Crafting Truth: Documentary for Radio and Film

Spring 2018 quarter

Taught by

film and video production, media theory

How do stories about social problems and social change help us understand the world we live in, and how can documentaries contribute to this understanding?  In this program students will learn to analyze and create documentaries that both reflect social change movements and contribute to them in two different mediums: video and audio.

Technological advances in podcasting have contributed to a renaissance in the production of creative audio documentaries and feature stories.  Our exploration of documentaries will include innovative radio shows and podcasts, as well as traditional radio news documentaries. 

Technological developments in digital video production have made high quality images ever more accessible through camera phones, camcorders, and DLSR still cameras that shoot video. Students will learn basic skills in digital video production (visual acquisition and digital editing) and will have the opportunity to create short, original documentary film projects. 

Class readings will introduce students to the history, theory, ethics, and aesthetics of documentary making.  We will explore the characteristic features of each medium, uncovering similarities, differences, constraints, and implications through the process of studying and creating both video and audio-only pieces.

This program is designed as an introduction to media production: no previous media experience or personal equipment is required.  Students will learn basic skills involved in planning, recording, interviewing, scripting, narrating, and editing media works.  Students entering the program with more advanced skills will be expected to expand those skills through additional independent reading and through engagement in more technically or conceptually complex projects. Students taking the program for 16 credits will have additional theoretical study, research workshops, writing workshops, research paper and presentations. All students will create documentaries featuring local community contributions to regional and/or global social change efforts. Students will have the opportunity to do both collaborative and individual production work. Students may have the option of airing their work on community radio, public television, or in other public forums.

Program Details

Fields of Study

aesthetics communication cultural studies media arts media studies

Preparatory For

radio production, media production, media arts, public advocacy, and journalism.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered

Day, Evening, and Weekend

Advertised Schedule

12 Credit Students will meet:

Tuesdays 6-10

Thursdays 6-10

Every other Saturday 9:30a-5p: April 7, April 21, May 5, May 19, June 2


16 Credit Students will meet: 

Tuesdays 2:00-4:30 and 6-10  

Thursdays 9:30-11:30 and 1-4  

and three Saturdays (all day) during the quarter


Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning