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Archive for the ‘journalism’ Category

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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WASHINGTON, DC, 24 October 2017 — I’m working on the rough cut of my documentary, “FREELANCERS,” with Bill Gentile, and can’t help but think of where it all began. It was 40 years ago that I finished course work in graduate school and went to Mexico for an internship at the Mexico City News, and where I started working as a freelance foreign correspondent. This ID was the first in a long series. These documents tell the long story of my career.

This past March I returned to Mexico to shoot the pilot for what I hope will be a series on freelance foreign correspondents. It’s a fascinating new breed of journalists filling the vacuum left by mainstream media closing bureaus and cutting back on staff correspondents around the world.

I believe this is an important story to tell, particularly in the face of attacks and accusations about “fake news.”

Come with me as I tell the story on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/freelancerswithbillgentile/

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HUAYTAPALLANA, Peru, 21 June 2017 – Peruvians gather on a ridge overlooking the glacier and lake below to celebrate the Andean New Year. In recent years the glacier has lost much of its mass, which scientists believe is the result of global climate change. The depletion of the ice means the depletion of an important source of water for the communities located below this peak, while stands at 14,000 feet above sea level.

I’m on assignment for American University’s (AU) Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS), producing a short film about religion and climate change in this South American country. Citizens of this region maintain a deep spiritual relationship with the mountain and its glacier, which are the providers of life-sustaining water.

About 71 percent of the world’s tropical glaciers are located in Peru.

As usual when I take on these assignments, I’m employing the “Backpack Journalism” model that I introduced to AU’s School of Communication (SOC) shortly after my arrival there and launched the Backpack Journalism Project. The methodology boils down to one story, one camera and one properly trained visual journalist using equipment that he/she can stuff into one backpack.

At 14,000 feet above sea level, it’s a challenge muscling around any gear at all, even the new, relatively light Sony PXW-Z150 cameras recently acquired by the SOC.

(Photo by Bill Gentile.)

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LIMA, Peru, 16 June 2017 — This morning’s view from my hotel window in the Peruvian capital where I arrived last night. I’m on assignment for American University’s (AU) Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS).

I’ll be heading for Huancayo tomorrow, and then to the glacier at Huaytapallana to make a short film on religion and climate change. As usual, I’ll employ the “backpack journalism” model that I introduced at the university years ago. This means one story, one camera, one properly trained visual storyteller.

I’ll keep you posted along the way.

(Photo by Bill Gentile.)

 

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WASHINGTON, DC, 7 May 2017 — During a March trip to Nogales, Mexico, I interviewed Ioan Grillo (R), freelance foreign correspondent based in Mexico City who works with The New York Times and Time magazine.

American University Graduate Teaching Assistant Matt Cipollone and I accompanied Grillo during much of his reporting trip for this story, published in today’s New York Times. We also worked with photojournalist Patrick Tombola, whose images are featured in Grillo’s story.

Matt and I were in Mexico working on my upcoming documentary film, “Freelancers.” The film explores the new breed of journalists filling the void left by mainstream media outlets retreating from foreign news coverage. Matt and I are in the post-production stage now.

On our journey, Matt and I used the “backpack journalism” methodology that I introduced to American University’s School of Communication shortly after I arrived at the school in 2003. True to the “backpack journalism” model, I typically travel and work alone, which enables me to deliver a more immediate, more intimate story than achievable with a large crew and a pile of gear. However, since I am a “thread” to be seen throughout the current film and those that hopefully will follow, a two-person team was essential.

Having said that, Matt and I worked with a bare minimum of gear — only what we could carry onto a plane in our backpacks. As you soon will see, it worked.

Matt carried his Sony HDSLR-type camera and a directional microphone. We took two small pocket-size recorders, with lavalier microphones. We attached one to our principle character and the other to myself, as I’m the thread through the pilot project and through the overall series. I shot both stills and some video with my iPhone 6+.

Working the “backpack” methodology has positive as well as negative aspects. On the positive side, Matt and I were able to move more quickly, weighed down by less gear, to travel in smaller vehicles that are more agile on the road. On the negative side, working alone can be a handicap, since the practitioner is not able to share ideas with a colleague working on the same story. And, of course, it can be more dangerous working alone than with a team.

Fortunately, we worked well together and were not affected by any of the negative aspects of the methodology.

(Photo by Matt Cipollone)

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WASHINGTON, DC, 7 May 2017 — American University Graduate Teaching Assistant Matt Cipollone and I accompanied New York Times freelance foreign correspondent Ioan Grillo during much of Grillo’s reporting trip for this story. We also had the pleasure of working with photojournalist Patrick Tombola, whose images are featured in Grillo’s story.

Matt and I were in Nogales, Mexico, working on my upcoming documentary film, “Freelancers.” The film explores the new breed of journalists filling the void left by mainstream media outlets retreating from foreign news coverage. Matt and I are in the post-production stage right now.

On our journey, Matt and I used the “backpack journalism” methodology that I introduced to American University’s School of Communication shortly after I arrived at the school in 2003. True to the “backpack journalism” model, I typically travel and work alone, which enables me to deliver a more immediate, more intimate story than achievable with a large crew and a pile of gear. However, since I am a “thread” to be seen throughout the current film and those that hopefully will follow, a two-person team was essential.

Having said that, Matt and I worked with a bare minimum of gear — only what we could carry onto a plane in our backpacks. As you soon will see, it worked.

Matt carried his Sony HDSLR-type camera and a directional microphone. We took two small pocket-size recorders, with lavalier microphones. We attached one to our principle character and the other to myself, as I’m the thread through the pilot project and through the overall series. I shot both stills and some video with my iPhone 6+.

Working the “backpack” methodology has positive as well as negative aspects. On the positive side, Matt and I were able to move more quickly, weighed down by less gear, to travel in smaller vehicles that are more agile on the road. On the negative side, working alone can be a handicap, since the practitioner is not able to share ideas with a colleague working on the same story. And, of course, it can be more dangerous working alone than with a team.

Fortunately, we worked well together and were not affected by any of the negative aspects of the methodology.

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WASHINGTON, DC, 27 April 2017 — We are proud to announce that Erin McGoff (L) and Natalie Hutchison (R) are this year’s winners of the AU-Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellowships.

Erin will return to Laos, where she is producing her documentary, “This Little Land of Mines,” about explosives dropped by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War and that continue to wreak havoc on that tiny Asian country. Her fellowship is supported by American University’s School of Communication (SOC).

Natalie will journey to Chile to report on religion and climate change. Her fellowship is supported by American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS).

With Erin and Natalie are Dean Jeffrey Rutenbeck (L) and CLALS Director Eric Hershberg.

American University and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting are proud to announce these outstanding students as winners of this year’s fellowships. Each award is worth $2,500.00. Perhaps more importantly, these awards are bridges between the university and the professional world to which these students aspire to belong.

(Photos by Bill Gentile)

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