Cross Registration | Columbia Journalism School

Cross Registration

The Spring 2023 classes listed below (only these) are available for cross registration by graduate students (and undergraduate seniors) from other divisions of Columbia.

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

The form is open from January 9 at 10 a.m. to January 27 at 10 a.m. 

All the courses listed below carry 6 points unless otherwise noted.

Class Offerings for Spring 2023

The Art of the Interview

Instructor: Sara Ganim

Meets: Mondays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Credits: 6

Description: Interviewing is one of the bedrock skills of journalism. Some interviewing techniques are useful in almost all situations, but most are highly dependent on context. In this course, we will look at the various factors that should influence how you conduct an interview, including who you’re talking to, what information you’re seeking, and the type of story you’re doing (breaking-news versus investigative, TV versus print, etc.). We will examine various strategies and show how they can be tailored to the specific situation. We will also help you develop your own interviewing style, playing to your individual strengths.

The assignments for this course will be a series of interviews, leading up to a feature story based largely on material from interviews. We will videotape "practice interviews" and discuss these and other student interviews in a workshop format. Several visitors will visit the class and address subjects including interviewing powerful people, moving from radio to TV, interviewing for documentary film, and the special challenges of interviewing children.

 We aim to teach you to be a better, more adaptable interviewer right away, but also to begin what we hope will be a lifelong process of thinking about the complexities of interviewing, so that you can continually sharpen your interviewing technique through the years.

Audio Workshop

Instructor: Robert Smith

Meets: Wednesdays, 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m. and Thursdays, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Credits: 6


Description: Audio Workshop develops the skills to tell compelling, sound-driven news stories as well as the fundamentals of long-form podcast and radio  storytelling. The class operates as a working newsroom to produce a live, hour-long weekly news-magazine program, Uptown Radio.

As reporters, students produce four enterprise stories of increasing complexity, a personal commentary, two day-stories, two newscasts, and two host interviews. On the production side, students rotate through key leadership positions and technical positions to ensure a high-quality, timely broadcast. The leadership team makes all of the editorial decisions with support from the instructors as needed.

Learning to write well for audio forces you to write clearly and concisely. As such, this course develops your reporting and writing in ways that will be useful in whatever career path you choose. No prerequisite for this class.

Audio Workshop meets on Wednesdays 3 p.m.-5 p.m., and Thursdays, 9 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Additionally, you will be expected to spend at least another full day on your reporting for the class.  The Wednesday seminar will focus on developing craft through lecture and informal discussions with outside guests from throughout the audio  landscape.

Student reporting completed within class has gone to air both locally and nationally. Some examples include:

Skills developed in the class have led students to internships and jobs at: Atlas Obscura, BBC, CNN Audio, Frontline, Gimlet, Insider, Latino USA, Marketplace, Nancy, NPR (All Things Considered, It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, Morning Edition, Planet Money, local stations around the country, Etc..)  LA Times Audio, Radio Diaries, Slate, Slow Burn, Sony Podcasts, StoryCorps, The Economist Podcasts, Transmitter,  Trump Inc., Washington Post Audio, WNYC and many others.


Information Warfare Reporting:


How to Report in a Hostile Information Environment

Instructor: Emily Bell and Michael Keller

Meets: Wednesdays, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

Credits: 6

Description: The convergence of all types of information into digital formats has created a new and confusing information landscape for both consumers and practitioners. Fake news, campaigns aimed at everything from healthcare (via the anti-vax movement), through to influencing government and radicalizing populations to acts of violence or terrorism are all now carried put through the same vectors used to carry mainstream journalism and entertainment. Journalists are inevitably on the frontlines on this seismic change in how information can be used to leverage power and affect the real world. Understanding how to report this environment is an emerging and increasingly important beat. The ease with which large social media, search and other data aggregation platforms allow for publishing and dissemination of all types of content has created great opportunities and produced unanticipated threats. Sources of news, advertising, propaganda, and many other types of content are often difficult to distinguish from each other and easy to disseminate through frictionless sharing. The fluid nature of technology platforms means that information or content targeted at individuals for a particular outcome will shapeshift between formats and techniques. Understanding the dynamics of platforms, how the targeting of messages works, how to detect the provenance of sources are all now required skills for journalists. Journalists have an important role in investigating this landscape as a new type of media beat, of explaining the levers of influence and harm to their audiences and holding to account the individuals, companies and governments who misuse this power. The skills needed to parse the information environment, weigh influence campaigns and the often covert use of social platforms and messaging systems will be increasingly important in many areas of reporting. The journalistic role inevitably makes reporters and their sources targets for online harassment, doxxing and deliberate campaigns to either influence or silence them. Journalists must take into account threats, how to model them and how to protect themselves, their work and their sources from these types of attacks.  This course is intended to give students the critical framework for examining the roots and dynamics of the technical changes that have created the information crisis, and the technical skills for conducting their own investigations and reporting into the problem. The format will be a mixture of lectures and skills classes, using the lens of the 2020 election cycle. Student evaluation will depend on weekly assignments, classroom participation and the presentation of a final group or individual project

The Information Warfare Reporting class will be part of this year’s all city Tech Media and Democracy class.  What this means is that the Monday evening section joins a mostly lecture-based class that meets virtually with students from NYU, Cornell Tech, CUNY and Pratt Institute, to take an interdisciplinary look at the hard problems created by large scale technology’s role in society, from disinformation to algorithmic injustice. It is a great opportunity to hear from stellar speakers, ask them questions and hear other perspectives. Wednesday’s class will be a mixture of lectures, discussion and practical skills, with guest speakers zooming in or appearing in-person.


