Professor Tony Pederson, Chair
Professor: Tony Pederson
Associate Professors: Jake Batsell, Camille Kraeplin
Assistant Professor: Jared Schroeder
William J. O’Neil Chair in Business Journalism and Journalist in Residence: Mark Vamos
Executive-in-Residence: Pam Harris Hackett
Professors of Practice: Valerie Evans, Michele Houston, Lauren Smart, Karen Thomas,
Adjunct Professor of Practice: Jayne Suhler
Adjunct Lecturers: Robert Hart, Elif Kavakci, Linda Leavell, Jean-Jacques Taylor, Bruce Tomaso
The world of journalism is changing fast. Once-divergent media forms are rapidly coming together in ways that make it essential for 21st-century journalism education to reflect the complexity of actual practice. Graduates must be prepared to function and lead in a new and changing environment. The Division of Journalism offers the Bachelor of Arts with majors and minors in journalism and fashion media to prepare students to succeed in this dynamic setting.
Majors study multimedia journalism, including broadcast, print and online formats. They learn professional skills that enable them to adapt swiftly to a changing journalism environment. Content that is useful and interesting will have value regardless of the delivery system or systems of a particular era. For this reason, students also are taught the intellectual and theoretical skills they will need to help them interpret the world around them and understand the role of the media in society. They will graduate as clear, concise thinkers and writers.
Specialized knowledge also plays an increasingly critical role for media professionals in this competitive age. Students in the Division of Journalism may develop expertise in financial reporting while pursuing their degree through the William J. O’Neil program in business journalism, detailed below. Likewise, students with an interest in the growing fields of fashion journalism or fashion industry promotions may earn a Bachelor of Arts in fashion media, a rigorous interdisciplinary program housed in the Division of Journalism.
The Division of Journalism is located in the Journalism Complex in the Umphrey Lee Center, which houses faculty and administrative offices, audio and video production, and media support areas. The main media content areas are a complete broadcast studio with control room and a convergence newsroom with computer equipment designed for production of multiplatform news content. Classrooms and conference rooms in the Journalism Complex are state of the art, with complete audio and video capabilities. All labs are equipped with the latest computers for each student.
The Journalism Complex is a secured area where journalism majors are permitted 24-hour access. The concept and design of the Journalism Complex promote the individualized instruction for which the Division of Journalism is known. Each student is encouraged to spend as much time as desired on highly specialized equipment to pursue projects and assignments in a professional media work environment.
Strong writing skills are essential to the student’s success in the division’s journalism curriculum and later in the profession of journalism. Students may enroll in journalism classes as first-year students. Those seeking permission to major or minor in the Division of Journalism must have completed 24 hours of study, which may include transfer hours. Students must also have taken DISC 1312 (or equivalent), JOUR 2103 , and JOUR 2302 , with a minimum combined GPA of 2.5 across these three courses, with no grade lower than C+ in any one of them. Students must declare the major or minor before taking JOUR 2312 . Students transferring from other universities must have completed equivalent courses and obtained the equivalent GPA in those courses before they can be considered a major candidate in the Division of Journalism. The Journalism Division has a focus on and commitment to diversity, recognizing the need for diversity in media and communications in the 21st century.
Honors scholarships are awarded each year to outstanding students who intend to major in journalism. Other scholarships are available to journalism students through a variety of foundations and gifts to the division.
As global markets and fast-paced technological change buffet American workers, consumers, investors and companies, business has become one of the most important components of news. The O’Neil Program equips aspiring journalists with both the technical knowledge to understand often-complex business and economic issues and the journalistic skills to make those topics understandable and accessible to news audiences. And because an ability to follow the money is critical to many beats, the tools and techniques developed in this program will prepare students for more sophisticated and insightful coverage of subjects ranging from national and local politics to technology, the fashion industry and the environment.
