Strategic Communication and Data Journalism

Emphasis Area Overview

Journalism is an evolving discipline that is increasingly leveraging the skills and tools of data scientists.

Students emphasizing data journalism in their studies will focus on the acquisition, cleaning and vetting of public data sources and the construction of visualizations and infographics aimed at storytelling. Strategic communication students will integrate consumer data and data presentation strategies to ethically use data science for public influence. Additionally, students will develop in-depth knowledge of core program objectives and the ability to fulfill diverse data responsibilities.


This course provides hands-on experience using several digital platforms such as Facebook Insights, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Clarabridge and Topsy. In this course, you’ll learn digital advertising terminology and jargon, the importance of digital analytics, the role of analysts, qualities of effective analysts, the digital optimization process, web metrics, and key performance indicators, as well as the essentials of collaboration and generating support and buy-in while gaining your executive’s attention.

This is a planned future course and not on current schedules.

3 Credit Hours

This course is intended to review theoretical, conceptual, and analytic issues associated with network perspectives on communicating and organizing. The course will review scholarship on the science of networks in communication across a wide array of disciplines to take an in-depth look at theories, methods, and tools to examine the structure and dynamics of networks.

3 Credit Hours

Synopsis In Process of Development

3 Credit Hours

An intermediate data wrangling and analysis class designed to provide students with an in-depth overview of collecting and analyzing Twitter data. Computational topics include composing, sending, and receiving Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) messages. Data wrangling topics include parsing json files, navigating recursively nested structures, and processing textual data. Analysis methods include machine learning, network analysis, topic modeling, time series, etc.

3 Credit Hours


Graduates of the Masters of Science in Data Science and Analytics who pursue the Strategic Communication and Data Journalism emphasis area will achieve the following educational objectives:

  • Students will have in-depth capabilities and understanding of big data management, including gathering and interpreting customer and viewer behavior patterns and developing strategies to enhance marketing objectives for organizations and clients.
  • Students will have highly marketable skills in analyzing media markets and will be able to develop sophisticated methodologies to optimize the usage of apps, social networks, and other technologies for media businesses and brands.
  • Students will be able to apply their analytic skills to understanding and optimizing patterns of search, programmatic advertising buying, and behavioral targeting.
  • Students will have a deep understanding of issues of privacy and ethics in obtaining and utilizing data from a broad range of sources.
  • Students will be able to obtain and analyze publicly available data in a variety of structured and unstructured formats. As such, they will develop an understanding of open-records laws and how to effectively use them.
  • Students will develop the skills necessary to work as a data journalist for a news organization.
  • As data journalism and data science /analytics are constantly evolving, students will develop strategies that enable them to continue to learn on the job.
  • Students will develop an understanding of their audiences and how to best communicate with them