Classes

Please note: The classes listed here represent recent offerings at the Journalism School. All are M.S. courses, except for those that are specifically designated as M.A. courses. Choices vary each semester depending on faculty availability and other considerations. Classes described now may change or be dropped to make room for new additions. We cannot promise that students will gain a seat in any specific class.

M.A. Science Seminar-in-Concentration

Students in the M.A. Science concentration focus on the themes and ways of thinking that can be used to cover any scientific field, whether it’s health, technology or the hard sciences. They examine several disciplines up close – including, physics, climate science and ecology in the fall, and evolution, genetics and medicine in the spring. Students also get a landscape view, looking at history, patterns of discovery and innovation. The seminar emphasizes understanding the culture and practice of science, giving students the skills to interpret a peer‐reviewed study as well as a clear‐eyed view of the peer‐review process. It places particular emphasis on writing creatively and compellingly, whether in a short news story or in a long piece of narrative nonfiction. Many of our most successful students come to the program without prior academic or professional exposure to the sciences; deep curiosity is far more important.

Recent guest lecturers have included physicist Imre Bartos, who worked on the gravitational wave discovery; paleoclimatologist Gisela Winckler; historian of science Daniel Kevles; and sociologist Alondra Nelson, dean of social sciences at Columbia.

Multimedia Storytelling: Science & Environment

This course will focus on longform video and multimedia storytelling about one of the most exciting and wide-ranging areas of coverage: science and the environment. Students in this course will learn how to report on and think critically about the many facets of this complex beat, which includes disciplines from ecology to public health to international environmental law. Through extensive reading as well as visits with science journalists and researchers studying issues such as climate change and toxicology, students will learn to how to identify and write compelling stories about science and the environment. The stories they write and the issues they explore will, in turn, inform the multimedia stories they produce. Students will learn advanced principles of field production, as well as sophisticated post-production techniques using Adobe Premiere and After Effects. The course will focus on shooting techniques, proper audio recording, strong video storytelling skills; and it will include explorations of some experimental approaches, such as animation and the use of audio sensors. As they develop their print and multimedia stories, students will also learn how to build and engage an audience using Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms. Although there will be theoretical discussions and critiques of professional work, a great deal of class time will be spent in the field in order to strengthen each student's production capabilities. The course will be rigorous and will meet for two full days a week; students will be expected to write five stories and to produce up to two longform video stories. 

 

Prerequisite: seven-week video module

Students who enroll in this class will be charged a $275 lab fee.