Business Journalism

Business Journalism major

Stock market swings on Wall Street, changes in how corporate America operates and is governed, and fluctuations the U.S. and global economies have left many journalists and communication professionals scrambling to improve their skills to cover such stories. The bachelor of arts in business journalism teaches undergraduate students the concepts, skills and techniques needed to report and write about such issues for journalism and mass communication in the 21st century.

The bachelor of arts in business journalism is the only such program in the UNC system, and the only such undergraduate program at any public university east of the Mississippi River.

Admission requirements

The requirements for admission to the program will be similar to those requirements for other undergraduates in the School of Media and Journalism.

Students must apply for the business journalism specialization within the School of Media and Journalism. Applications will only be accepted each fall. The earliest students may apply is the fall of their sophomore year. Because it is by application only, a student cannot pre-declare this specialization with an adviser in Academic Advising and should choose another option for their pre-declaration in the journalism school. To enter the program, a student must be classified as a junior (a total of 45 completed hours) the fall following their application and have a cumulative GPA of 3.1.

In order to graduate, business journalism majors must achieve a score of at least 70 percent on the school’s usage and grammar exam. Students have several opportunities to take the usage and grammar exam before they graduate.

To receive a bachelor’s degree in business journalism, students must complete at least 120 credit hours with a minimum 2.0 grade-point average as required by the University. Business journalism majors must complete 21 hours within the journalism school and 17.5 hours within the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Students must attain a grade of at least C in all journalism school courses and a grade of C in all Kenan-Flagler courses.

 

DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION

 

 

Students who are applying to the BABJ program must provide the following documents:

  • Application
  • Resume
  • Writing sample
  • 200-word statement of why they want to join the program
  • Two letters of recommendation

Business Journalism Curriculum

The following curriculum is for those entering the university beginning Fall 2016 and later. Curriculum requirements for students who entered the university prior to Fall 2016 can be found by speaking with a MJ-school academic adviser or by consulting the academic worksheet.

Students must complete at least 21 credit hours of C grades or higher from the School of Media and Journalism (MEJO). The following journalism school courses are required:

  • *MEJO 141: Media Ethics (3) Intensive study through concepts and cases of ethical issues and problems facing mass communication professionals in modern society.
  • *MEJO 153: Writing and Reporting (3) Prerequisites, sophomore standing and keyboarding skills. Study of elements of news writing, writing of leads, organization and writing of various types of news stories.
  • *MEJO 221: Audio-Video Information Gathering (3) Prerequisite, MEJO 153. Restricted to declared journalism majors and minors. Introduces students to the tools and skills needed to engage in quality news-oriented storytelling with audio, video and multimedia. Students will learn to deliver news stories using multiple platforms, taking advantage of the strengths of each.
  • *MEJO 340: Media Law (3) Prerequisite, MEJO 153. Introduction to press freedom and the First Amendment, including libel, privacy, access to information, free press-fair trial, advertising and broadcast regulation, journalistic privilege and prior restraint.
  • *MEJO 450: Business and the Media (3) Role of media in United States society and effects on public perceptions of business. Relationship of business press and corporate America. Current issues in business journalism.
  • *MEJO 451: Economics Reporting (3) Prerequisite, MEJO 153. Coverage of Wall Street and the economy, including stocks, bonds, and economic indicators. Reporting on the Federal Reserve, labor, consumer sector, manufacturing and inflation, and certain industries.
  • *MEJO 452: Business Reporting (3) Prerequisite, MEJO 153. Methods and tactics of covering businesses for mass communication. Why and how companies operate and how to write stories about corporate news from public records and other sources.
     

* required

  • MEJO 137: Principles of Advertising and Public Relations (3) Survey of the economics, psychology, philosophy and history of both fields, with emphasis on research foundations and the design, execution and assessment of strategic communication efforts.
  • MEJO 157: News Editing (3) Prerequisite, MEJO 153. Study and practice in copy reading, headline writing, and proofreading; with attention given to printing terminology, page makeup, type structure, computer use in editing, and analysis of newspapers.
  • MEJO 253: Reporting (3) Prerequisite, MEJO 153. Exercises in news gathering, interviewing and writing news.
  • MEJO 551: Digital Media Economics and Behavior (3) Prerequisites, MEJO 153 and 137 or 253. Study of the changing economics affecting 21st century news organizations, and the economic drivers of other content providers – such as music companies, movies, online aggregators and commerce sites – for lessons that can be applied across industry segments. This course is designed for future journalists, as well as for advertising and public relations majors.
  • MEJO 552: Leadership in a Time of Change (3) Examines in depth the critical strategic choices facing executives in those companies – both start-ups and established ones. It offers advanced seniors majoring in business or communications, as well as graduate level communications students, the opportunity to observe and research a media or technology company making the transition and produce a case study on that effort.
     
