Journalism (BS)

Director: Daniel Higgins


The Department of Communication's major in journalism integrates deep, socially responsible reporting and writing with appropriate digital media. Students seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism tell true stories across print, broadcast, online and mobile platforms. In keeping with the trend toward media convergence, they think visually, use social media to report and promote stories and design multimedia publications.

For additional information about the major visit the Journalism website


Journalism majors must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, a minimum grade of C- in all required journalism courses, and a minimum overall average of 2.0 in all journalism coursework. The performance of all majors is subject to review relative to their continuance in the program. Journalism majors need at least 36 hours of journalism courses (or 33 hours for double majors).


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

A journalism major is assigned an advisor at the beginning of the freshman year. Those who transfer into the journalism major should contact the Communication Department office at 888-2115 to be assigned an advisor.

Double Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. This decision may be based on career goals, planned graduate studies, and/or other student interests. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement.  In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the Major/Minor Declaration form. This form will be submitted electronically and reviewed and approved by each department chairperson as well as the appropriate associate dean. 

Per university policy, each additional major requires a minimum of 15 credits that do not apply to the student's first or subsequent major.  Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in other cases additional course work may be required. Please note that students will receive only one degree unless completing the dual degree requirement including at least 150 undergraduate credit hours, regardless of the number of majors they complete. Both (all) majors appear on a student’s transcript.

Students interested in declaring double majors within the Department of Communication (Strategic Communication, Digital Media Arts, Integrated Marketing Communication, or Journalism) will be allowed to share a maximum of 9 credits between the two majors. This requires 24 distinct credits for strategic communication, 27 distinct credits for digital media arts, 36 distinct credits for integrated marketing communication, and 24 distinct credits for journalism. Additionally, for students with a double major outside the Department of Communication, students may double count up to 9 credit hours of electives between the two majors. Please note, however, that the second major may not necessarily allow double counting of credits. For more information, please contact the department chair.

Journalism students who are double majors and successfully complete 3 or more credit hours in Internships (JRN 488 or JRN 498) are required to complete 30 hours of in-class credit in order to complete the journalism major. Otherwise, students complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of journalism courses. Students may wish to consider developing a foreign language competency, as well as a specialty in a field such as political science, economics, science, or religion.

Each journalism major and double major is assigned a department faculty advisor to plan an individual program that will satisfy the department’s requirements and the student’s personal goals. Course selections develop from the journalism requirements, prerequisites and electives.

Minors in Other Disciplines

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. To receive a minor, the student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their other credentials (i.e., majors, other minors). The complete list of minors is available on the Canisius website and in the catalog and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

JRN 100Introduction to Journalism3
JRN 200Multimedia Storytelling3
COM 203Writing for Contemporary Media3
JRN 301Newsgathering and Reporting3
JRN 310Journalism3
COM 351Media Ethics3
or DMA 216 Digital Media Law
JRN 490Senior Project and Portfolio3
Upper-level Concentration Courses (5 courses)15
Total Credits36

Upper-Level Concentration Courses

Journalism majors will select an area of concentration, also open to other majors who may be interested. There are three options for the concentration, each of which requires a total of five courses for 15 credit hours:

Sports Journalism and Broadcasting

Required Courses
JRN 336Sports Journalism3
JRN 358Sports Field Production I3
JRN 359Sports Field Production II3
Concentration Electives
Sports Communication – Select one of the following:3
Sport Marketing
Sport Communications
Sports Broadcast and Journalism – Select one of the following:3
Advanced Multimedia Storytelling
Advanced Journalism and Investigative Reporting
Feature/Magazine Writing
Introduction to TV Production
Television Features
Broadcast Industries and Audiences
Total Credits15

Narrative Journalism

Required Courses
JRN 322Feature/Magazine Writing3
JRN 340Podcasting and Audio Storytelling3
JRN 342Narrative Journalism3
Concentration Electives
Select two of the following:6
Advanced Multimedia Storytelling
Advanced Journalism and Investigative Reporting
Sports Journalism
Television Features
Film History
Introduction to Creative Writing
Advanced Creative Writing: Memoir & Nonfiction
Total Credits15

