Brigham Young University Homepage

Undergraduate Catalog

2013 - 2014

BA in Communications: Journalism Emphasis
(43 hours*)



This is a limited-enrollment program requiring departmental admissions approval. Please see the college advisement center for information regarding requirements for admission to this emphasis.

All students admitted to the Department of Communications are required to own a notebook computer. Before purchasing a computer, students should first consult the department website for specifications.

The Discipline

Journalism is a discipline that provides factual and relevant information for democratic decision making, community building, and public deliberation. The study of journalism entails the mastery of working with people to present news and features in a way that accurately and fully reflects the world in which we live. Students will acquire skills in analytical thinking, lucid writing, and effective interviewing to be able to present clear and compelling news products in words, sounds, and images. Students will study media law and ethics, journalism research methods, and will chose the degree to which they will specialize in either new media, traditional print, or traditional broadcasting. To develop a wide understanding of the world and the processes that make society work, students are encouraged to earn more than 60 percent of their credits in other departments.

Career Opportunities

The exciting and dynamic field of journalism offers the allure of working in a profession that has its finger on the changing pulse of society. Whether serving as reporters, producers, or editors for newspaper, television, radio, or online, journalists find themselves rubbing shoulders with important people and recording important events.

A career in journalism implies not only skills with words, but the ability to make sound judgments and to ferret out facts. In addition to the obvious careers as reporters, editors, anchors, and producers, students often find their journalism skills in demand in a variety of other areas.

Many find the challenge of recording the drama of real life both satisfying and enlightening. Recent changes in technologies and business models continue to change the way news is produced and distributed. These changes call for greater skill in writing and multi-media storytelling to be able to visualize the world in an interesting way. Overall, one of journalism's great satisfactions has been the sense that one can make a difference in the world and bring about changes for the better.

Program Requirements    |    View MAP   |    View Program Outcomes

  1. Complete one course from the following:
      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      RECOMMENDED: Recommended for philosophy majors and minors.
      DESCRIPTION: Informal grammar, logic, and rhetoric as tools for reading and writing. Library research.
      NOTE: Fulfills GE First-Year Writing requirement. No course challenges accepted.

      Course Outcomes


      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Processes of writing, reading, and research with an emphasis on argumentation and rhetorical analysis.
      NOTE: Fulfills General Education First-Year Writing requirement.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better to be eligible to apply for admission to the program.

  2. Complete the following:
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Independent Study also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Historical and modern roles of mass media in society, emphasizing media effects on individuals and institutions.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 211 : Media Writing. (3:2:2)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      PREREQUISITE: WRTG 150; or PHIL 150; Pre-communications status; a B grade or better in Wrtg 150 or Phil 150.
      DESCRIPTION: Principles and practices of researching and writing mass communication messages in journalism, public relations, and advertising.
      NOTE: Lab required.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 239 : Principles of Journalism. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 239 : Principles of Journalism. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      DESCRIPTION: Theories and principles of journalism; critical evaluation of journalists' and news organizations' role and value in societies they serve.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better in each course to be eligible to apply for admission to the program.

  3. Apply to the major.
  4. Complete the following: (These courses may be taken during the semester in which students apply for admission to the major.)
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Introduction to First Amendment history and press freedom, law, and theory; media regulation and policy; relationship between law and ethics; key ethical issues in professional communications.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 303 : Visual Literacy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 303 : Visual Literacy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 230; or COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 235; or COMMS 101 & COMMS 211 & COMMS 239
      DESCRIPTION: Foundational principles and theories of visual communications.
      NOTE: Students should take this course during the semester in which they have applied for admission to the major.

      Course Outcomes


  5. After admission to the major, complete the following:
      COMMS 308 : Research Methods for Journalism. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 308 : Research Methods for Journalism. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Qualitative and quantitative information-gathering strategies and techniques: interviewing, use of surveys and public records; online information gathering and data base analysis.

      Course Outcomes


  6. Complete one course from the following:
      COMMS 321 : News Reporting. (3:2:5)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Comms 300 or concurrent enrollment; major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Research and reporting skills. Database retrieval and interviewing. Beat reporting for newspapers, radio, and online media. Lab required.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 322 : Video and Audio News Production and Writing. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 322 : Video and Audio News Production and Writing. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Comms 300 or concurrent enrollment; major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Fundamental principles and theories of broadcasting and the practical application of visual and aural multimedia storytelling; audio and video field production; audio and video editing for radio, television, and online media.

      Course Outcomes


  7. Complete one course from the following:
      COMMS 324 : Feature Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 324 : Feature Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall Contact Department; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 321; Comms 308 or concurrent enrollment.
      DESCRIPTION: Creating, writing, and pitching articles for nonfiction magazine markets; effective writing methods; analysis and criticism of articles.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 325 : Broadcast Reporting. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 325 : Broadcast Reporting. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 322; Comms 308 or concurrent enrollment; video portfolio; departmental consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Principles and techniques of broadcast and online news reporting. Includes recording and editing reports of government, courts, and other institutions. Lab includes reporting for daily television and radio newscasts.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 328 : Backpack Journalism. (3:3:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 328 : Backpack Journalism. (3:3:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter Contact Department; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 321; or COMMS 322; Comms 308 or concurrent enrollment.
      DESCRIPTION: Mobile media production, including field reporting, editing, and distributing news for multiple platforms.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 365 : Photojournalism. (3:2:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall Contact Department; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Instructor's consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Shooting, processing, selecting, and preparing images for use in various news platforms.

