Ripon College offers pre-professional advising in journalism.

Most educators believe that a liberal arts and sciences education is essential for any good reporter. Journalists need to be well-informed in many areas and often face the challenge of interpreting and explaining complex, technical information in plain language for a diverse public. A liberal arts and sciences education prepares students to think rationally, to evaluate situations judiciously and to write clearly and effectively. These are the journalist’s most valuable skills.

Journalism students most frequently select majors such as English, political science, history, economics, philosophy or particular interest areas like music, theatre or art.

A self-designed major is yet another option. For example, one student designed a major in political communication involving an internship in Washington, D.C.; another supplemented a French major with a self-designed journalism major in preparation for a career as a foreign correspondent. If you wish to go on to specialized training in journalism, you may arrange to do so after three years at Ripon, receiving degrees from both Ripon and the journalism school of your choice.

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Gannon, Megan

Associate Professor of English, Chair of English Department


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers.

Advising at Ripon


Interested students should elect a well-rounded group of courses with an emphasis on English, history, economics, communication, and politics and government. A self-designed major in journalism may be considered. When choosing a major, students should anticipate the probable area of journalistic specialization, such as science reporting or performing arts criticism. Practical journalistic experience may be obtained by working on the staff of the campus newspaper, radio station, yearbook, literary magazine, or office of marketing and communications. Experience also may be obtained at the local cable access channel in downtown Ripon. A semester or summer internship with a newspaper, radio station or television network is highly recommended.

A student who goes from Ripon into specialized training at a school of journalism may, by previous arrangement, qualify for a degree from Ripon and from the school of journalism provided that the student completes three years at Ripon, the Catalyst curriculum and a major.

Unique Opportunities

Hands-On Experience

Students have excellent opportunities to gain direct journalistic experience by working for one or several of the following campus organizations:

  • College Days, Wisconsin’s oldest college newspaper
  • WRPN-FM, the campus radio station
  • Photogenesis, a photography organization
  • Crimson, Ripon’s yearbook
  • RPN-TV, a student-run video production organization
  • Parallax, an annual literary magazine


  • Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) 1st Place, SPJ Region 6 – General Column Writing, Sonya Sorich, Features Editor; National Finalist – General Column Writing, Sonya Sorich, Features Editor
  • Milwaukee Press Club (oldest and most recognized press club in the nation) 2nd Place – Best News Story, “Times of Change,” Michael Timm, Editor-in-Chief; 2nd Place – Best Sports Coverage, Mike Sumnicht, Sports Editor
  • Wisconsin Newspaper Association 1st Place – Best Feature Story, “Harrison Ford & Ripon College,” Sonya Sorich, Features Editor

Graduate Success

Recent graduates have gone on to prestigious journalism schools, including Columbia University, the University of Missouri and the Northwestern Medill School of Journalism. Undergraduates also have held part-time jobs and credit-bearing internships at area newspapers and in the College’s own Office of Marketing and Communication.

Prominent Ripon alumni in the field include Bill Roberts ’41, former White House assistant press secretary; Curtis MacDougall ’23, one of the leading journalism professors in the country; Richard Threlkeld ’59, former CBS journalist most recently on assignment in Moscow; Walter Zimmerman ’67, former news director for a Wisconsin regional television station and now a television news director in Hawaii; Marti Spittell Ziegelbauer ’82, former anchor for a Green Bay, Wisconsin, television station and a consultant for Frank Magid & Associates in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Susan Bundock ’84, producer for the C-SPAN cable television network.