National University




JRN495 Capstone Project in Journalism

Lead Faculty: Dr. Sara-Ellen L. Amster Ph.D

Course Description

In this capstone course, students apply the knowledge and skills gained in other courses by working in a journalistic environment, such as a newspaper, broadcast or web-based newsroom or multimedia facility. Students work with the program lead faculty in advance of the course to identify their area of interest and develop a proposal for either a journalism internship or a project. Students who choose journalism projects work on student-developed "in-house" projects that may include writing stories for the student newspaper, editing a blog, and composing stories for podcasts, multimedia or broadcast programs. During an internship, a student will work as an apprentice reporter, copy editor or other news-related role at a qualified news outlet. A qualified news outlet must have a memorandum of understanding with the School of Media and Communication and be approved by the Office of Academic Affairs that defines the organization's needs and the responsibilities of interns. All students assemble a capstone portfolio consisting of their best work from this and previous courses and a reflective essay on the internship or project. Grading is by H, S, or U only.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply writing, reporting and research skills on the job
  • Communicate effectively with members of the community as well as members of the news team that organizes and distributes stories for the public
  • Demonstrate news skills learned in a professional work setting
  • Utilize the principles of convergent media, including interactive news and reader service to assigned work projects
  • Demonstrate the ability to work independently, gather information rapidly and meet strict deadlines in the work setting
  • Prepare stories according to the format and demands of a professional news outlet, using detailed notes and/or video and audio recordings
  • Adapt to a news environment by demonstrating flexibility, patience and grace under pressure
  • Demonstrate time management and organization skills required to get written projects finished