The Journalism and Screen Studies major (JASS) is dedicated to storytelling across formats, technologies, and techniques.

No matter the story, the Journalism and Screen Studies major will teach you about the variety of interesting ways you can craft it.

Depending on your interest, there’s news and reporting, print and photographic journalism, documentary, new media, and narrative and short filmmaking. But even with these separate interest areas, JASS stresses convergent media and the underlying research and writing skills that connect journalists, documentarians and filmmakers.

In addition to your classes — which are taught by industry experts from Pulitzer Prize winners to Telly Award recipients — there are on-campus experiential learning opportunities through the Michigan Journal student newspaper, WUMD College Radio and the media production studio, which is a fully equipped, flexible production space for producing television and news, green screen compositing, narrative film shoots and new media applications.

More about the JASS Program

  • More about JASS

    The program looks at storytelling as a means to both inform and entertain. The ability to analyze and interpret work in a specific medium and to view it within a variety of interpretive contexts provides a foundation for all forms of storytelling, from news reportage to feature films. 

    While we offer individual courses in each medium, all courses include analytical components and assignments, and all stress the interdependency of theory and practice, form and content. JASS makes current and emerging technologies available to all its students, emphasizing these technologies, not as ends in themselves but as tools of intellectual and creative expression.

    Students may now opt to major in Journalism and Screen Studies, or minor in JASS or Film Studies.

  • The JASS Degree

    The Journalism and Screen Studies (JASS) discipline provides a set of courses as the foundation for major: JASS 2015: Fundamentals of Journalism, JASS 248: Intro to Screen Studies, and JASS 310: Narrative Journalism. These courses serve as prerequisites for many of the upper-level courses in the major.

    These courses should be taken as early as possible in a student’s plan of study. Additionally, if the student wishes to pursue media production in the program, JASS 350: Digital Film and Television, should be taken early in the major.

    Students can pursue a concentration in either Journalism or Screen Studies, but can expect to combine elements of both. In pursuing the major, students will choose from a variety of courses that fulfill requirements in Media Tools and in Genres, Modes, and Contexts of Storytelling

    Students can expect to take courses such as the following in each area:

    Media Tools

    • JASS 303 Media Design and Animation
    • JASS 3015 Advanced Reporting
    • JASS 307 Copy Editing
    • JASS 315 Media Production for the Metropolitan Community
    • JASS 330 Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers
    • JASS 331 Online Research, Reporting, and Writing
    • JASS 345 Audio Production
    • JASS 350 Digital Film and Television
    • JASS 401 Interpretive Journalism
    • JASS 402 Investigative Reporting
    • JASS 405 New and Emerging Media
    • JASS 410 Advanced Media Production
    • JASS 423 Communication Design for Web and Mobile
    • JASS 467 Scriptwriting Workshop

    Genres, Modes, and Contexts of Storytelling

    • JASS 302 Media Law and Ethics
    • JASS 333 Sports Reporting and Writing
    • JASS 334 Science and Environmental Reporting
    • JASS 357 National Cinemas
    • JASS 338 Business and Automotive Reporting
    • JASS 370 Narratives of Film and Literature
    • JASS 378 History of Broadcasting
    • JASS 380 History of American Journalism
    • JASS 381 European Cinema
    • JASS 385 Black Cinema
    • JASS 387 Gender, Sexuality, and Power in Screen Studies
    • JASS 403/503 Issues in Cyberspace
    • JASS 406/506 History and Theory of Documentary
    • JASS 413 Photojournalism and Digital Photography
    • JASS 436 Memoir and Travel Writing
    • JASS 457/557 American Cinema
  • The JASS Minor

    A minor or area of focus in Journalism and Screen Studies consists of a variety of approved upper-level courses drawing from both the “Media Tools” and “Genres, Modes and Contexts of Storytelling” areas. Students additionally must complete one of the foundational lower-level courses in JASS.

  • The Online Film Studies Minor

    Designed as an interdisciplinary program in the fine arts and humanities, the Online Film Studies Minor provides an intellectually challenging and cross-culturally oriented approach to the study of the screen arts, all available online.

    Courses fulfilling the Online Film Studies Minor are housed in the Journalism and Screen Studies major.

    To minor in Film Studies, students must take JASS 248: Intro to Screen Studies and JASS 440: Theory & Aesthetics of the Screen and choose from a variety of upper-division film studies classes, such as:

    • JASS 370: Narratives of Film & Literature
    • JASS 385: Black Cinema
    • JASS 387: Gender, Sexuality & Power in Screen Studies
    • JASS 398: Independent Study
    • JASS 404: Video Game Studies & Criticism
    • JASS 406: History & Theory of Documentary
    • JASS 421: Environmental Filmmaking
    • JASS 457: American Cinema
    • JASS 467: Script-Writing Workshop
  • Student Facilities and Equipment

    Primarily serving Journalism and Screen Studies and Campus Media Services, CASL's media production studio is a fully equipped, flexible production space for producing live three-camera television and news, green screen compositing, narrative film shoots, and new media applications. NewTek's Tricaster video switching system drives production in the studio.  

    The media production lab features 9 Macintosh workstations running Adobe Creative Cloud, a dedicated audio studio running Pro Tools and Adobe Audition, an HTC Vive virtual reality system, and a small movie library. Students can also reserve and check out a wide range of production equipment, including Canon 7D DSLR cameras, Panasonic and JVC HD camcorders, an iPad digital production kit, Zoom H4n audio recorders, and a range of microphones and light kits. Studio and lab managers, along with student lab assistants, provide access and support.

    In addition, JASS offers a classroom equipped with 24 Macintosh-based computers running Adobe Creative Cloud for hands-on learning in both the Journalism and Screen Studies concentrations.

Internship, Co-op, and Research Opportunities

  • Internship & Co-Op Requirements

    3 credits REQUIRED Internship or Co-op: 
    HUM/HIST 485: Humanities/History Internship Seminar
    Students may receive 3 credits toward the JASS concentration (beyond the required 3 credits) for a second internship taken in a separate term (See “Genres Modes and Contexts). Further internship credits count as elective. Students may substitute a Co-op approved by a JASS faculty member for the internship. Those with substantial practical experience in Journalism or Screen Studies may substitute a Thesis for the Internship.

  • Research Opportunities

    JASS 497: Thesis 
    Students wishing to write a JASS thesis must develop a two-page thesis plan and secure the approval of a JASS faculty member willing to serve as thesis adviser. 

    Those with substantial practical experience in Journalism or Screen Studies may substitute a Thesis for the Internship. 

    JASS 398: Independent Study 
    Students wishing to pursue an independent study must develop a two-page study plan and secure the approval of a JASS faculty member willing to serve as independent study adviser.

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