University of Vermont students have a new minor to consider this fall: Reporting and Documentary Storytelling.

The minor iexamines the art of storytelling through many disciplinary lenses, and emphasizes real-world experience through internships and other hands-on experiences. Students can choose from 25 existing courses to craft their own direction: making documentaries for Netflix, producing podcasts for public radio, or creating interactive graphics and maps for digital media. Participating students might plan to work in newsrooms, but the program aims to cultivate core skills that can be used in many types of media, according to Richard Watts, codirector of the effort.

"We know that storytelling is so important, however you do it. It's not meant to be vocational in that we're training you to go get a job in print," Watts said. "It's the classic liberal arts thing. We're training you to be a good writer and thinker and take these skills to whatever you do."

Courses include the history of television, advanced screenwriting, video production, photography and the art of the essay. The minor includes faculty who teach English, art, environmental studies, sociology, political science and other subjects.

Students intern in local media organizations including The Other PaperVermont Business MagazineVT Digger, Vermont Public Radio, the Burlington Free Press and WCAX-TV.

The new reporting and documentary storytelling minor is co-directed by Professor of English Greg Bottoms, Associate Professor of Film and Television Studies Deb Ellis, and Director for the Center on Research on Vermont Richard Watts.

Take an in-depth look at the minor in this recent story by Molly Walsh for Seven Days


Kevin Coburn