College of Media at Illinois

University of IllinoisCollege of Media

Department of Journalism

Journalism students meeting with Prof. Harrington.

The Department of Journalism has been a part of making history and teaching students how to report it for more than 75 years. It is the birthplace of Public Broadcasting and the alma mater of winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Emmy Award and Peabody Award. The Department enjoys a national reputation as a quality program, enhanced by the faculty's real-world knowledge of and experience with the rapidly changing demands of mass media.

The journalism faculty have earned numerous professional and academic awards, including three Pulitzer Prizes, a credential unmatched by any other Big Ten university. But perhaps equally important, the men and women who teach in the Department of Journalism know how to translate their professional experience to the classroom, and the intimate laboratory setting of our skills classes affords students the opportunity to share that expertise.

Learning to integrate the methods and theories of public affairs journalism, Illinois students work closely with faculty who understand that a dedication to the art and craft of reporting demands a consistent attention to accuracy, fairness, balance, integrity, independence and accountability.

News-editorial Journalism

Students in the news-editorial sequence at Illinois prepare for careers in newspapers, magazines, books, the Internet and related professions. Alumni of the program have proven themselves at news organizations such as The Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, the Associated Press and many more. Students learn to ask intelligent questions, get the facts right and tell fair, balanced and thorough stories.

Broadcast Journalism

In laboratory classes that include live student-produced radio and television broadcasts, students are challenged to meet the demands of a multimedia experience by going beyond simply learning how to operate equipment to understanding and putting into action the methods and practices of public affairs journalism. Journalism majors in the broadcast sequence work with award-winning faculty and learn to use the latest technology and techniques. The program prepares them not only for work on camera or behind a microphone but for successful careers as writers, reporters, producers, editors and managers.

Graduate Fellowship in Specialized Journalism

To create a new generation of expert journalists, the Illinois journalism department has launched a program that will support in each academic year as many as six master’s degree candidates who already have deep knowledge in the form of advanced academic or professional degrees, including the PhD, MBA, M.D., law degree or other such specialized higher degrees, and aspire to work as journalists covering their fields of specialization.

Learn more here.

For information on how to apply contact:
Nancy Benson, Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Journalism

Student organizations

The Department of Journalism encourages students to get involved in a student organization such as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists or the Society for Professional Journalists, which offer connections to real-world experiences and networking with professionals.

Faculty expertise

The faculty in the Department of Journalism combine professional experience with wide-ranging scholarly interests in the study of public affairs journalism. The faculty have earned numerous academic and professional awards, including three Pulitzer Prizes.

Networking opportunities & alumni connections

Journalism majors have an annual opportunity to visit New York to see how journalism is done in the magazine capital of the county. There they can talk about internships and jobs and network with industry professionals, many of whom are College of Media alumni. Alumni also provide portfolio reviews, professional guidance and updates on the blurring of the lines between journalism venues.

Career placement

The Department of Journalism offers assistance in acquiring internships and jobs, including an annual career night devoted to connecting students with journalism professionals.

Online resources

Special projects in the journalism curriculum

CU-Citizen Access poverty project

CU-Citizen AccessIn January 2010, journalism professors Rich Martin and Brant Houston announced the launch of, a new Web site that focuses on poverty and related issues in Champaign County, Ill. An integral part of the larger CU-Citizen Access project, the site offers a place for citizens, journalists, and university students to share news, raise and discuss issues, find assistance, and suggest solutions. Backed with funding from the Marajen Stevick Foundation and the University of Illinois with a matching grant from the John S. Knight and James L. Knight Foundation, the project is intended to bring together all parts of the community to disclose and deal with the issues associated with citizens living in poverty or on low wages. The CU-Citizen Access project also is intended to create as many avenues as possible for citizens to address these issues, whether through this Web site, in-person or through email, social networks like Twitter, cell phones, photos and news stories.

Journalism students experience China

Professor Nancy Benson and WILL Radio News Director Tom Rogers accompanied a group of journalism students on a working trip to China in 2007. You can see, hear and read about their experiences on the group's blog at

Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism

The Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism is awarded to individuals whose career contributions to public affairs journalism represent the highest and best achievements of American journalism. Bestowed by the journalism faculty in the College of Media at the University of Illinois, the award honors work that has consistently served as a beacon for other journalists, set the highest standards of excellence in the field, and placed the public good and public awareness before all else.

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting

Brant Houston photoProfessor Brant Houston holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois. Houston teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism in the College of Media at Illinois. Read more...