Multimedia Journalism

Required Courses
JRN 201Advanced Multimedia Storytelling3
COM 361Introduction to TV Production3
or JRN 369 Television Features
CSC 108Introduction to Web Computing3
or DMA 342 Introduction to Web Design
Concentration Electives
Select two of the following: must be different from required courses taken6
Advanced Journalism and Investigative Reporting
Feature/Magazine Writing
Television Features
Introduction to TV Production
Broadcast Industries and Audiences
Professional Practices and Portfolio
Motion Graphics
Total Credits15


Internships (JRN 488, JRN 498), awarding up to a maximum of 12 credit hours, may be earned by qualified journalism majors at approved locations in Buffalo or elsewhere. The internships are individually arranged, require department approval and are available only to junior or senior candidates with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and a journalism average of at least 2.7. Internships are taken on a pass/fail basis and are counted toward free elective credit. Students are encouraged to plan early to do an internship during their junior or senior year.

Note: To gain valuable experience, journalism majors are advised to participate in clubs such as the student newspaper, television station, radio station, and digital media arts clubs.


Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

JRN 100JRN 301
JRN 200COM 203
JRN 310COM 351 or DMA 216
Concentration requirement or electiveConcentration requirement or elective
Concentration requirement or electiveConcentration requirement or elective
Concentration requirement or electiveJRN 490

Learning Goals and Objectives

These learning Goals and Objectives apply to all Journalism majors.

Student Learning Goal 1

Majors will understand the history and current state of the profession of journalism.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of Journalism’s professional qualities and ethical standards, including the need to report facts fairly and accurately.
  • Objective B: Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of media law, the First Amendment, Sunshine Laws, and FOIA.

Student Learning Goal 2

Majors will think critically and creatively.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Understand the nature of current and upcoming events in order to report meaningful news stories.
  • Objective B: Exercise sound, responsible news judgment even under pressures of immediacy and competition.

Student Learning Goal 3

Majors will write for audience, platform, and message.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Demonstrate the ability to produce lively stories in various modes of journalism, based on facts they have gathered, verified, analyzed and interpreted, using multiple sources and methods.
  • Objective B: Demonstrate the ability to write cogently in a structure appropriate for the chosen platform.


JRN 100 Introduction to Journalism 3 Credits

Introduces the history and development of journalism, its norms and best practices. Examines theories of justice, and how they apply to and affect the pursuit of journalism since this country’s founding. The course looks at how the institution of American journalism has both promoted justice, and at times allowed injustice to persist, through case studies, readings, and viewings of short documentaries.

Fulfills College Core: Justice

Offered: every fall.

JRN 200 Multimedia Storytelling 3 Credits

Introduces the fundamentals of digital systems and technologies as they apply to journalism. Through class lecture and hands-on approaches, students will learn software and hardware used for journalistic applications of web design, multimedia, video production, graphics and audio production.

Offered: fall.

JRN 201 Advanced Multimedia Storytelling 3 Credits

Students will explore multimedia storytelling through class lecture and hands-on experience of the digital systems and technologies used in journalism. The student will develop a better understanding of the nature of multimedia journalism using audio, video, graphics, animation and writing to tell news stories.

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C- in JRN 200 or permission of instructor.

Offered: fall.

JRN 301 Newsgathering and Reporting 3 Credits

This course covers both traditional methods (e.g., observing, interviewing, listening) and newer methods (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, crowd sourcing) to gather and verify material for news and feature stories, to be distributed via print, broadcast, web and mobile media.

Offered: spring.

JRN 309 Sports Broadcasting 3 Credits

Sports Broadcasting centers on the skills needed for play-by-play announcing in all sports, along with broadcast anchoring and reporting.

Offered: spring of even-numbered years.

