 - 800 WORDS

3 points

Day/Time: W 6:00pm-9:00pm Location: To be announced

Dates: 9/3/2014 - 10/15/2014

Instructor: Kevin Coyne

Newspapers may be shrinking, but the most versatile, durable, readable literary form they gave us – the column – is flourishing, although it has migrated beyond the traditional beyond the traditional borders of print, and often travels under different names now. The column – 800 words of story, voice, idea and opinion, in varying proportions according to the occasion – has always been the three-minute pop song of our business, the marquee form of journalism, and it has become an essential building block of the Web: the blog, the posting, the musing, the reflection, the anecdote, the kind of brief essay that requires minimal scrolling. So how can we get better at this form, this length, regardless of the medium through which it reaches readers? What can we learn from the great columnists, past and present, that will bring more authority and poetry to our work, whether on the Web or in print? How can we bring more reporting, more substance, to a form that in its latest incarnation often strays too far from the ethics and practices of its roots in print? How can we shape a narrative arc in a narrow space? In a world that has come to value voice so highly, how can we make our voices more rigorous, fluent, persuasive and concise? In this class, you’ll read a wide range of work, from the earliest newspaper columnists to the latest bloggers, and you’ll write, and then rewrite, four columns of your own – four 800-word stories of varying subject, tone and purpose.


Section 005 - ART OF THE ARTS

3 points

Day/Time: S 2:00pm-5:00pm Location: To be announced

Dates: 10/25/2014 - 12/6/2014

Instructor: Dolores Barclay

We all love a good movie, good music, a good play or book. Some of us love art, sculpture, dance, opera and performance pieces. But when it comes to writing about A&E, do we bore readers? Do we come across as fan girls and fan boys? Or do we stimulate thought, emotion and really get to the measure of it all? This course focuses on producing lively, compelling and authoritative writing that accurately reflects the moment, a trend, a movement and its people, rather than the hype and hyperbole, and developing a student's individual writing voice. Students will comb through media and elsewhere to find a subject to their liking, a trend, controversy or even person worth developing into stories, and will write two pieces during the course. I will show no mercy in editing and giving you feedback, and we will discuss individual stories as a class to help develop critical standards. Masters of the craft will visit and share their secrets. 


Section 015 - DEATH AND DYING

3 points

Day/Time: M 10:00am-1:00pm Location: To be announced

Dates: 10/27/2014 - 12/8/2014

Instructor: Ari L Goldman

Just about every journalist has to cover death, whether a fireman’s funeral, a fatal car crash, a memorial service or a simple obituary of a community leader. This seven-week course will equip students to cover end-of-life issues, including terminal illness, murders, suicides and fatal accidents in both the personal and public spheres. With the help of experts on trauma, students will discuss best practices about interviewing the bereaved and survivors. The reading list will include some of the great journalism on death and dying, including classic obituaries and accounts of disasters such as 9/11, Katrina, and the Indian Ocean tsunami. The class will also look at some of the digital media outlets that are increasingly being used to memorialize the dead. Finally, the class will explore the cross-cultural and cross-theological practices surrounding death. Over the course of the semester, each student will visit a public memorial and a funeral home and write a story from each venue. There will be weekly research, writing and re-writing assignments with the goal of producing three 1,200-word articles. 



3 points

Day/Time: M 5:30pm-8:30pm Location: To be announced

Dates: 10/27/2014 - 12/8/2014

Instructor: Lisa Pollack 

If you’ve ever been so captivated by a radio story that you stayed in your car until it finished, you know the power of narrative writing for the ear. In this class we will study the qualities of the best audio storytelling and the ways it differs from (and is similar to) writing for print. You'll learn to use your writing to enhance your tape on radio stories and bring clarity and forward momentum to all of your writing. Assignments will focus on reporting short audio narratives that revolve around conflicts faced by ordinary people and are told in ways make listeners care about those people. You’ll learn how to hunt for stories that are actual stories – stories with plots, characters, conflicts, stakes, and themes. You’ll report a story for both audio and print and learn how to assess which medium is best for your material. Along the way we’ll listen to inspiring examples of great audio narratives and meet a few of the best reporters doing it today. The level of technical skills required are no more than what all students have learned in their August training – recording and mixing a basic story with written narration and actuality from interviews. This section is not a prerequisite for any course. Students will leave with the ability to write more succinctly, but with the punch and style desirable for strong storytelling in any medium. 



3 points

Day/time: W 12:10pm-2:00pm; Location: Journalism Bldg 502

Dates: 9/3/14 - 12/3/14

Instructor: Andrea J. Tucher

An exploration of the traditions, conventions, values, assumptions, and dilemmas that have shaped the institution of journalism and its central role in public life. Through readings, class discussions, and close observations of journalistic work past and present, we take on some of the Big Questions: what is journalism for? How does it work, why, and what happens when it doesn't? Is objectivity dead, or should it be? What are the relationships between journalism and the truth? Between journalism and storytelling? How do new technologies and new economic structures change what journalism does and what publics expect? 

A final research paper is required.



3 points

Day/Time: M 2:00pm-4:00pm Location: To be announced

Dates: 9/8/2014 - 12/8/2014

Instructor: Todd Gitlin

Despite heightened scientific concern about the convulsive climate change already taking place and mounting worldwide, media reporting is sketchy, often misleading, and--even when accurate--of doubtful effect in informing both public and elite opinion. How is the climate news framed?  What can psychological and journalistic research tell us about how the climate-change discourse ought to be framed?  This seminar will explore the growing literature on media coverage of climate change; on obstacles to public comprehension; on relevant experimental and public opinion research.  We will read books and articles to get our minds around the state of the art, and  hear from climate scientists and journalists who face the problem of how to convey climate news in a fashion commensurate with public need.


For the most part, spots in J-School classes are assigned to non-Journalism graduate students on a space available basis (with top priority given to IMC SIPA students).

To request cross registration in a Journalism School course, please complete the form.

The form will be active as of Monday, August 25, at 10am.

Please note that this is only a REQUEST and we cannot guarantee your request will be accommodated.

Cross registration request forms are processed on a first come, first served basis.

If your form is submitted correctly you will receive a request confirmation e-mail within 24 hours. Please remember to include the after your UNI.

You will NOT receive an e-mail from my office saying that your request was granted or not granted.

To learn if your request was granted, you must keep checking your class schedule on the web using All requests remain on file during the cross registration period (August 25 - September 12 at 10:00 a.m.).

You do not need to submit multiple forms for the same cross registration request. If I am able to grant requests I do it as soon as possible but sometimes it takes days for a space to open in a class. Sometimes the space never opens up.

Please remember that you are submitting a cross registration REQUEST. There is no guarantee that I will be able to approve your request. Until you see a change reflected on your class schedule on STUDENT SERVICES ONLINE (, your request has not been approved.

If you have more than one course for which you want to be considered, please submit a separate form for each class.

Also, please be certain that you are not requesting a class that conflicts with any of your other classes.

Direct any questions to Melanie Huff at




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