Journalism (BS)

Director: Barbara J. Irwin, PhD


The Communication Studies Department’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 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 Studies 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. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the appropriate double major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.  Please note that students will receive only one degree, regardless of the number of majors they complete.

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.

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.

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. The minors page provides a complete list of minors 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 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 of 120 credit hours required for graduation.

Major Requirements

JRN 100Introduction to Journalism3
JRN 200Multimedia Storytelling3
COM 203Writing for the Public 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
Communication and Sports
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
Broadcasting in America
Total Credits15

Narrative Journalism

Required Courses
JRN 311Advanced Journalism and Investigative Reporting3
JRN 322Feature/Magazine Writing3
JRN 342Narrative Journalism3
Concentration Electives
Select two of the following:6
Advanced Multimedia Storytelling
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
CSC 108Introduction to Web Computing3
or DMA 342 Introduction to Web Design
Concentration Electives
Select two of the following:6
Advanced Journalism and Investigative Reporting
Feature/Magazine Writing
Television Features
Broadcasting in America
2D Graphics
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 & 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 write lively prose that adheres to the principles of objective news: transparently-sourced claims that are free from the writer's personal opinion. 
  • Objective B: Demonstrate the ability to write cogently in a structure appropriate for the chosen platform.
  • Objective C: Demonstrate the ability to produce accurate stories based on facts that they have gathered, verified, analyzed and interpreted, using multiple sources and methods.


JRN 100 Introduction to Journalism 3 Credits

Introduces the history and development of journalism, its norms and best practices.

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: spring.

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

Grounded in the social responsibility theory of the press, 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 308 Pre & Post Production 3 Credits

Students will develop and hone skills in planning video projects -- features and promotion, for example -- completed before a live broadcase, as well as preparing highlights, video recaps, websites and social media postings during a live broadcast. The course will center on sports broadcasts, to air as part of the college's partnership with ESPN.

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 (e.g., video, audio, slideshows).

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C- in JRN 100 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 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.

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. prereqs or permission of instructor.

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: 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: every other year.

JRN 380 Special Topics in Journalism 3 Credits

Course focus will vary and is designed to provide in-depth study of journalism as it applies to specialized topics and content area that may include legal, business, health and science, environment, international and/or investigative journalism.

Offered: occasionally.

JRN 488 Internship I Seminar 3-9 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 491 Video Institute I 1-3 Credits

Students produce significant projects in video, film, and television. See Dr. Irwin or Professor O'Neil for additional information.

Offered: occasionally.

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.

JRN 499 Independent Study 3 Credits

Student conducts original project or self-designed course of study under the tutelage of a Journalism faculty member. Offered only in very specific circumstances. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: junior or senior standing; & permission of instructor, chair, & associate dean. Restriction: must be JRN major.