University of Tennessee proposes new curriculum for journalism students

November 20, 2009 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism, journalism education.

UPDATE: The college faculty just voted to approve, with minor changes, the proposed changes in the journalism curriculum and requirements. (Nov. 20, 2009, 10 a.m.)

The faculty of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennnesse has proposed a number of changes to our curriculum. These changes are based on the following goals:

  • To create an innovative curriculum designed to address the changes occurring in all media.
  • To create a more flexible curriculum in the wake of economic realities at UT and in media industries.
  • To prepare graduates who are capable of working in all media.
  • To eliminate current bottlenecks in the curriculum preventing some students from graduating in 4 years.
  • To simplify the curriculum by eliminating tracks and by reducing the total number of courses.
  • To create a curriculum we can deliver with 17 faculty members, some lecturers, and GTAs.
  • To integrate new media in as many courses as possible.

The proposed curriculum includes a core and upper division electives. The proposed core is designed to ensure that all students should have the following knowledge and skills:

  • An understanding of the principles and history of all media.
  • An understanding of media law, diversity, and ethics.
  • The ability to write, report, and present news and other content in all platforms.
  • An understanding of the business of journalism and media and the issues affecting the business.
  • Professional experience


The new curriculum eliminates the “tracks” (magazine, sports, broadcasting, etc.) Instead, all journalism students will be required to complete the following core (22 hours).

JEM 200—Media Writing (3)
JEM 250—Visual Communication (3)
JEM 275—Principles and History of Journalism and Media (3)
JEM 300—Media Reporting (3)
JEM 400–Mass Communication Law and Ethics (3)
JEM 465—Media, Diversity, and Society (3)
JEM 492—Practicum 1-2
JEM 499—The Media Business and Future of Journalism (3)

This is a huge and important change. The faculty of the entire College of Communication and Information is set to vote on this change this morning.

The entire proposal can be found in this Word document (auto download).

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