Happy anniversary: My survey of U.S. digital journalism degree programs was started a year ago today

A year ago today, March 22, 2012, I created a Google map to plot “digital or multimedia journalism degree programs” in United States. A year later, the map was viewed 7,000 times and the accompanying project page ranks high in various Google searches related to digital or multimedia journalism education.

View Digital or Multimedia Journalism Degree Programs (with dedicated courses in digital journalism) in U.S. in a larger map

This project was started when I was preparing for a “Convergent Journalism” class for fall 2012. My initial web search for sample syllabi yielded some journalism programs that offer some form of digital/multimedia/multiplatform/online journalism courses. I then had the idea to compile a list to document this new area of journalism education, and then present the list in the form of an interactive Google map.

A perplexing question soon arose: What is a digital/multimedia journalism program? In addition to the many various course titles, a digital journalism course is incorporated in the curriculum in different ways – it may be a core course, an elective; required for all students, or only for those in a digital journalism track.

With the help of Mindy McAdams, a journalism professor at University of Florida, I created a category to account for the various ways digital journalism is incorporated in a journalism program:


  • Fully integrated: All students must take dedicated courses in digital or multimedia journalism, and must take reporting and production courses for both print and broadcast platforms.
  • Partly integrated: All students must take dedicated courses in digital/multimedia journalism, and choose a concentration in, or multiple courses that focus on, a specific print or broadcast platform.
  • Silo: Students choose a concentration or track that is focused on digital/multimedia journalism. Separate tracks exist for other platforms such as broadcast or print.
  • Electives only: Students may choose dedicated courses in digital/multimedia journalism, but they are not required. (This category is not plotted on the map)

From there, the project really took off. In summer 2012, I examined websites of more than 500 communication and journalism programs in U.S., and identified/mapped 108 programs as digital/multimedia journalism programs. I also wrote a series of articles analyzing digital journalism education.

This survey has been gaining attention and momentum, and I will continue to build it into a viable research project with annual updates and research articles. Currently, the project page and the standalone map routinely rank high (usually page 1) in various Google searches related to digital or multimedia journalism education; try searching these phrases and note results that begin with my blog address (www.mulinblog.com); remember to remove the quotation marks for each phrase to maximize search results:

  • “multimedia journalism degree” or “digital journalism degree”
  • “multimedia journalism education” or “digital journalism education”
  • “multimedia journalism program” or “digital journalism program”
  • “multimedia journalism curriculum” or “digital journalism curriculum”
  • “multimedia journalism schools” or “digital journalism schools”
  • “multimedia journalism major” or “digital journalism major”
  • “teaching multimedia journalism” or “teaching digital journalism”

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About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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