At the Robertson School, we put emphasis on learning and experience that happens both inside and outside the classroom.
As you near graduation, you will be able to take capstone and other advanced courses that provide hands-on training for your chosen concentration in advertising, journalism, media production or public relations. These courses are fast-paced, usually restricted to mass communications majors, and intend to provide a real-world experience for students — while also helping you build your portfolio.
Agency is a senior-level capstone course (MASC 439) that provides public relations and communications support to area organizations. During a semester, students work together to create communication plans and campaigns based on the individual needs of the client. The fast-paced nature of the course and the demands of working with clients encourages the the highest level of professionalism, performance and strategic thinking. Each course is supervised by an account director who serves as both an instructor and client liaison. The director guides student work while monitoring progress and deliverables to the client. Agency concludes with a formal student presentation to the client, with all materials and rights to work passed to the client for use.
Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a program and capstone course in which journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia, and distribute their stories, photos and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites. Over the years, CNS staffers have won more than 45 national, regional and state awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Hearst Journalism Awards Program and the Virginia Press Association.
CNS operates as a three-credit course (MASC 475) with a focus on the General Assembly when lawmakers are in session. Students’ bylined stories are published by news outlets across Virginia and, thanks to a partnership with The Associated Press, in USA Today, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and other leading news organizations. In the class, students develop portfolios, with many students' work helping them land jobs at newsrooms ranging from community dailies and weeklies to CNN.
CreateAthon@VCU is a program and course (MASC 467) where teams of students and professionals are matched with local nonprofits to create impactful advertising and communications that move the missions of the organizations forward during a 24-hour creative marathon. In 12 years, CreateAthon@VCU has mobilized 1,045 volunteers to serve 121 Richmond nonprofits with work valued at $2.3 million. Thirteen other universities or colleges have been taught by VCU to create their own CreateAthon programs at their institutions.
iPadJournos Mobile Newsroom
Known as iPadJournos, this required journalism class and capstone course (MASC 496 Mobile and Social Media Journalism), enables students to report on various news topics in Virginia every spring and fall semester. Student reporters receive iPad reporting kits for the semester and provide live news coverage on social media platforms as well as long form reporting for the WTVR-TV CBS 6 website. Our journalism professors run the course as a real-life mobile newsroom with breaking news reporting deadlines. Digital and broadcast journalism students earn various publications in the class and develop a social media portfolio for the job market.
VCU InSight is behind the 30-minute, student-produced TV news show that airs on Richmond PBS, WCVW-TV, a Community Idea Station. The news team comes from MASC 465 Newscasting while the studio production team comes from MASC 466 Television Studio Production, two advanced courses offered by the Robertson School. News students are responsible for producing all show content, including pitching, reporting, shooting, writing, editing and voicing stories; rundown creation and show producing; live on-set interviews and anchoring.
VCU InSight won first place for "Best All-Around Television News Magazine" in the Society of Professional Journalists’ “Mark of Excellence” awards for Region 2 for 2018 and was named a national finalist that same year. The show has also won first place for “Best All-Around Television Newscast” for SPJ's Region 2 (covering Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.) in 2010, 2012 and 2015, and took third place in 2011. VCU InSight is online at YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.