Specialized Journalism Courses for 2019-2020

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.

See below for what’s running in 2019-2020, and scroll to the bottom for some electives you might find interesting.


Fall Term

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 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.

JOUR 4311 – Specialized Journalism: Justices and Journalists

The Supreme Court of Canada has an enormous effect on our everyday lives. The highest court’s justices routinely make decisions on our rights, free speech, healthcare, criminal justice, religion, immigration and refugees and other pressing issues of our time. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the law intersects with almost every area of journalism at one time or another. In this workshop course, you will cover the Supreme Court of Canada as a beat. You will attend court proceedings as a class and there will be latitude for you to explore your particular interests by writing an enterprise piece for your final project.

Winter Term

JOUR 4301 – Specialized Journalism: Business and the Markets

The world needs journalists who understand how the economy works, how corporations are governed, operate, succeed and fail and what moves stock markets. This course will give you the basics to start a career as a business journalist. You will learn to analyze corporate performance through the eyes of an Ottawa publicly traded company, profiling its activities and interviewing its executives. A stock market investment exercise lets you build a portfolio and see how news can affect it. You will become familiar with the facts, figures and sources at the core of reporting on the Canadian economy and the businesses that operate within it.

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.

Special Electives

Fall Term

JOUR 4100 Special Topic – Investigative Project

Join the National Student Investigative Reporting Network in this special topics course. Two years ago 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. Last year the Network took on water issues. See the Carleton stories here: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/04/08/features/how-safe-ottawa-river-nuclear-waste



This year you can take on a new issue as part of our investigative team led by Professor Chris Waddell.

JOUR 4101 Special Topic – Parliament, Policy and the Press

In what is shaping up to be a pivotal federal election year, develop your skills in political and public affairs writing and reporting with a particular focus on analytical and critical writing. Learn how public policy issues are covered in the media, and best practices in informing citizens about politics and governance. Develop an understanding of the political and policy development process, including the role of various actors such as parties, civil servants, Parliament, lobbyists, and politicians.

JOUR 3400 Selected Topics in Journalism – Gender, Identity and Inequality

Whether a producer or consumer of journalism, this course will help you better understand how the news media engages with issues of gender and diversity. You’ll examine how changing ideas about gender roles and diversity have affected journalistic expression, newsroom dynamics and professional practice in mainstream and specialized news media. We’ll explore topics such as the representation of LGBTQ and Indigenous communities, politics, sports and parenting, as well as feminism and masculinity.

Winter Term

JOUR 3401 Selected Topics in Journalism – Photography in Media: Principles and Storytelling

This course will focus on storytelling through photographs in a workshop environment. Through hands-on tutorials, demonstrations, and lectures, you’ll learn the fundamentals of photography using a DSLR camera. Basic camera techniques and functions – such as depth of field, aperture, and shutter speed – will be covered to show you how to take great photographs using manual settings. Natural lighting techniques, composition, colour, and motion capture will be included. Minor photo-editing techniques will be covered to demonstrate how to colour correct and alter your images in post-production. Projects and lectures will focus on the use of photography to convey a story and its ethical implications. You’ll produce various styles of photographs including the self portrait, portrait, landscape, motion, and night capture. At completion of the course, you’ll understand the ethics behind photography for journalism and be able to capture well composed photographs using manual settings on your DSLR camera. You’re required to bring your own DSLR camera to each class.

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