News, Narrative, & Design Master Syllabus Template

This is a template for building your own syllabus based on the principles, exercises, and assignments used by Journalism + Design professors.

You can also look at examples of specific syllabi adapted from the work of professors including Kia Gregory, Blake Eskin, Andrew Meier, and Heather Chaplin.

Course descriptions, learning outcomes, and policies are the same throughout.



Below is a sampling of syllabi used in actual undergraduate Journalism + Design courses at The New School since the program began in Fall 2014. Some of these courses have been taught many times by multiple instructors, who continue to iterate as they teach them again. Others were one-time experiments. Whatever the case, each syllabus reflects events that were current at the time as well as the perspective and passions of the instructor. The syllabi also reflect access to New York's rich professional communities of journalists and designers.

We hope these syllabi provide ideas and inspiration for journalism educators everywhere.


News, Narrative & Design I

The first in a three-course sequence that introduces students to journalism and its crucial role in democratic society. Through real, project-based work, students will research, report, and present news stories while considering how to best engage an audience and have impact. An introduction to human-centered design practices and to the complexity and competitiveness of the 21st-century media ecosystem.

  • Blake Eskin, Fall 2017 (PDF)
  • Kia Gregory, Fall 2017 (PDF)

News, Narrative & Design II

This writing-intensive course will lead students more deeply into the tools and practices of today’s digital journalists. It builds upon core Journalism + Design concepts: deep listening, generating and synthesizing ideas, iteration and critique.

  • Heather Chaplin, Spring 2015 (PDF)
  • Allison Lichter Joseph, Fall 2016 (PDF)
  • Gisele Regatao, Spring 2016 (PDF

News, Narrative & Design III

This advanced course integrates design processes, systems thinking, and investigative rigor to prepare students to engage with the highly competitive media ecosystem. All assignments will include community-based reporting as well as research, and center around journalism's essential role in speaking truth to power.

  • Blake Eskin, Spring 2017: Higher Education (PDF
  • Allison Lichter Joseph, Fall 2017: Solutions Journalism (PDF)



Design for Journalists

This course will explore the role and value of graphic design from a journalistic lens, and the role and value of journalism from a graphic design lens. How can we strengthening our understanding of how how both disciplines rely on one another in our creative and professional practices?

  • Dylan Greif, Fall 2016 (PDF)

Web Fundamentals

This class is designed for people who think code, math, and computers in general are intimidating. Through a series of playful challenges, you will learn how computers, code, and the Web actually work. Along the way, you will pick up valuable skills and knowledge that will allow you to do more complex interactive projects in the future. 

  • Alexandra Ackerman, Fall 2016 (PDF)

Visualizing Data

The purpose of this class is to learn how to tell a clear, honest and compelling journalistic story with data. Graphics desks used to be thought of as “the art department,” Today the people who make news graphics are expected to be full-fledged journalists and work alongside reporters and editors. Learn how to think about the visual presentation of data, how and why it works, and how to
do it the right way.

  • Lena Groeger, Spring 2016 (PDF)

Interaction Design for News Apps

This course will introduce students to key concepts and foundational principles of user experience and interaction design in the context of journalism. A primary focus is understanding the behavior of news consumers and how these behaviors can be exploited or changed, building a vocabulary to analyze interactions and designing optimal and ethical interactions for digital news-related applications.

  • Irwin Chen, Fall 2017 (PDF)



Reporting for Visuals

Reporting is the foundation of visual journalism like interactives, maps, charts, and multimedia stories. Being a successful visual journalist requires specific reporting skills that many journalists lack, including how to mine photos and videos for information, how to collect structured data, and how to imagine and pitch a visual story.

  • Larry Buchanan and Josh Keller, Fall 2016 (PDF)


Podcasting offers journalists, artists, and performers a direct conduit to listeners. This class will explore the opportunities podcasting offers audio producers. The class will create a six-episode podcast and every student will get experience with story
planning, interviewing, audio editing, promotion, and audience building.

  • Benjamen Walker, Fall 2016 (PDF)


This project-based course will blur boundaries across disciplines to develop a layered practice and communicate a deeper understanding of our documentary subject. Students work both independently and as collaborators to research, collect and most effectively produce still and moving images, sound, text, and ephemera of all varieties as it illuminates and expands our topic. 

  • Brenda Kenneally, Spring 2017 (PDF)

VR Journalism

How does immersive media challenge the boundaries of objectivity and empathy in reporting? This course will interrogate this new storytelling form by doing and making, by studying what has been made and daring ourselves to do better.

  • Jarrard Cole, Fall 2016 (PDF)

Designing News Games

Students will learn how journalists can use games to tell complex stories. The class will focus on the fundamentals of game
design theory, analyzing existing games that tackle serious topics, and creating newsgame prototypes to be played and
tested by the entire class.

  • Sisi Wei, Fall 2016 (PDF)


Data Journalism Bootcamp

In this hands­-on lab course, students investigate data­-driven stories that catalyze change without knowing how to code. Students will learn the basic math and spreadsheet skills needed to verify data and spot outliers that make a great story. Extracting and cleaning data and how to format findings for publication will also be covered. Students will leave knowing how to make spreadsheets do the dirty work of great journalism. 

  • Coulter Jones and Shane Shifflett, Fall 2015 (PDF)

Finding the Stories in Visual Data Sets

Space probe imagery, government pill databases and social media photos all contain a treasure trove of data in the imagery itself as well as in metadata. In this class we'll learn tools and techniques for gathering, analyzing and presenting the data hidden
within large visual data sets.

  • Jon Keegan, Fall 2017 (PDF)

Make, Map, Blink

In this hands-on course, students create data-driven projects for the internet and the physical world. Course materials include Arduino boards, sensors, and LED light strips. 

  • John Keefe, Fall 2014 (PDF)


Design Research

The future of news will be defined by leaders who are conversant in the core concepts of digital product development. Whether you're designing a news app, reporting a story, or coordinating breaking news coverage, the ability to develop a deep understanding of your audience and experiment with solutions is key to having impact.

  • Emily Goligoski and Matt Diaz, Fall 2015 (PDF)

Product Design Strategy for News Organizations

In this process-focused course, students will work collaboratively in teams to understand and address a core challenge faced by today's news industry: how to evolve a modern news organization when the nature of news production and consumption is rapidly
shifting. Students will use human-centered design and apply rigorous methods and tools from that process to conduct research, develop insights, brainstorm ideas, and test prototypes.

  • Nina Ong, Spring 2017 (PDF)


Engagement Journalism 

Journalists need to understand audiences in order to best serve them. Journalists must learn how to use social media not only for distribution -- which is now essential for all newsrooms -- but also to communicate with and interact with audiences. This course will teach students how to create an engagement strategy, to use social media for newsgathering and distribution, to design crowd-powered projects, and to measure success through metrics and outcomes.

  • Rachel Glickhouse, Spring 2018 (PDF)

Expanding Your Audience

This course will look at how to utilize new (and old) technologies to make news content accessible to as many people as possible. Topics covered include web accessibility, accessible graphics, closed captioning, and methods for engaging with different communities.

  • Joanna Kao, Spring 2016 (PDF)

Digital Communities

The Internet is a place for discussion and collaboration, but the experience can be difficult, confusing, intimidating, or downright hostile. This course will explore how we can design systems for better discussion, collaboration, voting and governance online.

  • Francis Tseng, Fall 2015 (PDF)



Stealth Journalism

How do you commit an act of journalism for people who aren’t expecting one? What happens when news is shared beyond traditional formats? This class will focus on the history and practice of information sharing in unconventional spaces, through media such as graffiti, Snapchat, and activism on the streets.

  • Andrew Losowsky, Spring 2015 (PDF)

Draw and Print

    This course blends illustration and printmaking with journalism by asking students to report on stories using images instead of words. Students make sketches, diagrams, and maps on the spot, on assignment, and in the street. After discussion and critique, students will refine their ideas and print their visual reports using traditional techniques like etching and relief. Final prints will me made into simple narrative artists’ books.

    • Tyler Kelley, Spring 2016 (PDF)