• B.F.A. in Broadcast Journalism and Documentary - on the set of Chapman News
  • B.F.A. in Broadcast Journalism and Documentary

Dodge College of Film & Media Arts

B.F.A. in Broadcast Journalism and Documentary

» Develop your skills in documentary filmmaking, news reporting, and TV producing

Want to work for ESPN, or CNN? How about reporting the red-carpet, producing for Dateline NBC or anchoring the news in San Diego or Los Angeles? Working on a documentary for HBO or hungry digital outlets? Perhaps touring the world as cameraperson or sound technician with AC/DC or Taylor Swift?

Are you ready to report the facts, provide insightful analysis or produce a documentary about an issue you’re passionate about?

You not only can hone the skills to do all of these things as a major in Broadcast Journalism and Documentary—our graduates, many of them recent, are already working at these very jobs.

Through Dodge College you will have unique opportunities to travel to the centers of the news business in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. as well as to explore the issues best captured in documentaries both locally, through our Community Voices program, and internationally, in countries in Africa, Asia and beyond.

Fan of BuzzFeed? Master of Twitter and Instagram? Colbert junkie? How about the late, lamented Newsroom? Do you see yourself as entrepreneurial, as the next great “preditor” (“producer” + “editor”), or backpack journalist? Then Dodge College wants you.

Using our four-camera, state-of-the-art,  high definition television studio, industry-standard technology like iNews and Avid,  digital cinema cameras like the Red One and Sony F65, and camera and sound packages dedicated to broadcast journalism and documentary field production, our students create and produce:

We also maintain and program our own cable-access channel, TV-Orange, Channel 6 in Orange, Calif. (also broadcast on Channel 99 in U-verse), which reaches the entire Los Angeles and Southern California market. This enables us to produce shows such as our weekly newscast live over our own channel, and a live broadcast-quality production of all home football games, and other campus events.

+ - You'll Study

Along with a broad liberal arts education, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of production, including single and multi-camera shooting and directing, cinematography, editing and sound
  • How to research and write for news or 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
  • In Broadcast Journalism: How to investigate and create broadcast packages for breaking news, sports, and arts and entertainment
  • In Documentary Production: How to develop, shoot and edit a quality documentary

+ - Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate strong research, writing, reporting and storytelling skills that are appropriate to professional expectations in broadcast journalism or documentary filmmaking.
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze current news and documentary market conditions and business models and then evaluate the marketability and viability of their skills and work within that market.

  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to use technology and other craft areas – cinematography, videography, sound, editing – to enhance the stories they choose to pursue as they are developed from the script and interviews to complete, visually compelling narratives.

  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to work in a professional, collaborative environment appropriate to broadcast news or documentary filmmaking, either on location or in the studio

+ - Curriculum Structure

The curriculum is designed to move you toward a thorough understanding of these fields and to prepare you for your capstone project, as follows:


In NWD 103 Broadcast News  you learn the basics of producing a TV news story in the field from start to finish, laying the foundation for many aspects of nonfiction storytelling. In TWP 114/114L Introduction to Television Production: Studio Lab  you learn how to use a studio and studio equipment to produce a show.

In FP 115 Editing I you will learn both techniques and concepts of piecing together a story In this class rooted in technical, hands-on training.

NWD 116 Introduction to Television Production: Location gives students core training in nonfiction storytelling in the field (as opposed to in the studio), examining in-the-field techniques such as interviews on the fly and capturing the documentary scene.

In FTV 130 Introduction to Visual Storytelling you will learn the basics of how we use image and sound to communicate ideas and stories.

In FP 133 Audio Techniques you will learn the basics of how to record and edit sound effectively, and in NWD 232 Electronic Cinematography for News and Documentary you will prepare to effectively capture the visuals needed for a nonfiction story, through appropriate lighting and shot composition.

TWP 240 The Business of Television provides an overview of the history of the field, offering context for the state of television today. NWD 307 Mass Media Law and Ethics  will help you think critically about the legal and ethical issues--from the First Amendment to copyright laws--related to news and documentary storytelling.

When you’re ready to test your skills, NWD 490 Independent Internship gets you out in the field, typically in internships located in Orange County or Los Angeles.

Beyond the core, you have a choice of pursuing the course of study or “track” that suits your interest in either documentary or news/broadcast journalism. Four courses are recommended for each discipline, although you may also mix-and-match documentary and news/broadcast journalism classes. The recommended track courses are as follows:


NWD 321 The Documentary Tradition provides an overview of the history of documentary film from the 1920s until today, examining the ways in which technology and the socio-political currents of the times have influenced the evolution of the documentary form. NWD 341 Investigative Journalism prepares you to use investigative techniques to tell nonfiction stories. In NWD 335 Documentary Production you learn to produce documentaries, “from soup to nuts,” and in NWD 380 Community Voices you learn the basics of social-issue documentary storytelling while producing a film for a local non-profit organization.


In TWP 246 History of Television you’ll learn the story of the medium in which you’ll be working, including the events over the decades that have influenced the development of television. In NWD 203 Broadcast News II you’ll build on your field-reporting, news-knowledge and story-mining skills of NWD 103 Broadcast News. Your story assignments will include beat reporting and extensive live reporting.  NWD 309 Advanced Broadcast Newswriting is an intensive, writing-only course designed to improve your all-important broadcast-writing skills. The world and media change with light speed, but writing remains the most vital skill to perfect for producers, reporters, hosts, anchors, et al.

TWP 311 Advanced Multi-Camera TV Production builds upon the basic skills you learned in TWP 114/114L Introduction to Television Production: Studio with both studio and field multi-camera productions. Audio, graphics, producing, directing behind the camera; reporting, hosting, play-by-play broadcasting—you’ll do it all, always “live-to-tape,” often live over Dodge’s operated cable-channel (broadcast into the Orange County-Los Angeles #2 market).


You can choose among a variety of courses to complete 9 upper division units that enable you to further explore your particular area of interest. Offerings vary by semester but include such courses as NWD 345 Wildlife and Environmental Filmmaking, NWD 376 International Documentary Production, TWP 303 Producing Reality Television, NWD 346 Networking in New York and DC. Some of these courses are offered in Interterm or summer, so check the current schedule to see what’s available when.



In NWD 496 Documentary Pre-Production Senior Thesis I you will spend the semester planning and pre-producing your thesis film. In NWD 497 Documentary Post-Production Senior Thesis II you will edit and complete your thesis film, prepping them for outreach and distribution as you graduate.


In NWD 431 Producing the News Magazine Television Series you’ll produce longer-form stories suitable for a magazine-style show.

And in NWD 432 Producing the Newscast Dodge’s weekly, live newscast you’ll enjoy the culminating experience for news/broadcast-journalism majors and minors. Chapman News Live is presently the only live, television newscast covering Orange County, Calif. In this repeatable class you’ll have the opportunity to explore all of the 20-25 roles needed to produce a live newscast. 

+ - Degree Requirements

B.F.A. in Broadcast Journalism and Documentary Degree Requirements

Core requirements (30 credits)

NWD 103 Broadcast News

TWP 114/114L

Introduction to Television Production: Studio Lab

FP 115

Editing I
NWD 116 Introduction to Television Production: Location
FTV 130 Introduction to Visual Storytelling
FP 133 Audio Techniques
NWD 232 Electronic Cinematography for News & Documentary
TWP 240 The Business of Television
NWD 307 Mass Media Law and Ethics
NWD 490 Independent Internship

one of the following (3 credits)

TWP 246 History of Television
NWD 321 The Documentary Tradition

 one of the following (3 credits)

NWD 203 Broadcast News II
NWD 341 Investigative Journalism

 one of the following (3 credits)

NWD 309 Advanced Broadcast News Writing
NWD 335
Documentary Production

 one of the following (3 credits)

TWP 311 Advanced Multi-Camera Field Production
NWD 380 Community Voices: Documentary Workshop

Advanced Production Sequence (6 credits) 
complete one of the following six-credit news or documentary sequence

news sequence

NWD 431
Producing the News Magazine Television Series
NWD 432
Producing the Newscast

 documentary sequence

NWD 496 Documentary Pre-Production Senior Thesis I
NWD 497
Documentary Post-Production, Senior Thesis II

 three upper division elective course (9 credits) recommended electives for documentary

NWD 323
Trans-Cultural Documentary
NWD 345 Wildlife and Environmental Filmmaking
NWD 375
International Documentary Pre-Production
NWD 376 International Documentary Production
NWD 377
International Documentary Post - Production
NWD 378 Documentary Editing
NWD 389
Cross-Cultural Documentary
NWD 416
Expedition Documentary

recommended electives for news

TWP 303 Producing Reality Television
NWD 341 Investigative Journalism
NWD 346 Networking in New York and DC
NWD 403 Advanced News Videography
NWD 408 Topics in Broadcast Journalism
NWD 408A Broadcast Journalism: Anchor and Interview Workshop
NWD 408B
Topic in Broadcast Journalism: Sports Reporting
NWD 408C Broadcast Journalism: Film and Entertainment Reporting
NWD 409 Advanced Television Reporting
ENG 410 Panther Workshop
NWD 411 Sports Broadcasting
NWD 416 Expedition Documentary

+ - Faculty

Core Faculty

Sally Rubin

Jeff Swimmer

Pete Weitzner

Affiliated Faculty

Michael Albright

John Currey

Johanna Demetraka

Adrian Maher

Bill Megalos

Ann Owens

Timothy Wheeler

+ - Career Resources

+ - Program FAQs

If you know what you’re doing, your time at Chapman will be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips on internships, graduation, studying abroad, and more, to help things go more smoothly.

» Broadcast Journalism and Documentary Program FAQs
  • Featured
  • News
  • Events

"Production focused program"

Professor Pete Weitzner discusses the program.

Making a world of difference through documentary filmmaking