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Spring Quarter 2017 Medill courses open to non-Medill majors

JOUR 201-1 “Reporting & Writing”

Taught by Prof. Stephan Garnett

This course builds a strong foundation for all Medill classes to follow by introducing students to the essentials of accurate journalism necessary for any platform or storytelling format. This includes news judgment, news and information gathering (including sourcing, discovering and covering different kinds of news, interviewing techniques, practices of inclusion and sensitivity); constructing stories (including leads, story structure, using quotes, using data to tell a story, assessing information); editing and presentation (grammar, punctuation, AP style, voice, tone, clarity, brevity); avoiding libel and other legal pitfalls; and visual literacy and presentation. This course emphasizes the critical practices of ethical journalism and deadline reporting and writing.

JOUR 341-0 – Journalism in a Networked World

Taught by Prof. Rich Gordon

(4 seats available for non-Medill students)

Search engines, social media and online communities are powerful networks that help people find journalism that interests them. In this interdisciplinary course, students learn the principles that explain the “groundbreaking science of networks” — and gain practical skills in areas such as Web analytics, search-engine optimization and social media strategy. Students pursuing the IMC certificate who have completed IMC 303 may choose to apply this course to their certificates.

JOUR 353 “Dilemmas of American Power”

Taught by Prof. Peter Slevin

It isn’t easy being a superpower. For the past 50 years, U.S. policymakers have struggled to define America’s role in an ever more complex world where threats multiply and challenges morph and endure. The period beginning with the Vietnam War traces an arc that reaches from Soviet nuclear arsenals to Islamic suicide bombers, from a fear of falling dominoes in Southeast Asia to hopes for a wave of democracy in the Middle East. And now the rise of right-wing populists in Europe, a newly activist Russia and the presidency of Donald Trump. This course uses an engaging set of examples and materials to chart one of the most intriguing stretches of international engagement in U.S. history. We will work collaboratively to understand why decisions were made, how policies were implemented and sold, and what it all may mean in the end. Assessing sources from presidential speeches and critics’ rejoinders to film documentaries and media accounts, we will study goals and motivations, ends and means, in an array of case studies. As the course progresses, we will pay particular attention to the foreign policy choices of President Trump and the domestic debate about those choices.

JOUR 368-0 – Documentary

Taught by Prof. Brent Huffman

(1 seat for SOC)

This course will provide students with a comprehensive overview of HD video production, specifically geared towards producing short documentaries that tell human stories. Emphasis is put on the use of character, conflict, drama and surprise in telling these documentary stories. We will also look at different documentary styles and how narrative structures like story arcs are implemented. Students will learn documentary production with a journalism focus: reporting, camera technique, lighting, and sound recording in the field. Students will create a seven-ten minute documentary project in a group of three. They will research and write a treatment, cast charismatic characters, get signed releases, shoot and edit the film. Documentaries created in this course have gone on to win National College Emmys, Chicago College Emmys and premiere at film festivals like Cannes and Tribeca.


JOUR 371-0 – Journalism of Empathy

Taught by Prof. Alex Kotlowitz

This course will explore writing on those along the margins, reporting on those people and places neglected and This course will explore writing about those along the margins, reporting on those people and places neglected and misunderstood by mainstream America. As a journalist, I can’t think of anything more exhilarating than moving beyond the center of the storm, giving voice to those without, introducing readers to people they otherwise would never have reason to meet. Why write on outsiders? What does it tell us about the way power is wielded? How does one gain access to an inner-city or immigrant community or to a prison or to a group of gay students? How do you immerse yourself in the lives of others without losing yourself in your subjects? How do you establish empathy? We’ll read lots — books and magazine pieces — and listen to radio pieces and watch some film. I hope to bring in a guest nonfiction storyteller or two. We’ll also do a fair amount of writing. There will be two short writing assignments, as well as a longer piece which will be due at the end of the quarter. This course will be run as a seminar, so expect robust and vigorous class discussions. We’ll workshop papers, discuss readings, watch film and work at understanding the artistry behind compelling nonfiction storytelling.