Princeton’s popular journalism seminars draw on the world’s most distinguished journalists as faculty. They guide students as they explore nonfiction storytelling and produce deep, serious journalism in a variety of media, traditional and emerging.
Seminar students have gone on to write for the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other esteemed publications, and to enjoy successful careers as non-fiction authors. Others use the critical thinking skills honed in the intensive seminars to inform and broaden their work in other disciplines.
Seminars are intimate to maximize personal interaction with the journalists who lead them. Many include excursions to newsrooms at organizations as diverse as NPR, ProPublica and BuzzFeed. One path-breaking summer course took students to the Greek island of Lesbos to report on the refugee crisis and related developments.
The courses are internationally recognized for their success at conveying how top reporters use sophisticated reporting and researching techniques to produce compelling, in-depth news pieces that bring positive change to society. The work is in keeping with the university’s unofficial motto, “in the nation’s service and the service of humanity.”
The seminars also explore the opportunities and challenges posed as journalism moves beyond traditional media companies into new models of reporting that encompass digital media, big data, podcasting and social media.
In addition to a revolving roster of visiting professors fresh from the field, the journalism seminars rely on the expertise of two accomplished Ferris Professors In Residence: Renowned author John McPhee is a New Yorker staff writer and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters. Joe Stephens is a veteran investigative reporter for The Washington Post whose work has won three George Polk Memorial Awards and has on three occasions been named a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize.
Princeton’s journalism courses were inaugurated in 1957 by a bequest from former New York Herald journalist Edwin F. Ferris. Gifts from other generous alumni and their families have expanded our offerings.