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ALISM MULTIMEDIA JOURN Graduate Program uidebook

Prospective Student G 2014

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Welcome Message from the Director of Graduate Studies What sets our curriculum apart from others is that it was designed for the digital age. We’re not simply dropping some “digital” concepts into traditional journalism courses, but instead, the courses have been created to address the needs of a modern storyteller. Mobile and digital practices are the foundation of what

as they’re happening, often scooping local, regional and national news outlets. Students in our program also are exposed to documentary storytelling, both through photo essays and video production, and their work is published through our School’s online

our graduate students study at VCU.

properties in addition to local and

Our courses include techniques and

there are opportunities to get wider

strategies for using large datasets to tease-out stories that could never be discovered through traditional data-collection practices. We’re also focused on providing real-world experience in telling stories across different mediums. Learning when and how to place content in social media channels versus traditional print and broadcast outlets is complemented by our mix of skill-based courses that emphasize best practices in writing, video production, interviewing, story

regional news outlets. Additionally, exposure through CNS, which is a nonprofit cooperative between the University of Maryland and VCU that provides all subscribing journalistic outlets in Virginia and Maryland with state-level, multi-media political news packages. I hope you’ll take the time to review the content in our brochure and reach out to me if you have any questions. We’re always looking for professionals who are ready to move to the next

framing and data analysis.

level of journalism excellence.

We’re also focused on helping our


students develop and publish stories faster. The days of turning stories around in a week, or sometimes two, are long behind us now. We’re teaching students how to take tablet computers into the field to record, edit and post stories where they happen,

June Nicholson Director of Graduate Studies Robertson School of Media & Culture Virginia Commonwealth University

Robertson School of Media & Culture: Social Media

Multimedia is the new normal for how storytelling is practiced The modern environment for

The explosion of content created

journalism has merged traditional

through digital means has led

storytelling mediums, such as print,

to amazing advances regarding

radio and television, with digital

storytelling techniques and story

additions that include social media

promotion. For example, rather than

and blogs. Where these formats were

being the domain of editors, headlines

separated in the past, they have

are now routinely tracked (and

now converged to allow much more

alternatives tested) through clicks and

freedom in how stories are gathered

shares in order to influence what is

and told. The central philosophy

viewed. This kind of data collection

within the multimedia journalism

using testing, analysis and action

program at VCU is to learn to quickly

is also mirrored in the way modern

adapt to changes in the industry while

journalists comb through large

also embracing new opportunities for

datasets to expose corruption and


find opportunities for citizens.

Contemporary journalists are now expected to have a much wider set of skills than anytime in history.

Contemporary journalists are now expected to have a much wider set of skills than anytime in history. Among them are video editing and

The landscape for journalism

production, social media savvy,

has changed dramatically with

impeccable grammar, basic html

the growth of the internet, large

coding knowledge (and sometimes

databases, and now, mobile devices.

more advanced knowledge), layout

The convergence of these three

and design abilities, data analysis

phenomena has led to massive

techniques and extremely fast

changes in the journalism industry

turnaround times for stories. This is

that extend beyond what anyone

more than what most people can

previously imagined regarding a 24/7

accomplish in an undergraduate

news cycle. News is now constant

program, which has fueled demand

and moves across devices, and to

and competition for graduate

individuals, in real-time.

programs that have adapted to the new context in which journalism is practiced.

Multimedia Journalism: Program Highlights The M.S. in Mass Communications

learning about international media

with a concentration in multimedia


journalism prepares graduates for the practice of professional journalism

The program is designed so that

in a highly competitive and multiple-

students will take three courses each

platform (print, broadcast, online/

semester (fall and spring). During

digital) news environment.

each semester, two of the courses will be offered in the evenings and one

This professionally oriented graduate

will be offered online. Thus, students

program focuses on building

will be able to complete the course

multimedia skills. The degree requires

work over two years of study.

36 credit hours, 30 of which are in the journalism discipline. Students

During their time in the program, our

take an additional six credit hours

students have opportiunities to cover

in a collateral area outside of mass

political stories in the state capital,

communications. Students in this

conduct evironmental and health

program learn the theory and

reporting using contacts at the VCU

practice of journalism in an immersion

medical campus, work as interns,

news environment, and can further

network, take public policy courses

specialize through graduate electives,

in the Wilder School, enroll in an

projects and stories in any number of

internatioanl journalism course (with

“beat� areas. For example, students

an opportunity to go to China) and

can focus on coverage of health or

practice journalism in a diverse, rich-

the environment or concentrate on

media area of country.

After Multimedia Journalism: Media Art & Text PhD VCU’s interdisciplinary doctoral

MATX emphasizes the historical and

program in Media Art & Text is a

theoretical foundations essential to the

joint endeavor of the Department of

scholarly study of media, both old and

English, the School of the Arts and the

new, broadly defined.

Robertson School of Media & Culture. It provides an intellectually stimulating The program prepares students

environment that encourages students

primarily to teach at the college or

to work both collaboratively and

university level, although some pursue

independently, as well as across and

careers in related media fields.

between disciplines and media.

