2000-01 Bulletin Entry for:



The Brandeis University Journalism Program examines the place of the media in the American experience. The program offers students a unique, liberal-arts approach to the study of journalism. A diverse faculty of scholars and journalism professionals teach students about the role of the media in domestic and international affairs and train students in the skills necessary for the accomplished practice of journalism. In class and in professional environments, students wrestle with the challenges and responsibilities of communicating the essence of world events and issues in print and broadcast journalism.

The program is part of the University's larger effort to train students to be critical thinkers and forceful writers. It is not a nuts-and-bolts communication program; rather it features a strong liberal arts curriculum that grounds students in an academic subject area and gives them the tools to translate and transmit knowledge to a general audience.

In the core courses and electives, students study the history and organization of media institutions; examine the ethical responsibilities of media practitioners; analyze the relationships among the media and other American social, political, and corporate institutions; and learn the reporting, writing, and editing skills needed by the print and broadcast media.

How to Become a Program Member

This program is open to all Brandeis undergraduates, subject to limitations on appropriate class size. Students who complete the requirements of the program receive journalism certificates and notations on their transcripts.


Susan Moeller, Director

(American Studies)

Jeffrey Abramson


John Burt

(English and American Literature)

Jacob Cohen

(American Studies)

Thomas Doherty

(American Studies)

Gordon Fellman


Andrew Hahn

(Heller School)

Morton Keller


Martin Levin


Eileen McNamara

(American Studies)

Richard Parmentier


Peter Petri

(Economics and Graduate School of International Economics and Finance)

Stephen Whitfield

(American Studies)

Requirements for the Program

Students are expected to complete a minimum of six courses from the following options:

A. Core Courses: Students will be required to take (at least) two out of the following three core courses: AMST 137b (Journalism in Modern America), AMST 138b (Reporting Contemporary America), and AMST 15a (Writing for the Media).

B. Students will be required to complete one of the three following options: Internship (students serve in an outside internship while concurrently taking JOUR 92a [Contemporary Media: Internship and Analysis]); Senior Writing Project (students write a one-semester long paper as an independent study in the Journalism Program--JOUR 98a or b); or Honors Thesis (students write an honors thesis in their department of concentration that is on a topic relating to the media).

C. Students will be required to take three electives from the following five special areas of study, no more than two in any one department: Contemporary Affairs and the Media; Analytical and Research Methods; History, Principles, and Practice; Communications Theory; or Politics, Law, and Ethics. Students are strongly encouraged to choose their electives from different groups. Not every course will be offered every year.

Courses of Instruction

JOUR 92a Contemporary Media: Internship and Analysis

Prerequisite: AMST 15a, 137b, or 138b. Signature of the instructor required.

This course brings together students who are independently engaged in various media internships and provides an opportunity for them to exchange their experiences with other students and to discuss and analyze related readings. Students who choose to satisfy the journalism minor's internship option must take this course. Usually offered every semester.

Ms. Moeller

JOUR 98a Independent Study

Signature of the instructor required.

Usually offered every year.


JOUR 98b Independent Study

Signature of the instructor required.

Usually offered every year.


(100-199) Courses for Both Undergraduates and Graduate Students

JOUR 103b Advertising and the Media

[ cl35 ss ]

Signature of the instructor required.

This course introduces the advertising industry and its influence on various forms of the media. It examines the creative process in advertising, the use of advertising as propaganda, and the blurring of the line between advertising and editorial media. Usually offered in even years.


JOUR 104a Political Packaging in America

[ ss ]

Signature of the instructor required.

Examines the history of political marketing, image-making in presidential campaigns, the relationship between news and ads, and the growth of public-policy advertising by special-interest groups to influence legislation. Usually offered every third year. Last offered in the fall of 1996.


JOUR 107b The Media and Public Policy

[ ss ]

Signature of the instructor required.

This course examines the intersection of the media and politics, the ways in which each influences the other, and the consequences of that intersection for a democracy. Through analytic texts, handouts, and contemporaneous newspaper and magazine articles, this course will explore the relationship between policy decisions and public discourse. Usually offered in even years.


JOUR 109b The New Media Landscape

[ ss ]

Enrollment limited to 14. Limited to participants in the Journalism Program and American Studies concentrators.

New technologies, from instantaneous satellite communications to 24/7 news on the Web, are redefining the nature and practice of journalism. We examine the history of the new media and explore their political, sociological, and legal ramifications. Special one-time offering. Was offered in the spring of 2000.

Ms. Bass

JOUR 110b Ethics in Journalism

[ ss ]

Enrollment limited to 20.

Should reporters ever misrepresent themselves? Are there pictures newspapers should not publish? Is it ever acceptable to break the law in pursuit of a story? We examine the media's ethics during an age dominated by scandal and sensationalism. Special one-time offering. Was offered in the spring of 2000.

Ms. McNamara

JOUR 112b Literary Journalism: The Art of Feature Writing

[ ss ]

Signature of the instructor required.

Introduces students to the practical aspects of writing features for newspapers and magazines. Helps develop the students' own voices by honing and improving students' own work and by critiquing the work of professionals and colleagues. Usually offered in odd years.

Ms. Moeller

Elective Courses

The following courses approved for the program are not all given in any one year and students are advised to consult the Course Schedule for each semester.

Contemporary Affairs and the Media

AAAS 117a

Communications and Social Change in Developing Nations

AMST 132b

International Affairs and the American Media

AMST 139b

Reporting on Gender, Race, and Culture

AMST 143a

War and the American Imagination

JOUR 103b

Advertising and the Media

Analytical and Research Methods

AMST 191b

Environmental Research Workshop

SOC 181a

Quantitative Methods of Social Inquiry

History, Principles, and Practice

AMST 130b

Television in America

AMST 131b

News on Screen

AMST 135b

The History and Principles of Photojournalism

AMST 196d

Film Workshop: Recording America

ENG 9a

Advanced Writing Seminar

ENG 17a

The Alternative Press in the United States: 1910-2000

JOUR 112b

Literary Journalism: The Art of Feature Writing

Communications Theory

ANTH 26a

Communication and Media

Politics, Law, and Ethics

JOUR 104a

Political Packaging in America

JOUR 107b

The Media and Public Policy

LGLS 137a

Libel and Defamation, Privacy and Publicity

POL 110a

Media Politics and Society

POL 115a

Constitutional Law

POL 116b

Civil Liberties in America

Additional courses at Wellesley College may be taken through cross-registration.