Journalism (BA)

Whether you're interested in reporting the news, producing a podcast, editing a magazine, writing feature stories, or anchoring the TV news, our Journalism program will equip you with the skills and connections you need to succeed in the industry. You'll learn the essential journalism skills and explore various formats and platforms for telling stories that inform, inspire and engage — all while working in one of the most exciting news markets in the country.  

Our Journalism majors get hands-on experience in classes, at internships and on campus publications, graduating with a portfolio of work that demonstrates their readiness to enter the industry. And because we are in Chicago — the third largest media market in the country and home to some of the most exciting developments in media business models — you'll be in the right place at the right time. 

Students working on echo magazine layout


Concentrations


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Broadcast Journalism (Radio or TV emphasis)

If you're interested in being a news reporter, producer or anchor, this interdisciplinary major will set you up with in-demand skills and a reel to show your accomplishments. Hands-on broadcast experience is combined with practical coursework in topics such as television and radio production and on-camera talent. 


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Magazine Journalism

In the magazine concentration, we build upon the key skills and values of all journalism–accurate reporting, clear writing, compelling storytelling–by preparing you for careers in consumer and buisiness-to-business magazines. You can explore your passion for specialities, like fashion or music journalism, while developing essential magazine writing and editing skills.

Seniors in this concentration can work on the award-winning Echo magazine, a collaboration with students in Graphic Design and Photography that mirrors industry magazine production. You'll also have the opportunity for internships at magazines in Chicago and beyond.


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News and Features

In a crowded digital media landscape, we need ethical, accurate journalists more than ever. As a News and Features student, you’ll learn how to place news in a context that helps readers, listeners, and viewers make sense of the world.

You’ll report on topics such as business, urban affairs, and the environment as you build a body of work that showcases your ability to use social media to break news and report human-interest stories. You may want to join the team at our award-winning weekly student newspaper, the Columbia Chronicle. The newspaper and its website are produced by student editors, reporters, and designers. You’ll also have opportunities to enter professional journalism award competitions, study abroad, and find internships.


In the Classroom

What to expect your first year

You'll take foundational course requirements for the Journalism major. But even our intro course is not a traditional survey class. In your first few weeks, you'll venture out into the city, finding and developing stories with close guidance from your professors. There are many opportunities to publish your stories, so you can start building a body of work your first year. Several of our first- and second-year students are published for the first time on our ChicagoTalks website. 

What to expect after that

After you’ve taken the required sequence of reporting classes, you can branch out and explore your interests. If you love magazines, you’ll be able to take classes in Magazine and Feature Writing as well as Advanced Editing, preparing you to write and edit for magazine media. If your passion is fashion, you can take Fashion Writing; if you love digging deep, you can take Investigative Reporting. While taking these and the other specialty courses mentioned above, you can also complete an internship or two, work for the Columbia Chronicle, and contribute to Chicago Talks. 

What to expect your last year

As a senior, you'll refine your portfolio as you prepare for a career in journalism. You will also take one of our practicum courses, which mirror the industry. These include Echo magazine, local radio station WCRX-FM; and Newsbeat, a live TV newscast. 


Specialty Courses

Columbia College Chicago’s Journalism program offers a plethora of exciting specialty courses where you can learn how to cover the topics you care about most. These include Covering Urban Affairs, Solutions Journalism, Global Multimedia, Fashion Journalism, Covering Politics, Reporting Spanish-language News, and War Stories: Covering Veterans and Refugees. The city provides the people, places and stories, giving you hands-on experience reporting news and human-interest stories. You'll also have opportunities to study abroad.  

Campus Media

Journalism majors have numerous opportunities to contribute to publications and even create them. Chicago Talks publishes stand-out student work from early reporting classes. The Columbia Chronicle provides paid opportunities for student reporters, writers, editors, photographers, videographers, illustrators, designers and social media producers to cover the campus and the city. Echo magazine brings together Journalism, Graphic Design, Photography and Photojournalism majors to create a stunning print magazine. And AustinTalks gives students the opportunity to report from the West Side of Chicago, which is often under-covered by other news media. These print and digital publications provide opportunities to enter competitions and win awards, as well as to build an impressive portfolio of work and be prepared to work in the journalism profession or adjacent fields. 

