Western is the only university in Washington state offering a BA in Visual Journalism. The Visual Journalism major, one of three tracks in the department along with News-Editorial and Public Relations, emphasizes visual storytelling and visual literacy without losing track of the foundations of journalism in writing, photography and ethics.
VJ students learn how to cope and excel in a rapidly changing journalism field that is incorporating more multimedia components and requiring graduates to have skills that focus on online news, quality video, powerful photography and deadlines that don't wait for the morning paper.
In 2011, in response to increasing need and demand for a video component in the VJ sequence, the journalism faculty adjusted the Online Journalism course to incorporate more video instruction and renamed the course Digital Media in Journalism.
Students in the Digital Media course (J370) learn how to conduct and shoot interviews using three-point lighting and two-camera documentary-style techniques. Students focus on story and incorporate the MediaStorm methodology that focuses on an audio-first workflow. Students arrange interview transcripts into a narrative arc and construct a radio edit that combines their interview story with ambient sound and music before adding visual components and turning their focus to the visual representation of the audio story.