CWU News

CWU Communication Department to Introduce Certificate in Entertainment and Lifestyle Writing

Central Washington University students interested in becoming expert writers in their field have a new option for specialization this fall with the introduction of the Entertainment and Lifestyle Writing Certificate, housed in the newly renamed Media & Journalism program of the Department of Communication.

The certificate offers students from any major the opportunity to specialize in writing about the niche market of their choice, from art and music to fashion, wine, health, science, technology or business.

Students will take basic reporting and writing courses in Media & Journalism, then put their skills to practice creating content for their own niche websites and social media accounts. They will also learn how to pitch and market stories as freelance writers for professional publications and media organizations. 

Those enrolled in the certificate program will be invited to contribute to the department’s student-run media outlets — lifestyle magazine PULSE, weekly newspaper The Observer and professional newscast Central NewsWatch — where they will report and craft stories for the public.

“Clean, engaging writing is an essential skill in any field,” said Jennifer Green, faculty adviser on PULSE and The Observer and a member of the Media & Journalism faculty. “The additional challenge in today’s information-overloaded environment is getting your work out to the right audiences. This certificate will give students the tools to gather, present and publish writing on topics they feel passionate about.”

CWU Communication students are developing the skills they need to start a successful career in journalism, and participating in student media is one way they are getting ahead. Many are seeing the long-term benefits of doing real-life news reporting while they are still in school.

“The chance to write about music, art and media for PULSE this year has been invaluable and made me more excited about my future in the music and entertainment fields,” said Mike Powers, a senior Individual Studies: Integrated Music & Film Studies major and a Digital Marketing minor. “It’s given me the chance to meet with people currently working in my industry of interest, which offers me a better idea of what the media and entertainment world actually looks like — something a classroom setting alone can’t offer.” 

Applications are now being accepted for the 15-credit certificate, which forms part of the newly revamped Media & Journalism major, available in a large plan (62 credits) or a small plan (47 credits) format. The Department of Communication will also begin offering a 28-credit Minor in Journalism this fall. 

Media & Journalism majors learn how to produce and deliver content for online, broadcast and print presentation. They also study the ethical, legal, historical and societal environment of journalism, and the fundamental role media play in our social, political and economic systems. 

“Modern history, including the most recent, has reminded us that the importance of good, responsible journalism for a healthy democracy cannot be understated,” said Francesco Somaini, chair of the Department of Communication. “Without an informed citizenry, there is no functioning democracy. And, outside of the news media, well informed and ethically persuasive, instead of manipulative, communication by institutions, businesses, and politicians plays a similarly important role for the proper working of our institutions and society. These are the skills we teach our communication, journalism and public relations students at CWU.” 

Another 63-credit Communication BA, also new this fall, completes the set of majors offered by the Department of Communication, which include BAs in Media & Journalism and Public Relations.

Somaini explained that the smaller number of credits required for the two new BAs allows students interested in communication and mass media to more easily double-major with another discipline without having to extend their undergraduate studies beyond the canonical four years.

“The media and communication professionals of today and tomorrow have better chances of succeeding in the job market and their long-term careers if they can complement their expertise in the delivery of messages to broad audiences with knowledge in at least another specialized field,” Somaini said. “Conversely, experts in any discipline could use the transferable skills learned in communication, journalism and public relations programs to become more effective professionals, managers, leaders and advocates.”

Students interested in any of the majors, minors and certificates offered by the Department of Communication can apply online. Email with questions.

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518.

Photos courtesy of Kassandra Eller, senior, CWU Communications