What opportunities are there in journalism for someone with a programming background?
Journalists with computer programming skills are in high demand at media companies and technology companies. They work doing data analysis for journalistic research, visualizing data for news websites, implementing content management systems, developing Web applications and overseeing the creation of digital media products.
Couldn't I find a job in a news organization without a journalism degree?
News organizations employ many programmer/developers. But our experience has been that they look particularly favorably on developers who understand journalism and how news organizations work. Medill's master's program is rooted in the practical realities of journalism, and you will work in class environments that will prepare you for the real-world news environment. You will be better able to collaborate with journalists and media professionals than you would otherwise be.
What will my curriculum be at Medill?
If you are admitted, you will take the same courses as other students pursuing a master of science in journalism (MSJ), with a few additional options. In your first academic quarter, you will be enrolled in Journalism Methods, our orientation to news reporting, writing and storytelling. In your second quarter, you will cover a news beat in our Chicago newsroom. And in your final quarter, you will enroll in one of our Innovation Project classes, in which you and a team of students will develop a new digital media product. What else you take will depend on the concentration you choose. You can take elective graduate courses in Medill's journalism or integrated marketing communications programs, or in other Northwestern graduate programs. You may be particularly interested in taking advanced courses in computer science.
More information about the Medill MSJ program can be found here.
What "advanced courses in computer science" does Northwestern offer?
Northwestern's full course offerings in computer science are listed here. Here are some of the courses we think might be of particular interest to developers looking to apply their skills in the media and journalism space:
EECS 325 Artificial Intelligence Programming
EECS 330 Human-Computer Interaction
EECS 337 Natural Language Processing
EECS 338 Practicum in Intelligent Information Systems
EECS 339 Databases
EECS 348 Artificial Intelligence
EECS 349 Machine Learning
EECS 394 Software Project Management
How much of the cost of attending Medill is covered by the scholarships?
We aim to meet every Knight Scholar’s need for financial aid. The typical Knight scholarship award will be equivalent to half the cost of tuition for our one-year Medill master's degree program. If an applicant requires additional financial aid, he or she may fill out the normal federal financial aid application materials to enable consideration for other scholarships, merit awards, need-based grants and federal student loans.
In addition to educational financial aid, scholarship winners will have the opportunity work part-time (or full time during a leave of absence from Medill) for the Knight News Innovation Laboratory and the Medill Watchdog/Accountability Initiative. Medill also expects to identify industry partners that will offer scholarship support and/or paid internships after graduation.
Finally, Medill will be seeking media industry partners interested in offering additional scholarship support and job or internship opportunities to the scholarship winners. If your company is interested in being involved in our industry partnership program, please contact Rich Gordon.
Are international students eligible for Knight Scholarships?
Yes. International students are eligible for the Knight Scholarship. But international students are not eligible for most other forms of financial aid, so international applicants should be sure they can cover expenses that go beyond the scholarship grant.
What do I need to know about applying for the scholarships?
To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be admitted to Medill's graduate journalism program. Scholarship applicants must meet all of Medill's normal admission requirements. If you are interested in applying for this scholarship program, here are the steps to follow:
• Fill out an online application for admission to Medill, including all required materials.
• Please upload your resume with the application. In the resume, please include details about (and links to) your programming work.
• In addition to answering the essay questions on the standard application, please upload your answer to the following question: "How do journalism and technology relate to one another in the digital age?"
If you have questions about the scholarship program, please contact Rich Gordon. For questions about the application process, contact Anne Penway, director of admissions and financial aid, or call the office of graduate admissions at 847-491-2052.
What are the deadlines to file my application?
Information about application deadlines can be found here.
I have written some computer programs but I do not consider myself a programmer. Do I have a chance at the Knight scholarship?
The scholarships are intended for people who have skills and experience in software development -- ideally, having an undergraduate computer science degree or having worked full-time as a software developer.
I am not a computer programmer, but I would like to learn these skills. Can I learn programming at Medill?
Voices of the program
Geoffrey Hing (MSJ11)
"I think there's a need for journalists to rethink the way they report, the shape of news organizations, the tools they use and their framings and perceptions of community information needs. I think that hacker/journalists could be a part of this shift, but that we're most effective when working alongside other journalists who are able to innovate in other ways."