All journalism majors are required to take In-Depth Reporting, the department's capstone course. During Spring term, students work in teams to report, write and produce multimedia projects on issues affecting people and businesses in Virginia and beyond. Students have examined everything from gaps in mental health and women’s health care to the challenges facing young people who want to be farmers.
Since 1985, the Rockbridge Report has showcased the work of journalism students who cover government, business and community issues in Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County. Students in up to a half-dozen classes combine forces to report, write and produce a weekly multimedia website and newscast that informs an underserved rural population.
Magazines are probably the most resilient mass medium we have, which is good news in the digital age. Even though the magazine business was hit hard in recent years, a look at its past and future is far more cheering. Students of this generation sense it: A love of magazines runs strong for many mass communications students even for those who aren’t pursing journalism in its traditional forms. In this class, you will learn how to investigate a magazine from the past as a way of doing history and of understanding the magazine business from the inside. You will also learn from current magazine editors, writers and publishers what it takes to create, produce and sustain a magazine.
The Preliminary Hearing is a website reported and produced by students enrolled in Journalism 280, a course designed to introduce them to the U.S. court system, its players, language and impact on the public at large. Students have explored such crime-and-justice issues as underage drinking, abuse of prescription drugs and gaps in state laws governing protective orders in domestic violence cases.
This study abroad course provided students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in South Africa, a country with stark contrasts in its politics, its long history of oppression, and its people’s persistent hope for the future. Based in Johannesburg during Spring Term 2016, students on the journalism track reported and produced a multimedia story about growing disenchantment among South African university students. W&L students pursuing the strategic communications track worked with two non-governmental organizations, Jo’burg Child Welfare and the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development, helping them refine their messages.
This class creates an opportunity for students to experience one of the more elusive but rewarding aspects of journalism: writing about a place. Interspersed with relevant readings in literary journalism and short exercises in nonfiction writing and multimedia storytelling, assignments take students out of Lexington and into the rural parts of Rockbridge County to focus their attention on a spot on the map.
This website examines the impact of foreclosures on people in Rockbridge County. Through their reporting, Journalism 202 students discovered that one in every 51 Rockbridge County homes had been hit by foreclosure since 2008. The students gathered data to create an interactive map, and they told the stories of people who lost their homes.