Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Foreign correspondent’

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.)

Read Full Post »

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)

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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)

Read Full Post »

MEXICO CITY, 8 March 2017 — Associated Press (AP) video journalist Gerardo Carrillo edits material he shot of a women’s march in the Mexican capital. I spent time with Gerardo while filming a pilot for the series, “Freelancers,” about the young, tech-savvy freelance foreign correspondents stepping into the void left by mainstream media retreating from overseas news coverage. Gerardo and I worked together in Central America during the 1980s. He founded the AP video unit in Mexico City, and still works there.

Journalists like Gerardo often provide critical support to freelancers like myself. I began my own career in Mexico in 1977 but have not worked there in many years. He’s using a laptop computer to edit his material before transmitting to the AP bureau in Washington, DC. This technology is part of what makes freelancing so viable today. The cost of global communication has plummeted since the days that Gerardo and I worked in Nicaragua and El Salvador. It’s truly a technology revolution. I’ve entered the post-production stage of the “Freelancers” project, and will be posting images and text as I move along. Please feel free to contact me with questions.

American University graduate student Matt Cipollone and I spent Spring Break shooting and producing the film. In addition to Gerardo, we spent time with a freelance foreign correspondent working with The New York Times and Time magazine; with a freelancer who works with USA Today and The Guardian; with a freelance documentary filmmaker; and with three still photographers.

This project is supported by American University’s School  of Communication, where I work in Washington, DC. I decided to produce the pilot for “Freelancers” in Mexico mostly because that’s where I landed as a freelancer right after graduate school at Ohio University, but also because it’s close to home and logistics would be less costly than some of the other countries and regions where I want to take this project. More on that later.

(Photo by Matt Cipollone)

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »