2021-2022 Undergraduate Bulletin

Media Film Journalism Studies (MFJS)


MFJS 2000 Introduction to Film Criticism (4 Credits)

Theories and methods of social, cultural and aesthetic criticism of film; emphasis on critical writing. Laboratory fee required. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

MFJS 2001 Producing Video for Social Media (4 Credits)

This course covers the basics in video production and video storytelling for all undergraduate students at the University of Denver who are interested in YouTube and other social media video content creation. Students will maximize their video storytelling abilities, producing storytelling content that can be shared across multiple social media platforms using mobile phones or equivalent basic consumer equipment. Learning takes place within justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and internationalization frameworks consistent with department, College, and University expectations. The course fulfills requirements within several MFJS majors and the MFJS minor and serves as a university elective. Not recommended for Film majors (they should instead take MFJS 3215).

MFJS 2140 Newswriting & Reporting (4 Credits)

Fundamentals of newswriting and reporting for print and broadcast journalism. Laboratory fee required.

MFJS 2150 Scriptwriting (4 Credits)

Examines the creative process for writing the motion picture screenplay. Topics include format and structure; character and dialogue; rising conflict and confrontation; visualization and imagery; and understanding the conventions of the medium and its limitations. Students will complete a short screenplay by the conclusion of the course. Prerequisite: MFJS 2000. Cross listed with MFJS 4450. 4 qtr. Hrs.

MFJS 2200 Emergent Digital Practices and Cultures (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to the historical, economic, legal and social contexts of emergent digital practices and explores the various ways technology shapes and is shapedby culture. The rapid growth of participatory culture online through, for example, social networking sites, interactive news sites, gaming, mobile apps, and blogging has significant social implications and brings up issues of privacy, intellectual property, and the nature of community and public engagement. This class will explore these issues through various theoretical lens and concrete cases including politics, youth culture, activism, news and art. Particular emphasis will be placed on the question of how new media differs from mass media across various fields of cultural production (music, news, advertising, for example) and on what influence new digital products and practices might have on these industries and on cultures and societies more generally. This course counts towards the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement. Cross-listed with EDPX 2200.

MFJS 2210 Introduction to Media and Culture (4 Credits)

Course introduces students to the organization of the U.S. media industries and their historical and contemporary role in U.S. culture. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

MFJS 2220 Hip Hop as Medicine: CRES Intro to Media & Community Engagement (4 Credits)

This course brings together media studies, critical race/ethnic studies, and project-based learning to introduce students to the economics of the media industries and their historical role in U.S. cultural and racial hegemony. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

MFJS 2240 Online & Visual Journalism (4 Credits)

With the abundance of competing voices online, seeking accurate information has become a major challenge in today’s world. Information now comes in different shades, including incorrect statements, fakes news, rumors, doctored audio, and deepfake videos. They float together in traditional media outlets as well as on social media and they can play a destructive role in creating fear, tarnishing reputations, undermining social cohesion, influencing elections, and, at times, fueling killings. To overcome those challenges, the world needs credible, balanced, and technology savvy journalists as well as critical media consumers more than ever before. MFJS 2240 is a project-based, collaborative, hands-on class that engages with the new media challenges to the field of journalism. The readings, multimedia projects, and class activities aim to empower students to grasp the basic principles, key terms, media production skills, and the organizing structures of digital journalism. Prerequisite: MFJS 2140.

MFJS 2260 Music, Race, and Ethnicity in Latin America (4 Credits)

In this class, music-culture is a medium to understand how people in Latin America maintain religions, strengthen social relations, and negotiate their racial and ethnic identities in the context of social inequality, racial discrimination, and land disposition. Concepts such as mestizaje, creolization, and “blackness” will be examined in the context of nation formation, the inheritance of colonialism, and the spread of neoliberalism while students will engage critically in readings coming from ethnomusicology, anthropology, ethnic and racial studies, as well as history, and geography. The lectures are multimedia, including visiting performers and speakers. As such, this class is a great introduction to explore music-culture, race, and ethnicity in Latin America.

