The Fall 2021 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 19, 2021 at 10 a.m. to September 17, 2021 at 10 a.m.
All the courses listed below carry 3 points unless otherwise noted.
Class Offerings for Fall 2021
Class: Journalism & Society
Instructor: Andie Tucher
Day/Time: Wednesdays, 2:10 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Dates: September 15 - December 8
Description: An exploration of the central role of journalism in public life. We'll explore its historical roots, social role, and cultural contexts, and consider how it works in a democracy and what happens if it doesn't. Topics include the evolution of journalistic conventions; the rise and fall of objectivity; the ideal, and the reality, of the adversarial press; the impacts of new technologies and economic structures; journalism and storytelling; and, yes, of course, fake news. Although the focus is on US institutions and practices, we'll be placing them in global context.
Class: Disinformation, Fake News and Democracy
Instructor: Todd Gitlin
Day/Time: Thursdays, 2:10 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Dates: September 9 - December 9
Description: An exploration of the history and current role of fake news and disinformation in public life, placed in the context of the long history (and wide variety) of other kinds of journalism that have also been seen as fake in some way, from the mischievous and the satirical to the opportunistic and the subversive. The focus is on identifying the perpetrators, victims, beneficiaries and debunkers of these efforts and on the changing relationships among journalism, power, authority and democracy.
Class: Social Movements, Political Violence, and the Media
Instructor: Todd Gitlin
Day/Time: Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Dates: September 9-December 9
Class: Feature Writing
Instructor: Jonathan Weiner
Day/Time: Mondays, 9:30am-12:30pm
Dates: September 13-October 25
Description: Feature writing is a balancing act between information and narrative, reporting and the writer’s voice, news and what catches your eye. Walk in the door with an overheated curiosity, and we’ll turn that into diverse and surprising stories.
You’ll learn how to think like a feature writer – to find local stories on your block, or to give a large, unwieldy issue a human face and focus. You’ll expand your interview skills, and discover how to improve and refine your writer’s voice.
You’ll write several features, read each other’s work, and learn the fine art of revision. We’ll examine the digital component of features as well, and discuss how best to use these tools to enhance a story.
We’ll work through the steps that lead from idea to final draft; you’ll learn to conceptualize, pitch, and develop a compelling and well-reported story. On a practical level, this is the logical place to figure out how to apply your reporting and writing skills to your masters project.
Feature writing is a rewarding stretch – a chance to experience the particular pleasure of telling a great story that just happens to be true.
We’ll read an array of examples, analyze what works, and identify pitfalls and solutions. We’ll deconstruct stories to see how the writers built them, and have the chance to discuss that process with at least one guest speaker. Speakers in the instructor’s previous classes have included The New York Times’ Pulitzer-Prize-winner Amy Harmon, and The New Yorker’s Pulitzer-Prize-winner Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Class: Investigative Techniques (WAITLIST ONLY)
Day/Time: Wednesday, 6-9pm
Dates: October 27 - December 15
Description: Deep, compelling stories are built on a foundation of solid research and reporting. The goal of this course is to inspire you to dig deep, to find multiple sources of information and to explore different ways of gathering, verifying and evaluating facts and putting them in context. This class also will challenge you to think critically about the questions that drive your work and introduce you to a wide range of research and verification tools. More specifically, you will learn how to:
Use advanced internet search techniques
Obtain and analyze public records and data, including how to compose thorough FOIA requests
Get information about individuals and groups using a variety of sources
Work with, and incorporate, data and numbers in your reporting and writing
Use social media for reporting and verification
Evaluate scholarly literature
This course also will help you to sharpen your ability to critically assess the information you have obtained so you can create unique and accurate works of journalism. You will consider tactics for overcoming common obstacles, such as verifying information from interviews, being aware of cognitive bias and navigating informational roadblocks. You will apply what you’ve learned through assignments and drills, and you’ll be required, at the end of the course, to submit a research memo on a topic of your choosing.
Class: Data for Journalism
Day/Time: Wednesday, 6-9pm
Dates: October 27 - December 15
Description: In this class, you'll learn how to evaluate and analyze data for appropriateness, context and meaning. You'll leave the class knowing how to apply basic statistical methods to numerical data sets, and interpret the results of these methods using appropriate measures of spread and central tendency. You'll know how to build a histogram, recognize normal and skewed distributions, calculate the mean/standard deviation/normal score and median/quartiles where appropriate, and understand how these can (and cannot) be used to infer meaning about particular readings within a given data set. Visualization in this course will be used primarily for data analysis and story formation
Class: Business and Economic Reporting
Instructor: Chuck Stevens
Day/Time: Thursdays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., beginning Oct. 28
Description: Business and economic reporting is a specialty that opens doors to a swath of jobs, including coveted international postings, that are out of reach to most journalists. Moreover, the skills and knowledge that the beats require add sophistication to the coverage of every newsroom assignment, from the arts to sports to Congress. Stories about business and economics are stories about people — executives, workers and consumers — and the decisions they make. This class will introduce students to reporting on companies, the economy, small businesses and the individuals who determine their fates. Terms such as revenue, net income and GDP will be explained. Ethics that apply to business journalists will be discussed. Guest speakers from leading print and broadcast news outlets will talk about their work and career paths in the U.S. and abroad.
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 Thursday, August 19, 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 @columbia.edu 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 19 - September 17 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.