JournalismCollege of Journalism and Mass Communications

What you will learn

Journalists, no matter what medium they work in, make a difference in our communities, our country and our world.

As a journalist, you will help keep the public informed by offering a window on the world through news, information and entertainment.

As a journalism major, you will learn:

  • How to gather and organize information and to present it in a clear and appealing way through words and images.
  • How to produce still photographs.
  • How to shoot and edit video.
  • How to design for print and the Web.
  • The importance of free expression in a democratic society and the media's role in fostering that freedom.

You'll have many hands-on opportunities in the classroom and in special programs to practice your skills.

  • Broadcasting Husker games on the college's student-run radio station.
  • Shooting photographs and videos in foreign countries.
  • Writing stories about state government for Nebraska newspapers and radio and TV stations.
  • Producing a weekly news program broadcast live on a local cable station.
  • As part of the journalism capstone course, experience what it's like to publish on a news website by creating text, photographs, video and audio stories.

Additional advantages of pursuing a journalism major through UNL:

  • You can start taking courses in journalism during your first semester.
  • You'll have access to a great selection of electives – from sports writing to Web design.
  • You can take advantage of the many study-abroad opportunities.
  • You are allowed to take 80 hours of course work outside the college to provide a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Career Opportunities

Our journalism graduates get jobs as:

  • reporters
  • editors
  • photographers
  • web developers
  • producers
  • graphic designers

Our graduates do well in:

  • online journalism
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • public information
  • government service
  • publishing industry

If you choose not to work for the media, you will also be well equipped for graduate and law school or the kinds of career opportunities that require excellent writing and communication skills.

According to a national accreditation report, our program prepares journalism students to "be challenged, have significant multimedia experience, and have every opportunity to be prepared for the constantly changing world of news media and communications."

The NEBRASKA difference

The college has a national reputation for excellence.

  • An accreditation team recently applauded the college for being "a national leader in journalism and mass communications education."
  • We are part of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, a prestigious group of the nation's top 12 journalism schools.
  • We have a rich tradition of producing award-winning depth reporting projects, many of them done abroad, and a long history of winning Hearst Journalism Awards, the collegiate version of the Pulitzer Prizes.

As a student, you can get involved in journalism right away – in our classes, by joining our active student clubs, in hosting shows on our radio station or reporting for the UNL student newspaper.

We offer a variety of hands-on opportunities, including:

  • A generous endowment that sends student reporters and photographers twice a year on trips to document the people in need around the world.
  • A news service that distributes student stories about state government to Nebraska media.
  • An Innovator in Residence program that brings media innovators and entrepreneurs to work with students on projects to solve real-life 21st century problems.

Internships / Clubs

The college dedicates 3 faculty members to help place students in internships and receives support from an active alumni network.

  • From the Norfolk (Neb.) Daily News and Lincoln's KOLN-KGIN television station to The Washington Post and ABC News in New York, our students obtain excellent regional, national and international internships.
  • The college also won the 2010 Hearst Journalism Awards broadcast news competition, which includes 112 accredited journalism programs and a UNL journalism student is among the reigning four 2010 national Hearst champions.

Other internships include:

Students find many networking opportunities in our student organizations, which include:

  • American Copy Editors Society
  • Photo Club
  • Multicultural Students in Media
  • National Broadcasting Society
  • Friends of KRNU (student radio)
  • Nebraska Press Women

Chosen through an application process, The Student Advisory Board organizes a variety of activities during the school year, and the volunteer J-Ambassadors play a major part in the college's recruiting process.

Alumni / Faculty

A national accreditation report said our college is an outstanding program with one of the most professionally oriented faculties in the nation. The college is proud of its open-door policy where faculty members are available to students when they are not teaching or in meetings; we were cited in the accreditation report for fostering a student-centered environment.

Our faculty has worked at places such as:

Some of our recognized faculty include:

  • Professor Sue Burzynski Bullard, named the 2010 Promising Professor by the Mass Communication and Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
  • Pulitzer Prize winner Matt Waite, a former news technologist for the St. Petersburg Times and the principal developer of, recently joined the faculty and teaches a course on developing new media products.
  • Professor Joseph Starita who received the National Education Association's 2011 Leo Reano Human and Civil Rights Award for significantly impacting the education and achievement of equal opportunity for American Indians.

Our students and faculty also interact frequently with our active network of alumni who work in news outlets large and small and across the nation, including:

  • Jeff Zeleny, national political correspondent for The New York Times.
  • Jane Hirt, vice president/managing editor of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Juanita Page, a post production coordinator with the Discovery Channel in Washington, D.C.
  • Kevin Kugler, lead play-by-play voice for Westwood One's coverage of NCAA football and basketball.


Andersen Hall, a former insurance building renovated in 2001, is home for 2 majors:

  • advertising/public relations
  • journalism

The building, which is within a few blocks of the historic state Capitol and Lincoln's bustling downtown, boasts the following labs:

  • Some dedicated especially to graphic design or photojournalism.
  • Advertising presentation and focus group rooms.
  • Two television studios and several video editing facilities.
  • A radio station and suite of audio studios and editing rooms.
  • A large newsroom and rooms that are wired for distance education.

You may also have the opportunity to work at:

  • Jacht Club, our student-run advertising agency, located in the nearby historic Haymarket District.
  • The Daily Nebraskan, which has offices in the Nebraska Union, is UNL's independent student newspaper. Although it is not affiliated with the college, many of our students work in paid positions there in advertising or news.


While no official rankings exist for colleges of journalism and mass communications, we believe we're among the nation's best and so do others.

  • We were chosen to join a prestigious consortium of the country's top 12 journalism programs - the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.
  • The college is also 1 of only 7 chosen to host a residency for students who are part of the national Dow Jones News Fund editing internship program.
  • Judges of the Hearst Journalism Awards competition regularly find our students' work to be among the best.
  • We are the only one of 112 accredited journalism programs this decade to produce a national champion in 3 of 4 Hearst categories – writing, broadcasting and photography.
  • We have become the team to beat in the district competition of the National Student Advertising Competition Team, having won it for 3 years in row. We placed 4th place in the nation in 2010 in the national competition where more than 150 schools compete.
  • In calling us a "national leader" in journalism education, a national accreditation report cited our "impressive programs and initiatives at local, state, national and global levels" and our ability "to stay on the cutting edge in journalism and mass communications."
  • Our students are selected for some of the most competitive and prestigious internships, including the:
    • American Advertising Federation Vance Stickell Internship, McCann Erickson New York.
    • Allan Rosenshine Minority Education and Training Fund, BBDO New York.
    • American Association of Advertising Agencies Multicultural Agency Internship Program, Hill | Holiday Boston.


Our faculty and students are passionate about what they do and their research and creative activity reflects that through a variety of media - print, web, audio, photography, videos and documentaries.

The college has a long history of producing award-winning depth reporting projects that have covered a variety of topics, including:

  • Cuba after 50 years of communist rule.
  • The relationship between France and the U.S.
  • Immigration in the state of Nebraska.
  • Self-rule in Bolivia.
  • The impact of Native American women on their society.
  • The birth of a nation in Kosovo.

Our student's work in the innovative News21 program has appeared prominently in many national publications, including:

Faculty members have also created both popular and scholarly work. Some examples:

  • Professor John Bender's reporting textbook is in its 10th edition.
  • Professor Joseph Starita's book on a Native American family was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
  • Professor Bernard McCoy's 2 award-winning documentaries have been televised in several major markets and screened at several film festivals.