Journalism at UMW
If you’re interested in working in journalism or related fields, the two most important things you’ll want to make sure you have coming out of your undergraduate experience are (1) a strong portfolio of your newspaper clips–copies of your published articles (NOT manuscripts of work you’ve done in your classes), and (2) substantive internship experience. Concomitant with these will be references from three professionals who can vouch for your training and potential.
At UMW, our focus is on print and digital journalism: writing for newspapers and magazines. This training and experience in print and digital journalism is transferable into other areas of journalism–broadcast, public relations, corporate communications, advocacy work–though we don’t offer classes specifically in those areas.
Our journalism program consists of roughly three parts. First of these is the journalism course sequence of ENGL 200 (Newsgathering), ENGL 300 (Principles of Newspaper Writing), and ENGL 301 (Principles of Magazine Writing). ENGL 200 counts as an elective in the English major; the other two courses can fulfill the upper-level writing requirement in the English major.
The second component of the journalism program is experience as a writer and/or editor on the award-winning student newspaper, The Blue and Gray Press. ELC offers a one-credit practicum, ENGL 380, for students interested in working on The Blue and Gray Press, which offers training in information gathering, interviewing, writing, revision, editing, newspaper management, and layout and design. Students can take ENGL 380 every semester, but only three of those credits can count toward the English major, as elective credit in the major.
The third component is the internship. ELC and the journalism program have a long history of placing interns at the local newspaper, The Free Lance-Star, and several ELC alumni have been hired at the paper as a result of their internships. We also have students in internships at a variety of other area newspaper, radio and television stations, and journalistic and advocacy organizations in the Washington, DC area.
While some students interested in journalism do go to graduate school to continue their studies in the discipline, most of our journalism graduates go straight into the work world where they find they have sufficient experience and training–from the classes, The Blue and Gray Press, and their internships–to land entry-level jobs in reporting or editing.
For more information, or for information about special majors in Journalism, contact Gary Richards, Chair of the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, or Sushma Subramanian, the Department’s full-time journalist.
Useful links for journalists