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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media

Journalism in the Classroom Hero

Estlow Center for International Journalism and New Media

Journalism in the Classroom

DU's journalism courses embody the vision of Ed Estlow and the Estlow Center in their dedication to ethics, advocacy and the continual development of new media. Journalism students apply classroom learning in a variety of personal, professional and creative projects throughout the year, demonstrating their communication proficiency in many different ways.

Beyond the classroom, our students shine in their own rights, making significant contributions to the world at large.

Cannabis Journalism

Andrew Matranga shows a student something on a computer screenThe conversation surrounding cannabis in American culture is evolving every day, and the reporting is changing with the times. This course in the University of Denver's Media, Film and Journalism Studies Department seeks to engage students with the reporting on America's "new normal." Available as a special-topic class during DU's interterms, this course meets for a week in the fall, winter, spring and summer sessions. The class period features industry experts as guest speakers and a immersive training in multimedia reporting and production.

With Colorado serving as the petri dish of the marijuana-legalization experiment, DU's department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies became the first to offer a course solely devoted to cannabis journalism, during the 2015 summer interterm. Throughout the course, led by MFJS Assistant Teaching Professor Andrew Matranga, students covered "America's new normal" and examined the legalization of marijuana, both medical and recreational,­ in Colorado and across the country.

The legalization of recreational marijuana by Colorado voters in 2012 signaled a historic change that fuels the legal debate across the country. "This historic crossroads provides an opportunity for student journalists to dig into all the medical and legal issues that legalization poses," Matranga said.

Students interviewed industry professionals and private citizens and engaged with guest speakers such as Jane West, founder of Women Grow, an organization that aims to connect, educate and empower female cannabis industry leaders. The course used Bruce Barcott's book  Weed the People  as a lens to examine cannabis journalism, while the Denver Post's Cannabist outlet provided a local angle.

"Students' research not only investigated the scope of the marijuana-legalization movement from a political and practical perspective but also used original data and multimedia elements to push and promote enterprise storytelling on a national level," Matranga said.

Kevin Bartlett, DU economics major and cannabis-journalism student said, "I think that having a more responsible conversation can lead to more open conversations for the rest of the country." 

The class has gained local and national attention. To learn more about the course, visit the Office of the Provost's special programscannabisjournalism.com, search #CannabisJournalism or watch the story that aired on CBS4 Denver.

'Fact Lab'

Fact lab students with professor

"Fact Lab" is an interdisciplinary course, launched in fall 2014, that covers relevant topics such as messaging, civic and political issues, logic, rhetoric and image analysis.

Students adopt a newsroom-style approach to the study and craft of fact-checking political messaging. The goals of the course are to further develop critical thinking, research and writing skills, and to present highly credible and useful fact-checks of the most significant political ads of the 2014 election season.

In-depth analyses of issues important to Colorado will be posted onto a website and made available to journalists and concerned citizens across the state. This is an opportunity to increase knowledge and influence political conversations among politicians and media throughout Colorado.

Read more about Fact Lab on the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies website and in the Denver Post

MFJS Reporter

Students in Professor Christof Demont-Heinrich's "Newswriting and Reporting" classes write news articles about current events, ultimately building an online newspaper called the MFJS Reporter. Take a look at the most recent publications here:

Online & Visual Journalism

Students in Professor Christof Demont-Heinrich's "Online and Visual Journalism" course build an active website as part of the course. The website, produced by journalism students, focuses on all aspects of college life and aims to tell compelling, multimedia stories about college and university life. Read Daily College Life.