JRN4100EN - Broadcast Documentary

Course description

This course brings to focus the history and analysis of non-fiction documentation via radio, film and video. Each student will write a treatment and shooting script for a documentary and participate in the development of a television documentary program. The course covers the basics of production, including shooting and directing, cinematography, editing and sound. It also covers how to research and write for documentaries, how to conduct effective interviews, the financial and social/cultural aspects of television, the historical development of news programming and documentary genres How to work in a studio environment as well as on location. How to develop, shoot, and edit a quality documentary, and how to use the documentary form as a means of examining important social and historic issues, particularly those related to human rights and justice. The focus is on developing a social issue documentary working as part of a team. Students will focus on an issue in their community to produce a short documentary.

How this course benefits students

This course is designed to give students a practical and theoretical understanding of how the documentary film can be used as a creative medium to explore and represent foreign cultures. The consider topics for documentary development, and will produce a short documentary about an in their community. The Goal is for them to: 1). To demonstrate strong writing and storytelling skills that meet professional expectations in broadcast journalism or documentary filmmaking; 2). To demonstrate the ability to analyze current TV market conditions and business models and to evaluate the marketability and viability of their skills and creative work within that market; 3). To demonstrate the ability to use technology and film craft skills – cinematography, videography, sound, editing – to enhance story as it grows from the written word (script) to a finished, visual story; and 4). To demonstrate the ability to work in a professional, collaborative environment appropriate to broadcast news or documentary filmmaking.

Why this course is important

Broadcast documentaries bring focus to existing topics. they provide analysis and commentary of aspects of society. Scribes in ancient Israel were learned men whose business was to study the Law, transcribe it, and write commentaries on it. They were also hired on occasions when the need for a written document arose or when an interpretation of a legal point was needed. Ezra, “a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses,” was a scribe (Ezra 7:6). The scribes took their job of preserving Scripture very seriously; they would copy and recopy the Bible meticulously, even counting letters and spaces to ensure each copy was correct. This level of verification is important in all categories of journalism.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

Jesus taught through storytelling and parables. Parables use a narrative example to teach a lesson. In this process students will develop strong writing and storytelling skills that are appropriate to professional expectations in broadcast journalism or documentary filmmaking.

Missionally driven

Like missional work, the focus of a broadcast documentary goes to where an issue emerges. In every case an issue has two sides. A skillful analysis of a situation must delve into the information from each side yet emerge with an objective view of the situation, not labeling one right and the other wrong, but offering a reflection of the problem from each side, a mirror for both to review, and to find a path for compromise and resolution themselves. Handling a situation in which both sides could claim blame, Jesus' guidance in one scriptural case was the following: "Then they reminded Jesus that adultery was punishable by stoning under Mosaic law and challenged him to judge the woman so that they might then accuse him of disobeying the law. Jesus thought for a moment and then replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” (John 8:7) A good broadcast journalist not only has the necessary technical skills, but the interest and curiosity to learn about the world around his audience, and to view their problems from their perspective.

Contextually informed

A good broadcast journalist not only has the necessary technical skills, but a keen interest and curiosity to learn about the world around his audience, to apply skills that meet the requirements of that environment, and to view their problems from their perspective.

Interculturally focused

In journalism, a stringer is a freelance journalist or photographer who contributes reports or photos to a news organization on an ongoing basis but is paid individually for each piece of published or broadcast work. The most important choice a broadcast stinger will make is where to go in the world to situate, to provide media conglomerates with news reports. Paris may sound ideal for most, which means jobs are scarce, based on competition for that location. Alternately, a gig as a war correspondent in Baghdad appeals to a certain breed of adventurer. However, inexperience could be lethal and expenses are prohibitive. Women, in particular, should also be aware of cultural mores that may impede journalistic work. Missional leaders may or may not have a choice in where they go, but some locations require more stamina, fortitude and faith.

Practically minded

Missional work based in cultures that are more familiar can be easier, and the response to messaging in such settings, might be more readily won. Descriptions of culture and race in biblical stories and descriptions are very culturally diverse. References suggest that the world was open and accessible, within and between borders. Conflict and strife based on culture and race are shown to have existed in the bible as much as they do today. The missional leader therefore, should not be deterred in his or her quest in intercultural settings.

Experientially transformed

It is important to bring our own experiences into the work of conversion. No matter how seemingly different our lives may be from those we seek to influence, there are universal human challenges and joys all people go through. These experiences are places where people can connect to open a dialog for the teaching of the gospel in ways that relate to people's lives. Taking the perspective of the community also enhances the work of broadcast documentaries. It is an approach in journalism known as the "human interest story." It is an approach that calls for immersion with the subject matter of focus.