Course Description | Columbia Journalism School

Course Description

Columbia Publishing Course New York 


Students learn about publishing through a rigorous schedule of lectures, seminars and workshops, and by completing professionally evaluated assignments. By spending time with speakers and instructors at meals and late‐night discussions and living with like‐minded colleagues for six weeks, students take part in a total‐immersion program that cannot be duplicated by a series of part‐time courses. In the process, students discover a capacity to assimilate and produce more than they ever imagined possible.

Part I: Book Publishing

During the first weeks, through lectures and small seminars, students study every element of the book publishing process, from evaluations of original manuscripts to the sales and marketing of finished products. Students complete assignments based on the real‐world responsibilities of publishing’s editorial, publicity, marketing and sales departments. These exercises are then graded by industry professionals. 

After two weeks of classroom instruction, students embark on a seven‐day hands‐on workshop. The class divides into smaller groups to simulate the operations of a publishing house, giving students a chance to apply what they’ve learned and to gain hands‐on, in‐depth experience in a particular area of book publishing.

Please review our brochure for a complete listing of faculty members from 2015.

Part II: Magazine & Digital Publishing

The second section of the course is devoted to magazines and digital media. Magazine and digital media professionals lecture on every facet of print and digital publication, from planning, writing and design to marketing, promotion and distribution. Through lectures and regular assignments, students learn what it takes to publish a successful magazine and launch a profitable website. 

During the magazine and digital media workshop, student groups develop proposals for new publications, researching possible audiences, establishing editorial mission statements, designing layouts and wireframes, assessing competitors, determining potential advertisers and developing a digital strategy.

Please review our brochure for a complete listing of faculty members from 2015. 


The two hands‐on workshops during the program give students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned from Publishing Course lectures. These weeklong workshops are intensive, collaborative simulations that require interaction with writers, agents, illustrators and advertisers, equipping students with the practical knowledge, experience and confidence needed to succeed in their careers. 

Based on their particular areas of interest, students are assigned to workshop groups and have specific job responsibilities. The book workshop groups usually include large trade publishing houses, two children’s publishing houses, a small independent or regional press and an academic press. For the magazine and digital media workshop, students can choose among categories that may include shelter, lifestyle, fashion, teen or political/current events.

Teams of carefully selected mentors work with each group, facilitating discussion and providing guidance and professional advice. At the end of each workshop, top publishing leaders carefully evaluate every group’s proposal, giving constructive criticism and real‐world feedback.