Journalism and Media Writing

Journalism and Media Writing

Overview Requirements Course Descriptions Department Faculty

Through a series of media studies courses, students learn about the functions and influences of the media, so they enter the profession with an awareness of the cultural impact their work will have, as well as associated social and ethical issues regarding the roles and functions of the media in our society.

In addition, consistent with Lasell's connected learning philosophy of education, communication majors will gain hands-on experience in and outside of the classroom throughout their four years of studies. There are numerous opportunities to work on class projects at our state-of-the-art Lasell College Radio station, in programming, production, and promotions, in our high-tech multimedia lab, as well as the studios of NewTV, Newton's community-access cable television located just three miles from the Lasell campus. Students interested in print media can become involved in the 1851 Chronicle student newspaper or the award-winning campus fashion magazine, Polished. Required courses like Human Communication include a service-learning component to connect students with organizations in the real world.

The communication major culminates in a capstone course in Media Literacy and a required professional internship. Lasell is ideally located for internship opportunities at some of the most prestigious media outlets and organizations in the country, such as The Greater Boston Radio Group, Community Newspapers, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Boston Herald, ABC5-TV, FOX25, WMJX-FM (MAGIC 106.7), and the Arnold Worldwide advertising agency. Students gain valuable professional experience and significant contacts through internships and professional mentoring within the communication industry.

Upon graduation, students are well-prepared to pursue careers in the growing and exciting fields of communication from journalism, public relations and advertising to television, radio production and interactive multimedia. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication (with a concentration of their choice). The department also offers minors in Communication and Sports Communication. The Communication Department offers a Master of Science with three areas of concentration: Health Communication, Integrated Marketing Communication, and Public Relations. The Graduate Program is described elsewhere in the catalog.

The Academic Standard for Communication majors is: Students must earn a grade of C or above in each of the following core courses that are 
Major Requirements:

COM 101 Understanding Mass Media 3
COM 103 Introduction to Human Communication 3
COM 105 Writing for the Media 3
COM 203 Effective Speaking 3
COM 205 Media Ethics and Society AI (ME) 3
COM 212 Intercultural Communication AI (MC) 3
COM 315 Communication Research 3
COM 399 Internship Seminar 1
COM 400 Field Experience (capstone course)  4
COM 418 Media Literacy (capstone course) 3

Failure to receive a minimum grade of C in any one of these courses will result in the student having to repeat the course.

The following goals and associated learning outcomes delineate what we strive for students to achieve when they complete the major program of study in Communication:

Goal 1: Effective Writing
Upon completion of the major program of study in Communication, students will be able to

  1. Articulate their thoughts clearly in written form
  2. Write in the style demanded of their chosen profession

Goal 2: Effective Speaking
Upon completion of the major program of study in Communication, students will be able to

  1. Demonstrate effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills in professional presentations

Goal 3: Visual Articulation
Upon completion of the major program of study in Communication, students will be able to

  1. Demonstrate currency with technical media
  2. Demonstrate their own personal aesthetic

Goal 4: Research
Upon completion of the major program of study in Communication, students will be able to

  1. Find information to support a thesis
  2. Conduct an argument that advances a thesis

Goal 5: Knowledge of Media
Upon completion of the major program of study in Communication, students will be able to

  1. Define the functions of media
  2. Explain the influences of media in society
  3. Identify the ethical decisions and issues in the Communication field

Additional Requirements: 9 credits
Choose one additional COM/BUSS Elective of GRAP207: 3 credits
Any 200-level ENG course: 3 credits
Additional Social Science Elective (SOC, PSYC, POLS, etc.): 3 credits

Communication students who have not declared a Concentration must complete all of the courses for the Major Requirements (29 credits), and ten (10) courses selected from the lists of courses under the Concentrations (30 credits).

