Journalism and Media Production

The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Production (JMP) is dedicated to storytelling—its forms, techniques, and technologies. We offer individual courses on the genres, including news, features and photojournalism; narrative journalism/creative nonfiction; documentary and feature film. In all courses, JMP stresses convergent media, interdisciplinary, and the underlying research and writing skills that connect us as journalists, documentarians and filmmakers.

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. JMP 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.

Experiential Education (Internship, Co-op, or Senior Thesis)


All JMP students are required to participate in an internship, co-op or senior thesis. There is a seminar component to both the internship and the co-op.

The senior thesis is available only to students who have prior JMP industry experience.

Prerequisites to the Major

JASS/ENGL/HUM 248Storytelling Across Media4
Total Credit Hours4

 Major Requirements

Required Narrative Journalism Course
JASS 310Narrative Writing for Journalism and Media4
Media Tools
Select 2 courses from the following:8
Podcasting
Video for Social Media
Media Performance & Studio Production
Media Production for Metropolitan Community
Multimedia Journalism
Audio Production
Introduction to Media Production
Storytelling, Experiments, and Play
Documentary & Photojournalism
Directing & Editing Capstone
Required Experiential Education Course
Select one from the following:4
Internship
Thesis
Electives
Select 4 courses from the following:16
Fundamentals of Journalism
Media Law and Ethics
Copy Editing Across Media
Feature Writing
National Cinemas
History of Broadcasting and Journalism
Black Cinema
Gender, Sexuality, and Power in American Film
Topics in JASS
Independent Study
Investigative Reporting Capstone
Making Film History
Reviewing Movies, Games, and Television
Genres and Directors
Script-Writing Workshop
Total Credit Hours32

Notes:

  1. At least 12 of the 32 upper level credit hours in the JMP major must be elected at UM-D.
  2. The Thesis option (JASS 497) is only available to students who have significant professional experience within Journalism and Media Production and requires the approval of the JMP faculty advisor.
  3. Students wishing to undertake an independent study (JASS 398) must first secure the approval of the JMP faculty member willing to serve as advisor
  4. A maximum of 4 credits of internship (HUM 485) may count toward the major.

Minor or Integrative Studies Concentration Requirements

A minor or concentration in Journalism consists of 16 credit hours of approved courses. 

Required Courses8
Fundamentals of Journalism
Multimedia Journalism
Additional Courses: select two courses (8 credits) from the following:8
Media Law and Ethics
Podcasting
Copy Editing Across Media
Video for Social Media
Feature Writing
History of Broadcasting and Journalism
Investigative Reporting Capstone
Documentary & Photojournalism
Total Credit Hours16

Notes:

1. Courses in the Journalism minor may not also count toward the Film Studies minor. 

  • A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required for the minor/concentration. The GPA is based on all coursework required within the minor (excluding prerequisites).
  • A minimum of 9 credits must be completed at UM-Dearborn for a 12 credit minor/concentration.
  • A minimum of 12 credits must be completed at UM-Dearborn for a 15 or more credit minor/concentration.
  • Courses within a minor/concentration cannot be taken as Pass/Fail (P/F)
  • Only 3 credit hours of independent study or internship may be used to fulfill the requirements for a 12 credit hour minor/concentration.  Only 6 credit hours of such credit may be used in a 15 or more credit hour minor/concentration.
  • Minors requiring 12 credits may share one course with a major. Minors requiring 15 credits or more may share two courses with a major. This does not apply to concentrations for the Integrative Studies major.

Learning Goals

  1. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  2. Writing and editing skills for a variety of forms, styles, and scripts
  3. Media literacy
  4. Research skills in gathering and critically evaluating information
  5. Appreciation of diversity and global contexts
  6. Understanding and application of the link between theory and practice

JASS 2015     Fundamentals of Journalism     3 Credit Hours

Study and practice in newspaper reporting and news gathering, interview techniques, and basic newswriting skills. Students will also discuss libel law, ethics, and the use of the Freedom of Information Act. (F, W).

Prerequisite(s): COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 40 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 107 or COMP 280

JASS 240     Film and Society     3 Credit Hours

A survey of the major genres of film, chiefly in historical and political perspective, but also in the light of important intellectual frameworks (e.g., feminism, psychoanalytical theory). The films selected, both Western and non-Western, will be examined both for their visual codes of meaning and for their wider role in developing a powerful social language in various cultural contexts. (YR).

