Specialized Journalism Courses for 2021-2022

In your 4th year you must choose at least one 0.5-credit Specialized Journalism course.

Although we have a full menu listed in the university calendar, not all courses are offered every year.

We’re still finalizing our courses for 2021-22, but take a look at our tentative list below and scroll to the bottom for some electives you might find interesting.


Fall Term 2021

JOUR 4300 Specialized Journalism: Power and Politics of Government

This is a seminar course designed to make students familiar with the way government works; how political parties function within the overall political system; how policies are formulated and implemented; and most importantly, how to report on all of these processes, institutions and events. Students will gain an understanding of the public policy underlying governmental decisions in a variety of fields and develop an area specialization to develop an understanding of beat coverage in politics.  As well, they will become conversant with procedures in Parliament and will cover virtually events on Parliament Hill.

JOUR 4303 – Specialized Journalism: Health and Science

Strong journalism about health science is vital to an informed public. Misinformation spreads like a virus on social media and still finds a spot in legacy media: consider the harm caused by anti-vaccine advocacy, food faddism, disease mongering. This course will teach you how to report accurately on new studies and emerging treatments. You’ll learn to use sound research, credible sources, and compelling techniques in health and medical story telling while you meet and interview leading scientists and health journalists.

JOUR 4306 – Specialized Journalism: Canada and the World

Diplomacy, war, terrorism, migration, the international economy, development and other issues of interest to journalists who want to write about Canada and international affairs. Emphasis on explanatory/analytical reporting; production of an extended work of journalism.

JOUR 4308 – Specialized Journalism: Sports and Sports Culture

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.

Winter Term 2022

JOUR 4302 – Specialized Journalism: Business and Canadian Society

The intersection between business and public policy, from climate change to taxation, pensions, labour and corporate social responsibility. What business does and how the media covers it. Emphasis on explanatory/analytical reporting, production of a related data project as an extended work of journalism.

JOUR 4304 – Specialized Journalism: Environment and Science

Climate change is reshaping the planet with far reaching consequences for people and places, plants and animals, air and water. What does the astute journalist need to know to cover climate and the other science disciplines that make up the latest research on the environment? You’ll learn about the Arctic’s melting permafrost, the rise in sea levels, extreme weather conditions and the resulting changes in agriculture and food security. You’ll meet the researchers who work on these challenging areas of science and the science journalists who now cover their stories.

JOUR 4305 – Specialized Journalism: Canada and the US

We look at how Canada and the United States have lived together peacefully for almost two centuries. We begin by examining the values of Donald Trump’s America and the values of Justin Trudeau’s Canada. Each week, we examine a different part of the relationship – diplomatic, cultural, financial, military. We look at the differences between Canadians and Americans, and ask if we are becoming more alike each other or moving farther apart. We visit the Embassy of the United States, and hear from journalists, diplomats and experts.

JOUR 4309 – Specialized Journalism: Arts and Culture

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.

Special Electives

Fall Term 2021

JOUR 4500 Special Topic – Storytelling with a focus on Podcasting

Podcasting is a media format where difficult, complex social problems are being explored through narrative storytelling. In this class, we will listen critically to podcasts to understand how this format engages audiences on challenging topics. We will discuss how the process of centering historically marginalized voices is changing the nature of how we do journalism. How can we handle stories in an intentional, trauma-informed way? What are the ethics of handling sensitive, personal stories?

JOUR 4100 Special Topic – Investigative Project

Join the National Student Investigative Reporting Network in this special topics course. The network of  journalism students in schools across the country launched the initiative with The Price of Oil. It was an award-winning collaborative project that was run by news organizations from the Toronto Star to Global News. Students then took on water issues. See the Carleton stories here:



This year you can take on a new issue as part of our investigative team within the larger network.

JOUR 3401 Selected Topics in Journalism – Filmography of Journalism: Cinematic myths and why they matter.

This course looks at the ways the professional journalism, and journalists, are portrayed in the movies. How does what we see on the big screen match up with the real world of journalism? Who are the heroes? Who are the villains? Who is left on the sidelines, and who is left out altogether.

Winter Term 2022

JOUR 3401 Selected Topics in Journalism – Journalism and Belonging

How might a focus on belonging impact our craft and the industry? We will explore how ideas of difference, diversity and inclusion affect journalism and in turn, Canadian society. Learn how discrimination, bias and stereotypes intersect with editorial decisions, everyday work situations and career paths. Discover solutions on how to make your work more inclusive of all Canadians.


Check Carleton Central for updated information, including course days/times.