Journalism Institute Launches Online Master’s Program

The program will offer students workshops and mentors in the industry that match their beats.

The “Carceral Crisis: Race, Class and Punishment in America” course in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute focuses on providing students with an in-depth understanding of mass incarceration. (Photo by Victor Porcelli)

NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute launched its new online master’s program on March 6. The American Journalism Online Master’s Program, spearheaded by Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Adam Penenberg, has been in the works for roughly four years. It is also the first online master’s degree offered by the Graduate School of Arts and Science.

“Four years ago, I used modules in my classroom,” Penenberg, who has been with the Institute for 15 years, said. “Students loved how they could go back and read my notes. I could also track each individual student’s performance using the modules. Ever since, I’ve wanted to create an online program.”

The course material will be structured as a flipped classroom in which “students gain necessary knowledge before class, and instructors guide students to actively and interactively clarify and apply that knowledge during class,” as defined by the University of Texas’s Faculty Innovation Center.

In other words, class time will be application time. Students will video call into class once a week to workshop material together.

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“It’ll operate like a professional newsroom,” Penenberg said. “We’ll have a professional website where everyone’s work will be available to the world, and all the stories will be edited, copyedited, fact-checked and paired with visual graphics.”

Unlike a Massive Open Online Class, writing courses will be intimate and limited to 15 students. Each student will also be assigned a working professional mentor who matches the student’s beat.

“We’re trying to humanize everything,” Penenberg said. “If anything, students will have more face time with their professors and peers than they would in a regular program. I’m a firm believer in technology and its power to bring people together.”

Courses offered under the American Journalism Online Master’s Program include entrepreneurial journalism, feature writing, investigative reporting, multimedia storytelling and long-form narrative. They will cost the same price per credit as regular graduate classes. However, as opposed to 36 to 48 credits, there are only 30 required credits in the online program and no internship component.

Students will have the option to go full time and complete their master’s in a year. They can also choose to go part time.

“The live virtual classroom meetings will be in the evenings, so students won’t have to quit their jobs if they’re working,” Online Program Administrator Bartie Scott said. “Those who choose to go part time can really take their time. As long as they complete the program within five years, which is university guideline, it’s totally doable.”

The application for the upcoming fall semester is due on July 15. In 2017, 118 people enrolled in the graduate journalism program. The number for the online program at the moment is unpredictable.

“The beauty of it is that we are scalable,” Penenberg said. “We could have 15 or 30 students. Or 100. We still have a lot to flesh out since we’re in the early stages, but we’re excited that the ball is finally rolling.”

Email Grace Moon at [email protected].

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