Before You Go


Journalism Residency is available to students in either Winter or Spring quarter of their junior year or Fall or Winter quarter of their senior year.

During sophomore year students select one of four types of Journalism Residency: News/Online, Magazine, Broadcast or Marketing Communications. These “tracks” do not lock students into a certain career or industry. Rather, the Journalism Residency provides students with an opportunity to get real-world experience in a specific industry before they leave Medill.

Choosing the type of JR that is right for you means thinking about which track will give you either:

  • The opportunity to try out a job and get real-world skills and experience in a particular industry you’re interested in pursuing when you graduate; or
  • The opportunity to develop valuable skills to round out the experiences and knowledge you already have, putting you in a better position to pursue a specific career later on

To prepare for JR, you must take several prerequisite classes. These must include at least one skills-based elective taken the quarter directly before JR so that your skills are refreshed before you go. There are many possible JR prerequisite combinations, and you should choose one based on your strengths and deficiencies. Consider classes that will help you develop the full range of skills and knowledge that you want to use on JR and beyond.

During the planning process in sophomore year, students will be scheduled for a specific quarter in which they will take each of their prerequisite classes. Typically students register for these classes themselves on CAESAR. Deviations to this schedule are not permitted without special permission from the JR coordinator.

Students select prerequisite classes from the following:

One media-specific presentation class tied to the particular JR category:

  • JR-Broadcast students must take 312 Media Presentation: Broadcast/Videography
  • JR-Magazine students must take 311 Media Presentation: Magazine
  • JR-News/Online students must take 310 Media Presentation: News/Online
  • JR-Marketing Communications students must take 310 Media Presentation: News/Online

One storytelling class, regardless of the JR track chosen:

  • 320 Storytelling: Interactive News (If you want a shot at a JR experience where you create more elaborate multimedia and online content, you will probably want to take Interactive News, even if you are taking, for instance, the other two magazine-oriented classes.)
  • 321 Storytelling: Magazine and Feature Writing (If you want to do a lot of writing at a magazine, you will probably want to take Magazine and Feature Writing as your second or third prerequisite.)
  • 322 Storytelling: Video Reporting, Shooting and Editing (If you want to do on-air reporting, one of your prerequisites should be Video Reporting, Shooting and Editing, unless you have significant deadline-reporting experience from another broadcast internship or Northwestern News Network.)

370: Media Law & Ethics


  • Students in Broadcast/Videography, News/Online or Magazine may also opt to take a third skills-based elective before JR to prepare them for a specialized experience, such as design, health or business.
  • If you are interested in doing design work on your JR, you may also take 376: Media Design beforehand.
  • Those interested in health or business writing can take an elective that focuses on this kind of reporting.
  • Because of the popularity of the photojournalism elective, students need special permission from Medill to take 378: Introduction to Photojournalism before JR.

JR-Marketing Communications students ONLY must take one Media & Marketing Communications elective:

  • IMC 300: Consumer Insight
  • IMC 301: Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications
  • IMC 304: Media/Message Delivery for Interactive Communications
  • IMC 305: Message Strategy and Writing for Persuasion
  • IMC 306: Introduction to Public Relations Strategies and Tactics

Students doing a Marketing Communications JR should note that certain IMC classes are better suited to particular career goals. For instance, IMC 306 is recommended for those students interested in an agency placement; IMC 301 is recommended for students interested in a corporate communications experience on the client side; and both 301 and 306 (and even working toward the IMC certificate) are valuable for optimal positioning and training.

For more information on preparing for JR, contact Karen Springen, 847-467-1459 or Dorina Rasmussen, 847-491-3586.