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Learn the Art

of Documentary Storytelling

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Bring Your Passion

Leave With Professional, Crafted Stories

Graduate Certificate
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Expand Your Knowledge

Radio, Photo, and Film

One Week Intensives
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Salt Story Archive

Culture, People, Landscapes

Explore Work

Salt Institute for Documentary Studies

Since 1973, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies has taught students from all over the United States and around the world to become truthful, thorough, creative and responsible storytellers and documentarians.

Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies

Motivated individuals from all walks of life come to Salt at MECA to focus on documentary storytelling. Whether you are beginning your career or you are a seasoned veteran within your field, our Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies will allow you to develop new skills and build expertise. Our faculty members are experts in their fields of specialization and provide the foundation for engaging and empowering passionate storytellers to create great work.

Bring your ideas, questions, and unfinished projects— leave with a professional quality body of beautifully crafted, in-depth stories. Learn all about the world of documentary storytelling and how to navigate it. Take the time to critically examine your work and the work of your classmates in your track in an intense and collaborative peer environment.

There are two tracks to choose from: Short Film & Photography or Radio & Podcasting. The one-semester program begins in Fall 2017 and consists of 15 to 18 credits of study.

Study Your Craft with Seasoned Professionals
  • Annie Avilés, founding member of the media studio Ruraliste, is a writer and radio maker whose work focuses on the environment, immigration, and rural life.
  • Anne Bailey is a photojournalist and filmmaker in charge of visual storytelling for PRI’s Across Women’s Lives.
  • Fulbright scholar Shane Thomas McMillan is a Berlin-based documentary filmmaker, writer, photographer, and educator from western Montana.
  • Writer Mira Ptacin is a Salt alum and a published and award-winning creative nonfiction author.
Salt Alumni Impact Communities Locally and Globally
  • Patty Wight, Award Winning Reporter, MPBN, Portland, Maine
  • Jessica Alpert, Producer, Modern Love Podcast, WBUR, Boston, MA
  • Morrigan McCarthy, Photo Editor, The New York Times
  • Emily Kwong, Reporter, Raven Radio, KCAW, Sitka, AK
  • Gregory Warner, International Correspondent, National Public Radio
  • Roger Smith, Tourism Division and International Relations, Matsushima, Japan
  • Tina Antolini, Host and Producer, GRAVY Podcast, Southern Foodways Alliance
  • Zoe Chace, Producer, This American Life, National Public Radio
  • Trevor Brown Jr, Freelance Photographer, former Team Photographer for the Denver Broncos  and Colorado Rockies
  • Liz Mak, Producer, Snap Judgment Podcast, WNYC Studios
  • David Y. Lee, Photographer, former White House photographer and formerly with Time, Newsweek
  • Matt Kielty, Radiolab, WNYC Radio
  • Krista Mahr, former South Asia Bureau Chief for Time; freelance writer, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Diane Cook, Author, former producer for This American Life, author of the acclaimed book of short stories, Man V. Nature
  • Leigh Ann Henion, New York Times Bestselling author, North Carolina
  • Maisie Crow, Award-Winning Filmmaker, Brooklyn, NY
  • Kat Baulu, Producer, National Film Board of Canada, Montreal Canada
  • Andres Gonzalez, Light Work Artist-In-Residence, Vallejo, California
  • Nicolas Tanner, Magnum Foundation fellowship recipient, award winning freelance photographer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Salt Story Archive

Since 1973, the students of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies have captured the spirit of the culture, people, and landscapes of Maine. The wealth of collective work is now available online here.

Browse Salt’s archive and you’ll find yourself jumping from a tale of lobstering in the ’70’s to a story exploring the lives of new immigrants looking to call Maine home.

You’ll discover work documenting everything from the back-to-the-land movement, coastal living, boatbuilders, hunting, and migrant farmers to gender diversity, alleged alien abductions, and cold-case crimes.

View Salt Alumni Work
Artist Credit and Resources
  • Slide 1 of Header: Bridget Ganske, The Keeping of Bees2009
  • Slide 2: Nicolas Tanner, Torch, 2011
  • Slide 3: Radio student Jessica Alpert, Salt ’08 gathers some ambient sound. Photo: Tommy Galloway, Salt ’08
  • Slide 4: Alan Hunter, Old Orchard Beach Off Season2011


Submit Question, Comment


  • Alumni
  • Tavia Gilbert Salt ’01

    Tavia Gilbert Salt ’01 Receives Best Female Narrator Audie Award Tavia Gilbert, who attended the Salt . . .

    Tavia Gilbert Salt ’01 Receives Best Female Narrator Audie Award Tavia Gilbert, who attended the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies in 2001, received a 2017 Best Female Narrator Audie Award for her narration of Be Frank With Me, by Julia Claiborne Johnson. Other nominees included Robin Miles (Another Brooklyn: A Novel), Juliet . . .Read More

  • Alex Acquisto Salt ’11

    A news story recently written by Alex Acquisto Salt ’11 recounted the heroic actions of jogger Rachel Borch . . .

    A news story recently written by Alex Acquisto Salt ’11 recounted the heroic actions of jogger Rachel Borch during her terrifying encounter with a rabid raccoon, which she managed to drown in a puddle and made headlines: “Little did she know she was about to be attacked by a rabid raccoon she would end up […]Read More

  • Heidi Sistare & Kelly Shetron Salt '12

    Stories are how we see and understand each other. Stories are how people connect.

    Writers, artists, and friends Heidi Sistare and Kelly Shetron value creative partnerships so highly they started their own project that explores how collaborative relationships impact creative work. “The creative process can be mysterious,” they observed. “What did it take to get to the finished product? How many revisions? How . . .Read More

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Students hone their skills to tell a compelling story through sound alone.

Short Documentary Film
Students elevate their work to reflect the cutting edge of video storytelling.

Students learn how to tell a story by creating a strong visual narrative.

Students are challenged to find stories, explore them fully, and present them.

View Courses
  • Fifteen weeks at Salt rearranged 80% of my brain. The person I was when I arrived at Salt was not the person I was when I left. I walked away with more skills, ideas, and confidence than I could’ve ever imagined.

    Paula Mauro 

What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2015 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

57% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

47% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.


Work as professional artists


Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors


Founded a business


Work as craft artists


Work as fine artists


Work as art teachers


Pursued an MFA after graduation


Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers


Make art in their personal time

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