New Arts Journalism (NAJ) students develop skills and projects across a variety of media, working as writers, designers, editors, and producers to creatively engage with the broader issues of contemporary culture.
The program teaches aspiring journalists the research methods, editorial processes, and technical skills required to pursue their own interests and shape their projects in a wide range of formats.
Students learn how to compose reviews, essays, features, and investigative stories in our writing-focused classes . With studio courses in audio, video, digital, and print production, we teach them how to make podcasts, documentaries, websites, and publications of all kinds. Student work is assessed in peer-group analyses led by a distinguished faculty of critics, publishers, designers, and artists themselves, with leading practitioners regularly visiting to present their own work and provide individualized feedback.
Grounded in cultural history, media theory, and artistic practice, the program encourages rigorous and experimental approaches to arts journalism. Thesis projects reflect students’ own diverse research interests and are presented in various media. In addition to their classroom work, students gain hands-on experience producing the annual departmental publication and have opportunities for internships and jobs both at SAIC and beyond.
Courses offered in the MANAJ program teach students how to design and maintain a website and blog, the theory behind how the web interfaces with communication, and also how print, photography, and video design principles impact journalism today. Students engage multiple structures of critical essays, reviews, interviews, think pieces, editorials, documentaries, and beat reporting, and their writing is repeatedly assessed in peer-group analyses.
In the second and third semesters of the program, students begin to take electives that address their areas of interest and may include criticism and theory, studio work, liberal arts seminars, or study trips. The final semester is dedicated to thesis work.
Professional Opportunities After Graduation
MANAJ graduates have applied their education in a variety of ways. There are alumni working at VH1 in New York, in public relations in Chicago, running the social media program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, managing internal publications at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, editing their own zine in Los Angeles, working at Contratiempo Publications (Spanish publication in Chicago) and Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago, stringing for newspapers in Ohio and Kentucky, and working in marketing at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University. Others are freelancing for a wide range of publications and media outlets such as Gapers Block and ArtSlant.
Each year, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates the culmination and closure of students' studies at the masters level. In studio areas, the celebration takes place in the form of the thesis exhibitions. The academic areas complement this with the publication of students' theses.
The SAIC Thesis Repository contains theses submitted since November 2013.
Theses submitted prior to November 2013 are listed in the Flaxman Library catalog.