Behind the lens: New JASS Studio preps students for production

October 5, 2015

CASL's new Journalism and Screen Studies Studio preps students for production.

Tyesha Vinson, a senior journalism and screen studies student, sits behind the controls of the new JASS Studio.
Tyesha Vinson, a senior journalism and screen studies student, sits behind the controls of the new JASS Studio.
Tyesha Vinson, a senior journalism and screen studies student, sits behind the controls of the new JASS Studio.

Jim Gilmore affectionately refers to his students as members of Generation YouTube. They enroll in his media production courses wanting to do it all—they’re writers, producers, directors, editors and cinematographers all in one.

“It’s great to see them come in with media production backgrounds. They’re making movies on their iPhones, and they’re comfortable working on their own,” said Gilmore, clinical professor of communication at University of Michigan-Dearborn. “But if you’re going to work in broadcast or corporate production, you not only need to know how to do all these roles, you’re also going to have to be able to work with a team.”

Enter the new Journalism and Screen Studies (JASS) Studio. The College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters (CASL) designed the studio to aid in the development of students’ technical skills while teaching them how to work together.

“Studio production teaches teamwork,” Gilmore said. “So much of production is about collaborating with other people—establishing a team, delegating responsibilities. And the studio environment forces that to happen. It’s a good exercise in creative teamwork to accomplish a goal.”

Students will use the JASS Studio in several of their production courses and to film a new student-produced news and cultural affairs program, MiCrossroads. The studio also is home to Campus Media Services—which previously was housed in Mardigian Library—and is available for use by local nonprofit organizations.

The space, located on the first floor of the CASL Building, underwent a major renovation this summer to make room for the new studio. Staff added acoustic treatment and a lighting grid and equipped it with the latest digital technology.

Greg Taylor, senior television engineer, said students who become comfortable in the studio environment will be better equipped to jump into a production career.

“They’re using equipment that they are very likely to see when they move into the professional environment, whether that’s in the corporate or broadcast field,” Taylor said. “They have the tools they need to launch successful careers in media production.”

That’s good news for students like Tyesha Vinson. Vinson, a senior JASS student who already has completed an internship at WDIV Channel 4, said she’ll take advantage of gaining more hands-on experience.

“It’s one thing to write the papers, read the articles and pass the exams. But it’s a completely different thing to actually put that knowledge to use,” she said. “Using the studio, learning how to tell stories, is the pre-test to the real test we’ll face out there in the professional world. It definitely pushes me to use everything that I’ve learned in the past three years.”

The College of Arts, Sciences and Letters and the Department of Language, Culture and Communication invite you to attend an open house in celebration of the new CASL TV Studio on Monday, October 19, 3-6 p.m. Please join us for a tour of the facilities and a demonstration of the new high-definition studio environment that supports both UM-Dearborn’s Journalism and Screen Studies discipline and Campus Media Services. JASS faculty will be available to answer questions and to advise students about available courses.

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