Good writing is the foundation of all forms of mass media, even as the boundaries between print and electronic media blur. Though many of the skills that are needed to become a successful journalist are still based in development of sound reporting and writing skills, graduates also need to know how to present information for a variety of formats, from print to broadcast to online media.

Journalism educators realize that because of changes in technology, “print” takes many forms. Thus, even though the journalism major is designed to give students the skills necessary to collect information and write all types of stories for the print media, including news, features, editorials and commentary, students are informed of and prepared for the possibility that their work will be presented on a variety of devices. 

Majors attend meetings of city and county boards, interview officials, cover breaking news when possible and learn editing and fact-organization skills to produce copy on deadline. In their advanced courses, students also assigned a variety of beats, where they learn to develop news sources and learn to analyze and present information so that it is clear and useful to readers. Writing courses emphasize grammar, punctuation, and Associated Press style Students also use industry-standard computer software to enhance and expand their reporting and storytelling skills. 

Majors also gain an awareness of the fundamentals of press freedom and professional ethics and an understanding of importance of diversity as a component of excellent journalism practice.

The Appalachian State University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi) provides an opportunity for students to become involved in one of the world's largest professional organizations for print journalists. Students involved in SPJ make valuable professional contacts and have access to several professional publications for journalists. Students are also encouraged to enter professional writing and photography contests sponsored by SPJ, the North Carolina Press Club and other professional organizations.

Program of Study

Here is the program of study.  

Semester-by-Semester Four-Year Plan

The university provides a four-year guide that is a recommended semester-by semester plan of study for each major in the Department of Communication The four-year guide is meant as an example of how a degree can be completed in four years. Individual plans will be developed for each student in consultation with your academic adviser.