Students must complete at least 17.5 hours of C grades or higher from the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Four business school courses are required:

  • *BUSI 101: Management Accounting (4) Elements of accounting for management planning, budgeting and control. Emphasis is on management uses of accounting information.
  • *BUSI 403: Operations Management (3) Analysis of the production/operations function in both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing organizations. Developing production policies that support total organizational goals under various constraints.
  • *BUSI 404: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business (1.5) An introduction to the legal system with special emphasis on its relationship to business. Topics include an introduction to the judicial system, torts, and contracts.
  • *BUSI 408: Corporate Finance (3) Theoretical foundations of optimal financial policy. Problems and cases provide application of theory to financial decisions involving cash flow, capital structure, capital budgeting.

* required

In addition, at least two courses must be taken from the following list:

  • BUSI 401:  Management and Corporate Communication (3) Open to junior-senior business majors only. Writing- and speaking-intensive course that emphasizes professional communication. Combines lecture, discussion and draft workshops that focus on letters, memos, reports, resumes, email and business presentations.
  • BUSI 405: Organizational Behavior (3) An introduction to the study of human behavior in organizations. Examines from a managerial perspective the impact of individual, group, and organizational variables on organizational performance and employee satisfaction.
  • BUSI 406: Marketing (3) Introduction to marketing with emphasis on the social and economic aspects of distribution, consumer problems, marketing functions and institutions, marketing methods and policies.
  • BUSI 407: Financial Accounting (3) Role of accounting; basic concepts and methodology; mass data processing; valuation and income determination principles; management and internal control problems; and basic financial statement components.
  • BUSI 409: Advanced Corporate Finance (1.5) Prerequisite, BUSI 408 or equivalent. Recommended for completion in the semester following BUSI 408 and concurrently with BUSI 409. A follow-up course to BUSI 408 that goes more deeply into the theory and application of financial management. Emphasis is placed on investment, financing, and dividend decisions.
  • *Choose one: MATH 152, 231 or 232 (Exempt if credit for both MATH 231 and 232) or STOR 112 or 113
  • *ECON 101
  • *STOR 155
  • *Choose one: POLI 101, 130, 150, 202, 203

* required

 

Click here to see the Business Journalism academic worksheets
Click here to see full course descriptions in the UNC undergraduate catalog for all MEJO or BUSI courses

History of the program

The School of Media and Journalism, in conjunction with the Kenan-Flagler Business School, created an undergraduate degree with a rigorous and unique curriculum, enabling potential journalists and other potential communication professionals to address the growing need for understanding how markets and business work and the ability to explain these increasingly complex areas in a way that the average mass communication consumer can understand. The program prepares undergraduate students for positions primarily in journalism, but also in public relations and internal communications.

The program creates a path for students interested in enrolling in both schools that previously didn’t exist and take advantage of the strengths of both schools. Both Kenan-Flagler and the journalism school are considered among the top programs in the country in their respective fields, and both emphasize practical knowledge as well as theoretical thinking. Kenan-Flagler provides students in the program with a key understanding of accounting and how business works, while the journalism school provides training in communicating about business, the economy and markets in a way that provides understanding and context to consumers.

The bachelor of arts in business journalism builds on the success of the school’s certificate program in business journalism, which began enrolling students in 2004. Graduates of the certificate program have gone onto jobs at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Reuters and other business media, as well as jobs in corporate communications.

The school sees this degree as a means of addressing a need in the field of mass communication. Journalists and communicators with an understanding of how the business world works – and an ability to write about it – are valued employees in today’s media world. The school expects that the enrollees in the program will come from its students as well as students from Kenan-Flagler.

Not sure what area is right for you? Need help planning your courses? Academic advisers are available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the Student Records Area on the first floor of Carroll Hall via walk-in hours or by appointment.

Read More »