institute for documentary studies

{New Media}

salt students change
the media landscape

use the tabs below to learn more about our New Media program

“The new media storytelling class at Salt allows STUDENTS FROM DIFFERENT MEDIA BACKGROUNDS TO LEARN FROM EACH OTHER BOTH IN AND OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM. As an instructor, I love seeing my students shift from a “professor as teacher; student as learner” mentality to a collaborative learning mentality that more closely resembles the real world. At Salt, students have the unique opportunity to explore in-depth stories and execute them in fresh and innovative ways with the support and guidance of their faculty and peers.”

Anne Bailey // New Media Instructor

  • What You'll Learn
    Students from all tracks engage in hands-on training in photography, video, audio and editing with Lightroom and Final Cut X. They dive headfirst into storytelling using different forms of media at the start of the semester through a one-day, team-produced documentary project focused on a local town or event. From there, they build knowledge through photography and video exercises, guest lecturers from industry experts, discussions of trends in mobile and social media, in-class critiques and the work of professionals and a final, in-depth documentary shot and produced entirely by each student individually. Graduates leave Salt with solid new media pieces for their portfolios and the ability, no matter their background, to envision and execute a successful project from start to finish.
  • What your Salt schedule might look like
    Salt students spend two (very full) days a week in class – track classes and New Media each meet for eight hours per week, in addition to weekly individual conference time with instructors. Time outside of class is devoted to researching, exploring story ideas (whether that means checking Craigslist posts, talking to people on the street, or going to a tiny dot on the map to explore), spending time with subjects in the field, recording, writing, and editing – lots of editing. All in all, Salt is a 24/7 experience for the fifteen weeks you’re here.
  • What's provided + what to bring

    Each Salt student is provided with an iMac desktop computer with all software needed for media work. Students use Final Cut X to edit their work. Please bring a personal hard drive with at least 1 TB of space to save and take your work with you.


    All students receive a gear kit complete with audio recorder and accessories for recording their interviews in the field. Salt provides one set of new AA batteries for all recorders – after that, students are responsible for providing their own. Salt also has several Canon T2i 35mm DSLR cameras available for checkout to gather photographic and video footage, in addition to specialty microphones and audio gear. If you have any camera gear of your own – camera, tripod, lenses – and especially if your camera shoots video, we encourage you to bring it with you to Salt to maximize your options in the field.


    Having a car at Salt is not required, but it makes pursuing stories outside of the Portland area much more feasible.

  • Curriculum

    The new media storytelling track at Salt aims to equip students with the skills necessary to shoot and produce powerful, short-form documentaries built through compelling video, photography and audio. In today’s ever-changing media world, possessing skills in multiple media platforms increases marketability exponentially. Writers need to be comfortable behind a camera. Photographers need to understand the importance of high-quality audio. Audiophiles need to write as well as they edit waveforms.




    If you are interested in earning graduate or undergraduate credits for your coursework at Salt through one of our affiliate universities, please contact to learn more.



  • What do alums + others have to say?

    “If you are feeling like, “Wait, I’m a photographer, I’m a radio producer, I’m a writer, what is this media class I’ll be taking?” – don’t worry, that’s normal. Just bring your photographer, radio producer or writer self to the multimedia work and you will soon see how amazing and unique this new opportunity at Salt is. Have a camera? Bring it. Don’t have a camera? Don’t sweat it. You will be given the tools and the equipment to make material that will hopefully surprise you and blow your mind. You will learn how to shoot, record, focus, frame, and tell stories in this ever-expanding new field, a field that has crept into all of our respective disciplines.”

    [ Julia Lowrie Henderson // Radio Alum ]


    “Though much about media landscape has changed since I was an analog Salt student ten years ago, the foundation of storytelling at Salt remains the same as we guide compelling, intimate and ethical stories. Salt students are impressively thoughtful and poised to make great work. Teaching the next generation’s storytellers is a enlightening and fascinating experience.”

    [ Christine Heinz // former instructor + photo alum ]

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