Documentary

Tell stories in video.

Our documentary classes are hands-on and immersive. Student work has impact and wins awards. Our third-semester Documentary Program allows students to focus in-depth on a story.

Film Fridays

What We Offer

The Journalism School is deeply engaged with the burgeoning world of journalistic documentaries. Our faculty of working filmmakers trains students to report and produce short and long-form documentaries. The entire school community has the opportunity to encounter some of the most acclaimed documentarians of the day with our Film Fridays series, which brings first‐run films and their directors to the Journalism School to screen and discuss their latest work. Recent visitors include Alex Gibney, Kirsten Johnson, Matthew Heinemann, Betsy West & Julie Cohen, and Josh Oppenheimer. You can listen to some of these conversations on the  On Assignment podcast.

During the spring semester, students in the regular M.S. Program have several choices to explore longer-form video including Video for the Web, Multimedia, and our new Data and Animation course. Cinematographer, Duy Linh Tu regularly partners with professors in a subject area like science and education. 

For students who want further immersion and a chance to produce a longer documentary, we offer a Documentary Program concentrationStudents stay a third semester, and work over the summer in teams of two to report, shoot and edit a 20-30 minute film. Projects from recent Documentary classes have screened at festivals across the country, including Tribeca and DOC NYC, and have been licensed by distributors like Netflix, The New York Times video, PBS and Fusion. Student documentaries are featured at DocFest, an all‐school screening event in December.

Explore our degree programs.

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Classes

Our classes allow students to gain the technical and storytelling skills needed to report and produce award-winning documentaries that have impact. 

Please note: The classes listed here represent recent offerings at the Journalism School. Choices vary each semester depending on faculty availability and other considerations. Classes described now may change or be dropped to make room for new additions.

Documentary Specialization Seminar

Multimedia Storytelling: Data, Design and Animation

Short Doc Storytelling

Storytelling About The Environment

Student Work

Feeling disenfranchised, a group of previously apolitical voters in Pennsylvania, wages a grassroots campaign for the only man they feel can save them. A film by Doc ‘16 students Saraha Bellingham and Max Toomey.

Scilla Alecci and George Steptoe '15 M.S. Documentary

"Code of Silence," produced by Stabile and documentary students, found that female officers around the country regularly face sexual harassment by colleagues and superiors. This short documentary by Scilla Alecci and George Steptoe was posted on The New York Times website in 2016. 

THROUGH THE FIRE tells the story of recovering drug addict Luis DeJesus, who is trying to stay clean while coming to terms with a family where abuse and neglect stretch back generations. A film by Doc ‘15 students Nyasha Kadandara and Olivia Lace-Evans.

Two students from a Harlem public middle school attempt to succeed in the privileged world of debate. A film by Doc ‘17 students Sushana Dubreil and Genesis Tuyuc. Harlem Legacy.

Faculty

Betsy West

Fred W. Friendly Professor of Professional Practice in Media and Society

Lisa R. Cohen

Director, duPont/Professional Prizes; Adjunct Faculty