General Education Core Requirements and remaining Unrestricted Electives: 55 credits

Minimum credits required for graduation: 120

Course Code Course Title Credits
Core Courses
COM101 Understanding Mass Media 3
COM103 Human Communication 3
COM105 Writing for The Media 3
COM203 Effective Speaking 3
COM205 Media Ethics & Society 3
COM212 Intercultural Communication 3
COM315 Communication Research 3
COM399 Internship Seminar 1
COM400 Field Experience I 4
COM418 Media Literacy 3
Concentration Courses
COM209 Journalism 3
COM213 Writing for Public Relations 3
COM306 Broadcast Journalism 3
COM310 Political Communication 3
COM314 Magazine & Feature Writing 3
COM316 Publication Editing 3
COM324 Journalism II 3
LS214 Communication Law 3
Choose 1 from the following:
COM215 Radio Production 3
COM217 Video Production 3
COM218 Digital Video Editing 3
COM304 TV Studio Production 3
Choose 1 from the following:
GRAP207 Web Design & Development 3
Com Major AI PS
CJ101 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
ECON101 Principles of Econ-Micro 3
ECON103 Economics of Social Issues 3
LS101 Foundations of American Legal System 3
POLS101 American Government 3
POLS201 State & Local Government 3
POLS202 Issues in Contemporary Political Thought 3
PSYC101 Psychological Perspectives 3

Additional Requirements: 9 credits
Choose one additional COM/BUSS Elective of GRAP207: 3 credits
Any 200-level ENG course: 3 credits
Additional Social Science Elective (SOC, PSYC, POLS, etc.): 3 credits

Communication students who have not declared a Concentration must complete all of the courses for the Major Requirements (29 credits), and ten (10) courses selected from the lists of courses under the Concentrations (30 credits).

General Education Core Requirements and remaining Unrestricted Electives: 55 credits

Minimum credits required for graduation: 120

PSYC221 - Child Development

This course examines the physical, cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional development of the child from birth to adolescence. The contributions of social and cultural experiences as well as the role of biological factors in development are examined as are major theories of development. Students are introduced to the research approaches used to study human development and may be required to carry out observations in various settings. Prerequisite: PSYC 101.

PSYC223 - Adolescent Psychology

This course provides a survey of contemporary knowledge of the human brain, examining normal developmental brain processes and common brain functions. The course also covers common disorders and emphasizes understanding the impact of atypical brain development and the consequences of brain trauma. Intervention strategies and treatment are included. Prerequisite: PSYC101

Janice Barrett

Professor of Communication

Office: Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts

Marie Campagna Franklin

Associate Professor of Journalism

Office: Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts

Dana Janbek

Associate Professor of Public Relations

Office: Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts

Michael Laramee

Assistant Professor of Communication

Office: Donahue Center for the Creative and Applied Arts

Meryl Perlson

Chair of Communication; Associate Professor of Communication

Office: Donahue 107

Erin Vicente

Associate Professor of Communication

Office: Donahue Center for Creative and Applied Arts

Brian Wardyga

General Manager, Lasell College Radio; Associate Professor of Communication

Office: Brennan Library

COM101 - Understanding Mass Media

This course surveys the theories, history, economics, audience, and regulations of the major forms of mass media, including newspapers, magazines, motion pictures, radio, television, and new electronic communication. Students develop a basic understanding of the roles of mass media and their effects on society and the individual. The course focuses on the relationship between mass media and society, so students can identify current trends that are changing the nature and function of traditional mass communication. Students examine and debate many current controversial issues concerning the mass media and their effects on our society and culture. Students discuss significant aspects of mass communication, including ethics and policy formulation that are playing key roles in the materialization of a new global communication era.

COM103 - Human Communication

This course is a basic survey of human communication, especially interpersonal and group. Attention is given to perception, language and meaning, listening, theories of persuasion, verbal and nonverbal communication, small group discussion, interpersonal conflict, and interviewing. The course focuses on understanding how human communication is fundamentally related to issues of interpersonal relationships; the history of human communication and language development; perception and intrapersonal communication; leadership; group/team work; multicultural diversity in organizations; decision-making; power; public speaking; and ethical challenges. This course helps students to develop and practice skills that will guide effective action in their professional careers and interpersonal relationships. This course includes a Service Learning component.

