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Archive for the ‘Bill Gentile’ Category

WASHINGTON, DC, 1 May 2018 — The killing of 10 journalists in Afghanistan yesterday was an attack not only on the brothers and the sisters of our craft. It was an assault on Truth itself.

Some 25 people, including nine journalists, died in a double suicide bombing in the Afghan capital of Kabul. In a separate incident, unidentified gunmen shot to death a tenth Afghan journalist in Khost Province. Members of ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Yesterday’s victims, and scores of other colleagues killed and wounded around the world, are some of the most valuable — and the most vulnerable — members of our guild. They are Afghans in Afghanistan. Mexicans in Mexico. Salvadorans in El Salvador. Most are local hires whom Western journalists like me depend on for background, context and contacts to help us decipher their countries and their cultures so that we can do our job.

They toil at the grass roots level of information gathering. They are driven by a profound sense of duty to find and to disseminate Truth about their own countries. And like most Westerners, they believe that Truth is an essential ingredient for any free and democratic society.

But they also are the most vulnerable members of our craft. Mexico, for example, is one of the world’s most dangerous countries to be a journalist. At least 104 journalists have been murdered there since 2000, while 25 others have disappeared and are presumed dead. None of the dead or disappeared are foreigners. All are Mexican. Impunity is nearly 100 percent.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, some 1,900 journalists and media workers were killed around the world between 1992 and 2018. The killings, threats and intimidation of journalists have profound and long-lasting impact. As I learned during a trip to Mexico last year to produce the pilot of a documentary series about freelance foreign correspondents, many Mexican journalists impose self-censorship as a safety precaution. Some media outlets have simply shut down.

As a result, our access to Truth is diminished. Our understanding of the world grows dark.

Yesterday’s attack on journalists was a tremendous loss not just for Afghanistan. It was a tremendous loss for us all.

– Bill Gentile
School of Communication, American University
Founder, Foreign Correspondence Network (FCN)
Creator, FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile documentary series. See the sizzle reel HERE: https://vimeo.com/254574654

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WASHINGTON, DC, 20 April 2018 — Dean Jeffrey Rutenbeck takes time outside the School of Communication to congratulate graduate student Kristian Hernandez for having won the 2018 AU-Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellowship.

It is Rutenbeck’s generous support that funds AU’s continuing partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Kristian’s winning proposal for the fellowship explores what is being done by the U.S. and Central American governments to repatriate the remains of hundreds of migrants who die each year in pursuit of the American Dream.

In El Salvador and Guatemala, he will visit the grave sites containing the remains of two migrants he helped recover for a story as an immigration reporter with The Monitor newspaper in McAllen, Texas.

During interviews at human rights groups, consulates and with forensic anthropologists, he will determine how bureaucracy perpetuates the long, dark night suffered by thousands of families unable to find closure and peace over their missing family members.

This story will be part one of a three-part series that starts in Central America and continues in Mexico and ends in Texas. As part of this project he will write a 2,500 word story with photographs, and on-camera interviews.

(Photos by Bill Gentile)

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WASHINGTON, DC, 1 March 2017 – I delivered a few remarks at the inauguration of the photo exhibit, “Self Portrait of a Nation,” (Ojos Propios) at the Peruvian embassy in the nation’s capital. Standing to my left is Peruvian Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Pareja.

The exhibit focuses on images made by “citizen photojournalists” in some of the most remote and underprivileged corners of Peru. The exhibit is the result of a decade-long effort by photographer Andrés Longhi.

My two most important takeaways from the event are: (1) Technology has enabled non-professionals with access to digital cameras and the Internet to take part in the representation of their own communities, their own countries and their own realities. (2) The ability to take part in the global conversation that we call “journalism” validates and empowers the practitioners and their subjects.

(Still photos by Esther Gentile)

You can see the event here: https://www.facebook.com/EmbassyPeruInTheUSA/videos/1946719012056744/

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WASHINGTON, DC, 14 January 2018 — I’m delighted to update friends, colleagues and supporters that FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile soon will be moving to the distribution phase.

We’ve scheduled a screening this week at American University, a generous supporter of this project. The event will be held at the class of Matt Cipollone, whose editing of the documentary serves as his graduate degree thesis project. Matt graduates with a Masters Degree this May.

Following the screening, my plan is to deliver the film to the artist who will provide the sound/music foundation of the documentary, and who will mix the sound and music into the final cut. Then we take it to potential distributors. It’s been a long journey, filled with intense, hard work, much learning and a tremendous amount of fun with friends, new and old.

