School of Journalism Merges Specialties into New, Digital-based Requirements for Undergraduates

The School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin has created a new, digital-based undergraduate curriculum as it prepares to move into its new facilities, the Belo Center for New Media.

Starting in the fall 2012 semester, entering students will no longer focus on a single area of journalism such as print, magazine, photography or broadcast. Instead, students will study all of these areas to prepare for the rapidly changing journalism profession.

The School's first major curriculum overhaul in more than a decade, the new curriculum is a response to market demand for graduates who are literate in various media platforms.

"The School of Journalism strives to produce journalists who are grounded in traditional values yet familiar with all of the tools for information-gathering and communication that modern technology provides," said Glenn Frankel, director of the School of Journalism. "We seek to use these new tools not only to teach journalism but also to create and present original stories that better inform and educate our students and the public."

As part of the new curriculum, students will become immersed in digital media. They will build websites and create digital portfolios and will be required to take a professional internship and a "capstone" course in multimedia journalism. While the new curriculum is only mandatory for entering students, current students can elect to take the new courses.

The School of Journalism will continue to teach the key concepts of traditional journalism, including writing and reporting, photography, storytelling and the role of journalism in a democratic society.

"The primary mission of the School of Journalism will remain unchanged," Frankel said. "We will still educate students to think critically and skeptically; gather information accurately, honestly and fairly; hold institutions and individuals accountable; and produce stories in various media platforms that communicate clearly, concisely and powerfully."

In August the School of Journalism will move into the Belo Center for New Media, the $54.7 million, five-story, 120,000-square-foot new building of the College of Communication.

The Belo Center features state-of-the-art teaching facilities, including interactive classrooms and a multimedia newsroom that will be the editorial headquarters for the school's student-produced news website, Reporting Texas.

The Center was made possible by the Belo Foundation, Robert W. Decherd and Maureen H. Decherd, the estate of James M. Moroney Jr. and the Jim and Lynn Moroney Family Foundation.