      Course Outcomes


  8. Complete one course from the following:
      COMMS 383 : Online News Editing. (3:2:6)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 383 : Online News Editing. (3:2:6)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall Contact Department; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Comms 324 or 325 or 328 or 365.
      DESCRIPTION: Writing, editing, and content production for online and social media platforms; content management systems and search engine optimization for news.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 384 : News Editing and News Judgment. (3:2:6)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 384 : News Editing and News Judgment. (3:2:6)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 324; or COMMS 328; or COMMS 365
      DESCRIPTION: Management and editing of news flow, ranging from editorial conceptualization and news judgment to copy editing, headline writing, and basic page design.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 385 : Television News Producing. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 385 : Television News Producing. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 325; or COMMS 328
      DESCRIPTION: Theory and practice of producing and presenting information for television. Role of television news in society, nature of audiences, production techniques, and TV news management. Lab includes producing daily television newscast.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 388 : Publication Graphics and Production. (3:3:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 388 : Publication Graphics and Production. (3:3:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter Contact Department; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 324; or COMMS 328; or COMMS 365; instructor's consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Layout and graphics for publications. Contemporary practices in production.

      Course Outcomes


  9. Complete one course from the following:
      COMMS 420 : Advanced Print Reporting. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 420 : Advanced Print Reporting. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter Contact Department; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 383; or COMMS 384
      DESCRIPTION: News coverage of government, courts, education, business, international, or legal issues.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 486 : Advanced Broadcast Reporting. (3:3:5)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 486 : Advanced Broadcast Reporting. (3:3:5)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 385
      DESCRIPTION: In-depth broadcast news coverage of major public issues and trends. Formats may include daily news reports, series, and documentaries.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 487 : Advanced Multiplatform Journalism. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 487 : Advanced Multiplatform Journalism. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter Contact Department; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 383; or COMMS 384; or COMMS 388
      DESCRIPTION: Editing, design, and delivery of multiplatform and interactive news content. Theories of new media use and practical application of those theories to create professional-level content.
      NOTE: Comms 385 is also a prerequisite option; contact the advisement office.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 488 : Advanced Broadcast Producing. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 488 : Advanced Broadcast Producing. (3:2:3)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring Contact Department; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 385; instructor's consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Advanced concepts in television news producing, news judgment, audiences and newsroom leadership.

      Course Outcomes


  10. Complete two courses from the following:
      COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Historical and philosophical development of today's media. Approaches may include theories of media change, social responsibility, economic factors, and influential pioneers.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Impact of new and traditional media on popular culture. Approaches may include media criticism and cultural theories on the artifacts and drivers of cultural values.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Understanding media content and channels empowering and improving media consumption and interpretation. Approaches may include new technology, social media, consumer behavior, media criticism, and media literacy.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Management principles and theory, emphasizing responsible management benefiting organizations and their stakeholders. Approaches may include crisis communication, media or agency management, and programming.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Comparison of media systems in countries and regions outside the United States. Approaches may include media systems analysis, normative theories of the media, and cultural values and norms.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Issues relating to communicating in a global village. Approaches may include global information and policy, cultural imperialism, intercultural interaction, and multinational communication strategies.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: COMMS 300; Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Advanced understanding of media law, policy, and regulation of free speech and press. Approaches may include Freedom of Information, rights of press, government control, and legal precedents regarding the First Amendment.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 411 : Media Effects. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Effects resulting from the interaction between media and members of society. Approaches may include self-image, sterotypes, violence, and other social constructs and behaviors involving media consumption.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Communication principles, theories, and approaches applied to effect social change. Approaches may include public policy, grass roots advocacy, social marketing, and social movements.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Comms 300 or instructor's consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Advanced application of moral reasoning and understanding of ethical issues in mass communication. Approaches may include current cases and issues, professional practices, and philosophical foundations of ethics.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: Applying critical theory to the interaction between media and underrepresented groups in society. Approaches may include stereotypes and portrayals, access to media, participation, and media ownership.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
      DESCRIPTION: The interaction of media, world religions, and beliefs. Approaches may include media coverage and portrayal of religion, religions' use of media, conflict between the two, and communicating across religious cultures.

      Course Outcomes


  11. After consulting with an advisor, complete an internship in conjunction with 4 hours of the following:
      COMMS 496R : Academic Internship. (1-6:Arr:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 496R : Academic Internship. (1-6:Arr:Arr)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      PREREQUISITE: Major status; prerequisites satisfied; clearance by the Communications Department.
      DESCRIPTION: Professional field experience.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: A C– grade or better in the following prerequisite courses must be achieved before the internship experience: Comms 308; 324 or 325 or 328 or 365.

*Hours include courses that may fulfill university core requirements.



Show all Communications Courses