Capstone Project in Journalism

Course Description

In this capstone course, students have a choice of producing a capstone project or engaging in an internship in the community where they live. Students in both cases must apply the knowledge and skills gained in other journalism courses to perform the following types of activities: Write news stories; Produce news packages; Shoot videos for news or public affairs programs; Conduct interviews; Conduct research on current affairs or breaking news developments; Collect audio recordings for news or public affairs programs; Generate story ideas concepts for a newsroom; Participate in news meetings with editors, staff writers and/or producers All students must work with the program lead faculty in advance of the course to identify their area of interest. Students who elect the capstone project work with their capstone advisor to construct a long-form feature, investigatory news article (2,000 word minimum) suitable for a newsmagazine or online serial publication. Video or radio projects may also be proposed. Students who choose the internship must work for no less than one month as apprentice journalists in a journalistic environment such as a newspaper, broadcast or web-based newsroom or multimedia facility. All students must produce 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


Students who take this class must have already completed three-fourths of the degree plan for the program. They either must choose to write or produce a final story project OR complete an internship with a professional news outlet. While short working arrangements with community news organizations may be used to satisfy this requirement, students also may qualify through substantial work editing the campus online publication. Using the NU Herald to satisfy the internship portion of the capstone requires prior approval of the lead faculty and a written paper of at least 5-pages in length that describes your role leading the online newspaper.

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