MFJS 2280 Politics and Media (4 Credits)

We examine the nature of the media and how media institutions shape the way citizens understand politics. We discuss global media institutions and the role media play in various societies. We explore the role of media in providing information for citizens in a democracy, examine how the media influence the political process, and investigate how the goals of and changes within the media industry influence the effect media coverage has on the political process. Through our study, we explore how the media either enhance or limit the potential for citizens to contribute to democracy. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

MFJS 2290 Innovations in Media and Communications (4 Credits)

Today, it is difficult to imagine a life free of the media. There are more than 4 billion mobile phones in the world, and a billion people are now able to access the Internet. Television is available to close to 100% of people living in the media-saturated societies of North America, western and Eastern Europe, and East Asia, with radio widely available almost everywhere else. Moreover, with YouTube, blogs, online gaming, citizen journalism, experimental film, and peer-to-peer file sharing, people are actively creating and sharing their own news and entertainment experiences like never before. Communication technologies are changing the way money circulates, how and where business is conducted, the ways in which labor is deployed, and how people communicate between home and work, national and diasporic contexts. The media are facilitating both globalization and cultural hybridity, at times securing social cohesion and at other moments facilitating social movements for change. Where do these technologies come from? Who controls them? Who profits from them? How are they used, and with what potential implications? What does the future hold? These are some of the questions the class will address. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

MFJS 2400 Strategic Communication Planning (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to foundational principles in strategic communication and covers both public relations and advertising. Students learn and apply the elements of a comprehensive strategic communication plan, including conducting research, setting communication goals, designing messaging strategies and tactics, and evaluating the plan's effectiveness. An emphasis on ethical communication practices is central to the course. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

MFJS 2420 #CannabisJournalism: Studying the Culture of America's New Normal (4 Credits)

This course will examine the legalization of marijuana — both medical and recreational – as it is being covered in Colorado and in states across the country. Ever since the 2012 legalization of recreational marijuana, Colorado has been a leader in considering the medical, political, social and legal issues emergent with legalization. In this course, which is the first of its kind in the U.S., not only will we be investigating the scope of the marijuana legalization movement and its many political and practical intricacies, we also will be conducting a research project with original data and multimedia elements conceived and designed to push and promote enterprising storytelling. Students will visit dispensaries, interview industry professionals and produce a portfolio piece of narrative journalism using the modes and methods of their choice, with direction of the instructor.

MFJS 3040 Media Law (4 Credits)

Introduction to freedom of expression and media law. Students learn how the American legal system works and gain an understanding and appreciation of the philosophical foundations of free expression. In addition, students confront many of the issues facing professional communicators today. Topics include incitement, hate speech, student speech, copyright, defamation, and other issues crucial to mass media professionals. The course examines also explores challenges to free expression brought by new(er) communication technologies. The purpose of this class is to give students the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to be successful in today’s rapidly changing communication environment. Cross-listed with MFJS 4300.

MFJS 3110 Audience Research (4 Credits)

Analysis of behavioral research methods as applied to mass communication audiences. Prerequisite: Junior Standing.

MFJS 3120 Media Ethics (4 Credits)

What are your ethical obligations as a professional communicator? In this course, you will become acquainted with the ethical codes of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Public Relations Society of America, the Radio, TV, and Digital News Association, and more. As you meet with and hear from media professionals from a range of industries, you will discuss different case studies of ethical dilemmas that take place at the individual, organizational, corporate, and technological levels. You will consider issues of privacy and harm, diversity and inclusion, deception, mis- and disinformation, photograph and image construction and editing, accountability, and more. Senior standing or instructor's permission required.

MFJS 3150 Activist Media (4 Credits)

This course explores the power and limits of traditional and social media as sites of social movement organization, public debate, and social and political change. The course considers both activists in media, considering the role of media in recent movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, immigrant rights, climate change, and gun control, as well as activists working to change media, considering the movements for data justice and transparency, open source software, network neutrality, social media regulation, and platform governance. Working within a framework of participatory action research, you will consider the ways that activists who work to shape both media and society have leveraged and also developed media tools in political and social movements, and how you and your peers might shape the conversations that matter to you. The course also identifies and critiques forms of creative action, strategies, theories and case studies that activist practitioners may apply as changemakers. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor. SCOM, MDST, JOUR, FILM, or MFJS minor.

MFJS 3170 Data Journalism (4 Credits)

We swim in a world of data - from election results, budgets and census reports, to Facebook updates and image uploads. Journalists need to know how to find stories in data and shape them in compelling ways. This hands-on course teaches reporters and editors to gather, analyze, and visualize interactive data-driven stories. This emerging discipline touches on information and interactivity design, mapping, graphing, animation tools, and data analysis. You are expected to think like a journalist by evaluating data critically and applying what you learn to news stories, information graphics or web applications. Familiarity with HTML/CSS is helpful, but not required. This is not a course in coding, but programmers of all skill levels are welcome.

MFJS 3201 Digital Graphic Design (4 Credits)

This course explores publication design and techniques for creating effective layouts. We employ the scope of the Adobe Creative Suite, primarily InDesign, to incorporate and manipulate text, photographs and illustrations. The course serves as a visual elective for all MFJS students. Laboratory fee required. Prerequisites: MFJS 2140 or instructor approval.

MFJS 3205 International & Development Communication (4 Credits)

The course uses a variety of methods and approaches to inspire critical reflection about the complex relationship between communication, culture, media and globalization, (trans)national identity(ies) and development.

MFJS 3207 Multicultural Health Communication (4 Credits)

The course will begin with an overview of Health Communication in the United States and the ways in which health and illness are defined through communication, including media. We will discuss existing health disparities and social determinants of health as we examine health communication in multicultural settings in the U.S. We will further examine multicultural audiences and perspectives about health and illness, including diverse meaning systems and their influences on health attitudes and behaviors. Students will learn about cross-cultural conceptions of health and disease and how those conceptions are represented in communication about health and illness. As students learn about what it means to develop culturally grounded health communication campaigns, they will examine culture centric messaging in health promotion. We will also discuss the ways in which health care systems are promoting patient-centered health care that takes intersectionality and identity into consideration.

MFJS 3212 Sound Cinema (4 Credits)

This course explores the international history of film, from the development of sound cinema through the post-World War II period, 1926-1960. We examine the ways in which important events such as the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, the Second World War, and the Cold War have altered the face of film history, and look at some of the most important cinematic movements of the period. We discuss film historiography and the special challenges posed by film historical research and writing. Lab fee required. Prerequisite: MFJS 2000 Introduction to Film Criticism.

MFJS 3214 Representational Issues in U.S. Film (4 Credits)

This course explores the varying ways that race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, physical and mental (dis)ability, and age are represented in and by film—both historically and culturally. In addition to class discussions regarding mainstream and independent film production, students will employ close readings of filmic texts to better understand how off-screen factors greatly impact what is seen onscreen. This course will encourage students to think critically about the filmic images that they are consuming on a regular basis, as means to interrogate what is at stake when it comes to representational issues such as dominant ideologies, visual style, and assigned character roles. Finally, students will engage the texts critically as a way to understand how these onscreen identities impact the way that individuals treat others but also how they are treated themselves. Prerequisite: MFJS 2000.

MFJS 3215 Introduction to Field Production & Editing (4 Credits)

Application of video production principles and methods to multi-camera studio and field production. Laboratory fee required. Cross listed with MFJS 4470. Prerequisite: MFJS 2000.

MFJS 3218 Narrative Film/Video Production I (4 Credits)

This is the first of a two-quarter capstone class. The course is both process and product oriented with a goal for students to work collaboratively to develop a 7-10 minute original narrative film script or web series (2-3 episodes that run approximately 10 minutes total) and complete all of the pre-production tasks necessary to take it into production spring quarter. Depending on class size we will make 3-5 projects. We will examine the scriptwriting revision and pre-production processes, and students will finish the quarter with a completed pre-production notebook that will include, among other things, a shooting script, a producer analysis, a script breakdown, production boards, casting decisions, location scouting reports, a look book, a pitch deck and a shooting schedule. Likewise, through readings, discussions and screenings, the course is designed to expose students to the larger world of narrative filmmaking. Cross listed with MFJS 4218. Prerequisites: MFJS 2000 and MFJS 3215.

MFJS 3219 Documentary Film/Video Production I (4 Credits)

This course is the first half of a two-course capstone sequence. It presents an integrated (theory and practice) approach to film and video documentary. The theoretical component presents a historical overview of the various styles and modes of documentary with a discussion of the way each has developed in response to perceived limitations of the mode then dominant and the ethical decisions that filmmakers continue to face. The production component focuses on selecting and researching a topic for documentary production during the second quarter of the capstone. Cross listed with MFJS 4219. Prerequisites: MFJS 2000 and MFJS 3215.

MFJS 3220 Narrative Film/Video Production II (4 Credits)

This is a continuation of the capstone narrative course MFJS 3218. Students will collaborate with their teams in the production and post-production phases of a short narrative project. This includes filming, editing, sound design, scoring, color correction and mastering. In-class critique sessions and guest speakers bolster this experiential quarter. Prerequisites: MFJS 3215 and MFJS 3218. Cross-listed with MFJS 4220.

MFJS 3221 Documentary Film/Video Production II (4 Credits)

This is a continuation of the capstone documentary course MFJS 3219. This quarter focuses on producing the documentary as students film, edit and master their short films. Through in-class critique sessions students hone their films as they learn from each other and the instructor. Cross listed with MFJS 4221. Prerequisites: MFJS 2000, MFJS 3215 and MFJS 3219.

