WCC journalism has something for every student

Image by Armi Habal

Image by Armi Habal

If you’re figuring out what courses to take next spring, consider journalism.

“Everyone can benefit from journalism classes, not just those who want to be journalists,” says journalism instructor Kimberlee Bassford.

“Media is everywhere—on our phones, our computers, in our homes and on the go. It’s important to know the messages that media are sending and how they shape the very way you see the world.”

WCC’s journalism program provides students with hands-on experience and training, from writing stories for Ka ‘Ohana to talking with professional journalists to researching and analyzing advertisements and social media campaigns.

Bassford adds, “Students choose what they write about. They just need to do it in a journalistic style. So the classes are a great way to explore your interests or to find out more about that subject you’ve always been curious about. We’ve had students write about the booming Asian film industry, the identity of Generation Z and the challenges of being an older college student. Almost anything can make for a compelling story if you dig deep and find what’s newsworthy and universal.”

Student Taylor Gregson-Linekona says, “Students should take journalism because it may spark an interest in something you might not expect.”

The journalism courses offered this spring are:


JOUR 150: Media & Society

MW 10-11:15 a.m. – Fulfills Diversification – Social Science – 3 Credits – Prerequisite: Placement in or credit for ENG 22 or higher or consent of instructor.

Is “The Daily Show” a news program? How is Twitter changing journalism? What’s the effect of the media on our everyday lives?

This media literacy course explores the impact of TV, social media, newspapers, advertising, film and the internet.

Students watch eye-opening documentaries, keep up with the news and discover how the media, in big and small ways, reflects, impacts and shapes who we are as a society.

Student Linea Perry says of the course: “It makes you look at the media in a different way, to really think about what we are being told instead of just accepting it.”


JOUR 250: Media Writing

TR 10-11:15 a.m. – Writing Intensive – 3 credits – Prerequisite: ENG 100 or consent of instructor.

Learn the craft of writing journalistic stories from straight news pieces to profiles to multimedia stories for the web.

This is the foundation course if you’re contemplating journalism as a career or just want to hone your writing skills telling real stories that matter.

“I love the layout of the course and how each assignment builds on skills from the last one,” says student Austin Weihmiller. “It challenges you to think critically and really dig until you find the good stuff.”

The course also invites professional journalists to share their experiences. This fall, students tapped the minds of Dan Nakaso of The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and photojournalist Cory Lum.


JOUR 285V: Newspaper Lab

TR 11:30am-12:45pm – Writing Intensive – 1 to 3 credits – Repeatable up to 6 credits – Prerequisite: JOUR 250 (can be taken concurrently) or consent of instructor.

Join the staff of WCC’s award-winning student newspaper.

In this course, you’ll write at least one story per issue plus design the newspaper using Adobe InDesign software.

For those interested in ad sales, social media, photography or videography, the opportunities abound.

“What I like best about the course is that you get to learn how to lay out and design the paper and get more practice with writing and interviewing,” says student and Ka ‘Ohana editor in chief Debbra Baetz.

“And in the process you get to meet new people and learn about new topics.”


The Future of Journalism at WCC

Finally, a new course will be offered next fall: JOUR 270 – Introduction to Multimedia Storytelling.

Learn how to write, produce, direct, shoot and edit your own videos, which will be published on the web.

The prerequisite for the course is JOUR 150, JOUR 250 or consent of instructor. So if you want to enroll in it, make sure to take a journalism course this spring.

For more information about the journalism program, contact instructor Kimberlee Bassford at kbassfor@hawaii.edu.


by Ka ‘Ohana, News Staff