All Journalism and Public Affairs candidates will choose a specialization and complete 9 credit hours in their chosen area of focus.
A specialty in Investigative Journalism equips you with the skills to become a top investigative reporter or editor on any media platform. Our students learn how to undertake solid, accurate reporting; to write clearly and concisely; and to create and organize long narrative and investigative stories for all platforms. They also gain a strong foundation in journalism law and ethics. You'll learn from Pulitzer Prize-winning professors, including faculty who work at the School of Communication's Investigative Reporting Workshop, founded and directed by Charles Lewis, best-selling author, investigative journalist, and former 60 Minutes producer. Our students have gone on to notable careers writing and editing for national and international magazines, newspapers, trade publications, websites, and private and non-profit organizations.
If you're looking to launch a career as a writer, newscast or segment producer, editor, reporter, anchor, videographer, graphics producer, assignment editor, or news director, our specialty in Broadcast Journalism is ideal. Our students hone both on-air and producing news skills for television, radio, online, and mobile. You'll be able to take advantage of some of the most advanced university-based video production facilities in the region. American University's Media Production Center features digital video and audio editing suites, a computer-based newsroom system featuring Associated Press' ENPS, an HD-equipped television studio, and the Ed Bliss Broadcast Newsroom. The McKinley Building, home of the School of Communication, boasts a 145-seat theater with 4K digital cinema projection and a state-of- the-art Media Innovation Lab. Our graduates have found success in television, radio, production companies, websites, public and private organizations, and converged news operations with writing, audio, and video storytelling needs.
Students who specialize in this field see journalism through an international lens. They want to report from international locations, from US locations about international topics, or for internationally-based media organizations such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, and others. With its base in Washington, DC, our program is ideally situated to help you integrate international aspects into your journalism. You'll take courses that show how the media interact with foreign policy, how you can conduct investigative reporting on global topics, and how international viewpoints can be included in your reporting. International organizations such as the Organization of American States and the World Health Organization have key bases of operation here, as do embassies and consulates from nearly every country in the world. Our students have gone on to pursue ground-breaking journalistic projects in Europe and other international locations.
This scholarship was established in 2005 in honor of renowned newsman Ed Bliss, Jr. As a pioneer in journalism, he served as editor to Edward R. Murrow and founded the journalism program at American University. His life and dedication to excellence in journalism inspired many School of Communication students who now hold key positions in print, broadcast, and interactive journalism. Each year, this prestigious scholarship is awarded to an outstanding graduate student with financial need who exemplifies Ed Bliss’s passion for journalism, embodies his respect for journalistic values, and embraces his commitment to excellence in writing.
Robert Bunnell, MA ’82, attended American University as a visiting student his senior year and completed his graduate education here in 1982 before his early death at age 38. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming graduate student in Journalism and Public Affairs with both financial need and academic merit.
Pauline Frederick Robbins was a trailblazing female network news correspondent who graduated with a bachelor’s from American University in 1930. Pauline worked for NBC for 21 years and helped further the role of numerous women in the field of news broadcasting. This scholarship is awarded to a female graduate student in broadcast journalism who shows outstanding potential in and passion for the field of radio or television broadcasting.
This scholarship is awarded to a graduate student specializing in print journalism who demonstrates exceptional promise for professional excellence and achievement in their chosen field. This scholarship was made possible by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Earl K. Van Swearingen, friends of American University and ardent supporters of excellence in print journalism and writing.
Jordan Houston, SOC/MA '17
Investigative reporting is journalism's greatest strong suit.
Winning the Merriman Award for excellence in broadcast writing, visual storytelling, and reporting is a milestone for Jordan Houston. As a graduate assistant at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, she wrote about topics critical to journalism's shifting landscape. She believes investigative reporting has the power to expose hypocrisy, hold powerful individuals and institutions accountable, spark reform, and ultimately, change lives. Later this year, she will continue her work covering water contamination in the U.S., an issue that resonates across the country.
Boot Camp gives you the first picture of what journalists face every day. During this immersive program, students learn the basics of researching and reporting under deadline conditions. The intense schedule focuses on information gathering, writing, and producing for a variety of media platforms, all against a backdrop of the constantly changing media industry. With classes running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, you'll build strong fundamentals in critical thinking, news judgment, interviewing, ethics, and verification, as well as a basic skill set in digital audio and video editing.
In Washington, DC—where local news is national, or even international—not only will you have opportunities to report on Capitol Hill, the DC government, federal agencies, and national and global policymakers, you can gain even more experience through internships and fellowships at major national and international news outlets including The Washington Post, USA TODAY, Politico, NBC4, and National Public Radio. Our Investigative Reporting Workshop allows you to work with preeminent journalists on significant national and international investigative journalism projects about government and corporate accountability, ranging from the environment and health to national security and the economy, and to experiment with new models for creating and delivering investigative projects.
The School of Communication has a distinct advantage among comparable institutions for the many different experiential learning opportunities offered to students. Internships are a way of life here. Graduate students can receive course credit for one internship, but most students have two or three, thanks to faculty and alumni who share their professional contacts.
We also have an active and effective alumni mentoring program that will help you build your professional connections and networks. Through our Dean's Internships, we work with world-class partners to select, highly-qualified students with meaningful real-world assignments that create future pathways to jobs.
Plus, we have two full-time career advisors to help you land internships and plan your career.
Both our bachelor's and master's degrees are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). We are the only accredited journalism program in Washington, DC. Accreditation is an important mark of external validation. It means our programs have been vetted by industry influences, including scholars and professionals. Practitioners who hire our students know they have a firm grounding in the field.