JASS 248     Storytelling Across Media     4 Credit Hours

This course introduces students to the building blocks that make up great storytelling across multiple types of media and approaches, including online journalism, movies, podcasting, and more. Students will learn the foundations of narrative and apply that understanding to creating both fiction and nonfiction stories of their own for a variety of media, including websites, video, and audio. (YR)

JASS 301     Fundamentals of Journalism     4 Credit Hours

This is a course in the study and practice in reporting and news gathering, interview techniques, and basic news writing skills across media platforms. Students will also discuss libel law, ethics, and the use of the Freedom of Information Act. This course also teaches evaluation and critical thinking skills as applied to daily journalism. (F, W).

JASS 3015     Investigative Reporting Capstone     4 Credit Hours

A course in investigating a subject and writing a publishable story. Course covers the rudiments of investigative reporting: preliminary research, story selection, investigative strategies and resources, interviewing, and evaluation of material. Examines the history and current status of investigative reporting, including its ethics and politics. Students write and edit several articles and focus on two longer investigative pieces. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): COMM 2015 or JASS 2015 or JASS 301

JASS 302     Media Law and Ethics     4 Credit Hours

The basis of reportorial journalism is its foundation in the First Amendment. This course examines the legal restrictions and freedoms governing print media and explores the ethical responsibilities of print journalists. Specific topics covered include First Amendment law, copyright, the clear and present danger standard, defamation and libel, privacy, obscenity, free press/fair trial, access, shield laws, social media legislation, and journalism ethics. (W, YR).

JASS 303     Media Design & Animation     3 Credit Hours

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of graphic design in a convergent media landscape, with an emphasis on animation and motion graphics. Students will develop skills in the fundamentals of color, typography and layout, as well as build practical skills in animation technique. Animation projects may include animated lower thirds, motion graphics, kinetic typography or 2d/3d character animation, with applications for film, television and the web. Students may not receive credit for both JASS 303 and JASS 250 (F,W,S).

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Undergraduate NCFD or Post-baccalaureate NCFD or Specialist or Undergrad Certification only or Post-baccalaureate Cert only or Graduate or Doctorate

JASS 305     Podcasting     4 Credit Hours

This course introduces the technical, social and legal issues involving podcasting. Students will develop an idea for a podcast, learn how to execute that idea in a hands-on environment, and develop a plan for marketing the work to the world. We will pay special attention to the growing and changing world of this genre of non-fiction storytelling. Although the emphasis will be on journalism, several weeks will be spent learning the technology and software necessary to complete assignments in this course. (F, W).

JASS 307     Copy Editing Across Media     4 Credit Hours

Course covers manuscript and electronic editing of news and feature stories across various platforms, editing for libel and taste, fact-checking, writing headlines and captions, and use of reference books. Includes a review of grammar and word usage, punctuation, spelling, and style. (F, YR).

JASS 309     Video for Social Media     4 Credit Hours

Social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok demand a different way of thinking about creating and communicating with video. With so much competition for attention online, creators must find innovative ways to capture audiences and create works that are highly shareable. Videos must be short, to the point, captivating, and understandable even when viewed on a small screen or without sound. This course introduces content creators to a variety of approaches to producing video for social media, including journalistic, marketing and public relations, and creative and cinematic uses. The course also addresses the legal, ethical, economic, and privacy-related issues to maintaining an active online presence. (AY).

JASS 310     Narrative Writing for Journalism and Media     4 Credit Hours

Students learn to identify, understand, and use the techniques of narrative storytelling to produce nonfiction writing. Assignments can include the writing and revising of articles based on research and interviews, personal essays, adaptations, and documentary scripts that draw from literary techniques. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): JASS 248 or HUM 248 or ENGL 248

JASS 312     Media Performance & Studio Production     4 Credit Hours

This course focuses on voice, diction, and movement for television studio-based production. The emphasis is on developing skills in announcing, news reading, on-camera stand ups, voice-overs, dramatic interpretation and performance. Students are exposed to a variety of projects and assignments both in front of and behind the camera, including directing and switching. Students are expected to submit a portfolio of their on-air and directing work at the end of the semester. (AY).

JASS 315     Media Production for Metropolitan Community     4 Credit Hours

This community-based course partners with a community organization to produce media projects that serve the needs of the organization. Students will build skills in intermediate aspects of media production including concept development, research, proposals and pitching, scriptwriting, producing, shooting, editing, and sound design, as well as professional and organizational communication skills. Students will also develop a broader understanding of community engagement, citizenship, and issues impacting the Detroit Metro community. Productions will include both studio experience and fieldwork. (OC).

JASS 330     Feature Writing     4 Credit Hours

An introduction to the writing of feature stories for newspapers, magazines and online platforms. Students study methods of gathering information and of preparing a manuscript for publication across media platforms, (YR).

