Best Journalism Classes for Magazine Hopefuls

boarding-schools-teen-journalism-1.1-800X800Choosing the right classes to take each semester is always a daunting process. What general education classes do you have left to take? What journalism pre-requirements do you need to move on to more challenging classes? What sounds interesting? The list of questions never ends.

When it comes to looking at descriptions of the many journalism classes offered at IU, one question that may often come to mind is “What classes will help bring me closer to my dream job in the magazine industry?” Lucky for you Ed-sters, we’re here to guide you through it.

After speaking with journalism school lecturer Nancy Comiskey, we’ve compiled a list of the most useful classes to take for students with an interest in pursuing a career in magazines. Here they are:

J342 Magazine Reporting: This course provides a general introduction to the basics of gathering information, analyzing data and writing for a magazine. It builds on skills needed for interviewing and retrieving informative material for stories.

J352 Magazine Editing: Throughout the semester, students of this course function as if part of a magazine staff. This course works on a combination of writing, editing and planning techniques in order to produce their own magazine for the class.

J170 Wordsmithing: Similar to artists painting pictures with their visuals, we as journalists paint pictures with our words. To further develop these skills, this class enforces the basics of writing that every good journalist needs. From a grammar and punctuation perspective, the course teaches how to become a better, more effective writer.

J360 Creating an Indiana Magazine: Within this hands-on advanced magazine course, taught by Nancy Comiskey, you are able to put your various skills to use. This course develops, designs, writes and publishes 812: The Magazine of Southern Indiana.  This student-written magazine is distributed all over southern Indiana. By signing up for this permission-only class, you immediately become part of the prestigious staff for this magazine.

J341 Newspaper Reporting: Though newspaper specific, this class helps provide a solid base for any kind of reporting. The class strives to help students become more familiar with the reporting process in various capacities. Every bit of knowledge helps journalists to become better reporters. According to Comiskey, a newspaper background has nothing but benefits. “I don’t think there has ever been an editor who doesn’t want someone with newspaper experience,” she said.

J463 Graphic Design: In order to fully succeed in the magazine industry, its important to have an understanding of all aspects involved, including design. The course teaches the basic principles and skills needed to comprehend the process behind the field.

J350 Building an Online Portfolio: While learning skills needed to become a better writer is extremely important, it is equally important to know how to present yourself and your work. This instructional course teaches how to build your own online work portfolio from the ground up.

Fitting all of these outstanding courses into your schedule is nearly impossible, but picking and choosing a few on the list will do your future career in magazines a lot of good.

“Look ahead and plan your remaining semesters to include as many as possible,” said Comiskey on selecting classes. “I would as well get involved in student media; we [at IU] are known for our excellent student media. I can’t stress it enough. Get experience, the sooner the better.”

Abby Chason