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MJ Courses & Descriptions

Featured Courses

A rich menu of mandatory and elective courses – both professional and academic – is available for you.

Here are a few of the highlights. You can find a full listing in the graduate calendar.


This is your deep plunge into covering the news. You’ll learn everything from how to find a news story, identify sources, and write a news story to how to use photography, graphics and social media to get the story out. Classes include lectures, field trips, guests from the working media and discussions of your work. And you’ll get plenty of chance to practice your new skills.

Television Journalism/Video Storytelling - JOUR5202

Journalism at its best can shake the foundations of attitudes and assumptions, policies and governments. Video journalism – the journalism of pictures and words – can do so in even more potent ways. Think images from Vietnam. The protestor and the tank in Tiananmen Square. Refugees desperately trying to reach friendly shores. This course teaches you visual literacy and the skills you need to work as a video journalist in a digital age.

Radio Journalism/Audio Storytelling - JOUR5202

Radio remains an important medium for breaking news and long-form documentaries and audio is becoming an increasingly popular format for creative and innovative storytellers. This intense six-week workshop offers solid training in the expertise students need to produce outstanding audio journalism for a variety of media platforms.

Reporting Methods - JOUR5206

Scripted events. Secret meetings. No-interview policies. In the so-called Information Age, figuring out what’s going on can be harder than ever. You’ll learn how to obtain useful information, make sense of it, and shape it into compelling stories. You’ll get a solid grounding in freedom-of-information laws, business records, data journalism and document hunting.

Video Documentary - JOUR5508X

How can your story reach Werner Hertzog’s definition of “the ecstatic truth”? It depends on your approach to the business, history, and fundamentals of documentary filmmaking. Be prepared to debate ethical issues and deconstruct audio-visual storytelling techniques before presenting your own story ideas. You’ll then experience first-hand how the roles of journalist and artist collide when you break into small teams to produce a short documentary.

Magazine - JOUR5508Y

Believe it or not, in the age of texts and tweets, long-form journalism is thriving, and the magazines (print and online) that publish them are thriving too. In this course, you’ll read a wide range of classic and contemporary non-fiction, learn how to work with an editor, master the art and craft of writing long pieces, and explore the world of freelance writing in Canada and beyond.

Strategic Communication - JOUR5508G/H

This course is about the practice and business of strategic communication. It is designed for students intending to pursue careers in journalism or communications. It is a lab-based course built around a collaborative, group-based exercise aimed at producing a professional-level strategic communications plan for a selected organization. The student teams work with, and produce workable strategic solutions, to meet the real communications issues and needs of their client organization.

Data Journalism Storytelling - JOUR5508E

Don’t let the numbers scare you – this is all about storytelling. You’ll learn how to analyze and map data, and turn numbers into powerful and important stories about everything from restaurant inspections to aircraft safety. No 21st century storyteller is complete without the skills you’ll learn in this course.

Centretown, Capital News and iPolitics

This year we are offering an interesting opportunity in the Centretown News (JOUR 5704) and Capital News (JOUR 5705) workshops. The School has made an arrangement with iPolitics, the widely respected, Ottawa-based digital news company that will involve senior students with an interest in political coverage (particularly but not exclusively municipal affairs).

Up to 24 BJ4s and MJs enrolled in those workshops will be able to immerse themselves in iPolitics’ downtown Ottawa newsroom while producing content for course assignments (including online and print publication) that will be collaboratively produced with and potentially posted simultaneously by iPolitics. This partnership is in conjunction with iPolitics’ planned expansion into the local news market — first in Ottawa and possibly in other cities across the country.

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The opportunity to experience a professional digital newsroom for a stretch of six weeks (principally during class time) will be available to as many as 12 students (eight from Centretown News and four from Capital News) in each of the Fall and Winter terms.

Because spots are limited, interested students must first register in the workshop of their choice and then apply for an iPolitics spot by August 1, 2016 – click on either Centretown-iPolitics or Capital News-iPolitics for details.

Course Descriptions

Not all of the courses listed are offered every term, nor are they all open to first-year MJs. Contact your Graduate administrator and check the Graduate Calendar.

Journalism Elective Options for MJs - Fall/Winter 2016-17

Politics and Government
JOUR 4201A – Fall/Winter Terms 
Accreditation to the Parliamentary Press Gallery is your passport to an in-depth exploration of Canada’s government, public policy and politics. Witness the cut and thrust of Parliamentary debate and committee hearings, reporting from the very centre of the action. Immerse yourself in a specialized area of public policy, writing about it regularly with a final, year-end feature and presentation. Each week, there will be in-class discussion of the country’s major events, policy announcements and political developments.

Science, Health and the Environment
JOUR 4201D – Fall/Winter Terms 
Science can be rough terrain to explore as a young journalist. But here you become familiar with the culture of research and major trends in natural and health sciences. You’ll hone your science writing skills as we explore the key challenges confronting researchers around the world. We learn to be wary of sources who can get it wrong and to follow best practices for getting it right. Through weekly encounters with scientists and top science journalists, you are encouraged to tackle complicated subjects and tell stories with clarity, elegance and insight.

Business and Finance
JOUR 4201E – Fall/Winter Terms 
The world needs journalists who understand why corporations succeed or fail, how the economy works and why stock markets move. Here you learn to analyze the performance of individual firms, track trade issues and government fiscal policy, spot trends in personal finance and monitor the role of financial institutions. You will share news and insights about major developments in industry and entrepreneurship and review the very best of business journalism. Online assignments and class projects will provide hands-on experience in the field — a key step towards a potential career in business reporting.

Social Issues
JOUR 4201H – Fall/Winter Terms 
From sexual harassment and transgender rights to race relations and religion, this course covers it all. Should Canada embrace doctor-assisted death? Is the country too soft on crime?  Too generous to refugees? You choose your own beat and develop it by generating ideas, writing stories and making class presentations. The course assumes all policy is social policy, and you will be encouraged to follow your passion wherever it leads.

Legal Affairs
JOUR 4201J – Fall/Winter Terms 
From birth to death, law touches every aspect of our lives as citizens. It also underpins so much of what we do as journalists. This course will give you a deep understanding of the world the law from the perspective of journalists and storytellers. In the fall term you’ll learn how the Internet is governed and how it affects your work; in the winter term you’ll plunge into the world of Canada’s highest court. *Note: Fall term Thursdays 1800-2100/Winter term Thursdays 835-1125

Sports Journalism
JOUR 4100A – Fall Term 
More than play-by-play – you’ll cover live sporting events and learn to look beyond the field to find stories. You’ll read some of the greatest works of sports journalism and analyze some not-so-good sportswriting in order to spot the difference. You’ll meet real athletes and sportswriters and dive into discussions about how best to master the craft.

Multimedia Journalism: Design and Storytelling
JOUR4100B – Winter Term
You’ll team up with BIT Interactive Multimedia and Design students on a self-initiated project that could use an immersive game-engine environment and multi-dimensional representations to tell stories. Using design practices and principles of game construction and immersive environments, you’ll steer your project from initial concept to final realization and presentation to the class.

Arts and Culture Journalism
JOUR4100C – Winter Term
Arts and culture journalism remains the most satisfying of writing genres, with opportunities for analysis and storytelling, and an avid readership online. This course introduces key issues while teaching hands-on techniques for writing profiles, reviews, etc. Topics include our celebrity cult, the unholy power of publicists, how to recognize bias or manipulation from sources, the pitfall of “fan-ism,” and the indispensable uses of digital media for your reporting. 

Covering Indigenous Canada
JOUR4100D – Winter Term
What role should journalists play on the path towards reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples? This course explores how journalism in Canada has been associated with colonialism, from the foundational narratives of Indigenous peoples during westward expansion through to contemporary stereotypes. The seminar will challenge students to confront misrepresentation in the news media but also consider new strategies and ethical frameworks for covering Indigenous Canada in the era of reconciliation.

Journalism and Conflict
JOUR 4101B – Fall Term 
Conflict is at the heart of human society and for as long as people have been fighting among themselves, someone has been there to observe what is happening and relay information to others. This course examines a range of issues dealing with journalism and conflict with a particular emphasis on the vantage point of the journalist but also through discussion of interdisciplinary literature and academic research. The capstone experience is a military simulation exercise held on a Canadian Forces base, with students playing the role of journalists reporting from a war zone. 

Journalism and Society II
JOUR5500 – Winter Term
Essential agents of a free and democratic society, yet often criticized for debasing that democracy, how can journalists negotiate and balance their everyday working environments with the ideals of their profession? This masters-level seminar examines where traditional journalism is coming from and where it is going in a fast-paced digital society, as well as the opportunities that might arise from these changes. It’s also about why journalism still matters.