How to Apply To apply, contact June Nicholson, Director of Graduate Studies, by email at or phone (804)-

What to Send to the Director of Graduate Studies:

• An updated resume

827-0251. She will provide additional

• A personal statement of educational


and professional objectives • Three official graduate references,

To apply online, complete the

using the graduate reference forms

application form available at the VCU

available on the VCU Graduate School

Graduate School Website. Note that


this program has a summer admission

• Portfolio material from your

only. Pay the online application fee.

undergraduate and/or graduate and/

Send official, sealed transcripts for

or professional experience

all graduate and undergraduate work

• Unofficial or official transcripts of all

to the VCU Graduate School. Make

graduate or graduate work

sure that your official GRE scores also

• GRE scores

are sent to the VCU Graduate School. VCU Graduate School Application

Deadlines for admission are January

International applicants without a

15 and March 15 for preferred

degree from an English-language

consideration. The School may admit

university must also submit TOEFL

other students who submit materials


beyond those review deadlines, depending on availability of space.

Mailing Address: June Nicholson

Director of Graduate Studies Robertson School of Media & Culture Box 842034 Virginia Commonwealth University 901 W. Main Street Richmond, VA 23284-2034

Courses and Electives MASC 611 Research Methods in Mass Communication (3 credits) Fundamentals of mass communications research techniques (content analysis, survey research, experimental design, historiography), including an overview of computer applications, statistics, theory development and trends in the published literature. MASC 642 Online Journalism I (3 credits) Exploration and production of various means of journalistic communication using online resources. Various multimedia projects will be reviewed and discussed, as well as the best use and application of media types based on the information being communicated. Students will research news stories and examine the effectiveness of online presentations while exploring how online journalism can work with more traditional forms of communication. MASC 643 Online Journalism II (3 credits) Development of online journalism production skills and familiarity with the best uses and practices for publishing material on the Web and for administering news websites. Students will learn the skills for posting media and also about the systems for maintaining news organizations’ entire websites. MASC 644 Computer-assisted Reporting (3 credits) Provides a practical guide to online research, data analysis and other computerassisted reporting and research skills. Students will learn how to find authoritative information, including news sources and data, through the Internet and other online resources. Students will also learn how to use spreadsheets, database managers, mapping programs, social networking analysis, statistical packages and other software to sort, summarize, analyze, visualize and present data. Course will cover how to evaluate the reliability of electronic information, how to find trends and integrate them into news reports, and how the First Amendment and journalism ethics apply to digital information.

There’s more to school

than just coursework. Visit

VCU Recreational Sports to

learn about our facilities and extracurricular activities.

MASC 645 Visual Journalism (3 credits) A theoretical and hands-on course that immerses students in all aspects of visual journalism, including videography, photography, informational graphics and photojournalism. Examines visual communication theory and applied uses of multimedia, particularly in online journalism. Activities include professional-quality projects for multimedia publication. Addresses legal issues in producing multimedia packages, including copyright law. MASC 646 Convergence Law and Ethics (3 credits) Explores the delicate balance that exists between freedom and control of the mass media (print, broadcast and new media). Focuses on judicial decisions and reasoning,

given the impact the courts have on interpreting the First Amendment. Will also focus on new legal and ethical concerns created by the Internet and digital newsgathering and presentation technologies. Students will be immersed in the ethical decision-making process through the case-study approach. MASC 684 Multiplatform Storytelling (3 credits) Students will develop new ways of storytelling that leverage the power of the print, broadcast and online media, combining two or more of those platforms into a single, multimedia package. Analyzes the origins of multimedia and its current trends. Themes include the history of multimedia journalism, the adaptation process for traditional media, the search for a business model and the new news audience. MASC 685 The Business of Media (3 credits) Provides students with both a macro and micro understanding of the business operations of small and large newspapers, television and radio stations and online media. Students will examine newsroom operations, advertising and human resource issues. Will also examine laws and regulations governing media as well as ownershope trends. MASC 686 International Journalism (3 credits) Explores how major news organizations in the U.S. and abroad cover international news in the 21st century as well as the various media structures and systems that are in place in countries around the world. Students will examine the power and impact of global news media in shaping public opinion. They will study trends in international coverage. Students will explore the role of the press in a democracy as well as in authoritarian or communist nations. They will examine the ethical and legal dimensions of international reporting across various media systems, regulations and protocols. The course will also emphasize the ways in which technology is rapidly changing how news is developed and disseminated. Coverage of wars and major world conflicts will also be emphasized. MASC 688 Converged Media Applications (3 credits) Graduate-level research and production focused on multimedia. Students will complete a significant multimedia project that draws on their experiences and the skills learned in other graduate courses. Students may opt-out of this course and insterad take MASC 699 Thesis (3 credits). Graduate electives (6 credits)

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About VCU VCU is an urban, public university with approximately 31,000 students and features more than 200 degree

their home, and the city is regularly included at the top of national lists for outdoor sports and recreation. RVA, as Richmond is known among

and certificate programs.

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It is comprised of two campuses

that attract tourists and business

in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The main campus is called Monroe Park, which includes all non-medical programs. The second campus, MCV,

galleries, museums and restaurants visitors. The James River flows through the center of the city and provides opportunities for white water rafting, hiking and mountain biking.

is connected to the VCU Medical Center and houses all medical programs. A free shuttle service connects students and faculty on both campuses. VCU is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as RU/VH, which is the highest classification for a researchoriented university. It also belongs to the Atlantic 10 conference in the NCAA, where the men’s basketball team has made a tournament appearance for the last three years.

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Multimedia Journalism Graduate Program at VCU  

Graduate program at VCU focusing on storytelling from a wide variety of formats.

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