David Amor, Journalism
Christie Ferguson Cirone, Graphic design
Knox College has a long and close relationship with American journalism, particularly that strand of fearless investigation and public advocacy that we know as the "muckraking" tradition. The study of journalism at Knox draws inspiration and purpose from that tradition. Combining the strengths of a challenging liberal arts education with specialized courses and multi-platform presentations, journalism at Knox involves students in investigating, reporting and visually displaying and photographing real-life issues of local and national importance. It provides a strong preparation for entry into the profession and for graduate study.
The line of distinguished alumni journalists starts with Ellen Browning Scripps, Class of 1859, syndicated columnist and co-founder of several important American newspapers and the United Press International news agency. It includes Samuel S. McClure, Class of 1882, founder with several other Knox alumni of McClure’s Magazine and publisher of all the famous Muckrakers; and John Huston Finley, Class of 1887, longtime editor-in-chief of The New York Times. A fourth important Knox-related figure, Carl Sandburg, won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his biographical work on Abraham Lincoln and for his poetry. He was also an important journalist in his own right, working for the Chicago Daily News. Today, this tradition is carried on by many print, multi-platform and broadcast journalists, including Bob Jamieson ’65, news correspondent (retired), ABC Network News, winner of five National News Emmys and DuPont and Peabody awards as part of the ABC News team covering 9/11; Barry Bearak ’71, former Southern Africa bureau chief, The New York Times, winner of both the 2002 Pulitzer Prize and George H. Polk Award for his outstanding reporting from Afghanistan; Alex Keefe ’07, Morning News Producer, WBEZ/NPR Chicago, winner of two Illinois Associated Press Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism; and Ryan Sweikert ’11, reporter for the Galesburg Register-Mail, winner of a statewide award for Investigative Reporting, Illinois Associated Press Association.
The minor in journalism allows students to engage the issues, skills and particular knowledge of the field of journalism, within the twin contexts of the College’s liberal arts curriculum and the problems and dynamics of the surrounding world. The program combines skills courses, where the emphasis is on different types of journalistic writing, on-line presentation, graphic video and on-line design and photography, and reflective courses examining the social and political role of the media. All courses build upon the foundation of liberal arts knowledge that students bring from their other coursework and their major field.
Journalism students at Knox learn how a community (Galesburg, Illinois) works and how to report and present it across varied media platforms. They also pursue stories of local, regional, and national significance through in-depth reporting. Students’ news stories are regularly published in local daily and weekly newspapers. In addition, many opportunities exist for on-campus involvement in student journalism. The College’s student newspaper, The Knox Student (now with its companion web site), has operated continuously for more than 110 years and regularly garners awards at student press conferences at both the state and national levels. The student literary magazine, Catch, has been recognized four times as the finest small-college magazine in the country. In addition, WVKC, the college radio station, is an excellent outlet for students interested in broadcast journalism.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing a minor in Journalism will be able to:
- (Reporting and Information-Gathering) Identify socially significant issues, formulate questions, and gather reliable information from a variety of sources and perspectives
- (Written and Visual Communication) Synthesize information into timely, accurate and compelling communications of progressively increasing levels of complexity and sophistication, in textual and/or visual media
- (Ethics of Journalism) Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the ethical foundations of journalistic practice, both to truth as a governing ideal and to the wellbeing of the community of which the journalist is a part
- (Institutional & Social Contexts of Journalism) Demonstrate an understanding of the economic, political and cultural institutions and systems within which journalism as a profession is situated and which shape journalistic practice