JRN 310 Journalism 3 Credits

Focuses on writing news and features for print and on- line media, using a variety of storytelling designs (e.g., the narrative, the inverted pyramid, the focus approach) combined with a variety of multimedia presentation methods.

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C- in JRN 100 and JRN 301 or permission of instructor.

Offered: fall.

JRN 311 Advanced Journalism and Investigative Reporting 3 Credits

Advanced study and practice of all aspects of journalism, including news gathering, reporting, writing and editing.

Prerequisite: A grade of C- or better in JRN 200, JRN 301, and COM 203.

Offered: occasionally.

JRN 322 Feature/Magazine Writing 3 Credits

Profiles and other human-interest features developed for newspapers, magazines, broadcast. Freelance writing is introduced.

Offered: every other year.

JRN 336 Sports Journalism 3 Credits

Instruction on covering sports in the 21st century, including exposure to cross-platform journalism and the influence of social media. Students will learn practices and theories commonly encountered in locker rooms and press boxes from those in the business. Also counts as a COM elective.

Offered: spring of odd-numbered years.

JRN 340 Podcasting and Audio Storytelling 3 Credits

Introduces the basics of audio storytelling through podcasting, including writing, research, interviews, capturing sound, sound editing, and “on-air” presentation, and distribution. Ethics in journalism and editing will also be discussed.

Offered: occasionally.

JRN 342 Narrative Journalism 3 Credits

The advanced study and practice of long-form, literary-influenced journalism, from magazines and nonfiction books to cross-platform, online media outlets. Students explore methods of conceptualizing, reporting, researching and writing long-form journalism while working on a literary nonfiction project of their own.

Offered: occasionally.

JRN 358 Sports Field Production I 3 Credits

The principles and techniques of shooting, writing, directing and producing live broadcast events. Students in this course will be responsible for production of live basketball, hockey and other Canisius sports events aired over ESPN3 and ESPNU, as well as for other campus events as needed.

Offered: fall & spring.

JRN 359 Sports Field Production II 3 Credits

Advanced principles and techniques of shooting, writing, directing and producing live broadcast events. Students in this course will be responsible for production of live basketball, hockey and other Canisius sports events aired over ESPN3 and ESPNU, as well as for other campus events as needed.

Offered: every fall & spring.

JRN 369 Television Features 3 Credits

Design, write and produce special feature reports, multiple-part series, investigative stories and mini-documentaries. Emphasis on field work.

Offered: occasionally.

JRN 380 Special Topics in Journalism: Electing a President 3 Credits

Course will focus on the history and practice of political journalism, with a special focus on national journalism about presidential elections. The course includes two capstone reporting trips to take place in July and August of 2024, to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Students will take an "incomplete" for the spring semester, and final grades will be calculated after the summer reporting trips. Instructor approval required.

Offered: occasionally.

JRN 488 Internship I Seminar 1-9 Credits

Student experientially learns journalism functions in compatibly matched professional setting, locally or out-of- town. Faculty and on-site supervision. Seminar required. Pass/fail. May be repeated as JRN 498; 12-credit limit for JRN 488 and JRN 498 combined. Information about the internship application process is available on the Journalism Program website.

Restriction: must be JRN major, junior or senior standing, minimum overall GPA of 2.50, minimum journalism average of 2.70, & approval by department faculty.

Offered: every semester.

JRN 490 Senior Project and Portfolio 3 Credits

Culminating experience for Journalism majors in which they synthesize what they have learned in their program of study. Students work independently to create an online journalism portfolio, with an emphasis on the work that aligns with their chosen concentration.

Prerequisites: min grade of C- in JRN 100, 200, 310 and COM 203.

Offered: every spring.

JRN 498 Internship II Seminar 3-9 Credits

Sequel to JRN 488 for students taking multiple internships. Each student is limited to a combined total of 12 credit hours for JRN 488 and JRN 498.

Restriction: JRN major with junior or senior standing, minimum overall GPA of 2.50, minimum communication studies average of 2.70, & approval by department faculty.

Offered: every semester.