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7 Reasons to Pick SOC's Journalism Program

Why study journalism at AU in Washington, DC?

1. SOC’s Cutting-Edge New Home

We expect to move into a cutting-edge new home for the School of Communication in time for spring 2014 classes. This two-minute video gives you a look inside this dynamic new facility. The McKinley building features a 1,500-square-foot Media Innovation Lab, a 145-seat theater, and state-of-the-art classrooms and labs that will solidify SOC's position at the forefront of communication and media education.

2. New Journalism Curriculum / Three Specialty Areas


Under the new curriculum, you may select from three journalism specialty areas: Investigative Journalism, Broadcast Journalism or International Journalism. You can combine some of these specialties, depending on your specific areas of interest. This new curriculum allows students to explore their personal interests while being part of a converged experience that stresses multimedia skills on multiple platforms. Our 11-month program gives you a solid foundation in writing, communication theory, and professional ethics, as well as substantial production experience.

3. Pulitzer Prize SOC Faculty

SOC John Sullivan vertical

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter John Sullivan (left) is joining SOC in a partnership with The Washington Post and SOC's Investigative Reporting Workshop, which is led by internationally recognized investigative reporter Chuck Lewis, a former producer for ABC News and CBS News' 60 Minutes.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jan Schaffer is executive director of J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism, an SOC academic center considered one of the nation's most successful incubators for news entrepreneurs and innovators.

The benefits for graduate students are extraordinary. Outstanding students are selected to be involved in J-Lab initiatives or to work with The Post's investigative team, making SOC the only school in the nation offering students this level of professional investigative experience and mentoring at a national newspaper.

The IRW partnerships include national broadcasts seen on PBS' FRONTLINE. Lost in Detention examined the Obama administration's controversial get-tough immigration policy. Another production, scheduled to air on Showtime next fall, will look at climate change. Also, the New York Times and the Workshop have jointly published a story about immigration detention solitary confinement in the United States.

4. Exclusive $ Awards for Journalism Students

Lynh Bui

Journalism students may apply for prestigious writing awards designed exclusively for them. The Merriman Award, (Lynh Bui, right) given by the Writer's Guild-East, includes a trip to New York for the annual awards program and a $1,000 cash award. The annual Jack Jurey Award provides broadcast students the opportunity to vie for a $1,000 prize recognizing writing and production excellence.

5. Unique Internships with National Media

SOC media logos collage

Our students may do a three-credit internship in the spring or summer session at one of Washington, D.C.'s, internationally known media outlets. This is a particular advantage of studying journalism in the nation's capital and working with faculty who have deep connections with national media.

One graduate student recently wrapped up her internship at the White House, where she had the  opportunity to be the scriptwriter and voice for a weekly videocast, "Best of the West (Wing Week)."  And here's a story to tell family and friends back home, Michelle Obama called out the student by name on her birthday.

We also offer a unique Dean's Internship program for exceptional students to earn bylines, production credits, and professional recognition for their work with nationally recognized partners such as NPR, USA Today, and The Washington Post (Jeremy Borden, left). After working part-time during the academic year, Dean's Interns often are invited back by their host partner to work full time for the summer or after graduation.

6. Up-to-date Digital Tools

Media Production Center

SOC offers state-of-the-art digital labs as well as equipment available for check out.

Television broadcasting is taught in The Media Production Center, a fully digital HD production facility.

The studio features three SONY HD cameras and a SONY MVS-6000 HD video switcher, making it the most advanced university-based video production facility in the national capital region. You can take an online tour of the studio.

In addition, as an enrolled student at American University you will have free access to the Online Training Library, Lynda.com, with video tutorials on digital arts from leading software publishers including Macromedia, Adobe, Corel, Microsoft, and Apple.

7. Storytelling for a Digital Age

Kate Musselwhite ’11 interviews curator Barry Blackman at the Anacostia Art Gallery and Boutique.

The heart of our program is storytelling for the digital age in the media capital of the world. American University offered its first newswriting course in 1926 and for more than 30 years the School of Communication has offered public affairs journalism in a rapidly changing communication world. 

The M.A. in journalism prepares you for a career as a news and information professional able to tell a story across multiple platforms –online, radio, television, or print. You'll learn cutting-edge skills and graduate with an impressive professional portfolio.

We also study the impact of media on society. Professor Angie Chuang's immensely popular course on Race, Ethnic and Community Reporting, for example, explores culture and race in the D.C. metro area and publishes on the website DC Intersections.  The Journalism graduate program emphasizes public accountability, provides a solid grounding in communication law, and offers insight into the global media environment.

We take great pride in constantly updating our graduate curriculum with an eye to innovation and the future of the industry.