JASS 331     Multimedia Journalism     4 Credit Hours

Course introduces the technical, social, legal and ethical practice of online research, focusing specifically on reporting (i.e. research and interview) skills required by journalists and others. Students use new media technology to generate ideas, to research subjects, and to develop general-audience writing projects in their areas of interest. Course covers the use of Web search engines, databases; finding sources and interviewing people online; evaluating the credibility of online sources and information; accessing archives and public records; and using spreadsheet and database programs. (F, W).

JASS 332     Storyboarding and Creating the Graphic Novel     3 Credit Hours

This course focuses on the creation of a storyboard from inception to a fully developed story. Students work on character, plot development, storyboarding, dialogue, drawing style, and layout planning, and are encouraged to introduce any cross-disciplinary techniques such as digital applications when appropriate. Lectures and readings will consider contemporary media. During the semester, students work on a variety of projects that will culminate in a fully realized storyboard or graphic novel. The core of the work will explore a range of traditional comic media as a requirement, and digital media as an optional supplement (OC).

Prerequisite(s): ART 202 or ART 206

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior

JASS 333     Sports Reporting and Writing     3 Credit Hours

In this course, students not only learn how to write a sports story and report it across a variety of media, they also examine and write about relevant issues, from race and gender to sportsmanship and hero worship. In addition to assigned class readings, students read and report on one sports-related film and one book, chosen from a list of classics posted on CTools, and write a final paper in which they address an issue relevant to sports reporting. Local and national practitioners contribute their thoughts on a variety of subjects throughout the term.

Prerequisite(s): JASS 2015

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior

JASS 334     Science and Environmental Journalism     3 Credit Hours

This course introduces the practice and theory of science and environmental journalism. Students report and write short science and environmental articles across a variety of media. They also examine the history, ethics and politics of environmental and science journalism and isolate a relevant issue as the focus of a research project, which will later generate a longer science/environment feature story. After instructor critique, students revise all work and submit a final ePortfolio. (W).

Prerequisite(s): JASS 2015

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior

JASS 338     Business/Automotive Reporting     3 Credit Hours

This course covers two inter-related areas: finance and automotive journalism. Students learn how to cover the economy and business community, focusing on areas such as Wall Street, economic indicators, stocks and bonds. Since the University of Michigan-Dearborn is located in the heart of the world automotive industry, the course also emphasizes the skills necessary for a career in automotive journalism, specifically how to read and report auto-related financial, environmental, safety, labor, finance and manufacturing documents. An introductory course in Economics is recommended.

Prerequisite(s): JASS 2015

JASS 345     Audio Production     4 Credit Hours

JASS 345 introduces students to the fundamentals of sound and basic to intermediate audio production. The course includes a theoretical exploration of sound and listening, a foundation in recording technique and technology, audio editing and mixing using digital audio workstations, audio documentary and narrative construction, and sound design for visual media. (F).

JASS 350     Introduction to Media Production     4 Credit Hours

Intro to Media Production is a practical, applied course that instructs students in professional media production skills in the context of the history, aesthetics, and technology of film and video production. Students will produce several projects during the semester which will emphasize camera operation and image design, audio recording and sound design, editing, and concept development. (F, YR).

JASS 357     National Cinemas     4 Credit Hours

This course will introduce students to the national cinemas of a select country In contrasting the evolution of cinema in the East, with the dominant genres and conventions of Hollywood, the course will enable students to critically examine non-Hollywood narratives; the interaction of various nationalist movements within the institution of cinema; and the ways in which world cinema has been inflected by various indigenous performance practices and other visual representations. (OC).

JASS 370     Narratives of Film and Lit     3 Credit Hours

Explores the narrative conventions of literary and filmic fictions in a cultural, historical and psycho-analytical context. The course goes beyond a discussion of the relative merits of novels and their respective film adaptations and examines the more complex interchanges between the two narrative forms; the ideological function of narrative in contemporary society; and the effect of the medium of a fictional text on the reader/viewer. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 248 or HUM 248 or JASS 248 or FILM 248

JASS 378     History of Broadcasting and Journalism     4 Credit Hours

A survey of the history of media in the United States, from the development of newspapers in the 18th century, to radio and television in the 20th century, to the development of web and social media in the 21st century. The course focuses on the business, political and demographic factors guiding the various broadcast industries; the development and shifts of programming genres over time; and a wide look at the social impact of broadcasting in the country. (F).

