SOJC: What Will Your Story Be? - Documentary Journalism


Noor Abu Rabie

Senior, journalism and cinema studies, SOJC Honors student
International Cultural Service Program representative, Oxford Human Rights Fellow
Home country: Palestine

When Noor Abu Rabie first joined the SOJC as an international student from Palestine, she knew she wanted to spend her career amplifying unheard voices through storytelling. But it wasn’t until she took a documentary production class that she realized she could use a visual medium to do it.

“It humanizes people when you see how they react, how they talk, where they live, and who they are,” she said. “It adds an emotional element that connects the viewer with these people. I realized that’s what I want to do.”

It’s not enough to simply document people’s problems, however. Abu Rabie wants to solve them. By combining her cinema studies major with documentary production and solutions journalism, she aims to spur audiences to action. For her honors thesis documentary, she hopes to tell a story about human rights and social justice.

With international award-winning filmmakers as professors and documentary programs like the SOJC’s NW Stories at her fingertips, Abu Rabie has developed all the practical skills she needs to launch her filmmaking career.

“It basically gave me the keys for my future startup,” she said.

“I have the opportunity to learn from very high-profile professors. They’ve helped me enhance my skills to be able to produce a professional documentary for my honors thesis.”
Noor Abu Rabie


two students filming in Allen Hall with a camera and a slate


a student connects microphone wires in preparation to interview a seated person


two students hold camera equipment


Students in the SOJC's multimedia journalism program use cameras and audio equipment to record personal stories of a community member
Add a Master’s in Multimedia Journalism to Your Degree

In the flexible, Portland-based Multimedia Journalism Master’s program, students get hands-on experience in visual, explanatory, and narrative storytelling and build the journalistic and technical skills to stand out in the field, from flying drones and shooting 360-degree footage to editing compelling audio and video. Graduates of the program regularly land jobs at well-known companies and nonprofits, from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Oregon Public Broadcasting to Blue Chalk Media, Muse Storytelling, and Intel.

Expand Your Options

Meet the Documentary Faculty


portrait of Mitchell Block in front of a colorful screen

Mitchell Block

Jon Anderson Endowed Chair in Journalism and Communication
Professor of documentary studies and production

Mitchell Block filmed No Lies, a story about sexual assault, in 1973, when he was a student at New York University. Today, it is considered one of the best short films ever made and is on the Library of Congress’s National Register of Films. The executive producer of HBO's Oscar-winning Big Mama, Emmy-winning PBS documentary Carrier, and Oscar-nominated Poster Girl, Block joined the SOJC faculty in 2020 as the Jon Anderson Endowed Chair in Journalism and Communication and Professor of Documentary and Film Studies.


portrait of Gabriela Martinez with the Allen Hall stairs in the background

Gabriela Martínez ’05

Professor of media studies and documentary studies and production; Head of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department

Gabriela Martínez is an international award-winning documentary filmmaker who has produced, directed, or edited more than 12 ethnographic and social documentaries. Co-creator of the Latino Roots in Oregon Project, a faculty/student- and grassroots-led documentary film and historical digital repository, Martínez specializes in international communication and the political economy of communication. This year, she developed a new and innovative way of teaching by altering her class to allow for documentaries to be made remotely during spring term. She was recently appointed head of the UO’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department.


Ed Madison converses with students

Ed Madison ’12

Associate professor of journalism

Ed Madison became a founding producer at CNN at the age of 22. He then produced projects for most of the major networks and studios—including CBS, ABC, A&E, Paramount, Disney, and Discovery—and contributed to the success of many top-rated series that helped define the lifestyle and travel television genre, including “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” “A&E Top 10,” and “Entertainment Tonight.” A faculty member of the UO Board of Trustees, Madison is an innovative educator and researcher who leads several student programs, including the Journalistic Learning Initiative, The Student Voice, Black Student Magazine, Global Stories, and NW Stories.


Jake Swantko holds a video camera and runs next to a cyclist who he is filming
What our alumni say

Jake Swantko ’11

Oscar-winning director of photography, Icarus
Producer, The Dissident
2021 Eric Allen Outstanding Young Alum

“The greatest asset the SOJC gave me is the moral and ethical integrity as a journalist and as a storyteller—to follow truth and understand the diaphanous perspectives of that truth.”

Watch Jake’s Tribute Video