Documentary Journalism

Documentary Journalism

This interest area uses the Missouri Method to immerse students in long-form reporting efforts leading to documentary presentations of their subject matter. Students will work creating documentaries in their courses, including a year-long senior documentary project. Concepts introduced include documentary theory, editing theory, camera aesthetics, business practices, critical reviewing and public distribution.

Bachelor of Journalism Degree Requirements

Upper-Division Journalism Core (6)

All students must take the following courses at the upper-division level:

  • JOURN 3000 History of American Journalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [3000] [History of American Journalism]
    American mass media from colonial days to present in the context of social, economic and political change. Prerequisites: Junior Standing; Journalism or Science and Agricultural Journalism majors.


  • JOURN 4568 History of Photojournalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4568] [History of Photojournalism]
    Examination of the aesthetic and technological development of photography from its invention in 1839 to the present. Primary emphasis on the evolution and impact of the picture press and the documentary tradition in America, although international developments are studied as well. Prerequisites: Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only with Junior standing.


  • JOURN 4000 Communications Law: (3)
    [JOURN] [4000] [Communications Law]
    Legal concepts, including prior restraint, libel, privacy, obscenity, contempt and access as they relate to print, broadcast, advertising and other areas. Prerequisites: Junior Standing; Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors.

Required Journalism Classes (16)

  • JOURN 4371 Documentary Theory (3)
  • JOURN 4372: Documentary Reporting (3)
  • JOURN 4373 Documentary Development (3)
  • JOURN 4375 Documentary Business and the Public Sphere (2)
  • JOURN 4377 Documentary Senior Project (2)
  • JOURN 4379 Documentary Senior Capstone (3)

Suggested Journalism Electives (6)

