Journalism (Introduction)

Enrollment Message:

Students will need access to a major, daily newspaper.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” The Founding Fathers believed strongly in a free press, which is why they included it prominently in the First Amendment of the Constitution. This course will not only explore the historical role of journalism in the development of our country, but also how journalists must ethically approach their duties in order to maintain the public trust. You will also learn the basic principles of how to report, interview, and write like a journalist by analyzing and covering news, feature, and sports stories. You will also examine how social media has changed the options available for reporters covering the news. Prerequisites: None

Course Objectives:

• Compare and contrast how the events of history impact journalism today.

• Research ethical standards in journalism, analyze controversial scenarios and apply the proper response based on their knowledge of the code of ethics.

• Research key legal cases involving student and professional journalists and evaluate how those cases continue to impact today’s journalists.

• Evaluate what makes a topic newsworthy, according to standard news elements.

• Once an article idea is conceived, the student will determine who to interview and what questions to ask.

• Analyze the components and compose a hard news story.

• Analyze the components and compose a feature news story.

• Analyze the components and compose a sports article.

• Analyze what makes a compelling photograph, and compose a photo story.

• Evaluate the impact of social media on the field of journalism.

Course Outline:

Unit 1: History of Journalism

Unit 2: Journalism Law and Ethics

Unit 3: Interviewing

Unit 4: Newswriting

Unit 5: Feature Writing

Unit 6: Photojournalism

Unit 7: Sports Writing

Unit 8: Social Media in Journalism

Resources Included: N/A

Additional Costs: Students will need access to cameras, video cameras, or other devices for taking pictures to enhance and meet some of the course assignments for preparing presentations.

Scoring System: Michigan Virtual does not assign letter grades, grant credit for courses, nor issue transcripts or diplomas. A final score reported as a percentage of total points earned will be sent to students upon completion of a course. Your school mentor is also able to access this score within the Student Learning Portal. Schools may use this score for conversion to their own letter grading system.

Time Commitment: Semester sessions are 18-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1 or more hours per day in the course to be successful. Summer sessions are 10 weeks long: Students must be able to spend a minimum of 2 or more hours per day, or about 90 hours during the summer, for the student to be successful in any course. Trimester sessions are 12-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1.5 or more hours per day in the course to be successful.

Technology Requirements: Please review the Michigan Virtual Technology Requirements:
Students must also have access to YouTube.

Instructor Support System: For technical issues within your course, contact the Customer Care Center by email at [email protected] or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Instructor Contact Expectations: Students can use email or the private message system within the Student Learning Portal to access highly qualified teachers when they need instructor assistance. Students will also receive feedback on their work inside the learning management system. The Instructor Info area of their course may describe additional communication options.

Academic Support Available: In addition to access to a highly qualified, Michigan certified teacher, students have access to academic videos and outside resources verified by Michigan Virtual. For technical issues within the course, students can contact the Michigan Virtual Customer Care by email at [email protected] or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Required Assessment: Online assessments consist of formative and summative assessments represented by computer-graded multiple choice, instructor-graded writing assignments including hands-on projects, model building and other forms of authentic assessments.

Technical Skills Needed: Basic technology skills necessary to locate and share information and files as well as interact with others in a Learning Management System (LMS), include the ability to:

  • Download, edit, save, convert, and upload files
  • Download and install software
  • Use a messaging service similar to email
  • Communicate with others in online discussion or message boards, following basic rules of netiquette
  • Open attachments shared in messages
  • Create, save, and submit files in commonly used word processing program formats and as a PDF
  • Edit file share settings in cloud-based applications, such as Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides
  • Save a file as a .pdf
  • Copy and paste and format text using your mouse, keyboard, or an html editor’s toolbar menu
  • Insert images or links into a file or html editor
  • Search for information within a document using Ctrl+F or Command+F keyboard shortcuts
  • Work in multiple browser windows and tabs simultaneously
  • Activate a microphone or webcam on your device, and record and upload or link audio and/or video files
  • Use presentation and graphics programs
  • Follow an online pacing guide or calendar of due dates
  • Use spell-check, citation editors, and tools commonly provided in word processing tool menus
  • Create and maintain usernames and passwords

Additional Information: Students will need access to a large, daily newspaper.


School Level: High School
Standards: Common Core State Standards-ELA
NCAA Approved: Yes
Alignment Document: Document
Course Location:
NCES Code: 11101
MDE Endorsement Code: BC - Journalism
MMC Minimum Requirements: ELA

When Offered: _Internal Use Only

Content Provider: Michigan Virtual
Instructor Provider: Michigan Virtual

Course Type: Plus