The University of Cincinnati now offers the first literary journalism certificate in Ohio, a collaboration between the journalism and English departments within McMicken College of Arts & Sciences (A&S).
Literary journalism is a type of writing that uses factual reporting and storytelling techniques to tell non-fiction stories. The certificate will require a combination of five courses in journalism and English.
Professors from these respective departments have developed this certificate to further train students who aspire to careers in the fields of non-fiction writing, which may involve a variety of subjects including art, politics, sports , etc The college built the program from courses already offered at UC to provide a new path for students to broaden their studies.
Kristen Iversen, a UC professor who leads the program in the English department, said the certificate provides lessons that are not only practical, but also fun and engaging.
“This certificate gives our students all kinds of exciting ways to think about their writing,” Iversen said. “It can also give them the opportunity to access a number of different opportunities in the job market.”
The program will help teach students how to succeed in this type of long-form journalism by improving their mastery of writing, reporting, research, and storytelling strategies. Career opportunities that require these types of skills can range from publishing to magazine journalism.
“It’s a way for someone with an English background to get into journalism, and then they can find more career opportunities there,” said Jenny Wohlfarth, a journalism teacher-educator.
Wohlfarth said these skills can lead to opportunities in local publications, such as Cincinnati Magazine or CityBeat, but can also allow students to gain experience writing the type of content seen nationally in publications such as as The New York Times, ProPublica and National Geographic.
An interdisciplinary program has been desired for some years by students of journalism and English. A&S faculty expect a range of writers to participate in the program.
Courses required to complete the certificate include ‘Introduction to Literary Non-Fiction’, ‘Forms of Literary Non-Fiction’, ‘Magazine Writing’, ‘Advanced Magazine Writing’ and a final course from a selection of optional courses in journalism and English.
“They will discover the breadth and depth of the growing field of literary journalism and they will discover the strength and direction of their own voice and vision,” Iversen said.