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EIU Journalism

Public Affairs Option: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism

An informed citizenry is essential to the healthy functioning of a democratic society, and the news media are essential to that health through their role in educating the public about what elected and appointed officials are doing.

The Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) option gives students with a keen interest in government the knowledge and skills necessary to provide accurate news coverage of all levels of state and local government. PAR students learn about the activities of the state legislature, local governments, courts, police, and the impact of national and international events on local affairs. Students learn how to find, interpret and use public records to document government action, and organizations and individuals who operate in the public interest. In our program, students learn to think critically, produce creatively, write precisely, process information quickly, interview thoughtfully, manage people, and develop an excellent work ethic.

After graduation

Our alumni are working for broadcast, online and print news media, covering city, county and state government. The PAR option also offers excellent preparation for students who wish to work in the law, public service, civic engagement, political and government careers, public communications, and non-profit organizations. The skills required of a journalist are the foundation for any job that requires researching, talking to people, asking questions and synthesizing what is learned into a cohesive, coherent article or report.

Division Core: 18 hrs

  • JOU 1401 - Journalism Forum
  • JOU 2001G - Journalism and Democracy
  • JOU 2101 - Writing for News Media
  • JOU 3401 - Journalism Practicum
  • JOU 4102 - Journalism Ethics
  • JOU 4401 - Journalism Capstone
  • JOU 4771 - Communication Law

Complete one of the following:

  • JOU 3501 - Principles of Advertising
  • JOU 3953 - Perspectives on Sports and the Media
  • JOU 3970 - Race, Gender, and the Media

Additional Required Courses: 18 HRS

  • PLS 1153G - American Government and Constitution
  • PLS 2253G - Introduction to International Relations
  • PLS 2703 - Introduction to Public Policy
  • JOU 3000 - Advanced Reporting
  • PLS 3603 - State and Local Government
  • JOU 4000 - Investigative Reporting

Public Affairs Option Electives: 9 HRS

  • PLS 26111 or PLS 26112 - Model Illinois Government I (may be repeated three times)
  • JOU 2901 - Introduction to Copy Editing
  • JOU 3002 - Introduction to Multimedia Journalism
  • JOU 3102 - Feature Writing
  • PLS 3203 - American Foreign Policy
  • PLS 3223 - International Organizations
  • JOU 3610 - Broadcast News
  • JOU 3620 - Advanced Broadcast News
  • PLS 3653 - American Indian Politics
  • PLS 3703 - African American Politics
  • PLS 3713 - Political Parties and Elections
  • PLS 3723 - Political Behavior
  • PLS 3733 - Interest Groups and Lobbying
  • PLS 3743 - Congress
  • PLS 3753 - The American Presidency
  • PLS 3863 - Special Topics in Political Science
  • PLS 3903 - Women & Politics
  • HIS 3940 - History of American Journalism
  • JOU 4275 - Journalism Internship
  • JOU 4750 - Independent Study
  • PLS 4823 - International Policy Issues
  • PLS 4943 - American Political Thought

Total Journalism Hours: 45 HRS

Journalism majors are required to complete 30 hours in liberal arts and a non-journalism specialty.

Liberal Arts Area (BLOCK A): 18 HRS

The Journalism program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, and the faculty believe strongly in the council’s requirement that Journalism students be exposed to a broad liberal arts background while in school. In consultation with their academic advisors, Journalism majors choose six courses from among a list updated every year. Some courses that satisfy the university’s general education requirement also satisfy Block A requirements.

Non-Journalism Speciality (BLOCK B): 12 HRS

In consultation with their academic advisors, Journalism majors choose a block of upper-division courses that allow students to develop an area of expertise in something besides Journalism. A second major or a non-Journalism minor satisfies this requirement, but students who choose not to have a minor are able to put together an area of specialty that reflects their career interests. Block A and B courses may not overlap.

* Curriculum Guide, 2021-2022 (pdf)

Related Pages

Contact Information

School of Communication and Journalism

Buzzard Hall 2521

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