  • JOURN 4148 Interviewing Essentials: (1)
    [JOURN] [4148] [Interviewing Essentials]
    This class allows students to focus on the journalistic interviewing process, from spot news interviews to the sort of interviews required for personality, sports and in-depth work.
  • JOURN 4150 Using Infographics: (1)
    [JOURN] [4150] [Using Infographics]
    An introduction to the various types of information graphics and how each can be used effectively to help explain the news. Additional emphasis on generating graphic ideas and on the specific challenges of gathering information for graphics. Prerequisites: instructor's consent.
  • JOURN 4328 Advanced News Communication: (1)
    [JOURN] [4328] [Advanced News Communication]
    This course will examine and practice the components of effective interviewing and on-set and live reporting for television news. Students will anchor KOMU-TV's morning newscasts. Prerequisite: graduate standing and JOURN 4306.
  • JOURN 4330 From Murrow to Moore: What Good Journalists Read: (3)
    [JOURN] [4330] [From Murrow to Moore: What Good Journalists Read]
    Introduces undergraduates to seminal works in broadcast and print Journalism that influences contemporary professional practices. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: junior standing or instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4360 Fundamentals of Design: (2)
    [JOURN] [4360] [Fundamentals of Design]
    This is a beginning course in editorial design. We will study design history and learn basic design principles and concepts in both print and digital platforms. You will be introduced to software programs such as InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as basic HTML coding. Prerequisites: JOURN 2100 or JOURN 2150. Students must submit application to enroll. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism students only.
  • JOURN 4370 Film Studies: The Intersections of Documentary Film and Journalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4370] [Film Studies: The Intersections of Documentary Film and Journalism]
    (same as FILM_S 4370; cross-leveled with FILM_S 7370, JOURN 7370). The popularity of documentary film in the past ten years has skyrocketed, and recent award-winning documentaries such as Inside Job (2010), Blackfish (2013), and The Invisible War (2012) are simultaneously entertaining audiences and investigating serious issues like the financial collapse, killer whale captivity, and sex crimes in the military--issues that in the past might have been covered exclusively by investigative journalism. What explains the public's growing fascination with documentary? How is documentary film reacting to recent transformations in the media landscape? Is it filling a critical need that journalism is no longer willing or able to meet? This course will explore the intersection of these two nonfiction storytelling forms - documentary film and journalism - and examine the role played by advocacy in both modes, as well as the cultural and ethical implications of the convergence between journalism and documentary film. In that it is centered on contemporary documentary film culture, the course also takes advantage of the True/ False Film Festival, and will be host to a conference during Week 6, featuring a number of major visiting filmmakers and film critics. Attendance at some sessions is required. Graded on A-F basis only.
  • JOURN 4410 Intermediate Writing: (3)
    [JOURN] [4410] [Intermediate Writing]
    In-depth research and writing techniques. Students produce articles for the Missourian and school-produced magazines or other publications. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 or equivalent and instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4415 Current Issues in Science Journalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4415] [Current Issues in Science Journalism]
    (same as SCI_AG_J 4415). Focuses on covering the interplay of one or more current issues of concern to journalists, scientists and society. The focus for any given semester may be biotechnology, climate change, energy, food safety, global population growth, wildlife or another issue. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: JOURN 2100 or instructor's consent.
  • JOURN 4428 Health Reporting Skills: (2 - 3)
    [JOURN] [4428] [Health Reporting Skills]
    This course focuses on research and analysis techniques journalists use to understand and report on health policy, health-care quality, medical research and the business of health care. Prerequisites: Journalism [JOURN] 4450, 4306 or 4804. Graded on A/F basis only. Restricted to Journalism and Agric Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4430 Computer-Assisted Reporting: (3)
    [JOURN] [4430] [Computer-Assisted Reporting]
    How to negotiate for, transfer and process electronic information; the unique opportunities computers provide for analyzing information. Prerequisites: Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only. Junior Standing.
  • JOURN 4436 Investigative Reporting: (3)
    [JOURN] [4436] [Investigative Reporting]
    Advanced course designed to acquaint reporters with public issues. Students write two in-depth projects and other shorter assignments. Students meet weekly with instructor for editorial suggestions. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 and instructor's consent.
  • JOURN 4440 Mapping for Stories and Graphics: (2)
    [JOURN] [4440] [Mapping for Stories and Graphics]
    Learn mapping software to discover information for news stories and lay the foundation for compelling news information graphics. Students will learn how to create maps for print, broadcast and online. Prerequisites: Journalism [JOURN] 2100 and instructor's consent. Graded on A/F basis only.
  • JOURN 4462 Emerging Technologies in Journalism: (1 - 3)
    [JOURN] [4462] [Emerging Technologies in Journalism]
    This course quickly responds to technology developments in journalism through a combination of theory, practice and research. Students learn to use the developing technology and also strategies to manage its impact on media organizations while expanding academic discourse. Prerequisite: junior standing; restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism students only. May be repeated for credit. Graded on A/F basis only
  • JOURN 4502 Multimedia Planning and Design: (3)
    [JOURN] [4502] [Multimedia Planning and Design]
