Writing for Print and Digital Media Certificate

Although communication in the digital age is most often focused on technology, delivery and platform, compelling and timely writing and storytelling is crucial to making the message heard. The Writing for Print and Digital Media certificate provides a solid foundation in journalistic writing, editing, and narrative technique for work in print and across digital media platforms. Students develop a robust skill set for communication in formats from blogs to brochures, websites to direct marketing. The program teaches clear, concise writing, foundations of persuasive communication, visual content production and design, and long- and short-form storytelling in multimedia formats. The core journalistic writing courses are taught by current and emeritus faculty from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism; all courses are offered evenings and weekends.

The program is ideal for online content producers and editors, designers, and professionals working in communications, social media, marketing, public relations or advertising roles.



About Writing for Print and Digital Media

Writing for Print and Digital Media Goals and Courses

Writing for Print and Digital Media Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.

Admission for Writing for Print and Digital Media

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found on the Admission page.

Writing for Print and Digital Media Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Find out more about the Writing for Print and Digital Media Certificate

Program Courses:Course Detail
Intro to Public Relations <> ADVT 370-CN

Public relations is a core management function for every type of organization, whether public or private. Public relations spans a wide range of marketing disciplines including media relations, corporate reputation, community affairs, issues/crisis management, investor relations, and government affairs. PR is one of the primary tools used to reinforce a company's brand and support its competitive position. Students learn the essential components of an effective PR strategy; how to evaluate and manage outside PR counsel; essentials of media relations and crisis management; and how to draft PR messages. Students select a "beat" or coverage area to investigate as part of the class homework projects. This course involves heavy writing; it may not be audited.This course is cross-listed as MKTG 390-CN.

View ADVT 370-CN Sections
Visual Communication <> ADVT 380-CN

Through a combination of technical and theoretical instruction, students in this course will learn basic concepts of visual communication as they tap into the potential of industry-standard software and their own brains as tools for creation. Ultimately, they will emerge with a better understanding of the relationships between the practical and aesthetic concerns that go in to effective graphic design. 

Students must possess a working laptop computer with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign (CS6 or later; Creative Cloud recommended) to enroll in this course. Visit adobe.com to check hardware requirements and purchase/subscribe.

This course may not be audited. This course was previously ADVT 390-CN: Topics in Advertising: Introduction to Visual Communication

View ADVT 380-CN Sections
Theories of Persuasion <> COMM_ST 205-CN

This course provides an overview of the role communication plays in the social influence process. The primary goal of this course is to help students understand the techniques and factors that lead to changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. To reach this goal, in the course, we will (1) define key terms used by social influence researchers and practitioners, (2) explain major classic and contemporary social influence theories and models, (3) identify common heuristics, or simple decision rules, that guide the decision making process, (4) review how various source, receiver, situation, and message characteristics impact the social influence process, (5) demonstrate how to use and defend against the various social influence techniques discussed in class, and (6) discuss the ethical implications involved in the social influence process.

View COMM_ST 205-CN Sections
Theories of Persuasion <> COMM_ST 205-DL

Acts of persuasion influence us in all aspects of our lives. This course will examine the different ways in which we utilize persuasion in the communication we have with our families and friends, our workplace, and the general public. How effective are we? How are we affected? This will culminate in assessments of how persuasion impacts us, as individuals and as a society. The course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.

View COMM_ST 205-DL Sections
Health Communication <> COMM_ST 246-CN

People who understand communication are uniquely positioned to solve health-related problems and their services are increasingly in demand. As such, this course covers theory and research on communication in health and illness contexts, focusing on how messages from interpersonal, organizational, cultural, and media sources affect health beliefs and behaviors. We will explore communication in health care delivery, health care organizations, as well as health promotion and disease prevention. Spanning multiple levels of communication, different communicative channels, and the use of diverse communication media and technologies, this course will demonstrate a variety of perspectives from which scholars examine health communication at an individual, family, professional, and societal level.

There is no available section.
Writing for Media <> JRN_WRIT 201-A

This course focuses on fundamental journalistic writing techniques -- skills that work well in any academic or vocational setting and result in clear, crisp, concise writing. The format is straightforward: lectures and exercises followed by rewrites and editing. And then more rewriting. Through remote class meetings and interactive instruction, students develop capability to compose quickly and meet real-world deadlines. Some instruction may be  remote -- computer interaction and telephone discussion with the professor. A schedule will be provided early in the quarter.

View JRN_WRIT 201-A Sections
Visual Storytelling <> JRN_WRIT 201-B

This course helps students find their writing voice through independent reporting, coaching and class critiques. It emphasizes visual story telling -- i.e., photos and text together. This course focuses on reaching a specific audience -- professional, academic, familial. It does so by allowing the student to select an appropriate topic for a photo essay. Students research, report and write their stories which become the script for a final project that resembles a slideshow. Coaching and class critiques help students along the way. Some instruction may be remote -- computer interaction and telephone discussion with the professor. A schedule will be provided early in the quarter.?

View JRN_WRIT 201-B Sections
Topics: Deconstructing the Blog JRN_WRIT 390-CN

Blogs have revolutionized contemporary media. It seems as if everyone is a blogger these days. Part column, part personal essay, part aggregator and part disseminator of news and information—blogs are clearly influencing public discourse and commerce. But they run the gamut from great to, well, you know the flipside. Part of this disparity stems from the fact that blogs are like the Wild West—there are no hard and fast rules governing the blogosphere.

But, reminiscent of a judge’s famous words, “You’ll know a good blog when you see it.” Or at least you will by the end of this course, which will explore the elements that make a blog engaging to readers. You’ll examine different blog formats, hear from real bloggers and learn how to be a blogger yourself. You’ll choose a topic or theme you’re passionate about and experiment for the next 10 weeks writing different kinds of blogs on that subject.

The internet is a busy place, so to capture audience attention amid all the noise and chatter, we start from the premise, “Content is king.” The course will focus on good writing techniques—clarity, brevity, strong verbs and vivid details—and give students plenty of practice writing and rewriting. Be prepared to sharpen your research skills, too. Your blogs should be rooted in real observations and facts, linking to sources when possible. Over the quarter, you’ll have an opportunity to hone your blog writing skills, find your own voice and connect with a target audience on a specific subject area. Previous journalism or HTML coding experience is not required. 

As of 9/15/20, the Fall 2020 section of this course has been cancelled.

There is no available section.