Cross Registration | Columbia Journalism School

Cross Registration

The Spring 2022 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 10 at 10 a.m. to January 28 at 10 a.m. 

All the courses listed below carry 6 points.

Class Offerings for Spring 2022

Advocacy and Movement Journalism

Instructor: Kia Gregory

Meets: Thursdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Points: 6

Description: We will explore the history, power and challenges of movement journalism, which has been defined as journalism that meets the needs of communities directly affected by injustice. We will read and discuss noted works by journalists of the past such as Ida B. Wells and the present such as Ta-Nehisi Coates; and as it relates to exemplary journalism explore key skills such as critical thinking and ably engaging with people in their communities. We will discuss the meaning of and controversies around advocacy journalism, which has deep roots in journalism, in reporting with a point of view. We will analyze and practice forms of rigorous, accurate, evidence-based reporting and potent storytelling, within a framework of journalism that also challenges the pretense of objectivity in legacy media, which still often upholds a status quo of injustice and inequality in the country. We will engage the continual questions of fairness, balance and ethics in media, as well as what journalism has been for, is for, and how to best fulfill, and perhaps expressly redefine, its purposes. Our class will also serve as a newsroom, and you will report and produce three enterprise news stories in the city that represent movement journalism.


Audio Workshop

Instructor: Robert Smith and Sally Herships

Meets: Wednesdays, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and Thursdays, 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Points: 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: BBC, CNN Audio, Gimlet, Insider Inc., Latino USA, Marketplace, Nancy, NPR (All Things Considered, It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, LA Times Podcasts, Morning Edition, Planet Money, Etc..)  Radio Diaries, Slate, Slow Burn, Sony Podcasts, StoryCorps, The Economist Podcasts, Transmitter,  Trump Inc., Washington Post Audio, WNYC and many others.


Magazine Workshop: Trumplandia Magazine, Zombie Edition

Instructor: Keith Gessen

Meets: Thursdays, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Points: 6

Description: The purpose of this course is twofold: To create a significant work of longform journalism and to publish the third-ever print issue of Trumplandia. The first two issues are available in the magazine rack on the 8th floor, outside of 802.


Why Trumplandia? Isn't Trump gone? Sadly, no. From his Twitter exile, he continues to plot and scheme; beyond that, the effects of his presidency continue to reverberate in the body politic--in the politicization of vaccine and mask mandates; the distrust of the media; the corrosive skepticism toward the integrity of elections. It's not clear how this will play out in the coming years, but it is clear that we can't yet afford to ignore it.


Students will spend the first two-thirds of the semester writing a longform, deeply researched and reported, character-driven narrative piece about a story from the post-Trump landscape. We will then spend the rest of the semester editing, fact-checking, and laying out the final product. Finished pieces will also be posted on the Trumplandia website. The idea of the class is both to produce high-quality work and to take part in a collaborative group project that holds itself to the highest editorial standards. 


International Newsroom: Reporting the Undercovered Global South

Instructor: Howard French

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

Points: 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.


Video Storytelling: The Art and Craft of the Short Documentary

Instructor: Judith Helfand and Ed Robbins

Meets: Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Prerequisite: Students who have taken a documentary boot camp or who have prior production experience, and examples of work or portfolio to share.

Equipment fee: $275 for ongoing maintenance of equipment

Points: 6

Description: This workshop is for students who are passionate about documentaries and want to graduate with a digital portfolio that can help position them as a visual journalist. It is for students with advanced shooting and editing experience who want to hone their storytelling skills, experiment with new styles and explore the expanding landscape of visual journalism and the increased interest in powerful short documentaries. In this class students will produce three distinct shorts that exponentially explore your story and subject (1 minute, 3.5 minutes and 10 minutes). Our emphasis is on substantive reporting, visual investigation and compelling storytelling of all kinds. We will focus on story structure, the power and subtlety of the frame, interview techniques (talking hearts vs. talking heads), lighting (natural and enhanced), editing, and graphics and even the role of humor.. A range of styles will be explored, celebrated and supported- first-person, on-camera, non-narration or text-based approaches. This is an opportunity to experiment, workshop, and hone a critical set of visual storytelling skills, as you find your own unique voice.  We will practice the art of pitching your stories and yourself to media outlets with an actual "meet" and "pitch" to industry professionals (like NYT Op-Docs, Field of VIsion and Reveal). We will also look at the power of a collection of "short docs" to explore a single issue from multiple perspectives and consider that as an option for our workshop.  The goal is to produce videos suitable for broadcast, cable and online platforms (and, of course, viewing at the Career Fair.) We will strive to collaborate with at least one professional outlet. Students in previous classes have produced assignments that have been posted on The New York Times, Channel Thirteen, The Daily Beast, Slate and Frontline. 


Investigating the Failures of the Mental Health System

Instructor: Meg Kissinger

Meets: Wednesdays, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

Points: 6

Description: Mental illness is America’s most under-reported pandemic, and it has only gotten worse since the Covid-19 crisis. Suicides and emergency hospital admissions are now at all-time highs. One in five Americans struggle with some form of it. We spend more than $300 billion a year on psychiatric care in this country. Still, these diseases remain widely misunderstood and undertreated. We tend to blame the victims, shove them out of sight, into prisons and onto the streets.

This investigative reporting class will examine the history behind those failures and their consequences for all of us. We have partnered with Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry to offer an all-star cast of doctors with years of experience in treating mental illness. They will provide insights from their time in the field — public psychiatric hospitals, homeless shelters and clinics. We will also hear from patients who have struggled and learn what suggestions they have. 


When that all gets to be a bit much, we will have a laugh or two. We’ll watch stand-up comedy and John Oliver clips and listen to an episode or two of This American Life and The Hilarious World of Depression. 


Students will learn how to build an investigation of a mental health system by mining for data, exploring trends, analyzing social policy and scrutinizing spending priorities. 


Information Warfare Reporting: How to Report in a Hostile Information Environment

Instructor: Emily Bell and Michael Keller (tentative)

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

Points: 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.


Covering Immigration

Instructor: Stephania Taladrid 

Meets: Mondays, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Points: 6

Description: Today, our world is witnessing a refugee crisis on a scale unprecedented since World War II, one that stretches from Asia and Africa to the Middle East and the Americas. It involves more women and girls than ever before and defies laws and policies aimed at containment. Waves of Central American families arriving at the United States’ southern border provide a vivid look at the array of forces -- from poverty to crime and climate change -- that are pushing people out of their homelands, and at why so many government responses, each one harsher than the last, have failed to deter them. Together with the editors at Documented, a website that publishes news about immigration in New York, we’ll report and write stories about how these dynamics are shaping policies, communities and lives across the city. We’ll look for ways to break new ground by dignifying individual migration stories, while exposing systemic forces at work on a range of subjects, including family separation and sexual exploitation; human trafficking and the business of immigrant detention; the tightening of the asylum system and ICE’s expansion. Across the semester, you'll work on stories that teach you how to navigate a deeply polarized political landscape in order to accurately and fairly investigate the effects of immigration policies. You’ll learn strategies that will help you overcome cultural, linguistic, and logistical barriers in order to report migration stories with relevance, novelty, and style. You don’t need to be a lawyer to cover immigration, but you do need to have a working understanding of the laws, and where they came from, so that you know the difference between asylum and sanctuary cities, between TPS, VAWA, UACs and SIJS. This class will provide that understanding.


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 10 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 10 - January 28 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.