Outside the Classroom

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Columbia prides itself in giving you real-world opportunities, and Chicago is a great place to experience city living and the work of journalism. As a Journalism student, you'll have opportunities to cover exciting news in politics, culture, entertainment, and sports. The city will be your laboratory as you learn and report alongside professional journalists. 

In addition to the many internship opportunities in the nation's third-largest media market, you'll have the chance to work for award-winning. Student-produced media outlets, like the Columbia Chronicle, Echo magazine, NewsBeat, Chicago Talks, Austin Talks, and Columbia’s radio station, WCRX-FM.

Learn more about our Columbia publications.


Internships

Chicago is a rich media environment. During a time when many cities and towns are becoming news deserts, Chicago is home to numerous local and national news organizations, as well as consumer and business-to-business magazines and broadcast outlets. In fact, Chicago is a pioneer in the exciting world of nonprofit news, and an incubator of innovation and collaboration. 

Columbia College maintains great relationships with local media organizations. We place students in internships that often lead to jobs. Students work closely with our internship and career adviser, who directs them to a wide range of opportunities. 

You'll have access to internship opportunities at companies ranging from globally known media outlets to startups. Students have landed assignments at national news media: NBC News, CNN, Gannett, Bloomberg News, The Young Turks. 

They intern in the newsrooms of major Chicago TV stations, including WLS-TV, WMAQ-TV, WBBM-TV and WGN-TV; as well as at other local media outlets: Chicago Sun-Times and Modern Luxury. Journalism and Radio students have worked at local radio stations including WPWX-FM, WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM. 

Also, students work for media outside the Chicago area: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, St. Petersburg Times, Gateway Journalism Review

Though an internship is not required, we encourage you to start looking for one your junior year.

Learn more about how Columbia's Career Center can help you find the right internship. 


Alumni

Columbia Journalism alums are found across the multimedia landscape. From reporters to news anchors to digital content producers and more, our alumni practice journalism around the country. 

A few examples: 

  • Paige Barnes, '21, morning weekend anchor and reporter, WSBT-TV in South Bend, Indiana 
  • Kendall Polidori, '21, music critic, Luckbox magazine  
  • Summer Hoagland-Abernathy, ‘21, press aide at the Office of the Mayor of Chicago 
  • Blaise Mesa, ‘19, news reporter on criminal justice and social services for Kansas News Service  
  • Megan Perrero, ‘19, associate editor at Mass Transit Magazine 
  • Tyra Bosnic, ‘18, communications specialist for the Office of the Lt. Governor of Illinois 
  • Jerel Ballard, '17, director of communications for Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and candidate for Milwaukee’s 2nd aldermanic district 
  • Shanice Harris, ‘16, communications editor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law 
  • Katherine Davis, ‘15, reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business 
  • Darryl Holliday, ‘12, co-founder and news lab director for City Bureau  

 

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“Columbia fulfilled me with the fundamentals of news writing— both print and TV— and I graduated with samples of work that I used to land my first paid-job out of college. My experiences through the program were a taste of what was to come, and I love telling the public’s story each and every day.” 

-Paige Barnes '21, morning weekend anchor and reporter, WSBT-TV, South Bend, Indiana 

 

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“At Columbia, you meet so many different people and can work on these projects with them. And that's how the real world is. You're not just stuck in your little bubble and you're not just working with journalists all day. You're working with people in various fields who have different knowledge and different experiences than you. That’s what Columbia really offered for me.”

-Kendall  Polidori ’21

 



Creative Spaces and Facilities

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We have audio labs, TV studios, workspaces, and professional equipment for Journalism students to use for individual and class projects.

  • WCRX (88.1 FM)
  • Convergence Newsroom
  • Columbia Chronicle Newsroom

View the full list of facilities


Faculty

Our faculty members are working professionals who stay up-to-date with industry trends and teach them in the classroom. They’re dedicated to giving you a real-world education, and they serve as great resources for jobs and references once you graduate. View all department faculty.