    Class covers the basics of web design - Storyboarding, navigation, information architecture, reader behavior, usability studies - as they relate to journalistic stories and persuasive messages. Prerequisites: One of the following: Journalism [JOURN] 4804 or 4450 or 4306; instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4508 Information Graphics: (3)
    [JOURN] [4508] [Information Graphics]
    Work as a news artist for a daily city newspaper graphically covering community news, sports and lifestyle issues. Emphasis on visual thinking and effective presentation. Experience with state-of-the-art software. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 or the professional equivalent, or instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4554 Visual Editing for Multimedia: (3)
    [JOURN] [4554] [Visual Editing for Multimedia]
    This class develops understanding of multimedia storytelling by focusing on editing, production, and business model practices for online visual journalism. It builds on a foundation of digital editing, photojournalism, photo editing, videography, and multimedia production. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: JOURN 4804 or JOURN 4550 or JOURN 4306 or JOURN 4406 or JOURN 4506 and instructor's consent; restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism students only.
  • JOURN 4556 Fundamentals of Photojournalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4556] [Fundamentals of Photojournalism]
    A rigorous skills course for advanced students preparing for a career in photojournalism consisting of weekly exercises in black and white and color photographic story telling and lectures that explore the philosophical, historical and ethical roots of the profession. Prerequisites: instructor's consent.
  • JOURN 4558 Advanced Techniques in Photojournalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4558] [Advanced Techniques in Photojournalism]
    Advanced techniques and problem solving in photojournalism. Stresses lighting techniques--available, studio, electronic flash and color correction of color film. Strobed documentary, protraiture, fashion, food, architecture, sports. Prerequisite: JOURN 4556/7556.
  • JOURN 4650 International Issues and the Media: (3)
    [JOURN] [4650] [International Issues and the Media]
    An advanced professional seminar on how to recognize, report and write about the domestic influence of international political, economic and cultural problems and trends. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450.
  • JOURN 4656 International News Media Systems: (3)
    [JOURN] [4656] [International News Media Systems]
    A comparative survey of current news media systems and how they affect the international flow of information. Newspapers, news agencies, broadcasting and satellite networks of the world are analyzed. Prerequisites: junior standing in Journalism or Science and Agricultural Journalism .
  • JOURN 4658 International Journalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4658] [International Journalism]
    An examination of the gathering, editing and dissemination of international news. The impact of social, economic, cultural and political structures on news media performance is evaluated. Prerequisites: junior standing. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4660 Media Forces Shaping the European Union: (3)
    [JOURN] [4660] [Media Forces Shaping the European Union]
    Seminar analyzes the role of media in shaping policies and actions of the European Union member nations and their people. Open to graduate students regardless of major and to undergraduates with instructor's consent. Course qualifies for EU Certificate Program. Prerequisites: Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4662 International Magazine Staff: (3)
    [JOURN] [4662] [International Magazine Staff]
    Online, radio, and print production for a converged media enterprise, Global Journalist. Students report, write, plan, edit, design, and produce an international magazine, radio program, and website while working under weekly deadlines. Prerequisites: Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors. Instructor's consent required.
  • JOURN 4700 Participatory Journalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4700] [Participatory Journalism]
    Examination of the emerging forms of information delivery by computer and related convergence of print and broadcast media. Students gain practical experience in the production of an electronic information delivery product. Prerequisites: JOURN 2100 and one of the following: JOURN 4400, 4450 or instructor's consent.
  • JOURN 4716 Women and the Media: (3)
    [JOURN] [4716] [Women and the Media]
    (same as Women's and Gender Studies 4716). Focus on portrayal of women in American mass media. Other goals: historical perspective on women as journalists; exposure to issues usually not covered by mass media; research and writing skills. Prerequisite: instructor's consent.
  • JOURN 4730 Journalism and Conflict: (3)
    [JOURN] [4730] [Journalism and Conflict]
    (same as Peace Studies 4830). Introduction to the basic priciples of conflict theory and negotiation, including the sources of conflict, why conflict escalates and what the conditions are for de-escalation, all with a special emphasis on the implications for the working journalist.
  • JOURN 4738 Thought, Language and Journalism: (3)
    [JOURN] [4738] [Thought, Language and Journalism]
    This seminar uses the methods of science to explore and better understand the biases and limitations of language, culture, technology and other factors shaping the semantic environment as applied to the practice of journalism and mass communications studies. Prerequisites: Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.
  • JOURN 4950 Understanding Audiences: (3)
    [JOURN] [4950] [Understanding Audiences]
    Focuses on the recipients of journalistic efforts by teaching students to identify, analyze and address media audiences. Students will learn a variety of research methods and gain hands-on experience with audience analysis through team-based practical projects. Prerequisites: JOURN 2000 and junior standing.
  • JOURN 4986 Advanced Writing: (3)
    [JOURN] [4986] [Advanced Writing]
    For those who wish to emphasize writing as a career. In addition to writing assignments, students discuss writings of well-known magazine and book authors. Prerequisites: JOURN 4450, JOURN 4410 and instructor's consent. Restricted to Journalism and Science and Agricultural Journalism majors only.