JASS 380     History of American Journalism     3 Credit Hours

This course surveys the history of American journalism from the Colonial period to the present. Topics explored include the development of print journalism, the rise of the reading public, the growth of advertising, photojournalism, and the tabloid press, and the evolution of electronic journalism from radio and television through the computer age. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 40 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 107 or COMP 280

JASS 381     Postwar European Cinema     3 Credit Hours

The course will concentrate on a series of films from various European countries with a focus on the socio-political issues, historical events and cultural preoccupations that have defined and also challenged European societies from WWII to the present. Zeroing in on the construction of European identities, the course will analyze and compare modes of narrating national, class, racial, sexual and social differences in different European nations. Themes such as memories of war and the Holocaust, new conflicts, class, immigration, women's rights, gender, and East-West relations will be addressed. The course will thus privilege a cinema that offers a "récit," a story. Particular attention will be given to discourses on otherness and on the ways in which film culture has reflected, reinforced, reshaped and, in some instances, contested Europe's past and current dominant ideologies, and identities. Readings by cultural historians and analysts will provide the context for an understanding of the films. The course will conclude with a discussion of the possible existence of a specific postwar European Cinema.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior

JASS 385     Black Cinema     4 Credit Hours

This course will examine selected films from African American and African film traditions in order to analyze how their cultural production is responsive to the conditions of social oppression, economic underdevelopment, and neo-colonialism. How film traditions define "Black aesthetics" will also be discussed. (AY).

JASS 387     Gender, Sexuality, and Power in American Film     4 Credit Hours

This course examines representations of gender and sexuality and their intersections with race, class, and ability across the history of American film. The course will engage with a range of debates in film theory and women’s and gender studies, and enable students to apply concepts and theories to specific media texts. The course integrates basic elements of media production to explore means of argumentation and analysis outside the traditional essay format. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): HUM 240 or JASS 240 or ENGL 248 or HUM 248 or JASS 248 or FILM 240 or FILM 248 or WGST 275 or WGST 303 or ANTH 275 or ANTH 303 or PSYC 275 or PSYC 303 or SOC 275 or SOC 303 or WST 275 or HUM 275 or HUM 303 or JASS 350 or JASS 315 or JASS 312 or JASS 403

JASS 390     Topics in JASS     4 Credit Hours

Examination of problems, issues, technology and critical issues in advanced subject areas in journalism and screen studies. Title as listed in schedule of classes changes according to content. Course may be repeated for credit when specific topics differ. (OC).

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

JASS 398     Independent Study     1 to 4 Credit Hours

A student wishing to substantially explore a topic not otherwise offered in the program may design a course of study to be carried out under the supervision of a faculty member from the major. An independent study may consist of critical readings, writing, or a work of media production. Students wishing to pursue this option must develop their own syllabus, course schedule, and assessment strategy, and the proposal must be approved by the corresponding faculty member.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior
Can enroll if College is Arts, Sciences, and Letters

JASS 402     Investigative Reporting     3 Credit Hours

A course in investigating a subject and writing a publishable story. Course covers the rudiments of investigative reporting: preliminary research, story selection, investigative strategies and resources, interviewing, and evaluation of material. Examines the history and current status of investigative reporting, including its ethics and politics. Students write and edit several articles and focus on two longer investigative pieces. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): COMM 2015 or JASS 2015

JASS 403     Making Film History     4 Credit Hours

Learn film history by making film history. This course introduces students to the major developments in the history of cinema from early animation toys through the Hollywood Studio System up to the transition to streaming services and video apps. Students will also learn about the key theories of cinematic language that have emerged and evolved over time. Along the way, students will apply their understanding of historical movements and theories by making small creative projects that reflect their learning - you’ll be making film history. (W, YR).

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Graduate

JASS 404     Video Game Studies & Criticism     3 Credit Hours

This course will explore some of the current social, cultural, legal, and aesthetic issues associated with video games as an immensely popular new media technology that has sparked a dynamic user culture. Examples of areas to be explored include ludology and narratology, narrative architecture and game spaces, ethical questions and controversies, and player experience and communities. (YR)

JASS 405     Storytelling, Experiments, and Play     4 Credit Hours

The concept of play involves engaging in an activity for enjoyment and discovery rather than to achieve a specific goal. The course builds on that approach by creating a space where students can safely take creative and technological risks as they develop their voices and styles as storytellers. It introduces students to alternative approaches to storytelling and provides a sandbox for students to experiment with new and innovative ways to express themselves creatively. Students will have the opportunity to use a variety of media tools, from audio and video to the written word to apps, and will work both independently and collaboratively to develop their portfolios of creative work. (OC).

