National University

General Course Information for JRN495: Capstone Project in Journalism

Course: JRN495 - Capstone Project in Journalism
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Prerequisite(s):
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.
Course 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
Specified Program Learning Outcomes:
    • Apply copyediting rules and techniques for fact-checking.
    • Apply ethical principles of journalism during reporting, writing and producing.
    • Identify the elements of style and structure in news and feature stories.
    • Identify what constitutes news.
    • Recognize the legal boundaries of the First Amendment that balance the freedom and responsibility of the press.
    • Work in groups to publish an online or print news product.
    • Write focused news and feature stories for a variety of platforms.
    • Write in a variety of story forms, including news and feature.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures