Journalism Capstone Project

June Erlick"The exciting thing about working with capstone students is to watch their ideas develop and flow. Their projects are the culmination of all the reporting and writing skills they have learned from their courses. It's fun to see this knowledge evolve into publishable stories!"

— June Carolyn Erlick, ALM in Journalism Capstone Advisor

Journalism capstones are independent projects focused on a global, national, local or human interest topic that has become compelling for you during your course of study. The project provides an opportunity to showcase your journalism skills in a portfolio format that can be presented to current or future employers. 

Although you register for the JOUR 599 Journalism Capstone in fall, spring, or summer as if it were a course, the topic, story outlines, and research approach must be approved months in advance, ordinarily the semester before capstone registration.

While every effort is made to support your capstone interest, guidance is not available for all possible projects. Therefore, revisions or a change of capstone topic may be necessary before it is approved. As in all traditional journalism, projects must take a fair and balanced view by bringing in differing points of view. Projects should not be one-sided or take an advocacy stance.


The purpose of the journalism capstone is to apply the knowledge and skills you obtained in the program to complete a significant journalism project under the direction of a professional in the field. Specifically, it entails a portfolio of several related stories that are completed over the course of one semester. The related stories come together as an in-depth investigation of a single topic. You'll emerge from the capstone with a portfolio of new work suitable for publishing, posting, or broadcasting.

Timeline and Support

The semester prior to capstone registration, you work one-on-one with your capstone advisor, June Erlick, on your topic ideas and the development of your capstone proposal (research plan). See sidebar Crafting the Proposal for specific research plan requirements and Timeline for mandatory proposal submission deadlines.

Then, when you are registered in the capstone, you work independently with the guidance of an assigned capstone director to complete the project within a one-semester timeframe. Capstone directors are journalism instructors or professionals in the field who have expertise in the topic area.

You can register for the capstone after you have completed 36 credits. The capstone can be, and usually is, completed at a distance.

Course Links

JOUR 599 Capstone (Fall/Spring)
Summer JOUR 599 Capstone