Posts Tagged ‘video journalism’

By Bill Gentile

WASHINGTON, DC, 2 June 2018 – Jon Sawyer, Founder and Executive Director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, addresses dinner guests at the Center’s “Beyond War Conference” at the National Press Club in the nation’s capital.

During his address, Sawyer emphasized the increasingly important role that freelance journalists play in today’s media landscape.

The Pulitzer event features two days of panels and workshops dealing with the issues of violence and conflict around the world – along with some of the most talented and accomplished journalists covering those issues. Most are freelancers. Among the panelists was Jason Motlagh, a multiple Pulitzer Center grantee who screened some clips from his upcoming documentary about the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

Just a few years ago I helped engineer a partnership between American University’s (AU) School of Communication and the Pulitzer Center. That relationship has helped co-sponsor international reporting fellowships for AU students traveling to Mexico, Thailand, Colombia, Borneo, Laos, Peru and, this fall, El Salvador. Some of those students attended the event last night.

The argument about freelancers is the core of my upcoming documentary series, FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile. My graduate teaching assistant, Matt Cipollone, and I traveled to Mexico in March 2017 to shoot the pilot episode. Matt has graduated from AU and now works as a freelancer.

Jason Motlagh is on the far right, with beard.

Guests view Motlagh’s Rohingya video.

Matt Cipollone documents the event.

(Photos by Bill Gentile)

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By Bill Gentile

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, 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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HAVANA, Cuba, 2 January 2017 – Cubans head for home after participating in a parade honoring the country’s Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias (FAR), or Revolutionary Armed Forces. Thousands of Cubans gathered in the Plaza de la Revolucion for the event.

Later in the day, while reviewing the images I made during the parade, I showed the pictures to a Cuban friend. This image is the last of the series that I’ve posted during the past several days. My friend looked at the people walking away from camera, and at the arrows painted on the street.

“Ah ha,” he said. “Moving forward and always to the left.”

(Photo by Bill Gentile)

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Reuters' The Wider Image for Photojournalists

WASHINGTON, DC, 27 December 2013 — This site by Reuters is rich in information about people who practice the craft on a professional level. See it here: http://widerimage.reuters.com.

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I. The Gangs

(Photo by Prensa Libre)

WASHINGTON, DC, 15 August 2013 — This is the first of three short films I made on gangs and religion in Guatemala. Using the methodology that we refer to as “backpack video journalism,” I documented Robert Brenneman as he conducted follow-up research to his book, “Homies + Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America.”
This first film is an overview of the gang-related violence that has wracked this Central American nation. To watch “The Gangs” on Vimeo, click https://vimeo.com/62125980.

Brenneman is an assistant Professor of Sociology at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont. His trip to Guatemala was sponsored by American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS.)

This was a tricky assignment, and proof once again how the technology we use today enables us to work effectively in difficult (read “dangerous”) situations. I took two cameras to shoot the three films. A Canon HDSLR and a Panasonic hand-held camcorder. For interviews and in areas where robbery (I hoped) was less of an issue, I used the larger, more intrusive camcorder. In more sketchy situations, I used the HDSLR. Even though its sound capabilities are far less than those of the camcorder with its two XLR inputs for directional and wireless mics, the Canon does fine if you know how to use it.

I hope you enjoy the films.

Bill Gentile

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08.opening session

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, 1 August 2013 – This is the opening session of the 4th meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) Sub-Group on Mass Media, which took place in St. Petersburg, Russia. During two days of meetings, we discussed citizen journalism, journalism education and training, and media coverage/perceptions of Russia and the United States. Past U.S. delegates have hailed from prominent media organizations, academia, and journalism non-governmental organizations.

U.S. delegates this year were:

Elizabeth Ballantine has been a director of the McClatchy Company since March 1998.  Ms. Ballantine was a director of Cowles Media Company, a position she had held since 1993. Since 1999, Ms. Ballantine has been president of EBA Associates, a consulting firm, and an Adjunct Professor of Russian history at The George Washington University.  From 1993 to 1999, she was an attorney in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin and Oshinsky LLP. From 1990 until 1993, she worked as a private consultant advising clients on international business investments. Ms. Ballentine sits on the Board of Directors of the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

Joyce Barnathan is the President of the International Center for Journalists, a non-profit organization that advances quality journalism in the digital era.  She is also on the Steering Committee of the Global Forum for Media Development, a network of 500 media assistance organizations that support the development of independent media. Previously, Barnathan served as the executive editor, Global Franchise, for BusinessWeek.

Charles Bierbauer has been dean of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, University of South Carolina, since it was created in 2002.  From 1981-2001, Bierbauer was a correspondent for CNN in Washington, and during the years of 1977 through 1981, he was an overseas correspondent for ABC News, first as Moscow Bureau Chief and later as the Bonn Bureau chief. Bierbauer worked in Vienna, Bonn, London and Philadelphia for Westinghouse Broadcasting, and was a free-lance reporter in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1968-69 while on an Edward R. Murrow Fellowship.

Scott Brauer is a photojournalist whose clients and publications include The New York Times, Fader magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Time Asia, That’s Shanghai, Epsilon (Greece), Vision magazine (China), Lufthansa, Bosch, Amity Foundation, Pfrang Association, Colorlines, World Magazine, Map Magazine (China), AM New York, and XAOC magazine. Brauer was a participant in the ICFJ’s U.S.-Russia Journalist Exchange Program in 2012, during which time he worked at the ITAR-TASS Photo Agency. He worked for daily newspapers in suburban Chicago, and Flint, Michigan and moved to China in 2007. He graduated with honors from the University of Washington in 2005 with dual degrees in philosophy and Russian literature and language.

Barbara Cochran is the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Journalism with the Missouri School of Journalism.  Cochran is based in the School’s bureau in Washington, D.C., where she engages in programs of research, consulting and training aimed at improving the practice of journalism, working with the Committee of Concerned Journalists, also located in Washington, and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Her career as a news executive includes top jobs in the broadcast, print and non-profit worlds.  Cochran served for 12 years as president of the Radio Television Digital News Association, the world’s largest organization serving the electronic news profession.

John Cochran joined ABC News in January 1994 as chief Capitol Hill correspondent, where he reported on the historic change of leadership as Republicans took control of the House and Senate for the first time in four decades. Cochran joined ABC News from NBC, where he spent 21 years as a correspondent in Washington and overseas. For five of those years (1988-1993) he was NBC’s chief correspondent at the White House.  Before covering the White House, he was chief diplomatic correspondent, reporting on Middle East peace negotiations and efforts to end the nuclear arms race between Moscow and Washington. Previously, he was based in London as senior correspondent, reporting from five continents.

Bill Gentile is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker teaching at American University in Washington, DC. His career spans three decades, five continents and nearly every facet of journalism and mass communication, most especially visual communication, or visual storytelling. He is a pioneer of “backpack journalism” and today he is one of the craft’s most noted practitioners. He is the founder and director of American University’s Backpack Journalism Project

Gary Kebbel has left his post as dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to work with faculty and students to create a multi-campus Center for Mobile Media. Kebbel served as dean at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for two years. Before coming to UNL he was the journalism program director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami, Florida.

For more see www.billgentile.com.

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