Department of Communication Studies


journalism class


Journalism at the University of Northern Iowa

Journalism at UNI starts with a minor that focuses on reporting, news writing, editing and design, online journalism, photojournalism, and mass communication law and ethics, and is taught by experienced, award-winning faculty.  The minor is popular with students from all areas across campus who want to write well and understand the best practices in journalism.

The program helps place students in internships at the Waterloo Courier and print, radio and television newsrooms throughout the Midwest. Our students also often write and edit for the campus newspaper, the Northern Iowan.

Students studying journalism (combining a journalism minor with an electronic media, political communication, or interactive digital studies major) have won multiple Iowa Broadcast News Association awards for reporting and best overall newscast. Our graduates work for a number of news organizations in Iowa and around the country, including Radio Iowa, KIMT (Mason City), KCRG (Cedar Rapids), KWWL (Waterloo), KWCH (Kansas City), the Waterloo Courier, and the Washington Post.

History of Journalism at UNI

Journalism has been practiced at the University of Northern Iowa since the founding in 1892 of what is now the Northern Iowan newspaper. A journalism minor was first introduced in 1950 in the Department of English and Speech, with seven courses totaling 26 credit hours. The impact was immediately apparent; "The newspaper will more directly serve student needs this year, because a minor in journalism has been approved in the college's curriculum," a summary of a university (then Iowa State Teachers College) public relations news release announced. In 1976, the Northern Iowan student newspaper announced that "An expanded program for the journalism minor will provide new opportunities for those students interested in following the footsteps of Woodward and Bernstein." The expanded minor added "Advanced Reporting," and a journalism internship, for the first time. The minor called for nine hours of required courses, and six hours of electives, for 15 hours total.

The journalism minor remained part of the English Department into the early 1990s. In 1992, journalism moved to the Communication and Theatre Arts Department (which became, in 1993, the Department of Communication Studies), where it has become one of the department's most popular minor programs.

Interested in a career in journalism? 

There are THREE EXCELLENT OPTIONS for combining the journalism minor with one of the Communication Studies majors to get a well-rounded plan of study for a career in journalism.

1. Electronic Media major +Journalism minor: 

This is a popular combination for students who want to combine the print, design, and online skills of the Journalism minor with the radio, television, and documentary film strengths of the Electronic Media major.

TV news desk

2. Political Communication major + Journalism minor: 

Students who are focused on politics and public affairs reporting will be drawn to this option, which brings together the skills of journalism and an in-depth understanding of campaigns, elections, public opinion, and research methods.

DC student trip

3. Interactive Digital Studies major + Journalism minor: 

As all journalism organizations move online, the Interactive Studies Major becomes the key path in obtaining the skills and knowledge about digital culture and theory.  Areas of study such as  Digital Visualization, Digital Computation, Digital Imaging, and Digital Advertising give students an edge in Internet journalism and entrepreneurial journalism start-ups.