About the Department
As the only accredited journalism department in a small, highly selective, nationally ranked liberal arts college, we are committed not only to broadening minds, but also to inculcating habits of honor, careful analysis, reasoned discourse and excellent writing in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic culture. Through our signature Knight Program in Media Ethics, we ensure that students understand the ethical dimensions of the decisions they will make.
The department’s demanding professional courses are taught by faculty with extensive academic and professional experience and achievement in newsrooms and public relations.
Reid Hall, which houses the department, provides students with an up-to-date technological environment that prepares them for working in multimedia communications. The heart and soul of the building is its third floor, home to a newsroom, TV studio and control room. There, students in several classes work together to produce The Rockbridge Report, a newscast and website that are regularly recognized for excellence by professional journalism organizations.
Since 1985, The Rockbridge Report newscast has showcased the work of journalism students who report, write and produce stories about the people who live and work in Lexington, nearby Buena Vista and Rockbridge County.
Why Study at W&L?
To make sure students are well grounded in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, they must take more courses outside the department than within. We offer two professionally oriented majors, Journalism and Strategic Communication, and a minor in Mass Communications.
The Journalism major prepares students to work as reporters, editors and producers of content in multimedia news organizations. Students may specialize their studies in the Business Journalism program, which prepares them to report and write about financial news and the economy.
The Strategic Communication major prepares students to craft messages for corporations, nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies.
The Mass Communications minor provides students in other disciplines with the opportunity to learn about professional values, theory and the practice of media, while honing their information-gathering, analytical and writing skills.
Opportunities for Students
Both Journalism and Strategic Communication majors are required to complete summer internships, opportunities that have taken students from Austin and Boston to Seattle and Shanghai.
Our graduates work as business journalists at Bloomberg News, the Boston Business Journal and The Street.com. They report the news for outlets ranging from The Mercury News in San Jose, Calif., to U.S. News & World Report in Washington, D.C.
They also are running PR and marketing campaigns for clients at the Grey Group, Edelman and Ruder Finn in New York. They devise communications strategies for nonprofit organizations such as a philanthropic foundation in Oklahoma and the Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. And they serve as top executives at firms from coast to coast, from Zillow in Seattle to FleishmanHillard in New York.
They produce TV newscasts for local stations in such cities as Waco, Texas, and in-depth stories for “60 Minutes” in New York. And they anchor local newscasts and national business reports on two of the biggest stages in journalism, in Chicago and New York.