International Newsroom: Reporting the Undercovered Global South


Instructor: Howard French

Meets: Mondays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Credits: 6


Description: This seminar will sample coverage of broad swaths of the world that are sometimes called the Global South, and were once commonly referred to as the Third World. Together, we will discuss why these parts of the world have so long been portrayed in distorted ways, and ask also why, considering their rising demographic and economic weight, they continue to be under-covered by leading international news organizations? The course will draw prominently upon examples from Africa, Asia and Latin America. For classroom discussion we will also read studies of international population trends, migration dynamics, global economics, history and political science. Our ultimate aim is to propose better coverage models, both in terms of general principles and concrete examples. In this class, students will pitch, report and write three articles, ranging from off-the-news features to analysis and commentary.


The Journalist as Historian


Instructor: Gershom Gorenberg

Meets: Mondays, 1 p.m - 5 p.m.

Credits: 6


Description: A good work of history reads like a novel in which all the details are true.

In this course, you will learn to frame a piece of history as a story, uncover sources, and build a narrative that casts the past and present in a new light - and that keeps readers turning the page.

We will develop skills for finding the historical paper trail in archives, and for using sources including memoirs, newspapers, and popular culture. With a focus on book-length writing, we will work on uncovering the plot line and character arcs in actual events.

To expand your repertoire, we will look at fine historical writing, especially by journalists. Examining work on American race relations and the Israeli-Arab conflict, we will look at the relationship between facts, accepted narratives, and the writer's personal perspective - and at the impact of new writing on "what everyone knows." In short, we'll see how a writer can change history.

During the semester, you will lay out the storyline for a book-length work of history. You will find sources and write one extended episode of the story. Finally, you will create a detailed chapter outline for a book and rewrite your sample episode in response to new sources and intensive workshop discussion of your writing.

By the end of the course, each student should have the materials for a book proposal, along with the skills for enriching magazine and news writing with reporting on the past.


Telling True Stories in Sound: Immigration


Instructors: Daniel Alarcón, Patricia Sulbarán and Ariana Gharib Lee

Day/Time: Tuesday 6-9 p.m., and Wednesdays 1-6 p.m.

Credits: 6


Description: How do you tell compelling, moving stories about immigration in audio? How do you cover this defining American story without falling into simplistic, repetitive tropes? How do you use all the elements of great audio storytelling to produce creative, beautiful stories that stay with the listener, weeks, even months later?

Turns out it isn’t so easy. The goal of this course is to teach the skills of long-form audio journalism, the techniques used at established shows like This American Life or Radiolab, with a focus on immigration in New York City. We aim for a combination of in-depth reporting and strong character-driven narrative, chronicling life in a city defined by immigration. We’ll spend a lot of time talking --obsessing-- about creative approaches to storytelling, narrative structure, writing, as well as learning how to edit collaboratively. You will work very hard in this course -- but we, your professors, will too. You’ll produce three audio stories in the course of the semester, working with one of the instructors as your lead editor, and learn the skills of tracking, scoring and mixing along the way.

Some published work by previous students:

The Prayer, Leena Sanzgiri. Invisibilia

F*** Your Feelings, Emily Ulbricht. Love & Radio

Cuando la guerra llega a tu casa, Inés Réñique. El hilo

Trump Years Were Terrifying For Gay Asylum Seekers, Masha Udensiva-Brenner. All Things Considered


Using Data to Investigate Across Borders

Instructor: Giannina Segnini

Meets: Mondays, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Credits: 6


This class fulfills the spring investigative requirement for Stabile students

Description: Exponential amounts of information about the world are being produced daily, and journalists everywhere need to have a global mindset if they are to write about organized crime, corruption, human trafficking, global trade, and threats to the environment.

We live in an increasingly borderless world. Goods, money, people and ideas flow freely across borders, thanks to technology and the liberalization of customs and money controls. We all benefit from globalization and the free flow of commerce that it makes possible. But there's a dark side: A borderless world also makes it easier for crooks and criminals to do their work.

Around the world, journalists are developing techniques to cope with the globalization of crime, corruption and environmental damage. They are adopting strategies that include the smart use of data and collaboration across borders. The volume and velocity with which information and data are being produced and the variety of open sources currently available make it possible to develop reporting strategies that are truly global.

This course will prepare students to find global data, process and analyze it, and to report on it from New York while working with sources and other journalists overseas thanks to our partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). (Links to an external site.) Students will learn skills like doing background checks on people and companies, mining the social web, tracking offshore entities, assets and cargo across borders. They will be divided into reporting teams, and by the end of the semester, will be able to find, scrape, consolidate, analyze and visualize data in the context of a big global story.

Work by previous students in this class:


Media & Social/Structural Stress


Instructor: Zeynep Tufekci

Meets: Tuesdays,  2:00pm-4:00pm

Credits: 3

Description: The routines for covering breaking news--fires, accidents, shootings--are well established, but what happens when the emergency becomes the norm or the story never ends? In this course we explore the ways that the media have covered, or failed to cover, stories of ongoing systemic stress or failure--the pandemic, natural disasters, large-scale protests, war, poverty. How do these stressors change society and how do we connect the dots on these changes? What are the journalist's obligations? How does a newsroom identify such stories and organize their coverage? What happens after the journalist parachutes back out? The course will draw on case studies as well as scholarly material.


Stories and Society


Instructor: Michael Schudson

Meets: Thursdays, 10:00am-12:00pm

Credits: 3

Description: This seminar examines how story-telling enters into social life. It will look at stories that nations tell about themselves, that corporations construct to explain careers within them, that social movements employ, that doctors and patients use to make sense of illness, that journalists build to make news interesting to themselves and their audiences. The course marries a bit of literary theory with a sociological look at how stories function in a variety of human experiences.

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 January 9 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 (January 9 - January 27 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.