2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Department of Journalism

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Journalists work on behalf of their fellow citizens by helping them understand their world so that they can make wiser decisions. By providing information, journalists link people to their government, enable a vigorous debate of ideas, and diversify the public forum with as many voices as possible.

Journalism emerged alongside the advent of democracy, and it is a crucial resource for citizens of the 21st century. Journalists are rigorous, resourceful, and open-minded researchers who know how to ask questions and find records. They are exceptional analysts and interpreters of information who combine savvy street smarts with quantitative methods. They are also master storytellers who can explain complex issues in a way everyone can understand instantaneously. These qualities make journalists agile and versatile for tomorrow’s workplace.

Along with classwork, students undertake extracurricular activities and internships that help them develop and apply their knowledge in the working world. Most courses take place at the Boston campus, but students can also do coursework and internships in global locations such as Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Salzburg, Barcelona, the Netherlands, Australia, and China.


The Department of Journalism develops young professionals into lifelong self-learners who will be able to detect disruptive technologies on the horizon and courageously adapt by leveraging their experience and learning new skills. The Emerson Journalism curriculum is centered around four principles: Discover, Adapt, Illuminate, and Respect.

“Discover” describes the way journalists approach their work with an open mind and clean slate. They are resourceful and inquisitive in their information gathering. Journalists weigh the validity of their sources as they seek to expand the public’s understanding of their world.

“Adapt” characterizes the need to continuously explore different ideas, approaches, and tools. Journalists need to be self-reflective of their successes and failures to learn from their mistakes. Adaptable journalists create, learn, adjust, and try again.

The principle of “Illuminate” defines journalists and separates them from all other types of writers. Journalists expose, uncover, clarify, and contextualize issues, policies, and behaviors. Journalists illuminate when they ask questions that challenge the powerful to respond. They enliven the public conversation by bringing new ideas for consideration, and they broaden the forum by enabling voices that are often not heard.

The principle of “Respect” hopes to rebuild the relationship between journalists and the public. Journalists need the trust of the public to justify their purpose and the outcome of their work. Journalists must treat others respectfully to obtain information and tell accurate stories. Journalists must have self-respect to honestly and faithfully serve the public interest. Gaining respect involves keeping promises, respecting confidentiality, and protecting privacy while in pursuit of the public interest. Respectful journalists act independently, portraying the truth as they see it.

The four principles are defined through the program’s Learning Objectives.

Students will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of the ways of government and communities to produce journalism that uses public information and diverse community and government sources to examine culture and concerns.

  2. Cultivate and utilize a diversity of people, information, and perspectives to provide insight into the journalism about communities and institutions.

  3. Incorporate best practices and values of the profession to produce journalism that is independent, truthful, representative, accountable, and respectful of people as subjects and as audience.

  4. Apply a variety of media to reporting and producing journalism that best serves the story and the audience. Write accurate and precise news stories synthesizing information using the most effective formats, style, and language.

The Emerson Journalism curriculum is designed to challenge emerging professionals with assignments that progressively increase in complexity. Emerson journalists are encouraged to connect what they have learned in other parts of the College to their journalism classwork and pursue story topics that interest them.


All incoming Journalism students will be tested to ensure they have the necessary foundational knowledge in grammar and government required for journalistic competence. If a student does not pass the test, they will be expected to attend workshops and individual tutoring sessions to develop grammar competency.

Technology Requirement

The Journalism Department has started the CreativityKit laptop program to increase access to technology, raise academic challenge, and create a real-world experience for Emerson journalists.

All incoming Emerson journalists are required to participate in the CreativityKit Program and are highly encouraged to come to campus with an iOS device (iPhone, iPad).

Co-curricular Activities

Students are encouraged to participate in campus and professional media through co-curricular activities and internships. Among those outlets available on the Emerson campus are the Berkeley Beacon and the news programs of WECB (AM), WERS (FM), WEBN, and Emerson Independent Video (EIV).


    Bachelor of ScienceMinor

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