Journalism is crucial to a healthy democracy and an informed society.
In a letter to a delegate to the Continental Congress in the late 1780s, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that, if forced to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Although journalism is not a field that requires a professional license, it is a position of public trust, and those who practice it need practical skills as well as a grounding in the field’s professional ethics; completing a formal degree program in journalism is one of the best ways to acquire both.
Most schools that teach journalism provide a combination of theory and practice; students learn about the history of journalism and its role in the culture while developing crucial skills such as meeting deadlines, drafting articles, interviewing subjects, and thinking critically about sources and information.
Many faculty members are current or former reporters who can provide professional guidance as well as academic instruction.
Most journalism schools offer undergraduate and graduate degrees and provide education in many of the forms of journalism that exist today, including traditional print and broadcast journalism, digital multimedia outlets, and interactive and social media.
Journalism students work in student-run media on campus in addition to taking on internships and networking opportunities in the local media market, which, in New York, includes some of the most prominent news organizations in the world.
These hands-on experiences enable students to graduate with a portfolio of work that will help them take the next step in their careers.
Here are 10 of the best colleges in New York with a journalism program.
Syracuse University SI Newhouse School of Public Communications (Syracuse, NY)
Syracuse University SI Newhouse School of Public Communications is considered one of the preeminent schools of journalism nationally by the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium.
Newhouse seeks to train future communications professionals for the constantly evolving media field and offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.
The school’s student-run media include digital and print publications, including magazines focused on baking and fashion and a daily newspaper, and broadcast television studios producing news, sports, music, and other entertainment.
The NewsHouse, Newhouse’s digital outlet, which incorporates video and written reporting, photography, social media, and interactive elements, was judged the best independent online website among large schools by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Recently, six Newhouse students embarked on a paid internship with PBS “Frontline,” working on Oscar Guerra’s documentary “After Zero Tolerance.”
The students conducted research and translation and assisted with filming and post-production, and several served as field producers, traveling with the PBS crew to Louisville, KY, to interview the family whose story is at the heart of the documentary.
Fordham University (New York, NY)
Fordham University’s Journalism major falls within the Department of Communication and Media Studies and offers an optional minor in sports journalism that devotes attention to newsworthy events on and off the field.
The journalism program’s aim is to train students to serve the public interest in a shifting media environment.
The journalism faculty is drawn from a mix of full-time professors and working media professionals from the New York area, meaning that students are exposed to the up-to-the-minute industry standards and expectations in one of the world’s leading media markets.
In addition to pragmatic skills, students gain a foundation in journalistic ethics and the social construction of journalism through required coursework.
Journalism students must spend at least one semester working at one of Fordham’s on-campus media organizations, including the National Public Radio affiliate WFUV, news publications The Fordham Ram and The Observer, and student-run alternative journal the paper.
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (New York, NY)
The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism was founded in 1912 by Joseph Pulitzer, who also established the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, which is awarded for outstanding achievements in journalism, literature, and music.
In addition to its doctoral program, Columbia offers Master of Science degrees in specialties including data journalism, investigative journalism, and documentary, and Master of Arts degrees for professional journalists who are already working in the field and wish to deepen their understanding of a particular subject area, such as science, economics, arts and culture, or politics.
The internationally recognized Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma is a project of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and serves as a resource for a global network of journalists reporting on conflict and other traumatic events.
New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute (New York, NY)
Undergraduates at New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute select one of two tracks: the print/online track for those interested primarily in writing for digital and print media and the broadcast track for students mainly interested in broadcast reporting and video production.
All undergraduate journalism students are required to complete a dual degree and use their journalistic training to explore their chosen second major.
In addition to strengthening both sets of skills with an interdisciplinary approach, students graduate with the subject-matter expertise to credibly and critically report on an area of personal interest.
The online platform CooperSquared highlights undergraduate reporting. Recent pieces have focused on the power of college journalism, the new business of baseball in Venezuela, and Afro-Costa Ricans’ history of inequality.
Graduate students in journalism at NYU learn to adapt to evolving industry demands and choose from a number of areas of focus, including business and economic reporting, cultural reporting and criticism, global and joint program studies, podcasting and audio reportage, and science, health, and environmental reporting.
Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communications (Ithaca, NY)
The journalism program at Ithaca College is housed in the Roy H. Park School of Communications.
The school teaches news-gathering and reporting skills across all types of platforms and provides insight into independent and entrepreneurial journalism as well as traditional media.
As soon as students arrive, they can start working for on-campus outlets, which include community news publication The Ithacan, public affairs and entertainment television production organization ICTV, non-commercial radio station WICB, and many more.
Ithaca College students also regularly work with industry news outlets; student coverage of nationally significant events has included the 2020 U.S. election with CNN and NPR, the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington with NBC Nightly News and PBS Newshour Online, the 2018 March for Our Lives with NBC and MSNBC.
For several years, students have joined NBC to cover the summer and winter Olympics.
Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY)
The program, which leads to a Bachelor of the Arts degree, is centered on digital reporting but grounds its teachings in the role of journalism in a democratic society.
Internships and other forms of hands-on training are encouraged, and the Internship Memoirs section of the SB J-Drive website catalogs student experiences like embracing the newsroom chaos, finding one’s calling in public relations, and learning to love broadcast radio.
Graduating seniors are encouraged to apply for the Colvin Center Wall Street Journal Fellowship, where students can gain 10 weeks of experience in international reporting.
Students can gain broadcast experience at WUSB, Long Island’s biggest non-commercial radio station, which is operated by student volunteers who are supervised by an FCC-licensed engineer.
SUNY Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
Students study the various forms of journalism, including digital and broadcast media, documentary, social media, and literary journalism, as well as professional reporting practices and journalistic ethics.
Many of the instructors in the Journalism Certificate Program are working journalists, and students are taught practical skills, such as tracking down reliable information, conducting interviews, and meeting deadlines. The school is also home to New York State’s largest student-run undergraduate paper, The Spectrum.
SUNY Buffalo also offers a certificate in professional writing and digital communication, which teaches skills in technical communication, media theory and curation, rhetoric, and digital media in education.
Notable SUNY Buffalo alumni include Emmy Award-winning CNN host Wolf Blitzer, Peabody Award-winning NPR reporter Terry Gross, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated cartoonist Tom Toles, and many more.
Pace University (New York, NY)
Students at Pace University can study journalism in the Department of Media Communications and Visual Arts.
Related degree programs include a B.A. in Communications, a B.S. in digital cinema and filmmaking, and a B.S. in digital journalism, and students can choose to minor in sports media and broadcasting.
Students in the Department of Media Communications and Visual Arts must complete three internship credits. Recent internship placements have included WABC-TV Eyewitness News, The CBS Early Show, Cosmopolitan magazine, NBC and NBC Sports, and many more.
Among the student-run media outlets at Pace are the newspapers The Pace Press and The Pace Chronicle, which has won awards from the New York Press Association and the American Scholastic Press Association, and radio stations WPUB and WPAW.
Students have produced award-winning documentaries on subjects including the environmental threats to bees, the 2018 Kīlauea eruption, and the people of Puerto Rico responding to the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)
Recently, students have participated in co-ops at National Geographic, Gannett, and The Hill, and RIT’s partnerships include over 240 employers in the field of journalism.
The mission of the Revisiting the Rochester Narrative fellowship is to reimagine the stories told about BIPOC communities in Rochester; RIT fellows spent the summer with the Democrat and Chronicle, a local Rochester paper, and set out to tell new stories and include those who have been left out of the city’s narrative.
Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY)
Hofstra University’s Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations emphasizes multimedia storytelling and building a diverse professional skill set.
The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and public relations, and journalism students may take on an optional specialization in sports journalism.
Student publications include The Hofstra Chronicle and WRHU Radio Hofstra, where students train using industry-standard equipment and broadcast original content, including news, talk radio, music, sports, and more.
Hofstra journalism students are expected to complete internships where they can learn from and make meaningful connections with industry professionals.
Capstone projects by Master of Arts students in recent years have included examinations of the future of print journalism, the influence of political memes in the era of social media, and the fight for democracy in Belarus.