MFJS 3222 Experimental Film/Video Theory & Production (4 Credits)

This class includes a historical and critical overview of experimental film and video movements as well as technical and aesthetic training in experimental production. Students integrate theory and criticism into the production of several experimental projects. Laboratory fee required. Cross listed with MFJS 4222. Prerequisite: MFJS 3215.

MFJS 3223 Advanced Editing (4 Credits)

Building on the basic non-linear editing skills gained in Introduction to Field Production & Editing, this course focuses on advanced techniques of image and color manipulation, movement and graphic effects, advanced sound sweetening and manipulation and advanced text/credit effects. Cross listed with MFJS 4223. Prerequisite: MFJS 3215.

MFJS 3224 Cinematography (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the visual aspects of telling a cinematic story. Students develop an understanding of advanced lighting concepts, lenses, grip equipment, and color science. The class emphasizes visual storytelling, using lighting, art design and camera movement to develop character and theme. Lab fee required. Prerequisite: MFJS 3215 Introduction to Field Production and Editing.

MFJS 3226 Acting and Directing for the Screen (4 Credits)

This course will focus on the art and craft of film/television directing, emphasizing the relationship the director cultivates with actors, developing an understanding of movement and creating a vision for a scene. Students will apply theory to actual scene work with actors. Prerequisites: MFJS 200 and MFJS 3215.

MFJS 3227 Producing the Environmental Documentary (4 Credits)

This course is designed to provide you with a basic understanding of cinematography: cameras, lenses, grip equipment, lighting, and composition. When you complete this course, the goal is for you to have an intermediate understanding of cinematography and that which motivates lighting and composition choices. Because people are the most important part of any production, emphasis will be placed on your ability to work effectively with class members. Learning to collaborate is crucial to your success in this class.

MFJS 3229 Video Editing is for Everybody (4 Credits)

The goal for this course is for students to have a basic working knowledge of editing using various media elements (video, audio, photos, music, graphics), developing proficiencies using different editing software, and applying a mixture of editing theories and techniques. This is a summer course only.

MFJS 3242 Reel Women (4 Credits)

Reel Women explores films from the U.S., England, Senegal, India, Canada, Colombia, and Saudi Arabia that are made for, about, and/or by women with the aim of better understanding and centralizing issues pertinent to women’s daily lives across the world.

MFJS 3310 Advanced Newswriting & Reporting (4 Credits)

This is a writing-intensive course designed to strengthen your abilities in the gathering and analysis of public documents and big data, the conduct of interviews with a range of stakeholders, and the use of observational techniques that provide a basis for in-depth investigative reporting. Laboratory fee required. Prerequisite: MFJS 2140.

MFJS 3325 Advanced Screenwriting (4 Credits)

Advance Screenwriting takes writers through a workshop format to create for film or television. Students can select to prepare a treatment and first act of a feature film or a treatment and pilot for a television show. Instructor and peer workshops will form the foundation for the revision process. Prerequisites: MFJS 2000 and MFJS 2150.

MFJS 3410 Strategic Messaging (4 Credits)

This course focuses on learning and applying strategic communication principles to the creation of strategic messages for a client. Students also evaluate strategic communication techniques as they learn how to target a specific audience and learn how strategic messages fit within an overall strategic communication plan. Prerequisite: MFJS 2400.

MFJS 3420 Strategic Communication Seminar (4 Credits)

This is the capstone course in the strategic communication sequence. In this course, students examine special topics in strategic communication and apply what they have learned to group projects in which they take on a client and work together as a team on a strategic communication campaign. Cross listed with MFJS 4070. Prerequisites: MFJS 2400 and MFJS 3410.

MFJS 3440 Global & Multicultural Campaigns (4 Credits)

This course explores several issues and aspects of global and multicultural campaigns, using a combination of readings, lectures, discussions, and presentations from guest speakers with experience in this rapidly expanding field. Students discuss real-world campaigns and learn about the challenges and necessities of planning, implementing and evaluating global and multicultural campaigns. Prerequisite: MFJS 2400.

MFJS 3501 Web Design & Content Development (4 Credits)

This course covers the building and management of web pages and the creation of sites using open source content management systems. You will develop the ability to plan, create and integrate social media and third-party content into web sites, and utilize analytical tools that measure audience engagement. Laboratory fee required. Prerequisite: MFJS 2140.

MFJS 3503 Social Media Strategies (4 Credits)

In this class, students get familiar with the principles of social media strategy and learn how to design messaging strategies and tactics for social media. In addition, students work with a real client on a strategic communication campaign for social media. Prerequisite: MFJS 2400 or MFJS 2140.

MFJS 3504 Advanced Multimedia Storytelling and Publishing (4 Credits)

In this course, students tap the reporting, writing, editing, and multimedia production and editing skills and knowledge learned and practiced in previous journalism studies classes and apply them to building from scratch, an open content management based multimedia web site. Laboratory fee required. Prerequisites: MFJS 2140 or MFJS 3501, or instructor approval.

MFJS 3505 Advanced Online and Visual Journalism (4 Credits)

This capstone course for journalism majors provides students with opportunities in experiential learning as together they bolster the coverage and amplify the voices of underserved communities in Colorado. Rural, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and religious minority communities, among others, will be the subject of our attention and the focus of the class media projects. Students produce several mini-documentaries and written pieces that will be submitted for consideration to, and may air on, the RMPBS program, Colorado Voices, and on the PBS Video app. Prerequisite: MFJS 2240 or MFJS 3215.

MFJS 3506 Audio Documentaries (4 Credits)

In the past decade, an explosion in the production and accessibility of audio documentary work has created an unprecedented interest and expansion of the documentary form in nearly all sectors of public life. Building on this trend, this course teaches the skills of ethnographically informed audio documentary work that can record and interpret culture and lived experience. We focus on learning the techniques of non-fiction storytelling used in established public radio programs like This American Life, Radio Lab, or Snap Judgement, as well as newer podcasts like Reply All, Invisibilia, or Embedded. The course will prepare students to tell complex stories using strong character-driven narrative. Sound documentation and representation will not be done along journalistic principles, but instead through rigorous ethnography that relies on participant-observation and immersion. Through practical application and the exploration of ethnography and documentary approaches to communication, the course explores questions that surround the interpretation and representation of socio-cultural experience via a sonic medium. To understand the basic mechanics of sound and its narrative form, participants will learn to digitally record and edit audio. Storytelling will then become more complex as students learn to conduct ethnography, interviews, and develop a script for radio. Students will ultimately analyze and create audio documentaries in an effort to understand a significant form of digital storytelling. There are three central learning objectives that will guide us through the course: (1) we will practice ethnographic and documentary methodology, (2) learn to write for radio, and (3) learn the workflow of audio editing to produce an audio documentary. Prerequisites: MFJS 3215 OR MFJS 2140. Enrollment restricted to MFJS students.

MFJS 3652 Culture, Gender, and Global Communication (4 Credits)

This course explores the ways in which culture, gender, and communication intersect and shape a variety of issues from an international and intercultural perspective. Using a global feminist perspective, it also focuses on paradigms and paradigm shifts in creating social change. Also explored are alternative paradigms of thought, action and media communications by women and indigenous peoples, which have often been ignored, discounted or buried in history. Cross listed with MFJS 4652 and GWST 3652. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

MFJS 3655 Multicultural Journalism (4 Credits)

This course focuses on multicultural approaches to journalism and media, including representations and news coverage related to gender, race/ethnicity, class, and sexuality, disabilities, religion, and nationality, etc.. The class explores culture and intercultural communication and ways to apply these to journalistic writing as a creative process and craft. Prerequisite: MFJS 2140: News Writing & Reporting. Cross-listed with MFJS 4655.

MFJS 3656 Cross-cultural Travel Seminar: Immigration, Communication & Border Cultures (4 Credits)

This is a one-week intensive travel course that takes place in Tucson, Arizona and south to the US-Mexican border region. The focus of this experiential learning class is to study immigration issues, border cultures, and the role of communication and media through testimonies of immigrants, and visits to key sites such as the migrant trail, immigration detention center and courts. Also included are talks by activists and officials involved in the immigration debate. Class meets for two pre-class sessions in spring quarter. Requires junior standing. Cross-listed with MFJS 4656.

MFJS 3700 New Media Law & Regulation (4 Credits)

An examination of recent developments in internet and social media law and regulation.

MFJS 3852 Advanced Design, Layout, and Editing (4 Credits)

This course teaches students advanced layout and design for media publications using contemporary software applications for journalists and public relations professionals. Prerequisite: MFJS 3201.

MFJS 3900 Topics in Media Film & Journalism (1-4 Credits)

MFJS 3980 Internship in Mass Communication (1-8 Credits)

MFJS 3991 Independent Study (1-10 Credits)

MFJS 3995 Independent Research (1-10 Credits)

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