Communications & Community Media Course Descriptions


Introduction to News Reporting
Covers the basics of news gathering and news writing with an emphasis on writing for print and web media.  Students learn the basic journalistic genres including hard and soft news, feature writing, and commentary.  Also studied are some aspects of media law and media ethics as well as the history of journalism.  (3 credits)

News Publishing
Focuses on the production of Basement Medicine, Johnson State College’s award-winning student-run community newspaper. Students assign stories and photography, write news stories, features, columns and editorials, and learn the fundamentals of page design and layout using InDesign.  Students will also learn the basics of web publishing through work on the newspaper’s web edition. This is a hands-on class required of all communication majors and open to all majors.  (3 credits)

Advanced News Publishing
Available to students who have taken ENG-2052 and choose to return to the newspaper staff.  Their responsibilities include more page layout, more investigative reporting, and increased responsibilities for line and copy editing.  

(Repeatable for credit)  (3 credits)

Professional Feature Writing
An advanced course in the preparation and production of long-form narratives: human interest pieces, profiles and personality sketches, entertainment features and reviews, travel writing, service features and other forms of feature writing. The course also includes exposure to the commercial realities of freelance writing and marketing. Students publish in Basement Medicine with opportunities to place work in other local and regional publications.
(3 credits)

Media Ethics
A senior-level seminar designed to lead students through an examination of current ethical problems and issues in communications media: truth vs. accuracy; information biases: problems of personalizing, dramatizing, reenacting and manipulating the news; image-making in politics, First Amendment vs. rights to privacy: naming names; photojournalism ethics; and the transformation of news into entertainment (the rise of images and the decline of meaning).  (3 credits)

Introduction to Digital Media
Offers an overview of the digital image tools used in professional image editing, layout and design work, as well as an introduction to the general issues relevant to the handling of images and related art material in the digital context. A series of discussion topics will frame the relationship of digital media to fine art discourse and to specific media within that discourse.  (3 credits)

Web Design
Focuses on appropriate technologies, design, and processes for web development. Students will also be exposed to the why and how of website design and will create their own web pages for publication on the World Wide Web.  The course will devote special attention to website development and strategies as they apply to the communications arena. 
(3 credits)

Social Media: Web 2.0 and Beyond
Covers principles, tool, and application of social media as they apply to the field of communications. This course is designed to give students critical awareness and skills in new modes of digital media as they learn hardware, software, and techniques for video-sharing, podcasting, blogging, tweeting, and other forms of social media.



Advanced News Publishing
Taken at least twice, for 6 credits (3 credits)

Investigative Journalism
Designed to teach students best practices for in-depth reporting that goes beyond the immediate facts and official accounts.  Students will learn to use public records, databases and fieldwork to probe deeply into stories, with greater focus on the who, the why, and the overall context than is provided in the usual daily fare.  (3 credits)

Form and Theory of Nonfiction
Explores the major genres of literary nonfiction, including the classical and contemporary essay, memoir, autobiography, nature and travel writing, and literary journalism.  The structure and technique of literary nonfiction are examined and analyzed, with stress on development and organization.  (3 credits)

Two of the following literature survey courses:

Survey of World Literature I, II
M ay be taken separately or sequentially: These two courses introduce students to fiction, poetry, essays and drama in translation, mainly from the European tradition, but also including works from the Near and Far East and Latin America. World Literature I focuses on work by Homer, the Greek dramatist, Biblical and Buddhist writers, and the Chinese poet Tu Fu. Major figures in World Literature II include Dante, Rumi, Chekhov, Kafka and Neruda. Each work is looked at in its cultural context, though common themes and ideas are also examined.  (3 credits)

Survey of English Literature I, II
May be taken separately or sequentially. These two courses focus on representative works by writers from the British Isles and provide students with an historical perspective from which to study the development of major genres and themes in the English literary tradition. ENG-2281 begins with Beowulf and Old English literature, proceeds through the Middle Ages, focusing on Chaucer, explores representative literature from the Age of Elizabeth, including Shakespeare, and ends with Milton and Paradise Lost. ENG- 2282 begins in the Age of Reason with Swift and Pope, surveys selections from Romantic and Victorian writers such as Wordsworth, Keats, Browning and Arnold, and ends in an exploration of Modernism focusing on such writers as Eliot, Joyce and Woolf.  (3 credits)

Survey of American Literature I, II
May be taken in sequence or separately. These two courses survey the American tradition of literature from the early colonial period to the present. Focus is on major figures and on genres such as diaries, journals, poetry, essays and fiction. The first semester considers Winthrop, Bradstreet, Taylor, Edwards and Franklin in the 17th and 18th centuries and Emerson, Poe, Thoreau, Melville, Dickinson and Whitman as major 19th century writers. The focus of the second semester, which may be taken without taking Survey of American Literature I, extends from the late 19th century through the first half of the 20th and includes such writers as Twain, James, Crane, Frost, Eliot, Hemingway, Faulkner and Stevens.  (3 credits)

