Cross Registration | Columbia Journalism School

Cross Registration

The Fall 2020 classes listed below (only these) are available for cross registration by graduate students from other divisions of Columbia.

To request admission to a class students must submit this form. 

The form is open from August 24, 2020 at 10 a.m. to September 18, 2020 at 10 a.m. 

The Journalism School courses run from Semptember 8  to December 19.

We are open and classes are in session on November 2 and November 3. Please make note of the dates associated with these classes as they do not match those of the other Columbia schools. 

All the courses listed below carry 3 points unless otherwise noted.

Class Offerings for Fall 2020


Class: Literary Journalism (Waitlist Only)

Mode: All ONLINE

Instructor: Helen Benedict

Day/Time: Thursdays, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

Dates: Sept. 10 - December 17

Description: At heart, journalism is about telling stories that will compel and move readers. This 15-week course will therefore combine writing and reporting with the study of inspiring stylists, both journalists who have reached beyond conventional news style to render their writing as graceful as that of the best novelists, and novelists whose work is useful to journalism. We will read and analyze works by these writers, their reporting techniques and writing styles, then students will do a few short writing exercises and two drafts of a long article, which will be workshopped in class. The idea is to practice the literary journalism used in books and magazines such as Granta, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and online literary journals.


Class: Writing About International Issues

Mode: All ONLINE

Professor: Howard French

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Dates: November 3 (JSchool is in session on Election Day) - December 19

Description: In this class, students will select international topics that have recently been 'breaking news' stories and take them beyond the initial  headlines. This involves resourcefulness and enterprise in their reporting, and also teaches them the vital skill in the web age of how to write the proverbial off-the-news feature. This goes beyond fresh reporting and analysis and helps students achieve the right kind of voice and perspective for original follow up news coverage.


Class: Business Writing

Mode: All ONLINE

Professor: Bill Grueskin

Day/Time: Wednesday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Dates: September 8-December 15

Description: Every story has a business angle: The search for a COVID-19 vaccine; a restaurant’s decision on whether to remain open; a parent's quandary over whether to send their child to a private, charter or public school. In this course, we’ll examine how journalists cover business and the economy. Every student will adopt and cover a domestic public company (to learn how they operate, what they must disclose, how the markets affect it) but will also do regular coverage of local business stories. That can include pieces on employees, entrepreneurs, managers, and the unemployed and under-employed. We’ll also look at economic trends regarding joblessness, income inequality, wealth distribution and other factors that have great impact on our way of life. The class is suitable for those who wish to pursue business journalism in their career, or who want to learn more about how business journalists operate by doing it themselves, in a practical, hands-on class.


Class: Disinformation, Fake News, and Democracy

Mode: All ONLINE

Professor: Todd Gitlin

Day/Time: Thursday, 2-:10-4 p.m.

Dates: September 10- December 17

Description: An exploration of disinformation and “fake news” in public life, with nonexclusive emphasis on the recent United States. We place disinformation in the context of the role of truth in democracy; the history of propaganda and lies relayed through the press, culminating in today’s “social media.” The focus is on identifying perpetrators, victims, beneficiaries, debunkers, and impacts, and on changing relationships among truth, journalism, power, authority, and democracy.


Class: Liberal Democracy, Populism, and the Media

Mode: All ONLINE

Professor: Todd Gitlin & Michael Schudson

Day/Time: Thursday, 10:10am-12:00pm

Dates: September 10- December 17

Description:  This seminar tackles the question, now vividly alive in a growing number of countries around the world, of what to make of populism, particularly right-wing populism that seeks to enact what has been called “illiberal democracy.” In the U.S., where “democracy” is a sacred word, we regularly misunderstand it. We certainly misunderstand its history. A 2011 Federal Communication Commission report claimed that the Founding Fathers envisioned an “independent watchdog function…for journalism” (this is wrong, they envisioned no such thing) and the FCC continued to argue that the founders called journalism “crucial to a healthy democracy” (wrong again -- the founders saw democracy as offensive and crafted a Constitution clearly intended to prevent it). They believed they were establishing “republican” government, something like what is now generally called liberal democracy. As for populism, some thinkers have argued that it is a necessary occasional enhancement of democratic values and a cleansing of institutional and bureaucratic rigidities, but others see it as a dangerous challenge to the fundamental spirit of democratic life, including an acceptance of legitimate opposition in governing and a recognition of the reality and benefit of pluralism in society. Whether the news media play or should play an important role in encouraging or in discouraging populism, and whether some media specifically are inclined to foster populism (cable television, online media generally, social media especially, and perhaps Twitter in particular) is also a  matter of growing concern.






Registration Details

For the most part, spots in J-School classes are assigned to non-Journalism graduate students on a space available basis (with top priority given to IMC SIPA students).

To request cross-registration in a Journalism School course, please complete this form.

The form will be active as of Monday, August 24, at 10 a.m.

Please note that this is only a REQUEST and we cannot guarantee your request will be accommodated.

Cross-registration request forms are processed on a first come, first served basis.

If your form is submitted correctly you will receive a request confirmation e-mail within 24 hours. Please remember to include the after your UNI.

You will NOT receive an e-mail from my office saying that your request was granted or not granted.

To learn if your request was granted, you must keep checking your class schedule on the web. All requests remain on file during the cross-registration period (August 24 - September 18 at 10 a.m.).

You do not need to submit multiple forms for the same cross-registration request. If I am able to grant requests I do it as soon as possible but sometimes it takes days for a space to open in a class. Sometimes the space never opens up.

Please remember that you are submitting a cross-registration REQUEST. There is no guarantee that I will be able to approve your request. Until you see a change reflected on your class schedule on STUDENT SERVICES ONLINE, your request has not been approved.

If you have more than one course for which you want to be considered, please submit a separate form for each class.

Also, please be certain that you are not requesting a class that conflicts with any of your other classes.

Direct any questions to Melanie Huff.