Skip to main content
Student in front of Conde Nast sign in NYC


Magazine journalism has a storied history, especially at Medill. From politics to fashion to finance, the topics are endless and the need for talented storytellers is great. There’s a growing demand for journalists who can tell complex stories in multimedia formats.

About the Magazine specialization

Faculty member speaking with student

You don’t need to set your sights on a career in traditional magazine journalism to pursue this specialization. What you do need is the drive to learn about many ways to tell stories--and also to spend significant time on a single article, exploring its nuances and writing a cohesive long-form piece.

The Magazine specialization starts in the fall quarter.

Why magazine journalism?

In-depth, long-form journalism is nuanced and complex. Although it takes time and dedication to master, the best pieces stir emotions and transport the reader or viewer to the scene or into the shoes of your main character. Digital tools can further enhance stories.

Audiences are hungry for this type in-depth journalism. Opportunities have expanded at consumer and trade publications, digital news sites and even Fortune 500 companies.

What will I learn?

In this specialization, you’ll learn the ins and outs of print and digital magazine publishing, from pitch development to writing to production. You’ll take a deep dive into a newsworthy topic or topics, investing time into learning about a controversy, location, character or issue. You’ll have the freedom to pursue whatever interests you. Your writing might take the form of a personality profile, an explainer, an analysis, an op-ed or memoir. You’ll learn about each style and begin developing your own personal voice.

In addition, you’ll learn how to produce a multimedia piece that incorporates video, audio, photography and graphic elements. Our Chicago space offers the latest cameras and equipment.

Our experienced faculty, who have written for top-tier magazines, work closely with students on their pieces and publish them on the Medill News Service site – a good way to get “clips” that showcase in-depth, professional-quality reporting and writing. They also help students learn how to pitch their ideas to local and national publications.

Our Faculty

Patti Wolter

Patti Wolter

Wolter has deep experience in the magazine industry. Now an associate professor, Wolter was the senior features editor at Self magazine, and was interim editor of Mother Jones magazine.

Mei-Ling Hopgood

Mei-Ling Hopgood

Hopgood is a freelance journalist and writer who has written for various publications, ranging from the National Geographic Traveler and Marie Claire to the Miami Herald and the Boston Globe. 

Douglas Foster

Douglas Foster

Foster is a former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, television correspondent and documentary producer who now teaches feature writing. Before joining Medill, he was editor of Mother Jones magazine for five years.

Chris Benson

Chris Benson

Benson is a journalist, lawyer and former Johnson Publishing Company vice president. He co-authored a book with Emmett Till's mother about the teenager's life and brutal lynching and the changes that followed.

Karen Springen

Karen Springen

Springen spent 24 years at Newsweek as a correspondent and she reported on stories about a wide range of topics. Over the years, she has published pieces in Publishers Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Elle, Marie Claire and more.

Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz

Kotlowtiz is the author of four books, including the national bestseller "There Are No Children Here." A former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and This American Life. 

Your Medill Experience

Student looking at laptop


Choose from courses in freelancing, business-to-business media, news graphics and design, narrative structure and magazine editing. We also offer an innovation project that allows you to develop and launch a new magazine or work with an existing company to create a new product or re-imagine an existing publication.

Learn about the curriculum
Chicago skyline at sunset


Chicago is a writer’s city, where opportunities for magazine-style writing abound. Prominent top-tier magazines were developed and published in Chicago, including Ebony and Jet. Our downtown Chicago space features sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the latest technology—the perfect setting for you to learn the craft of magazine writing and improve your techniques.

Learn about Medill's Chicago campus
Student group off campus

Medill Explores

Immerse yourself in a magazine journalism project by participating in Medill Explores. Led by faculty and staff, Medill Explores features week-long experiences that can take you to national or international locations.

Learn about Medill Explores
Group panel discussion in auditorium

Medill Fridays

Broaden your learning beyond the classroom during Medill Fridays, where magazine writers and freelancers provide honest insight into their careers and about the future of the industry.

Learn about Medill Fridays
Student getting advice from Career Services

Career Services

Our Career Services team can connect you with alumni and industry partners working for top-tier magazines as well as companies outside the media world that are embracing long-form storytelling as a way to connect with customers. Knowing how to create and curate meaningful content can open doors at prominent organizations.

Learn about Career Services

Our Alumni

Erica Duecy (MSJ03)

Erica Duecy
SevenFifty Daily

Clara Jeffery (MSJ93)

Clara Jeffery
Mother Jones magazine

Katherine LaGrave (MSJ11)

Katherine LaGrave
Senior Digital Editor
Condé Nast Traveler

Evan Smith (MSJ88)

Evan Smith
CEO and Editor in Chief
The Texas Tribune

Laura Schocker (BSJ08, MSJ09)

Laura Schocker
Digital Director
Real Simple

Gillian B. White (MSJ13)

Gillian B. White
Senior Associate Editor
The Atlantic