Our master’s program offers an exceptional opportunity to learn new and important skills that meet your career goals in today’s technology driven digital newsrooms. Northeastern offers two journalism tracks—the Professional Concentration and the Media Innovation Concentration—but both offer maximum flexibility to accommodate your individual goals. Our faculty has a broad range of expertise. They have honed their craft at the nation’s top newspapers, magazines, and broadcast outlets. Our two concentrations, the Professional and the Media Innovation, are designed to meet your career goals. If students in the Professional Concentration choose the Cooperative Education option graduation takes longer. Students in the Media Innovation program should be able to graduate in three or four semesters.
Our master’s program is flexible and geared toward your needs. We offer full- and part-time options. If time is a factor in your decision to pursue a graduate degree, full-time students in the Professional Concentration can complete the program in one year by enrolling in classes during the university’s two summer semesters. It takes longer to complete the program if you select the Cooperative Education option or are accepted to the Media Innovation Concentration.
Our faculty are experts in their field with years of experience in top news organizations. You will have opportunities to learn investigative reporting from Walter Robinson, who led The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Jeff Howe, a contributing editor to Wired Magazine and author of the book “Crowdsourcing,” teaches classes in multimedia journalism. Stephen Burgard, formerly with the Los Angeles Times editorial board teaches ethics. Prof. Burgard is an expert on the intersection of religion, politics and the press. Dan Kennedy teaches Introductory Digital Storytelling. Prof. Kennedy is the author of “The Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-newspaper Age” and frequently appears on the WGBH program “Beat the Press.”
Please see the tabs below for a more detailed description about the Professional Concentration or the Media Innovation Concentration.
The Media Innovation Concentration is designed for professionals who have an undergraduate degree in journalism or have several years of newsroom experience. This concentration emphasizes extensive collaboration with other disciplines so that students may acquire the skills currently in high demand at newsrooms and the many other organizations increasingly looking to hire talented researchers and storytellers. Students work with faculty to devise a project they will pursue throughout their tenure at Northeastern. They will then pursue a tailored sequence of courses outside the journalism department. This newly acquired knowledge is brought to bear on their project on a weekly basis during intensive seminars with our faculty. A broadcast journalist might come to learn data-gathering and data visualization techniques. A newspaper journalist might come to learn Web design. A longtime Web designer at a news site, on the other hand, might come to learn game design, a field increasingly relevant to today’s quickly changing news environment.
Our partners might well include the Computer Science Department, the Restorative Justice Project at the Northeastern School of Law, the recently launched Homicide Watch: Boston, Northeastern’s Information Design and Data Visualization Program, among many others. At the end of the program the faculty will work with the student to publish the project in The New York Times, NPR, ProPublica, and other prestigious news outlets.
The Media Innovation Concentration consists of three elements: the Project, the Focus and the Innovation Seminar.
Students pursue a single work of journalism throughout their program, with the intention of publishing their work shortly after graduation. Prospective students should have some idea of a project they would want to create, and indicate this in their application essay. If admitted, students, journalism faculty and faculty from appropriate disciplines will collaborate with newly admitted students to advise them on the best curriculum to complete the project.
Innovation students will be required to take at least four courses outside the School of Journalism. These classes will constitute the Focus that will be chosen to advance the student’s individual project, and will generally all reside within one discipline
Possibilities for an individual project might be:
- Game Design: A four-course program that would give students a firm grasp of the essential fundamentals of game design.
- Entrepreneurship: A four-to five-course business school program designed to prepare students to create journalism start-ups.
- Interactive Media: A four-course program in Art and Design that introduces students to the web and other graphical interfaces to develop news content.
- Database Journalism: A four-course program in the Computer Science program that gives students an opportunity to understand how to parse vast amounts of data and tease front-page stories from them. This program should be combined with the Seminar in Investigative Reporting.
- Date Visualization: A four- or five-course program that would be held in conjunction with the College of Arts, Media and Design Information Design graduate program to be developed.
The Innovation Seminar
The Innovation Seminar is where students apply the skills acquired in their focus areas to their projects. Each semester a small group of four or five students meet for three hours in a seminar led by a faculty member.
Students need 36 credits to graduate and a grade point average of 3.0.
Students who pursue the Professional Concentration come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have no experience, others have some experience, but want to refine their skills or enter teaching. Those with little or no media experience can begin the program with an intensive three-week skills course. Some of our students majored in journalism and wrote for college publications as undergraduates. Others have worked in the media for several years and join the program to prepare for more challenging and higher-paying jobs.
The Professional Concentration curriculum balances skills courses and practical experience with courses to prepare students to enter the job market with solid reporting and digital skills.
Full-time students can finish the program in a year. Part-time students, can take one or two courses each semester and complete the program in two or three years.
The Co-op Option
As a national leader in cooperative education, Northeastern offers a unique option for its master’s degree students in the Professional Concentration. Full-time students can complement their academic study with a six-month job assignment as a reporter or editor at area media organizations. Students who choose the co-op option generally take an additional six months to graduate. Students can also participate in internships, which generally require a shorter time commitment and are generally unpaid.
The Professional Concentration curriculum consists of nine courses plus a one-credit Intensive Reporting class for students who have no reporting experience.
Required courses include: Introductory Digital Storytelling, Enterprise Reporting 1 in the fall semester, Enterprise Reporting 2 in the spring semester and Perspectives on Journalism and Professional Ethics in the summer semester. Students must take at least one practicum course and four journalism electives. A grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation and a total of 36 credits.