we are proud To have hosted our flagship summer documentary program for ten years—and to have hosted more than 100 college students, emerging media producers.

The program concluded in 2017.

Part summer camp, part production house, Media Institute’s Summer Documentary Program was a seven-week intensive and exciting adventure.  The city served as a hands-on laboratory as students made video documentaries about local solutions to global issues. Participants were immersed in hardcore classroom academics and hands-on production experience; a potent recipe that helped students mature their passions into practical job skills, and produce engaging, professional-quality documentaries. We worked with award-winning filmmakers, radio personalities and local politicos to teach about how media projects can effectively bring about positive social change.

“The Media Institute was a transformative experience; it played a huge role as seeing myself as an activist, an intellectual, and a community member.”
— Rose Holdorf, Macalester College ‘11

Program Structure

The majority of the program took place in Portland, Oregon, with the exception of the first week when students lived in a cabin on the Oregon Coast or at the base of Mt. Hood. This week was a remarkable opportunity for students to tune out the distractions of city life, immerse themselves in coursework, and meet each other.  Students attended seminars on interview styles, learned to build engaging narratives, and still had time to hike the beautiful mountain trails or sandy beach. The remaining seven weeks of the program were spent in the city, where students attended classes at Portland State University and worked on their projects throughout Portland.


In the past, we were able to secure home-stays for most students. This availability is reliant on the number of hosts that volunteer their space to Media Institute. We try our best to accommodate every student with a host, and to assist with other housing options.

Tuition & Academic Credit

Program tuition is $2,250. This covers instructor and staff costs, camera expenses, classroom materials, and food and lodging during the first week at “camp.” Students may choose to arrange academic credit through an independent study setup at their home-university.


We try to keep our tuition as low as possible, but we also provide a limited number of scholarships for students. Once accepted, a student may apply for a a scholarship, which is awarded as a tuition-offset. We consider all requests based on a student’s current financial aid package, and on his/her specific request. We try to best accommodate all requests.

I was new to Portland and new to adulthood and new to media and that summer I was just beginning to learn what intersectional political work entailed. Those conversations about what to cover, why to cover it, and how we as media makers relate to larger social and political movements will certainly stick with me for a long time.
— Eli Plenk, Hampshire College '13