Classes | Columbia Journalism School


Please note: The classes listed here represent recent offerings at the Journalism School. These include M.S., M.S. in Data Journalism and 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.

City Newsroom

The students in City Newsroom will cover all of New York City. They’ll operate, manage, edit, and contribute to an award-winning live news site: The course is set up to give students hands-on experience running a news site, and to hone their storytelling skills in pitching, reporting and producing ambitious stories in all formats. Students will cover breaking news, develop features, dig into deeper stories, create digital graphics, and shoot and edit videos. Its goal: to let students cover stories in the medium best suited to tell a particular story. We will focus on all kinds of New York City stories, including breaking news, crime and justice, culture and art, New York’s immigrant population, and politics and policy. Students will pitch stories every week, perfecting their pitching skills. We expect everyone in the newsroom to produce a specific number of stories: eight print stories or five videos or a to-be-determined combination of these. Each student, as part of a team, will also be responsible for covering breaking news for an assigned number of weeks. In addition, students will have the option to work as a team to produce a special report

Food Writing

The food beat is a varied one that includes stories about culture and family, public policy, health and science, immigration, business, and climate and sustainability. This course introduces you to the myriad ways you can report on what we eat, whether it's a story on the sudden influx of decent tortillas in a neighborhood full of recent immigrants or a feature on a farmer who's growing what she hopes will be the next kale, a trendy vegetable that helps her to sustain her business.

For the first time, we will collaborate this year on a project that we plan to publish in The New Food Economy, the non-profit digital newsroom where Prof. Stabiner is an editor. NFE staff members, including managing editor Jesse Hirsch and senior editors and specialists in audience engagement and production, will be part of the process.

Food journalism requires vigorous reporting and offers the opportunity for observational work; it supports the feature writer as well as the investigative or data-driven journalist. The best work also gets published on our class website, linked below, including a class project called New York Sits Down to Dinner, a themed look at the evening meal. Last year's project told the stories of NYC's restaurant workers, and the year before that we tackled food insecurity in a city where one in five people isn't sure where dinner's coming from. We've also found out what dinner means for people with iconic jobs; a Broadway dancer, a carriage driver, a cabbie, and more. Students will contribute to What We Savor, a collection of first-person essays about food that nourishes both body and soul because it evokes strong personal memories.

Video 1/Broadcast

This class is for students interested in broadcast news. In this course, you’ll learn the basics of video journalism as it is practiced in broadcast newsrooms: gathering sound and picture simultaneously, the fundamentals of exposure and composition, the grammar of video, writing to picture, selecting sound bites and the basic concepts of non-linear editing. By the end of the course students should have a foundational understanding of the basic skills involved in video news gathering and the ability to produce short-form video news pieces.

Video 1/Web & Documentary

This class is for students interested in producing short-form videos, of the type that appear on web sites such as or In this course, you’ll learn the basics of video journalism: gathering sound and picture simultaneously; the fundamentals of exposure and composition; the grammar of video, writing to picture, selecting sound bites, the basic concepts of non-linear editing. By the end of the course, you should have a foundational understanding of the basic skills involved in video storytelling and the ability to produce short-form video pieces.

Video 2

If you already have a solid foundation in video, you may request admission to this module, which will give you the chance to develop a more sophisticated understanding of, and approach to, the medium. We’ll delve into the elements necessary for producing compelling stories; teach you how to light and shoot sequences and well-framed interviews; discuss the practical ethical and legal considerations of working in video; and help you develop rapport with subjects. You may request this module during balloting, but when you get to campus, you’ll be required to demonstrate the ability to shoot video interviews and action scenes; identify and use sound bites; and edit a short story using pictures and sound. Those not qualified will be placed in Video 1. For more information, contact Prof. Betsy West.

Video Newsroom

Whether your interest is broadcast news coverage or long form documentary, learning to report news and quickly produce a clear video story prepares you to be agile in the changing video journalism marketplace.

In Video Newsroom, students will report, write and produce video stories ranging from the four-minute BBC-style story to the 90-second US broadcast news variety to 30-second social media spots. We will apply reporting techniques to the audio-visual medium, to tell news, feature and investigative stories effectively. We will explore ethical issues applicable to video journalism and learn to interview for video, shoot sequences and write for the short news format. 

This class meets two full days a week. Most weeks, students will produce stories with one day largely dedicated to working through scripts and edits.

The class functions like a newsroom. Each week, students will be assigned to an editor. The editors/adjunct professors are video news professionals who work as producers and on-air reporters. Please note: Every morning (M-F) at 8am, students and editors will have a 20-minute morning call to discuss the news of the day and stories you are working on.

Students will pitch and be assigned news, feature and deep dive/investigative stories.

In addition, students will receive additional support in camera skills, voice tracking, graphics production.

The on-air clinic will run for five sessions on Fridays* led by an on-air news reporter to develop live and camera presentation skills. We will visit network and local newsrooms and hear from producers and reporters in the field. During the last five weeks, students will produce a newscast, each taking on a different role as producers and reporters.

(*Subject to change)