JASS 406     Documentary & Photojournalism     4 Credit Hours

This course surveys the history of documentary film and photography and explores its ethical, legal and economic issues. Students study the changing theoretical approaches to non-fiction storytelling and the range of documentary purposes (journalistic, educational, propagandistic, entertainment). The course also provides a historical and theoretical background for those students interested in careers in news photography or documentary production.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Sophomore or Junior or Senior

JASS 410     Directing & Editing Capstone     4 Credit Hours

This course covers advanced concepts in media production and provides a pre-professional opportunity to direct and edit. Working together in practice-based teams, students focus on research, reporting, scripting, producing, direction, cinematography and post-production techniques. Emphasis is placed on practice-based learning in both field and studio settings, leading to the creation of a professional program or film targeted at a public audience. (W).

Prerequisite(s): JASS 350 or COMM 350 or JASS 405 or JASS 406 or JASS 345

JASS 413     Photojournalism     3 Credit Hours

A hands-on digital imaging course in which students learn the basics of photojournalism and photography, including subject selection, composition, cropping, retouching and caption writing.

Prerequisite(s): COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 40 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 107 or COMP 280

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Sophomore or Junior or Senior

JASS 421     Environmental Filmmaking     3 Credit Hours

Environmental Filmmaking combines theory and practice in the examination of issues related to the environment and ecology as represented in film and television. Students will analyze the medium's ability to effectively communicate and integrate scientific and technical information about the natural world to target a audience. The course will include online screenings selected from a variety of eras and genres, readings in the field of eco-criticism, the development of a documentary treatment and the production of an original multimedia project focusing on an environmental issue. (F, AY)

Prerequisite(s): JASS 248 or ENST 301

JASS 436     Memoir and Travel Writing     3 Credit Hours

A course in narrative non-fiction that focuses on memoir and travel writing. Reading involves several books as well as classic essay-length examples. Assignments include both short analytical papers and the writing and revising of three original articles, based on research, interviews, memory, and observation, and drawing on literary techniques. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 40 or Composition Placement Score with a score of 107 or COMP 280

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

JASS 440     Genres and Directors     4 Credit Hours

This rotating topics course offers a deep dive into a selected film genre or director - and sometimes both at the same time. Studies of genre will include a historical and theoretical examination of genre conventions, the evolution of the genre over time, and hybrid or subgenres that have emerged. Studies of directors will similarly investigate their relationship to specific genres, their historical contribution to cinematic themes, styles, representations, and technical innovations, and an evaluation of auteur theory. (W).

JASS 457     American Cinema     3 Credit Hours

This course will analyze how Hollywood as the nation's dream factory has manufactured fantasies and cultural myths that have constructed the image of American citizenship, both for Americans and non-Americans. It will establish the ideological function of Hollywood texts as providing unifying symbols for a fragmented society. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 248 or HUM 248 or JASS 248 or FILM 248

JASS 467     Script-Writing Workshop     4 Credit Hours

This writing intensive course will train students to compose a film script, focusing on the substance, structure, and style of an original screenplay. The course will be conducted as a workshop in which students will first study classic scripts (and films based on these) of the film- school generation of directors, then model scenes and sequences of their own scripts on the principles of the above texts, and finally, write their own respective film stories in accordance with an appropriate narrative structure and design. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): JASS 310 or COMP 310 or ENGL 310 or COMM 310 or JASS 248 or HUM 248

JASS 477     Ethnographic Film     3 Credit Hours

This course will analyze ethnographic films as a medium for the construction of meaning in and across cultures. It will teach students to understand how the putatively "real" content of documentary film creates a mixture of fantasy, news and "science." Covering texts as varied as National Geographic photographic layouts, traditional ethnographic films made by anthropologists, and auto-ethnographies of cultural groups such as Native Americans and the Trobriand Islanders of Papua, New Guinea, the course will aim to deconstruct such oppositions as indigene vs. alien, us vs. them, and self vs. other. Students cannot receive credit for both FILM 477 and FILM 577. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 248 or HUM 248 or JASS 248 or ANTH 101 or FILM 248

JASS 497     Thesis     4 Credit Hours

A thesis project that is the culmination of studies in the major. Students choose the project area and write a thesis (40-50 pages) or produce a work of media under the direction of a discipline faculty member. The thesis option is available only to students with substantial practical experience in the field of journalism or media production, and requires the approval of the faculty. This course is available only to Junior/Senior students majoring in the program. (F, W).

Prerequisite(s): JASS 248 and JASS 310

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior