About the Department
What is the Public Affairs Reporting program?
PAR is a one-year, professionally-oriented master’s degree program that relies heavily on experiential learning. The program is designed to prepare its graduates to become working reporters covering public affairs in its broadest sense–that of informing readers, listeners and viewers about ongoing events and activities, not just of government but also of other significant players, that impact on their daily lives.
To achieve this goal, the program concentrates its instruction in three areas: journalistic skills (reporting and writing), public affairs knowledge, and professional responsibility.
The program has two main components, a classroom component and an internship. The classroom component is concentrated in the fall semester, when students typically take 18 credit hours from among required and elective course offerings.
The internship, which begins in January, requires each student to work for six months as a full-time reporter for a news organization in the State Capitol, under the direct supervision and mentorship of the outlet’s bureau chief.
Before graduation, students must complete a professional portfolio that demonstrates mastery of public affairs journalism. The portfolio will include a variety of hard news, analyses, in-depth and feature stories the student has reported and written and that have been published or aired by a professional media outlet, along with project memos detailing the news judgments involved in reporting and writing the longer pieces.
Assuming the student successfully completes all aspects of the program, he or she will have a master’s degree, solid job prospects, and strong potential for a successful career as a professional journalist.