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to watch the FREELANCERS “sizzle reel,” which Matt also edited. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr5ZwWrUD5E&t=8s

— Bill Gentile

 

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WASHINGTON, DC, 21 December 2017 — I produced this film, Fire and Ice on the Mountain, on my most recent assignment for American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS). I traveled to Peru in June to make the film, following a Swedish anthropologist investigating the link between religion and climate change.

Fire and Ice explores how the melting glacier of Peru’s Huaytapallana mountain impacts Peruvians’ cosmovision or, their spiritual relationship with nature and their understanding of their place in it.

I’ve worked as a freelance foreign correspondent on similar stories in other parts of the world. And that is no coincidence. As the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, and as humankind invades deeper and deeper into the dwindling undeveloped regions of the world, the inhabitants of these regions are squeezed tighter and tighter in the vise of “modernity.” And they are forced to either fight back, adapt — or both.

It was fascinating for me to witness, first-hand, how Peruvian pilgrims celebrating the Andean New Year, adapt to the changes imposed on them by the disappearing glacier atop the mountain of Huaytapallana, just outside the bustling city of Huancayo, some 120 miles east of Lima.

As I do on the vast majority of assignments these days, I employed the methodology that I refer to as “backpack journalism,” to make this film. Backpack journalism means, “one story, one camera, one properly trained video journalist.” This is the methodology that I brought to American University’s School of Communication in the early 2000s, when I founded the Backpack Journalism Project. With the exception of the drone footage shot by colleague and friend Carolina Quinteros, I shot, wrote, and narrated the entire film. My wife, Esther, edited the story.

We hope you enjoy the film.

(Photo by Bill Gentile)

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WASHINGTON, DC, 15 December 2017 — YOU are THE BEST!!! Thank you ALL so much for your generosity and your grace! What a great campaign it was, with the contributions coming in right up to the very last minute. Forty days of mostly direct and some indirect contributions add up to a total of over $25K. We believe ours is an important story, and your support of our FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile Indiegogo campaign takes us one step closer to telling it.

Your contributions support more than a campaign or a project. By sharing and contributing to FREELANCERS you are supporting the dedicated men and women who toil overseas to ascertain the truths that we need every day to make crucial decisions about our lives and the life of the countries where we live.

We are thrilled. We are humbled. We are invigorated by your solidarity and your support.

THANK YOU!!!

We have some EXTRA good news to share. American University’s School of Communication, where I teach, this week unveiled a Graduate Assistantship dedicated specifically to my Foreign Correspondence class and to related activities. According to the announcement, “The selected student will work closely with Professor Gentile on a variety of projects and tasks related to his Foreign Correspondence class, his FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile documentary series, and AU’s membership in the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium, all of which are designed to promote awareness surrounding, and the practice of, foreign correspondence.”

For more information, see  http://www.american.edu/soc/admissions/graduate-financing.cfm?utm_source=print&utm_medium=vanity%5Furl&utm_campaign=gradfunding#collapse-4778110

NONE of this could have been done without you, your awareness, your trust in us, your sharing, your contributions. We, the craft of foreign correspondence, and truth itself, are indebted to you.

Our team returns now to the delivery of the perks which you all so richly deserve, to the finishing touches on our documentary, to mapping out the remaining episodes of the series, to our search for distributors.

Please continue to spread the word about FREELANCERS. And never hesitate to contact us with questions.

We’ll keep you posted about the release of our documentary. Until then, thanks once again for your support. We are deeply grateful to EVERY ONE OF YOU!

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MEXICO CITY, 8 March 2017 — Gerardo Carrillo (L) is the founder of the Associated Press (AP) video unit in Mexico City. When I knew him while covering the conflicts raging through Central America in the 1980s, he was a freelance television cameraman. I caught up with Carrillo at a march protesting violence against women — a malady that still affects Mexican society today. In this picture, Carrillo edits the video he shot before transmitting it to the AP office in the United States. This is something that we never imagined when we first began covering the region. Technology has allowed Carrillo to become a backpack journalist.

I was in Mexico to shoot the pilot for a series of documentaries on freelance foreign correspondents. It’s about a fascinating new breed of journalists filling the vacuum left by mainstream media closing bureaus and cutting back on staff correspondents around the world. Carrillo now is a staff video journalist at the AP. He was an essential contact who guided me through my 10-day visit to Mexico.

I’m now working on the rough cut of the series, “FREELANCERS” with Bill Gentile.

I believe it is critical to tell people what real journalists really do, particularly in the face of attacks and accusations about “fake news.” Follow us on Facebook.

Photo by Matt Cipollone.

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