COM105 - Writing for The Media

This course provides students with a basic introduction to and overview of communication writing that focuses on channels of communication (clients, audiences, formats); creating writing samples; conducting writing exercises; developing strategies for soliciting feedback; and engaging in peer editing exercises. Students learn about various media writing formats, such as news releases, features, profiles, columns, editorials, reviews, speeches, public service announcements, backgrounders, etc. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: COM 101.

COM203 - Effective Speaking

This course provides instruction and practice in preparing and delivering the various kinds of oral presentations encountered by professionals. Students learn how to analyze audiences, organize different types of presentations, prepare and use visual aids, deliver presentations to different audiences and respond to questions. Students are taught to express themselves in a clear, confident, responsible, and appropriate manner. The classroom environment is conducive to confidence building and overcoming the fear of speaking.

COM205 - Media Ethics & Society

This course explores such significant questions as: What constitutes sound, ethical communication practice in the mass media professions (TV, radio and internet), advertising, journalism and public relations? What are the moral and practical rules anyone involved in mass media professions must follow to maintain that all-important bond of trust between the client and the consumer of information? What constitutes ethical behavior in the news business, PR and advertising, and why is it vital to the functioning of a democratic society? This course uses two avenues of inquiry; one exploring the philosophical basis of media ethics and another outlining case histories from the media. Current trends in the news and popular culture’s view of the ethical lapses in the mass media, journalism, advertising, and public relations are also explored. The examination of media ethics is done from a constructively critical point of view, with a particular focus on the intersection of media and society. Prerequisite: COM 101.

COM212 - Intercultural Communication

This course examines communication issues that arise from contact between people from different cultural backgrounds in everyday life, social encounters, and business transactions. Interdisciplinary approaches are applied to the study of how verbal and nonverbal presentation, ethnic, gender, and cultural differences affect communication. The course provides exercises in participation, analysis, and criticism of interethnic and interracial communications in small group settings. Students examine factors of international communication; such as the cultural, economic, political, and social influences and the role of communication in affecting social change in a wide variety of cultures and countries. Prerequisite: COM 101 or SOC 101 or PSYC 101.

COM315 - Communication Research

This course introduces students to methods of social research that are applied to communication theory and practice. This includes both academic research on human communication and the kinds of professional research conducted in media industries, such as journalism, advertising and public relations. Students conduct individual and group research projects during the term. Prerequisite: COM 101.

COM399 - Internship Seminar

This seminar helps students to develop objectives and identify potential sites for their internships. Topics include the application of communication course work to a professional career and the development of skills necessary to locate an internship. The final goal of this course is to secure an internship. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

COM400 - Field Experience I

This course is the professional component of the capstone experience in the Communication Department. The course provides students with a work/skill development opportunity to practice communication theory and skills in a real work setting. Students also keep a journal reflecting on their experiences and complete mid-and end-of-semester self-evaluations. The internship itself for 150 plus hours per week, the weekly seminar, and its assignments constitute the principle of the course.

COM418 - Media Literacy

This course encourages students to take the mass media seriously through critical analysis of media content. Students study the power of the mass media in communicating cultural values and other messages. This capstone course reinforces the tools needed to think critically about the mass media in order for the students to then help others to do the same. Throughout their time in the communication program, students have been introduced to a variety of issues in the media (e.g., media content, media effects, ethics, and regulation). This course helps emphasize how all of these issues relate to one another. In the capstone paper and presentation, students have the opportunity to demonstrate the important research, writing, and oral communication skills they have developed. This course serves as the theoretical component of their capstone experience and is a writing-intensive course. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

COM209 - Journalism

In this course, students learn reporting and writing techniques necessary to produce a variety of types of articles. Assignments may include politics, sports, entertainment, and interviews. There is discussion of roles of reporters, columnists, editorial writers, editors, photographers, and graphic designers in the daily process of journalism as decisions are made in the news­room as to what stories to cover; what stories, photographs and video clips to publish or broadcast; and on what page to display them or in which order to broadcast them. The various reporting specialties covered in journalism – Health, Education, Business, Arts, Sports, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Travel - are explored. Students have the opportunity to publish their work in the campus newspaper, The 1851 Chronicle. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

COM213 - Writing for Public Relations

This course serves as a workshop in which students apply the fundamental skills of journalism to the different formats commonly used in writing copy for public relations and advertising, including press releases, public service announcements, profiles, brochures, and advertisements. In addition, students continue to sharpen their editing skills by revising their own work and by copyediting and critiquing the work of other students. Central to the objectives of this course is that students improve their ability to write clearly and concisely, avoiding common errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

COM306 - Broadcast Journalism

This class introduces students to the basic skills in writing for radio and TV news, including beat reporting, writing, interviewing, and editing. Students critically evaluate newscasts and are introduced to the components of producing them. They also examine ethical challenges that arise when manipulation of images and sound can distort reality and compromise journalistic integrity. Prerequisite: COM 209 & COM 218

COM310 - Political Communication

This course focuses on the complex ideas associated with the role of the press in a democracy. The nature and climate of our political processes, particularly elections, have changed dramatically in the past two generations, due in part to the extensive use and influence of the media. Also, media techniques and strategies used by government and political figures continue to change with the emergence of new technologies and the dominance of global media companies. Students learn how to think critically and analytically about the political press and how journalists and politicians frame public policy issues. This course looks critically at whether or not the American press is truly representative of the civic values of democracy, truth, and responsible citizenship. Prerequisites: COM 101 or POLS 101 or SOC 101.

COM314 - Magazine & Feature Writing

This course is focused on the longer pieces of magazine writing, such as feature articles and interview profiles, and other forms of narrative, nonfiction journalistic writing. The course includes reading, analyzing, and modeling well-written newspaper and magazine articles that entertain as well as inform readers. Students have the opportunity to provide editorial support for and submit feature articles for publication to Polished, a Lasell College produced magazine. Prerequisites: COM 101, COM 209.

COM316 - Publication Editing

This course is designed as a workshop in which students learn the fundamentals of editing for print and online publications. Students study and participate in various editing roles, including editorial director, articles editor, copy editor, proofreader and fact-checker. Students examine case studies of existing publications. In keeping with Lasell's Connected Learning approach, students propose work for Lasell's two student publications, The 1851 Chronicle and Polished, or other publications. The course focuses on learning to prepare cohesive editorial products with clear, compelling, professional content while avoiding common mistakes in usage, grammar, and style. Prerequisites: COM 105.

COM324 - Journalism II

This is an advanced, connected-learning focused course in which student journalists do the work of the field. Students with basic reporting and editing experience are challenged to demonstrate their news and feature writing skills to a new level of competence. This course requires student to cover a campus or community beat as they report on a student organization, department, team, or local politics, sports, fashion or culture. Projects will focus on new media platforms such as photo galleries and video and audio news content and producing news media packages for print. Students will be encouraged to submit their work to the 1851 Chronicle and the1851chronicle.org. Prerequisite: COM209

LS214 - Communication Law

This course provides students with a basic understanding of the law and governmental regulations that apply to communication practitioners. Course topics include the First Amendment, defamation and libel, invasion of privacy law, copyright, advertising regulation, obscenity, pornography, internet law, protecting “news sources” for journalists, FCC regulation of broadcasting, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Prerequisite: COM 101 or LS 101.

COM215 - Radio Production

This course introduces students to the basics of radio production. Students learn announcing techniques, the fundamentals of microphones and sound mixing, as well as the skills to produce quality radio. The course also provides a general overview of the behind-the-scenes radio business and industry. Projects include a news announcement, radio interview, public service announcement, and a short music format radio show. Much of this class takes place outside of the classroom at the Lasell College Radio station.

COM217 - Video Production

This course introduces students to the basics of video production. Students learn basic videography techniques using professional video cameras such as the SONY HVR-HD1000U. In addition to videography, students learn the basics of digital video editing using industry-standard Avid nonlinear editing programs. Video projects include a video camera roll test, Avid editing assignment, news package, and a short movie where students shoot, direct, and edit their own creative narrative.

COM218 - Digital Video Editing

This course teaches students the basics of editing digital media using the popular software program Adobe Premiere Pro. The aesthetics of editing are also discussed and analyzed through screening various types of edited media. Projects for the course include editing TV commercials, news packages, movie scenes, and music videos. It is recommended that students have acquired basic computer skills prior to taking this class.

COM304 - TV Studio Production

This course introduces the fundamentals of television production in a TV studio environment at NewTV - Newton's own public access television studios. Students learn pre-production planning, live-to-tape directing, and participate in full television crew rotations to produce high quality PSAs and their very own TV show to be aired on local access television. Throughout the semester, students develop a variety of production skills from hands-on television studio operation.

GRAP207 - Web Design & Development

This course introduces the student to the most current coding languages that are integral to successful Web site development. It also introduces the student to authoring software, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, that assists with the application of these coding languages. Other topics which add to this comprehensive course are: the history of the Internet and World Wide Web Consortium, the power of CSS, and the design and layout principles that contribute to successful Web site development from technical, interactive, and aesthetic viewpoints.

CJ101 - Introduction to Criminal Justice

This course is an overview of the history, philosophy, ethics, and legal issues related to the criminal justice system. The course provides an overview of the criminal justice system, focusing on critical decisions with an emphasis on contemporary issues, controversies, and trends.

ECON101 - Principles of Econ-Micro

This course is an introduction to the principles of the economic behavior of individuals, firms, and industries in the mixed economic system. Topics include consumer demand; elasticity; supply and costs of production; the allocation of economic resources; international trade; and the role of government in promoting economic welfare.

ECON103 - Economics of Social Issues

This course examines a broad range of social issues from an economics perspective. Designed for non-business majors, the course provides an introduction to economic reasoning and to some basic economic concepts which are then used to analyze a variety of social problems. Possible topics include poverty, unemployment, agriculture, discrimination, crime, pollution, education, health care, social security, and third world development. .

LS101 - Foundations of American Legal System

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the law. Students are introduced to the basics of the legal system in the United States including its organization and operation. The course covers major areas of legal practice and the legal principles that apply. Legal concepts are explained and legal terminology defined.

POLS101 - American Government

This is an examination of the basic principles that form the foundation for the structure and practice of American government. The impact of the political system on the citizen is explored along with the central assumptions and concepts that serve as the basis for the field of political science.

POLS201 - State & Local Government

This course begins with the constitutional and legal basis for state and local government. The functions of the executive and legislative branches are examined. Governmental bureaucracy and budgetary processes are studied as well as political parties, interest groups, public opinion, and political reporting in the press.

POLS202 - Issues in Contemporary Political Thought

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to selected contemporary American political issues. The course is designed to create a deeper understanding and interest in these issues and develop students' capacities as citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future. Its topics change frequently to keep up with the latest developments in the field. Throughout the semester, the local impact of national issues are discussed.

PSYC101 - Psychological Perspectives

In this course, students learn to think like psychologists as they study classic and contemporary topics in human behavior, feeling, and thought. Students learn to apply psychological perspectives of thought, including biological, cognitive, sociocultural, humanistic, psychodynamic, and behaviorist, to better understand the human experience. Students will learn to use these perspectives to explore how individual behavior is influenced by and influences one’s biology, family, community and society. Topics may include human development, personality, psychopathology, human relationships, language, memory, perceptual processes, and intelligence, among others.