Specialized Journalism Courses for 2023-2024

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 2023-24 but take a look at our tentative list below and scroll to the bottom for some electives you might find interesting.

Fall Term 2023

JOUR 4300 Specialized Journalism: Civic Institutions

It will be offered on Wednesdays and will be taught by Kate Porter. It will include a range of guest speakers. This course will examine head on the contention that media coverage of our civic institutions has been compromised by changes in the journalism industry. Students will explore the current state of media coverage of major civic institutions through discussion and assignments that identify best practises, gaps or deficiencies in coverage and ideas for how best to foster more comprehensive coverage.

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 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 2024

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.

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 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: Justice and The Supreme Court of Canada

The courts and the legal system have an enormous effect on our everyday lives, routinely making decisions on our rights, how governments spend money, freedom of speech, healthcare, criminal justice, religious freedom, immigration, diversity and other pressing issues of our time. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the law and the courts intersect with almost every area of journalism at one time or another. In this course, you will cover the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the country. You will sharpen key journalistic skills, such as understanding and explaining complex court documents, finding the human-interest angle in any story, attending court hearings and writing with accuracy, fairness, and sensitivity.

Special Electives

Fall Term 2023

JOUR 3401 Selected Topics in Journalism – History of Black Canadian Journalism

This is a half-credit course that charts the development of Canada’s Black press from its beginnings in the 1840s to the present day. It attempts to tell the story of pioneering Black journalists like Henry Bibb & Mary Ann Shadd Cary, enduring publications like London, Ontario’s Dawn of Tomorrow, wartime-era broadsheets like The Canadian Observer and The Atlantic Advocate, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia trailblazing publisher/journalist and civil rights advocate Carrie Best and her 1940s-era paper The Clarion, the coverage of the seminal Sir George Williams Affair, the Alberta-born maverick Al Hamilton whose ground-breaking Toronto-based paper CONTRAST made its mark in the Canadian media landscape in the 1970s and 1980s, and local Black community media. The course explores the role Canada’s Black press has played in Black communities from coast to coast to coast and considers how Black media outlets have covered the most significant stories of the day. It also examines how Canada’s mainly White English and French-language mainstream press has portrayed Black peoples and communities since the 1700s.

JOUR 4400A Special Topic – Photography

This course will be delivered on Wednesdays by Katie Graham. The course will focus on storytelling through photographs in a workshop environment. Through hands-on tutorials, demonstrations, and lectures, students will 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 students how to take great photographs using manual settings.

JOUR 4400B Special Topic – Extended Reality Journalism

The course will be offered on Mondays in the fall term and will be delivered by a contract instructor. In this course, students will delve into Extended Reality (XR), fostering an understanding of its applications in journalism and its impacts on consumers. The course highlights the practical steps to execute innovative projects, such as XR stories, in a newsroom, rather than focusing on specific software skill sets. Critical evaluation of current XR technologies, idea pitching, user experience, newsroom business models, and ethical implications will be covered. The course aims to equip students with the mindset to transform the future of journalism and pioneer immersive storytelling experiences within dynamic newsroom environments.

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 4101 Special Topic – Power and Politics

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.
The course will feature a weekly discussion of political and public policy news and issues. Students will be expected to follow those issues and come to class equipped to discuss them or to raise questions about them. There will be guest lectures on occasion as well.

Winter Term 2024

JOUR 3401 Selected Topics in Journalism – Journalism and Belonging

This course is about how diversity, inclusion, and belonging affect journalism, journalism practice and society in Canada. You will be learning about bias and stereotypes, and examining the role journalism and journalists play in perpetuating bias and stereotypes. We will critique portrayals of various underrepresented communities in Canadian media and learn how to be more accurate and fair in our storytelling by centring inclusion and belonging. In this course we will consider race, gender, disabilities, religion, socioeconomic status and more.

JOUR 4101 Special Topic – Trauma-informed Reporting

Journalists often swoop in at the most difficult moment of a person’s life — the aftermath of a violent incident, the tragic death of a loved one, or the culmination of a painful criminal trial. This course is designed to make that job easier by helping to build a greater understanding of trauma and its effect on survivors into your journalistic practice. To be trauma-informed suggests an awareness of how trauma and violence impacts people in myriad ways and views it as an injury, not an illness, thus shifting the approach from “what is wrong with you?” to “what has happened to you?” The course will include lectures, discussions, and conversations with guests who have expertise or experience in the subject matter.

JOUR 4500 Special Topic in Investigative Journalism – Government and Public Affairs

This course is meant to provide an introduction to the complex and often controversial world of government and public affairs communications. It is intended for students who want to understand the complex interaction between government, public affairs practitioners and journalists. In many ways strategic communications are at the core of modern government as it copes with the stresses and speed of an interconnected global society. Increasingly, and sometimes counter-productively, communications considerations drive priorities and decision-making as governments struggle to connect with citizens and electors and to win permission for and acceptance of policies and programs through direct communications and media management. In addition, there is often dynamic tension between the communications objectives and responsibilities of the professional civil service and the political requirements of the governments it serves.

JOUR 4503 Special Topic – Reporting in Indigenous Communities

This course will taught by Duncan McCue, the former CBC broadcaster, who joined Carleton on July 1 as a full-time, tenure-track faculty member. The Reporting in Indigenous Communities (RIIC) course replaces Journalism, Indigenous Peoples and Canada and will provide students with vital opportunities for experiential learning in Indigenous communities.

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