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Posts Tagged ‘American University School of Communication’

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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WASHINGTON, DC, 21 April 2017 — Here’s a nice little story about the “Backpack Documentary en Español” class that I launched in Fall 2016 at American University’s School of Communication. It was written by one of my students.

To read it, click HERE.

 

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WASHINGTON, DC, 26 March 2017 — American University’s School of Communication and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting co-hosted an exciting, informative and much-needed presentation and panel discussion titled, “Women In Conflict.” From left to right, Cassandra Vinograd, Natalie Keyssar and Hannah Allam, held the attention of a full-house crowd — in awe of their knowledge, their poise and their presentations — for more than an hour and a half. They told students, colleagues, working professionals, and the general public how to stay safe while covering conflict abroad — and at home.
(Photos by Danielle Criss.)

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WASHINGTON, DC, 25 March 2017 — Join us tomorrow, Sunday 26 March, for this important event. This panel is free and open to the public. Please RSVP HERE.

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MEXICO CITY, 8 March 2017 — This is a screen grab from video shot in Mexico City on Wednesday 8 March 2017 by American University graduate teaching assistant Matt Cipollone for the pilot, “Freelancers” film. Gerardo Carrillo (L) is a long-time friend and colleague from my days working and living in Central America. We both were freelancers at the time. He later founded the Associated Press (AP) video unit in Mexico City. Journalists like Gerardo often are sources of critical information and support for people like me, when I travel to foreign countries and work, once again, as a freelancer. Gerardo is seen here covering a march on International Women’s Day on Avenida de la Reforma in the Mexican capital. #BillGentileFreelancersFilms

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