This innovative interdisciplinary program includes courses in the Cox School of Business. In addition to the 37 credit hours required for the journalism major or the 37 hours required for the major in fashion media, students wishing to concentrate in business and finance journalism will complete a second major in business, the minor in business administration or the minor in business, plus ECO 1311 and ECO 1312 . Students will put into practice what they are learning about business, financial markets and economics in advanced journalism classes and in coverage of North Texas-based companies and the regional economy.
Admission to the program is subject to the approval of the faculty member who holds the O’Neil Chair in Business Journalism. Students studying in the program will be advised by this faculty member.
Upon achieving junior and senior status, students are encouraged to take on experiences that enable them to work under the guidance of professionals in the news industry (internships). Many on-campus activities also offer practical experience (practica), and students are strongly urged to take advantage of the opportunities available to them to work in on-campus media, including SMUDailyCampus.com, SMU Look, and SMU-TV. (*updated* 11/14/2018)
Practica are taken for one credit hour at a time. Internships may be taken for one, two or three credit hours at a time, depending on the number of hours worked. A total of three credit hours of internships and practica may be counted toward a student’s degree requirements but no more than two internships may be taken for credit. Internships and practica may not be counted toward the required six credit hours of electives within the division.
All internships taken for credit must have prior approval of the faculty adviser. Internships and practica are taken on a pass/fail basis only and are restricted to journalism majors and minors.
Due to limited class space and enrollment pressures, a student who fails to appear on the first day of journalism class may be administratively dropped from the class at the instructor’s discretion. Furthermore, students must comply with any more specific attendance policies spelled out in course syllabi; creation and enforcement of such policies are entirely at the instructor’s discretion. The division strives to keep class size small enough for individual attention, and large enough to ensure discussion and interaction among students.
Journalism students may participate in academic programs offered abroad and through partners in the United States. Two programs of particular interest to journalism students are the Washington Term Program and SMU-in-London.
Washington Term Program. Through a cooperative program with American University in Washington, D.C., students have an opportunity to study in the nation’s capital as a part of the Washington Term Program. Students may complete up to six hours of journalism elective credit and internships, as well as courses in other disciplines. The program is restricted to journalism majors and minors.
SMU-in-London. SMU students can earn six credit hours by enrolling in the SMU-in-London communications program. Conducted each year during the second session of summer school, the program allows students to study in London, a hub for international communications. Courses offered carry three credit hours. They do not require prerequisites, and they are designed to take full advantage of London’s importance as an international center. Students live in dormitories in London. As part of their international experience, students are encouraged to explore the culture and fine arts offerings of London and European countries on their own, as class schedules permit.
Journalism students will study multimedia journalism, learning the basic skills and conventions of broadcast journalism, print journalism and the emerging skill set needed to practice journalism on the Internet. The major requires 37 credit hours within the division. Journalism majors may count no more than 40 hours of JOUR courses toward graduation. Courses may be used to fulfill only one of the student’s divisional requirements (i.e., a student may not fulfill two divisional requirements with one course). Note: All journalism majors must declare and complete a second major or a minor of their choosing. The fashion media major does not meet this requirement.
Only courses passed with a grade of C- or better will count for credit toward the major or minor in journalism or the major in fashion media.
The honors program in journalism is highly selective. At midterm of the sophomore year, and again at midterm of the junior year, declared journalism majors with a GPA of 3.500 or better can apply to the honors program. All interested students, including those who have been previously awarded honors scholarships, need to apply for admission to the program. Those wishing to graduate with distinction in journalism must complete six hours of honors coursework within the Division of Journalism. Where specific honors sections are not offered in the Division of Journalism, students may work with individual professors to develop appropriate honors coursework within regular classes, subject to approval of the honors program director. Three hours must be in honors skills; the remaining three hours must come from either honors topical studies or honors critical studies. In addition, seniors must complete JOUR 5308 as a directed study and produce an honors thesis. More information is available from the honors program director, Division of Journalism, Meadows School of the Arts, 280 Umphrey Lee, Dallas TX 75275. The honor society is separate from the honors program. At midterm of the senior year, the top 10 percent of the graduating class is invited for membership in Kappa Tau Alpha, the Journalism Mass Communication Honor Society.