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Journalism and Electronic Media Major Guide for 2008-2009

What is Journalism and Electronic Media

The exciting and dynamic area of mass communications attracts students who wish to become media professionals working for radio stations, television stations, newspapers, magazines, and Internet companies. The University of Tennessee prepares students to work in all media in our newly merged and fully accredited School of Journalism and Electronic Media.  Students take courses in all three areas making our graduates uniquely qualified to work in the changing world of media in the future.  Students may also develop a specialty in one of six different areas within the School:  News Reporting, Magazine, Visual Communication, Media Management, Sports Journalism, and Science Communication.

Students seeking positions as news writers and reporters, TV news reporters and producers, magazine writers, photojournalists, videographers, video producers and directors, media sales and promotions managers, sports writers and broadcasters, science communicators, and online journalists should consider the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee.

Career Opportunities in Journalism and Electronic Media

Career opportunities abound for graduates of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.  Our graduates work in a variety of positions in all media in small, medium, and large markets.  Graduates work in local radio stations as news reporters, program directors, and sales executives.  Graduates also work in local television stations as news reporters, producers, sales representatives, producers and directors.  A number of graduates work as reporters and editors for local and regional newspapers and magazines.  Still others work as video producers, writers, and editors for video production companies and cable television program producers. 

With the trend toward media convergence, graduates with skills in multiple areas of mass communications are very attractive to potential employers.

Salary Trends in Journalism and Electronic Media

Entry-level positions in newspapers, radio and television stations, and video production companies are generally in the low- to mid-$20,000 range.  TV news reporters and producers usually start in the mid-$20s depending on the size of the station and the size of the market.  Media sales representatives can expect to earn $30,000–$40,000 in the first year.  Online publishing positions generally start near $35,000.  Employees who demonstrate talent and hard work usually move up quickly and are paid very well.

High School Preparation

High school preparation for students interested in journalism and electronic media should include as many writing and speaking courses as possible.  Students should gain experience on their high school newspaper, yearbook, radio or television station.  Computer courses and photography courses would also be very helpful.

How to Major in Journalism and Electronic Media

If you apply to the University of Tennessee, you may request to be a pre-major in the College of Communication and Information.  When you have completed 30 credit hours, the College’s gateway course Communication and Information 150, and attained a minimum of at least a 2.5 grade point average, you may apply to for admission to the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.  You will be expected to have already completed English 101 and 102 and other general education requirements.  After you are admitted you will be assigned to a FACULTY ADVISOR in the school.  You and your adviser will plan a program of coursework designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in a career in journalism and electronic media.

Requirements for Journalism and Electronic Media

All students take a core of courses in the major.  These include Introduction to Communication and Information, Introduction to News Writing, Introduction to Journalism and Electronic Media, Media and Society or Media and Diversity, Media Practicum, Mass Communication History, and Mass Communication Law and Ethics.  Students will then select one of six TRACKS in the major:  News, Visual Communication, Media Management, Magazine, Sports Journalism, and Science Communication.  Students take four courses in their track and two additional elective courses in journalism and electronic media.  The major includes 40 hours.  The remaining 80 hours of courses are taken outside the College of Communication and Information.  Students are advised to take arts and science electives and general electives designed to compliment the major.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

The School of Journalism and Electronic Media requires all students to enroll in a practical professional media experience called a practicum.  A practicum is work experience at a local newspaper, radio station, television station, video production company, or related company.  A practicum experience requires 10-15 hours of supervised media work per week and is usually taken during the student’s junior or senior year.  Students are also encouraged to participate in the School’s internship program.  An internship is a full-time (40 hours per week) program providing three academic hours of credit to qualified students.  An internship may take place in Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta, New York, LA, or any market in which the student wishes to go.  Internships are usually done during the summer months.  Students may do two practicums and one internship for academic credit.  The combination of excellence in the classroom and relevant professional experience at a media company will serve students well in acquiring entry-level positions.

Highlights of Journalism and Electronic Media

Journalism and Electronic Media students are strongly encouraged to get as much experience as possible. Students may work at THE DAILY BEACON, a daily publication by and for students at UT.  Most of the writers and editors at The Daily Beacon are journalism and electronic media majors.  The School also operates WUTK-FM, a 1000 watt student radio station serving UT and the Knoxville area.  More than 200 students gain experience at the station each semester.  Still other students work at THE VOLUNTEER CHANNEL, a campus cable channel for UT students.  Students produce news and entertainment programs.  Students also gain experience by working for the student magazine, SCOOP, and for the TENNESSEE JOURNALIST (TNJN.COM) website, a prime example of convergence journalism.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Students in the College of Communication and Information are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program as part of the University of Tennessee's commitment to make our graduates "Ready for the World.”  Studying abroad opens up many opportunities for students to learn about communication and information in an international setting, develop cross-cultural communication skills, and enhance their marketability and career options.  Students often say that their study abroad experience was the highlight of their college years.  Communication and information students may study Journalism in Denmark or the Netherlands, International Communication in Paris and Brussels, foreign language in any number of countries, or participate in the study abroad program of their choice.  Most students participate in study abroad during their second or third year at UT.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English 101, 102 6
Communication & Information 150 3
Intermediate Foreign Language 6
Psychology 110 3
Natural Sciences Electives 7–8
Quantitative Reasoning Electives 6
TOTAL 31–34
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Journalism & Electronic Media 200 3
Journalism & Electronic Media 275 3
Political Science 102 3
Economics 201 4
Cultural Studies Electives 6
Communication Studies 210 or 240 3
English Literature Electives 3
Arts & Sciences Elective 3
Junior Year Credit Hours
Journalism & Electronic Media 457 or 465 3
Journalism & Electronic Media Track 6
Journalism & Electronic Media Elective 3
Journalism & Electronic Media 367 3
Political Science Elective 3
Arts & Sciences Electives 6
General Electives 6
Senior Year Credit Hours
Journalism & Electronic Media 400 3
Communication & Information Elective 3
Journalism & Electronic Media 492 1
Journalism & Electronic Media Track 6
Journalism & Electronic Media Elective (Upper-Level) 3
Arts and Sciences Electives 6
General Electives 3–6
TOTAL 25–28

For More Information

Peter Gross, Ph.D., Director
School of Journalism and Electronic Media
333 Communications Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-0333
(865) 974-5155



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.