American History II                   
Provides a survey of the major events in American history from Reconstruction to the present, with an emphasis on understanding the social, cultural, economic, and political factors in the emergence of the United States as a dominant world power. (3 credits)


American Politics and Government
Provides an introduction to key topics and fundamental issues of American politics and government, including political parties, elections, interest groups, the authority and function of the various branches and levels of government, the rights of the individual and the pursuit of justice, equality, life, liberty and happiness. (3 credits)


Entails 120 hours working at a newspaper, magazine, or web publication.  Duties are primarily focused on general assignment reporting.  This internship is typically conducted between the junior and senior years. (3 credits)



Advanced News Publishing (3 credits)

Photography I

Provides an introduction to the fundamentals of 35mm black and white photography, including darkroom techniques, and the history and aesthetics of photography. A 35mm camera with adjustable f-stops and shutter speeds is required.  (3 credits)

Advanced Photography

Further explores technical, historical and creative issues. Students will generate a strong portfolio through intensive studio work. Other course components may include research projects, field trips to local exhibitions, non-traditional processes, readings in history and criticism, and a public exhibition of completed projects. May be repeated for credit. (3 credits)

Advanced Digital Media
Offers a survey of contemporary digital image processes and tools, including digital photography, illustration, design, 3-D graphics, and video/multimedia. Intended for students who have background in photography and related issues of media arts, this course will focus on the relationship of digital media to established art forms and study possibilities for their integration. The course will also cover contemporary work in technology-influenced art practice and theory. May be repeated for credit. (3 credits)

Introduction to Photojournalism

Introduces students to the art and craft of visual narrative, providing the skills needed to produce effective images in a journalistic context.  Students will learn the elements of a good news photo, developing an understanding of composition, content and professional presentation as they pertain to the demands of photojournalism.  The class will include lectures, field assignments, collective critiques, and guest speakers when appropriate. (3 credits)

Advanced Photojournalism

Focuses upon long-form narrative documentary photography techniques using a digital camera, a scanner, a digital audio recorder and Adobe Photoshop. This class will offer advanced methods for executing photography assignments in digital color and black and white while using the MARS and LLC labs 216 and 214 as digital darkrooms. Methods discussed during class meetings will include research and planning for an assignment, camera and lighting techniques, and methods with which to edit and present your work in a cohesive and professional manner.  
(3 credits)

Introduction to Video Production

Introduces students to the fundamentals of video production. The course focuses on all stages of video production from project conception to final editing. Students are immersed in the essentials of camera operation, image composition, lighting, sound, and editing with Final Cut Pro.  Students will produce small video projects leading to a longer final project.  (3 credits)


120 hours typically working at a newspaper magazine or web publication. Generally this takes place between the junior and senior year.



Principles of Business Management

An introduction to the philosophy, principles, and techniques of management. Students will examine classical, modern, and emerging concepts as they relate to today's manager and the functional processes of planning, organizing, directing and controlling resources. Learning experiences may include case studies, team experiences and simulations. (3 credits)

Principles of Marketing

Introduces the role of marketing as it relates to manufacturing, wholesale, retail, not-for-profit, and service businesses. Topics include product development, pricing decisions, promotional considerations, and distribution options of both goods and services. Students will also examine the emerging role of electronic marketing and roles of federal, state and local governments.  (3 credits)



Provides a study of national economic systems. Includes national objectives such as low unemployment and low inflation, measuring economic success, the business cycle, and an introduction to international trade. The basis models using prescriptive policy tools are learned.  (3 credits)



Provides a comprehensive look at the promotional process including media analysis and selection, dealing with the creative functions and production processes, measuring promotional effectiveness, and developing a comprehensive advertising strategy. Central to the course is the development of an advertising plan and campaign. 
(3 credits)


Business Communications

Designed to equip students with the skills necessary to communicate effectively in business environments. The course will focus on written and oral applications of communication theory as they apply to business correspondence, reports, memos, presentations, interview skills, and social media.  The course will also include training in cross-cultural issues for business in an increasingly global arena.  (3 credits)

Public Relations

Designed to introduce students to the subject and practice of public relations.  The course begins with an overview of the process of public relations in society.  The course covers the preparation and process of developing public relations campaigns, identifying the many “publics,” and engages students in the execution of the “doing” public relations.  Concepts will be reinforced with an applied “hands-on” semester-long project. (3 credits)


240 hours (6 credits)